I'm a victim, too!

Taking the opportunity to provide a tangent: y’all heard this?

Four-part series on the intersection of food and race. Very well done.


White privilege is finding humor in what could be an awkward situation? It used to be called “being a good sport”, in the bad old days.


Another example might be the fact that some restaurants have different menus in different languages, with a some items appearing exclusively on one or the other menu.


Perhaps you have stronger standards for sanity than I. All I can say is it happens all the time, and I prefer not to assume that the people doing it are all broken.

OK, I thought about that* for a long time**.

On boundaries: we’re talking about a very specific type of boundary; we’re talking about word choices. We’re not talking about any other kind of boundary, and that’s important for the rest of what I’m going to say.

So, this is what I don’t know how to handle - the intersection of the boundaries of all Internet commentators is the null set. There is no formulation that is perfectly neutral and universally acceptable and yet conveys meaning in a political or social discussion; if it’s not a wide-open “anything goes” kind of trollfest, then you’re empowering a specific person or group’s boundaries by what words you allow, and by what speakers you permit to be mocked or shamed.

That’s well understood in the context of a site with written rules and guidelines like bOINGbOING; if your post gets prefiltered or eaten by the Luck Dragon, you go re-read the rules. Discourse makes the boundaries less static, though; the software is effectively written to encourage the development of vigilante cabals, who will flag posts out of existence before they get seen too much, and vigilantes rarely behave consistently.

And since that’s effectively unavoidable unless you want to have the previously mentioned trollfest site, we has it.

I could list all the things in this thread that are offensive to me, and chastise and moralize at length, and I’d get lots of “likes”, maybe even start a PC pile-on that would drive other commenters off the site. But I’d rather be more inclusive than that, and not try to inflict “correct” speech modes onto others, because I’d rather hear authentic voices than filter them through my preconceptions of what people ought to be saying.

Sorry about the rambling. But it’s kind of a can of worms, isn’t it?

* while plastering
** “And when we had thought about it long enough, we declared war on the Union.” --Chief Dan George as Lone Watie


Yes, having assumptions made about you on the basis of your race, and being able to just laugh it off, certainly is an example of white privilege.

I would think that with all of your oft-repeated connections to Asia, for example, you would know that having perniciously stereotypical assumptions made in the U.S. about say, a Chinese American person on the basis of her supposed food preferences, is precisely the opposite of a race-based privilege. And telling her she should be a “good sport” about it, instead of objecting to being stereotyped yet again, while not an example exactly of white privilege, is an example of an obnoxious common white tendency.


Yes, it’s a huge can of worms, and I’m sure I don’t have sufficient answers to any of it, but I spent a few minutes thinking about this, probably I will find I disagree with myself in the future, maybe I disagree with myself in the present, but here’s a crack at it. Sorry if this is wordy, it’d be much shorter if I had more time.

I think I really had BB more in mind than the internet at large. Each site has its own space or spaces with different groups with different shared boundaries. Most general interest forums for interests that are broad explicitly call out a lot of topics as forbidden since everyone will drop into a scream fest if religion, politics, etc. come up. You can’t go to a Disney forum, explain why Trump’s behavior and policies meet the formal definition of fascism and not get banned, and that’s really not a bad thing. Even the hedgehog forum I frequent has rules about proscribed topics. You’d think hedgehog owners would be inherently thoughtful, kind-hearted, polite people unlikely to get into bitter prolonged arguments, but no.

So yeah, if I hop over to Breitbart and look at the comments it’s offense central for me. So I don’t go to Breitbart. If I said anything it’d be totally offensive, piss off everyone, and trigger a flame war. I’d be a troll, and since I’m morally opposed to others trolling, I’m not going to do it. I think some of what you’re complaining about are people seeking out conflict, and I’d agree that those people have behavioral problems, even if we’d frame some patterns behind the behavior differently.

The internet does create a messy heap of social conflict as a side effect of the design. Facebook, Reddit, and Twitter are vast disparate spaces where there’s little defining any group besides breathing, and they’re the front lines of endless rage as people with conflicting values and views bump into each other and handle those conflicts like bickering children. FB has some firewalls to control this. Reddit and Twitter are broken because they have no way to segment people who will create a volatile mix, so trolling is extra rampant.

If I’m in a very public space I try to be conscientious. My political things on FB are limited to friends, and on Twitter I talk about hedgehogs. A lot. And I avoid comments on news site articles since there will be bickering people, which is a side effect of the internet. There are few limits to keep people who will fight in their separate corners. There’s no fixing it. But I don’t really blame people too much for being human, holding values/boundaries, and responding when they’re tromped over. They’re being put in a weird unnatural environment that in some ways isn’t really all that humane, and I mostly worry about keeping myself in line since that’s all I have much control over or responsibility for.

People who choose to go to spaces where there are people that hold different values and rile things up are trolls, and they deserve to be smacked down hard.

Because the internet exists and is a vast social conflict zone, there are a few values that do need to be more widely adopted. There are both women and men, so misogynist bullshit has to be dealt with. So too with racism, antisemitism, and other xenophobic bullshit. Working to root out language that is rooted in misogyny, racism, etc. makes sense, since while it might be normal for some, it’s a problem when your communication in inherently insulting, and that language defines the models with which you frame your understanding. If your term for greedy is “Jew,” that language internalizes prejudice, and there are a lot of terms that carry misogynist/racist baggage. How one goes about dealing with that is the hard part. I’m fairly certain we humans need to sort out as many ways to teach and cultivate empathy as we can. I’m pretty sure that instant angry confrontations, instant ostracisms, and angry mobs won’t work for helping transmit values or get people to internalize empathy for others, but the problem is with the relative effectiveness of approaches, not the goal. And since there are people whose identity is tied to hatred of others, at some point stronger responses are probably merited. Xenophobia and the internet do not mix, taking steps to try to deal with that and open people’s eyes to the reality of our shared humanity are needed, and with that dealing with behaviors and communication patterns that are rooted in old xenophobic bullshit are justified. We as a society and as a population need to work on developing and promoting values to deal with our increasing interconnection.


“Endeavor to persevere”. My kids get tired of hearing that.

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Incidentally, while I was crew on HMB Endeavour, I got a really clear understanding of why the Royal Navy had a tradition of “no politics or religion at the mess table”.

Getting into arguments when you’re forced to share a confined space with people for an extended period with no possibility of avoidance is a fast-track to extreme unpleasantness.


This is not sarcasm- What assumptions or stereotypes about food preferences would a Chinese American person face here? The only thing I can think of would be rice with every meal. But that would be reasonably accurate for most Asian families, and my own.

Also got a good understanding of why ship captains generate such extreme loyalty, BTW.

Ross (the captain) mostly stayed out of sight and let Dirk (the XO) run the ship.

But when someone fell from the mast (caught by their safety harness, fortunately), Ross was out of his cabin and halfway up the rigging before the rest of us had even realised what happened.


I chafe hard against some sites which try to enforce such policies because I find them completely unrealistic. Everything between people is politics. Even telling somebody “don’t talk about politics or you’ll get kicked because a mod told you not to” is itself a political statement. Denying this doesn’t make it not so, so it seems really hypocritical to me.

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Yeah, it’s restrictive and annoying and inconsistently applied.

But, in the naval context, the alternative is regular intra-crew homicide.


I don’t mind restrictive and annoying - but the way I model the world, pretty much everything to do with people and society is political. From waking up in a town, to using money, to licensing people to drive. People seem to take a lot of social structure for granted while somehow compartmentalizing it as “not politics”. But if you (as I do) see it all as politics, then avoiding it in social interactions seems truly impossible.

Fortunately, on a sailing ship, you can always talk about the weather. :slight_smile:

Although, these days, that’s about as political as it’s possible to get.



“I bet her family eats DOGS!”


“Did your parents have a restaurant?”

“I bet you’re GREAT with chopsticks!”


Ok, I did not think of the dog thing. Thanks.

White. Male. Rural. Southern.

I might be able to shed light on this one. Most of these people genuinely don’t see the confederate flag as a racial symbol. To most it’s a symbol of geographic and cultural identity. A culture of guns, cars, self reliance as much out of need as anything else, and connection with past and family. Many of these same people go on about ‘niggers and gays and Democrats ruining the country’ with that last one almost used as a swear word. However those same people if they have black co-workers or other ‘different’ people in their social circles just treats them like anyone else. Everyone talks about everyone else behind their backs, but generally if you’re in the immediate social net you’re just jim’ or ‘ann’ or whoever.

These are people that, broad strokes here, get hit hardest during a Depression, and bounce back the least during an economic upswell. They keep seeing the increasing demand for higher and expensive education for jobs that historically had been more or less for the asking and companies losing any pretense at loyalty to people who’ve workedfor twenty ears. Then again these are the same people a century ago that literally lived as sharecroppers, or working in a company town paid in company script to get spent at the company store, and at the end of the week owing the company money after the paycheck is spent.

They feel hurt, disposessed. They feel constantly screwed over. Constantly being told No you’re an abomination. No your way of life is stupid. you’re inferrior to Us Refined People. No we don’t care that you have heritage and invintivness and all these other things up to and including providing food. We think you’re heathen because we in our enlightened bastions know better. We will make fun of you all the harder so begone while we bow to corporate masters. No we don’t care if they fucked you over they are the people that are supposed to run things.

So take a people who have known nothing but being pushed and pushed and pushed, and made fun of, and having at every opportunity the privilage of being told everything about their identity is now horrible (oh you’re a Christian? you’re stupid for believing in God. Oh you smoke? That causes cancer. Oh you live rural? ha… haha haha and ha. You know nothing.’ and so on.)

These people don’t feel like they are the decision makers. They don’t feel like they have power or privilage when they’re constantly being told they’re scum of the earth… if anyone bothers acknowleging them at all.

In summation: Trump tapped into angry hurt america that gets the ass end of every joke because you’re the one safe ok target to make fun of. The dispossessed are what decided this election. The people who felt that the establishment didn’t give two fucks about them.

I am not saying the attitude is RIGHT, but when you feel dispossessed you cling to everything you can and lump it all together to a point that an attack on any part of that is an attack on all of it. Like ‘oh these people now get a voice? that means we get less of a voice. Great more people that get to insult us on tv and i’m being told to sit there and say thank you sir may I have another sir?’

It breeds bitterness. And that is a fortress of anger and regret and hurt you have to finda way through if you want to try getting to the people themselves.


There are two demographics that could have been shared by the exit polls (since the data is there), but for some reason, they weren’t – Income brackets by race and white Evangelicals by gender. Both would do a lot to confirm or undermine popular narratives. Did the white underclass vote for Clinton more than whites with higher incomes, or is the <$30,000 bracket skewed by the fact that more Black and Hispanic voters are represented there? Did white Evangelical women overwhelmingly vote for Trump? (my intuition from talking to Evangelical men and women was that there was a significant difference of opinion, although it’s possible that they still made the same choice). These charts seem to support an opposite narrative, which only makes sense to me if there is a big divide between white and non-white voters at lower income levels:

In any case, unless you specifically mean the white dispossessed, the election result can’t be seen as a rejection of Clinton by the underclass. Cut out everyone lower middle class and below, and Trump would have won easily.


I think that is who @singletona082 meant. You know, those hundreds and hundreds of towns where 80 or 90% of the residents went for Trump.

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Yep. Sorry for the confusion guys. To these people they’re not really seeingthe world getting better. They see it getting better for other people though.So by that logic it has to be comingg at their expense, which makes things even more resentful.

Hard part is how to crack that shell. You try brute forcing it and people just clam up, and write you off as part of the problem and that’s all she wrote.

Edit: I’m… not sure this will be received well at all but… Here goes.

An example being this place. To someone just kinda poking their head n casually there’s a lotof apparent white male hate flowing around. I realize most people here mean it a lot less broad than it is, but the imagry, tone, and such does give an apparent broad brush. SO take people that already feel like they’re having to knucklle under with popular conversation and community narrative appearing to go ‘hey these people are OK to make fun of’ and you stat having people go ‘hey that’s not right why do you get to do that but if i do anything it’s proof positive I’m evil?’

Which has people circle the wagons because if other people get to do what on the surface looks like the same thing they keep getting thier noses drug in the dirt over then they have to be losing out, right?

Take that as you will. I’m just going off of what I can piece together living in the general area where it seems to be popular that ‘oh white people are a minority now.’