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"Woke" - what does it really mean?


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Just now, Phylum of Alexandria said:

Sure, but that wasn't my point. My point is why not call out what she said, then reach out anyway to work in areas where agreement can be found and action can be taken?

You're posing this conflict as if Rowling said one bad thing about trans people and that was it.  That's not the history.  Particularly because she's JK fucking Rowling.  Harry Potter fans (of which I'm not really one, but have seen all the movies because I watch cable) WANTED to forgive her.  Instead, she doubled, tripled, whatever-downed.  Again, that was her decision.  It has nothing to do with the trans-community's capacity for forgiveness.

4 minutes ago, Phylum of Alexandria said:

That doesn't make her a Nazi.

Yeah, of course, I would disagree with anyone saying she's a Nazi.  Instead, she's transphobic.  Those aren't the same things.

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4 minutes ago, Zorral said:

You mean there's nothing to be done to win over the people who out and out kill, or try to kill, or plan to kill you? Or that you haven't tried to do so?

I don't really understand what you mean.

I have indeed had discussions with my family and other social conservatives about the humanity of trans people, and how they are being demonized by people who don't understand them. I don't know how effective those conversations were, but there was at least some chance of planting a seed, whereas if I went the path of anger and shaming, they would just act aggrieved and get to play the victim. But what does any of this have to do with what I was saying?

Anyway, Rowling may be bigoted, but she is not trying to kill trans people. She could use her fame and influence to help pass protections for them, and to change hearts and minds. It's not magic, but it would do a lot more for trans people's lives than expecting perfection.

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13 minutes ago, DMC said:

Yeah, of course, I would disagree with anyone saying she's a Nazi.  Instead, she's transphobic.  Those aren't the same things.

She holds old-school views of transgenderism. That's transphobic in some ways, but not in the "trans people are people and should have the freedom to live their lives and make their own choices in peace" domain. And certainly just because she holds transphobic views doesn't mean that she can't be any ally for gay and trans causes.

13 minutes ago, DMC said:

You're posing this conflict as if Rowling said one bad thing about trans people and that was it.  That's not the history.  Particularly because she's JK fucking Rowling.  Harry Potter fans (of which I'm not really one, but have seen all the movies because I watch cable) WANTED to forgive her.  Instead, she doubled, tripled, whatever-downed.  Again, that was her decision.  It has nothing to do with the trans-community's capacity for forgiveness.

Sorry, I didn't see this first part. I'm not sure if I would frame it in terms of forgiveness. First off, because as you've said, Rowling hasn't changed her stance on bathrooms, etc. I'm talking about: "I don't like this view you have, and I am determined to show the world that you're wrong. But also I acknowledge that you are right in these domains, and I am willing to work with you." Thereby demonstrating grace, even if it's for nakedly pragmatic reasons.

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3 minutes ago, Phylum of Alexandria said:

And certainly just because she holds transphobic views doesn't mean that she can't be any ally for gay and trans causes.

..Er, yes it does.  I'm sorry.  Maybe if we were talking about making treaties with foreign rivals or legislative bargaining or in some way wherein you have to institutionally negotiate with your enemies.  But an important public figure that continues to espouse transphobic views means she is not going to be an ally for trans causes.  That's the bottom line.

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1 minute ago, DMC said:

..Er, yes it does.  I'm sorry.  Maybe if we were talking about making treaties with foreign rivals or legislative bargaining or in some way wherein you have to institutionally negotiate with your enemies.  But an important public figure that continues to espouse transphobic views means she is not going to be an ally for trans causes.  That's the bottom line.

Lol, and that's the problem in which the left shoots itself in the foot. It wasn't always like this, and it doesn't have to be. I can't say this for sure, but my inclination is that even if she never changes her mind about the immutability of sex of whatever, her being accepted by progressive allies would lead her to remain quiet about her most contentious views. Or would have. I can't say for sure now, because it does seem that this whole dynamic has furthered her own radicalization. But I don't think people are hopeless, as long as people give them a chance.

Heck, if a Muslim can re-radicalize Neo-Nazis by offering her companionship, I think Rowling (and everyone like her) could easily come around, given the right conditions.

 

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2 minutes ago, Phylum of Alexandria said:

Lol, and that's the problem in which the left shoots itself in the foot. It wasn't always like this, and it doesn't have to be.

LOL, your problem appears to be you don't understand basic facts of certain situations and want to live in a fantasy world.  By all means, have at it!  I mean that genuinely!  But stop acting as if your fantasy can become reality if only people listened to you.  That never works.

....and, wow, don't equate Rowling to that video.  Yikes.

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2 minutes ago, DMC said:

LOL, your problem appears to be you don't understand basic facts of certain situations and want to live in a fantasy world.  By all means, have at it!  I mean that genuinely!  But stop acting as if your fantasy can become reality if only people listened to you.  That never works.

Calling it a fantasy doesn't make it so. How is it a fantasy?

2 minutes ago, DMC said:

....and, wow, don't equate Rowling to that video.  Yikes.

I...didn't equate Rowling to that video? I literally said that she's not a Nazi previously. I was saying that if such an extreme feat is possible (though admittedly very resource-heavy in the case of the Neo-Nazi conversion), then more reasonable people holding certain bigoted views is much more doable.

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9 minutes ago, DMC said:

LOL, your problem appears to be you don't understand basic facts of certain situations and want to live in a fantasy world.  By all means, have at it!  I mean that genuinely!  But stop acting as if your fantasy can become reality if only people listened to you.  That never works.

Re: the performative left shooting its own foot, I thought of this podcast I listened to a little while ago, between Ezra Klein and Michelle Goldberg. Both progressive liberals, but both concerned about this type of toxic infighting. Here are some excepts.

EZRA KLEIN: You mentioned a couple of minutes ago the way, there are a lot of nonprofits that don’t have a lot of members but have a lot of centrality, I guess, in — if you’re a member of Congress and you want to ask the question of, well, what would the feminists think, there are organizations you call and they get consulted on bills.

But they’ve been in a pretty rough state, and in your big article here, you write about an article that Ryan Grim published in The Intercept about how a lot of progressive organizations, not just feminist ones, have quote — this is you here — “essentially ceased to function because they’re caught up in internal turmoil, often blending labor disputes with fights over identity.”

I’ve been really struck myself talking to people inside the reproductive rights world who will, off the record, just tell you the entire, entire sector is in shambles, that the movement is completely consumed with internal politics in a way that has really deformed its external politics. And so I’m curious how you assess it. What has gone wrong there? And has what has gone wrong there actually mattered, or is that just kind of another problem somewhere else?

MICHELLE GOLDBERG: Well, I think it’s complicated. And it’s something that I think people have to keep in mind, is that there are employment grievances that are really valid, right. There are kind of racial grievances. There are Black women saying that they haven’t been promoted or that they haven’t been paid equally, people who made really credible accusations against discriminatory behavior by Planned Parenthood — I mean internally.

And so those have to be taken seriously. I don’t think that it’s all just kind of oversensitive millennials and members of Gen Z who have ridiculous demands. I think you have a problem on the left in general of a kind of ossified leadership, young people who are both frustrated and in some cases feel sort of hopeless. They feel like the opportunities or the possibilities for change in the world are being shut down.

And so you sort of turn inward, and you start trying to make change within or seek justice within your own organization. And it just doesn’t work. I mean, Joe Freeman wrote about this back in the ’70s in this great essay called “The Tyranny of Structurelessness” that wrote about how the feminist movement was kind of allergic to hierarchy. But in the effort to get rid of hierarchy, you just ended up empowering a lot of clique-iness and passive aggression disguised as politics, right.

You need, especially in a nonprofit organization, you need a degree of hierarchy and authority to function. And there needs to be a sense, the kind of legitimacy around the leadership. So at the same time, you know, look, I’m a person in my 40s. I probably would see it differently if I was 20 years younger.

There were demands that kind of younger people make, both about how organizations are supposed to function internally that are, I think, a little bit stupefying for older people who kind of aren’t used to thinking of the workplace for good or ill as being a place that is supposed to provide people with a whole bunch of emotional support and validations.

And then there are kind of, I think, substantive differences, especially around language. I mean, I can tell you that most women I know over 40 seethe at the word “women” being taken out of reproductive rights activism. I mean, I can’t tell you how many conversations I have with people about this who are just so angry about it, because it feels to them like feminism has become another place where cisgender women are supposed to defer and kind of back off and be self-effacing, and worry about other people’s problems. It drives people really crazy.

And these aren’t people — I mean, I’m not going to say whether or not they’re transphobic. That’s not my determination to make. But I can say that these are people who definitely would oppose bathroom bills, right, would oppose laws that try to stop young people from transitioning, that would probably support their own kids transitioning under some circumstances, and that would take a sort of more watchful waiting attitude under other circumstances, you know, but definitely believe that it has a place.

Everybody I know kind of know knows people who have kids who are either transitioning or nonbinary, and maybe they’re confused by that. But they’re not hostile to it. But there is a sense, I think, among a lot of older women that if you can’t explain the way that abortion bans are rooted in misogyny, that they’re rooted in the kind of fundamental desire to control women’s reproduction, then it becomes very difficult to organize, right.

Like, ‘some people oppress other people on the basis of their reproduction’ is just not really an accurate way, I think, of describing centuries of patriarchy.

********

GOLDBERG: And somehow, we can’t learn those lessons, because you see so many of these dynamics being replayed over and over again. And what’s so frustrating to me is that it’s so different than the way the right organizes. There’s a documentary I wrote about recently called “Battleground,” which is a pro-choice filmmaker following around — most of it is her following around three different women leaders of the anti-abortion movement. There’s other people in it as well, but that’s the bulk of it.

And I wrote about this, and people were like, I can’t believe that you’re amazed by this. It’s so basic. But there was this one scene where these members of Students for Life are in a training to learn how to try to persuade people in comments sections on Facebook, right. So Students for Life took out ads that were targeted at young pro-choice people with the idea of drawing them into comment section debates that would, if not change their minds, at least kind of sow some doubt.

And so just — there is no emphasis on the left on persuasion. There’s often a kind of contempt for any discourse about persuasion, because it’s either, I shouldn’t have to argue with you; I shouldn’t have to defend my fundamental rights. And trust me, I believe that it’s frustrating to have to defend your fundamental rights. Unfortunately, we do have to do that.

Or if somebody is going to be kind of turned off by my rhetorical style, then they were already a sexist or a racist — which again, I think, might be true, but the world is what it is. And you kind of have to approach people where they are. It’s about trying to get people to join a coalition or take political action, not kind of be your friend or show themselves worthy of entry into a club.

Regardless of what you think about those seething women, they represent a larger problem on the left. Too many people have let the perfect become the enemy of the good, or even the slightly better.

https://www.nytimes.com/2022/07/08/podcasts/transcript-ezra-klein-interviews-michelle-goldberg.html

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16 minutes ago, Phylum of Alexandria said:

Calling it a fantasy doesn't make it so. How is it a fantasy?

Getting JK Rowling to change her views on trans issues is a fantasy.  Again, if you don't understand that, godspeed.

17 minutes ago, Phylum of Alexandria said:

I was saying that if such an extreme feat is possible (though admittedly very resource-heavy in the case of the Neo-Nazi conversion), then more reasonable people holding certain bigoted views is much more doable.

You're talking about incredibly low percentages of conversion rates.  Can it happen?  Of course.  Should it happen?  Of course.  Should we do what we can do make that happen?  Of course.  But that's ultimately on the individual.

Your argument seems to be if we just tried harder we could convert the most extreme among us.  That isn't true, and frankly it's never been true -- even before the current extreme, affective, and asymmetric polarization which characterizes the political landscape today. 

Again, it's a fantasy.  Now, perhaps it's not as stupid as many of the arguments posed in this thread, but it's one that on its face I have no interest entertaining.  Particularly because while those success stories are great, how are we supposed to regularize or institutionalize this?  Just seems like Ezra Klein talking about outliers to me.  If you have any actual concrete policy suggestions, let me know.

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1 minute ago, DMC said:

Getting JK Rowling to change her views on trans issues is a fantasy.  Again, if you don't understand that, godspeed.

28 minutes ago, Phylum of Alexandria said:

I don't mind agreeing to disagree, but for the record, my main argument is not that we should prioritize converting people like Rowling. It is that we should work with them politically, even when they hold views we don't like. Make it clear where people think they're wrong and how it's hurtful, but also showing grace (i.e, being the bigger person). Most importantly for pragmatic political gains, but also for the potential for persuasion through acceptance and social solidarity. Social media has made us much more thin-skinned, and it's not good for the movement.

I'm not saying that an approach of grace is a cure-all that will work in all situations, but it's well in step with evidence from social psychology with respect to moral disputes. If you haven't read The Righteous Mind by Jonathan Haidt, I highly recommend it.

Anyway, I think we've said all that can be said here. Have a good one.

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2 minutes ago, Phylum of Alexandria said:

If you haven't read The Righteous Mind by Jonathan Haidt, I highly recommend it.

Well, let's put it this way.  Haidt is not someone I'd recommend.  Ever.  He's one of those guys that enjoys talking out of his ass with no idea what he's actually saying. 

Your talk about the power of persuasion is nostalgic, of course - that's Neustadt (1960) - but it's gone.  At least vis-a-vis the power of the presidency.  Polarization killed that.  Then MAGA beat it like a dead horse.  There's no persuading fascists.

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2 minutes ago, DMC said:

There's no persuading fascists.

Oh, there were agree. But Rowling is not a fascist, yet essentially she is treated like one. Why the inability to parse the different levels of transgression? And not just her. I also mentioned that trans icon Buck Angel is treated as an untouchable, as was Natalie Wynn for briefly working for Buck, and then Natalie's friends, like Lindsay Ellis, simply for supporting their friend, etc. There's no sense of scale whatsoever. Not only can it get real creepy real fast, it's terrible for the cause, and it shouldn't be strange to point that out. 

...And yet it is...

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25 minutes ago, DMC said:

Well, let's put it this way.  Haidt is not someone I'd recommend.  Ever.  He's one of those guys that enjoys talking out of his ass with no idea what he's actually saying.

On matters of moral psychology, he is an expert in his field. On matters of policies for schools, he is just a guy with an opinion. But even there he can make some good points. I don't understand your particular allergy.

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10 minutes ago, DMC said:

Again, definitely seems like you just want to turn this into a trans debate.

Weird, it's the train of comments that we were talking about. My point is that you mentioned fascists, but I was talking about aggrieved leftists, and people like Rowling. And the orthodox dynamic is basically to consider anyone who falls out of line, even someone as innocuous as Lindsay Ellis, as a fascist, a troll, or some other untouchable.

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4 hours ago, Phylum of Alexandria said:

Well, I don't what Kanye West has to do with what I said about people trying to have good faith arguments. Kanye himself has been radicalized, and probably has mental health issues. Honestly, other than not giving him money or the attention he craves, probably shouldn't do anything. Certainly raging about it on social media isn't going to solve much.

A reasonable response. 

 

4 hours ago, Phylum of Alexandria said:

Do you think that I am advocating for free speech absolutism? Because I'm not. I am advocating for good faith efforts at discussion among people who disagree, and in terms of political efficacy, actually working to persuade people and build coalitions rather than expecting others to conform to a given point of view through force of will or the magic of shaming or whatever.

Understood I was mainly seeing if you recognized there is a limit to the effectiveness of good faith discourse on response to certain rhetoric in particular situations.

2 hours ago, Phylum of Alexandria said:

Can you elaborate?

When I say pragmatic opportunity, I'm talking about laws or policy changes, rather than linguistic trends.

Sigh I hate to use the phrase since the people who came up with are fascists  but it’s accurate here:

Politics is the downstream of culture.

How regular or Indic people talk about certain things can eventually manifest into more substantive based policy changes.

The constant attachment of the word “groomer” in reference to trans people has made it a easy for states to flat out ban medical transitioning or socially transitioning.

1 hour ago, Phylum of Alexandria said:

My point is why not call out what she said, then reach out anyway to work in areas where agreement can be found and action can be taken?

Because there isn’t actually much substantive agreement(you keep alluding to it without specifics) and whatever agreement she has is eclipsed by the simple fact she’s disgusted by trans people.

Like she’s praised a Pousey Parker, a woman whose a crypto-Nazi(as in she had a profile pic of a Nazi Barbie and hangs out white nationalists).

17 minutes ago, Phylum of Alexandria said:

also mentioned that trans icon Buck Angel i

Please don’t imply that asshole is the hero for the trans community for his advocacy rather than a Milo Yianpolis for trans people.

Natallie Wynn got canceled too quickly for working with the pos, but the guy is a pos.

1 minute ago, Phylum of Alexandria said:

And the orthodox dynamic is basically to consider anyone who falls out of line, even someone as innocuous as Lindsay Ellis, as a fascist, a troll, or some other untouchable.

Yeah it’s really dangerous to draw parallels between Lindsey Ellis and J.K Rowling whose actually platforming and pushing fascists.

1 hour ago, Phylum of Alexandria said:

Heck, if a Muslim can re-radicalize Neo-Nazis by offering her companionship, I think Rowling (and everyone like her) could easily come around, given the right conditions.

Which Prominent segregationists did Mlk befriend?

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6 minutes ago, Phylum of Alexandria said:

I don't understand your particular allergy.

On matters of politics, he likes to think he's an expert when in actuality he has no idea what the fuck he's talking about.  That's my "allergy."

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34 minutes ago, DMC said:

Well, let's put it this way.  Haidt is not someone I'd recommend.  Ever.  He's one of those guys that enjoys talking out of his ass with no idea what he's actually saying. 

Your talk about the power of persuasion is nostalgic, of course - that's Neustadt (1960) - but it's gone.  At least vis-a-vis the power of the presidency.  Polarization killed that.  Then MAGA beat it like a dead horse.  There's no persuading fascists.

Every single time I ever hear he’s mentioned it’s always in the context of demanding the left or liberals be nicer to conservatives and work with conservatives.

Last time it was during debate between a Muslim autocrat who arguing that an atheist should support his preferred theocratic society because of the social cohesion it’d bring.

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2 minutes ago, DMC said:

On matters of politics, he likes to think he's an expert when in actuality he has no idea what the fuck he's talking about.  That's my "allergy."

Well, good thing you don't also have an allergy to science, because I was talking about moral psychology, which is his field of study.

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6 minutes ago, Varysblackfyre321 said:

Which Prominent segregationists did Mlk befriend?

Kind of a straw man. I was using Deeyah Khan's work to make the point that if such extremes are possible (though impractical), then de-radicalizing someone like Rowling should be much easier. The point being that Rowling is not nearly so entrenched and crazed as they were.

King of course would not work with a segregationist, but worked with many people he disagreed with. He had bold aspirations, but knew the value of pragmatic methods, not least the power coalition-building. Would you work with someone like Billy Graham?

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