Neurotopia

I was going to comment on the whole Women/Scifi/Brown people argument going on in other areas of this blog, but since the culprit said it better than I ever could have, I’ll just let his words speak for me. (Emphasis mine).

Now, does this surprise many of the readers of this weblog??? Ed was implying that only whites are the elite, but the reality is that Indian Americans might not be absolutely represented in the elite (being fewer than 1% of the population), but any given brown American is likely to be quite well off. There is at least one other regular brown frequenter of the wine bar, this, in a community with a trivial brown presence. I suppose Ed’s point was that stereotyping is pernicious, but I would contend that inaccurate stereotyping is especially pernicious, and I can’t believe that the snippet above reflects anything but rhetoric. Most Americans might be a bit surprised that Muslim Americans tend to be more well educated than the norm (this is true), but brown Americans, with our “dark skin” and “shiny black hair” are pretty visible in American life in particular positions (5% of American MDs are brown). We drive cabs, own and run motels, are physicians and college professors. We’re a diverse lot, but on average, brown Americans are well off and characterized by a high SES. I can’t believe Ed is so ignorant that he doesn’t know this, instead, he chooses to consciously be coarser in his classification of my identity and simply lump me into the broad amorphous swath of benighted colored folk. That’s fine, but the reality is that he has enough information to know that the characterization is just not accurate. That being said, we are a diverse community, and Bangaldeshi Americans are much more likely to be working class than Indian Americans. And I am a Bangladeshi American. But on a further level of granularity my father has a Ph.D., and you would assume that someone who has the leisure to blog and read as much as I was not derived from deprived circumstances. The more information you have the more accurate and precise the picture becomes, and where you stop dictates your assumptions based on generalities framed by a variance or error. I think that most Americans know today that South Asians are rather affluent, but I do not believe they know that the very small Bangladeshi community is not so much, nor do most Amerians know my own background. I conclude therefore that Ed was being disingenious because he wanted to portray me in a particular manner.

I think I’m gonna cook up a heaping plate of crow tonight, I wonder if perhaps anyone would like some for dinner?

Comments

  1. #1 Rob Knop
    December 20, 2006

    Razib doesn’t have comments on his post, but I have to point
    this out:

    Now, to the second comment. I was not totally sure as to whether it was satire or not,

    Sigh. It was OBVOUSLY satire, to the point that the poster declared it so right after making the racist comments about Razib’s background:

    like being stereotyped, razib? like how it feels? oh, but i wasn’t been explicitly negative about your culture, was i, because, you know, it’s all true, so it’s just a statement of fact and you should just get over it. you’re just another whiny brown man with a sense of entitlement.

    get it yet?

    If the “get it yet?” doesn’t make it clear that this whole thing is supposed to be satire, then… well, I dunno.

    -Rob

  2. #2 Mondo
    December 20, 2006

    Meh one man’s satire is another man’s chance to play the race card, when exposed publically as a juvenile sexist.

  3. #3 razib
    December 20, 2006

    uh. ok. i meant satire against zuska. not satire of me (yeah, that’s obvious). i guess i should make that clear. i regularly get people satirically making racist attacks against. that’s fine. just sayin’ that it’s creepy.

    (follow up paragraphs make this pretty clear i assumed)

  4. #4 razib
    December 20, 2006

    just for the record, an update on the post:
    [interjection: in case I was unclear, I understand that satire was being directed at me, but I thought perhaps it was satire of Zuska as a satire of satire…I think the context makes it clear, but I’m not sure everyone is reading the whole post. For the record, I regularly get satirical insults that are racist in content if not intent. That’s fine, I’m just saying it’s creepy. If you want an example, someone taunted me about how the “black Bengali women were raped” by racist Punjabis during the 1971 war. I understand that the commenter is not racist and not reveling in rape, but making light of those incidents to win a rhetorical point against me seemed unseemly.

  5. #5 razib
    December 20, 2006

    p.s. chris of mixing memory can confirm my perception. i IMed him yesterday to make sure that the satire was directed at me and not zuska.

  6. #6 racaille
    December 20, 2006

    uh. ok. i meant satire against zuska

    for the record, I also thought it might be satire of zuska, because the alternative (that this commenter actually thought through and invented all these ridiculous vicious sterotypes about razib as a joke on razib) seemed a little unsettling.

  7. #7 racaille
    December 20, 2006

    so it’s just a statement of fact and you should just get over it. you’re just another whiny brown man with a sense of entitlement.

    but now that we’ve determined that the joke was supposed to be on razib, anyone else think the commenter wasn’t entirely kidding with this? creepy, indeed.

  8. #8 razib
    December 20, 2006

    but now that we’ve determined that the joke was supposed to be on razib, anyone else think the commenter wasn’t entirely kidding with this? creepy, indeed.

    oh, i’m sure the commenter wasn’t harboring racist sentiments. that can rest. but after you hear the same stuff about “you black-faced third worlder who beats your wives and is a retard” (etc., etc.,) with the context/caveat “i’m really saying this to show you what you’re being protected against because of activists who you know disagree with” it can get a bit surreal. some of the leftists who detest me even use posts form white nationalists to buttress their points. see the the post by nancy mclearn (control-f “so does this one”). the link takes you to a site with this about:
    This website discusses various issues related to the preservation of Western culture and the ethnic genetic interests (EGI) of people of European ancestry. This site does not argue that the EGI and cultural concerns of non-European people are less important than those of people of European ancestry.

    nancy hates me so much she didn’t check out the rest of the site (dude, did he check out the comments even? the post itself is a piece of work).

  9. #9 Evil Monkey
    December 20, 2006

    Aside from the fact that razib can’t carry this conversation out on his own blog, the point still stands. Raz is compelled to overexplain and dissect his equivalent to the very issue he hoisted upon us.

  10. #10 razib
    December 20, 2006

    i am bolding this:

    I suppose again the point was to show how bad stereotypes are, but I think the bigger picture is that many people have inaccurate stereotypes.

  11. #11 racaille
    December 20, 2006

    Raz is compelled to overexplain and dissect his equivalent to the very issue he hoisted upon us.

    are you kidding? did you read the guy’s post?

  12. #12 racaille
    December 20, 2006

    by “overexplain”, do you mean the post is too long for you to read? here’s a paragraph at the end:

    If you read ScienceBlogs regularly you’ll see other stereotypes. Some about Republicans, others about religious people, Christians, people in the Heartland. Some are in fun. Some in seriousness. Some are accurate, some are inaccurate, and some are accurate to an extent. I’ve been in enough rooms with people who find out that I’m not liberal who make a host of immediate assumptions to understand that liberals have no problems with stereotypes or generalizations, only a particular class of them. On the flip side, I’ve been in rooms filled with conservatives who find out I’m an atheist who make a host of assertions and generalizations. The basic behavior is the same, the label, flavor and set of stereotypes differs. Some of the stereotypes are accurate, some of them are not. I dispute the ones that are not, and I leave be those which are.

    earlier in the post, he disputes some of the inaccurate sterotypes hurled at him “in jest”.

  13. #13 Evil Monkey
    December 20, 2006

    i am bolding this:

    I suppose again the point was to show how bad stereotypes are, but I think the bigger picture is that many people have inaccurate stereotypes.

    The origina point that others made was not necessarily the accuracy of stereotypes, but the original manner in which you pointed it out. Your dissecting the minutae is frankly just a waste of time. Step back.

    Accordingly I don’t have anything to say to racaille because I think he missed what I was trying to say (whose fault that is, I care not).

  14. #14 Chris
    December 20, 2006

    Wow, this whole discussion just gets more bizarre by the post. And I thought it couldn’t get any more bizarre than Zuska’s rationalizations couched in condescending “I’m just smarter than you” tones. Now this, a near incoherent misinterpretation in defense of misinterpretations?

    Seriously, though, why are you defending someone who is hurling stereotype after stereotype at Razib, in response to a post with 6 lines (pre-updates). I know it was satire (as does Razib, quite clearly — next time, don’t pull a Zuska, but actually read what he wrote), but as Racaille said, it’s creepy satire, and does more to harm the point its author is trying to make than to prove it. But hey, if you like using racism as a tool, that’s fine. Defend it all you like.

  15. #15 Evil Monkey
    December 20, 2006

    Chris, are you talking to me? I’m not defending racism. I’m pointing out that raz’s complaints (the bolded parts) are what he did that led to this whole mess in the first place.

    Raz lumped people in a silly manner. Period, end of story. Whether the lumping was accurate is irrelevant to the manner in which it was carried out. In short, I (and others) feel he conducted himself like a bit of an ass. I’m not even passing judgment on whether he deserved anybody else’s comments on the matter, because I’m quite sure he got more invective back than he deserved.

    That’s all I’m trying to say. Sorry if I wasn’t clear.

  16. #16 racaille
    December 20, 2006

    I’m pointing out that raz’s complaints (the bolded parts) are what he did

    nope. he made a pretty clear distinction between sterotypes based in fact and those not based in fact. you don’t seem to.

    Whether the lumping was accurate is irrelevant to the manner in which it was carried out.

    How do you react when PZ Myers he makes a particularly mean-sprited (if possibly true) comment about Christians? Or a joke like this one? You lay into him, right?

    After all, it’s not the facts that bother you, but the presentation. Right?

  17. #17 Evil Monkey
    December 20, 2006

    nope. he made a pretty clear distinction between sterotypes based in fact and those not based in fact. you don’t seem to.

    Stereotypes are based, in part, in fact. That is why they’re stereotypes and not just outright lies.

    After all, it’s not the facts that bother you, but the presentation. Right?

    Funny. All my behaviors have now been stereotyped.

    And I have a razib apologist on my blog. How cute. Tell me, when raz talks about ugly girls and sci-fi, why is it not considered “creepy satire”?

  18. #18 Chris
    December 20, 2006

    Racaille, that may be the best point I’ve seen in this discussion. If nothing else, the people who’ve been criticizing Razib are highly inconsistent in their criticism of the use of irresponsible stereotypes. Interestingly, the argument that PZ and others use to justify their use of those stereotypes is exactly the one that Razib and others have used: look at most Christians/sci fi fans.

  19. #19 Evil Monkey
    December 20, 2006

    C’mon Chris. There’s a huge gulf between criticizing irresponsible segments of society that seek to hurt others and stereotyping science fiction fans based upon gender and attractiveness.

    I stopped reading the invective posts on PZ’s blog a long time ago, so I can’t comment on what he says/doesn’t say. I do know that I have expressed disapproval for his treatment of theists in other forums; believe it or not, ScienceBlogs are not the entirety of the internet.

  20. #20 razib
    December 21, 2006

    stereotyping science fiction fans based upon gender and attractiveness.

    LOL. dude. i can’t believe i read that!

  21. #21 racaille
    December 21, 2006

    There’s a huge gulf between criticizing irresponsible segments of society that seek to hurt others and stereotyping science fiction fans based upon gender and attractiveness

    welcome to the land of self-parody.
    proposition #1:
    Christians are irresponsible idiots who want to hurt others.

    proposition #2:
    it’s surprising (and kind of neat) to see an attractive woman who likes science fiction.

    you just claimed proposition 1 is an acceptable thing to say, while proposition 2 is not! I don’t know if people are going to be offended by this, but I feel like I’m in the twilight zone.

  22. #22 blah
    December 21, 2006

    There’s a huge gulf between criticizing irresponsible segments of society that seek to hurt others and stereotyping science fiction fans based upon gender and attractiveness.

    So, it’s not about truth or even whether someone is offended, but *who* is offended.

    In your mind, all Christians are out to “hurt people” and hence can be viciously slandered as they are on PZ Myers’ blog. You should be ashamed of yourself. You’re really not a very nice person. Basically, you kick whoever is weak or not present to defend themselves, and then congratulate yourself for piling on.

  23. #23 Evil Monkey
    December 21, 2006

    Proposition #1 is a completely acceptable thing to say, yes, when it is true. The example of PZ’s that you cited is true; certain segments of Christian society do in fact seek to inflict harm upon others. I do not and would not blanket the entire population of Christianity that way. To get from what I said to what you just implied I said requires me to dump so many logical fallacies into one sentence that my head spins. If you’re going to put words in my mouth then perhaps next time I should just let you write my whole post.

    Proposition #2, as you phrased it, is sugar-coated revisionist malarky. Reading the original “smokin hot chicas” post reminds me of that “Men are doctors, women are nurses” horse shit from the ’50s. A woman enjoying something typically reserved for males? How quaint! No, wait, how creepy.

  24. #24 Evil Monkey
    December 21, 2006

    So, it’s not about truth or even whether someone is offended, but *who* is offended.

    Um, no.

    In your mind, all Christians are out to “hurt people” and hence can be viciously slandered as they are on PZ Myers’ blog. You should be ashamed of yourself. You’re really not a very nice person. Basically, you kick whoever is weak or not present to defend themselves, and then congratulate yourself for piling on.

    And you might be the dumbest person ever to comment on Scienceblogs. Please, quote where I said that. Oh wait, you can’t. The truth is I have no beef with Christians as long as they play nice with others. You know, that same standard of decency I hold for everyone else.

    PZ occasionally targets is ire at certain subsets of Christianity that are pernicious. That sort of vitriol I don’t care about. Had you bothered to read my other comments, though, you might have realized that I have also come down on PZ for the generalizations he makes about ALL Christians.

    So thanks for pretending you know what goes on in my head.

  25. #25 Evil Monkey
    December 21, 2006

    LOL. dude. i can’t believe i read that!
    Dude, science fiction fans need love too.

  26. #26 razib
    December 21, 2006

    Dude, science fiction fans need love too.

    i’m a science fiction fan. and i get plenty of love πŸ™‚ even if science fiction & fantasy aren’t rooted in this world, i think that the subculture is real enough to admit to itself that it is heavily overloaded with male losers vis-a-vis the general population.

  27. #27 D
    December 21, 2006

    “subculture is real enough to admit to itself that it is heavily overloaded with male losers vis-a-vis the general population.”

    Indeed. Practically every sci-fi geek on slashdot takes that statement for granted.

  28. #28 racaille
    December 21, 2006

    Proposition #1 is a completely acceptable thing to say, yes, when it is true.

    haha. that’s exactly my point. Proposition 2 is also true. so lay off the righteous outrage.

  29. #29 racaille
    December 21, 2006

    No, wait, how creepy.

    I suppose creepy is a subjective feeling. Would you be creeped out if a girl said to a guy “wait, you drink white wine and dress well and you’re not gay!?!” it’s a sterotype, but it’s not malicious. nor is saying “you’re a woman who shares my typically geeky male interests, and you’re not unattractive?!?”

    yet I do indeed find it creepy when someone, as an argument against sterotyping, manages to insult every aspect of a culture inaccurately and follows up with “so it’s just a statement of fact and you should just get over it. you’re just another whiny brown man with a sense of entitlement.” a little creepy. is this what anti-racists really feel, but only express when pissed?

    but yeah, I obviously can’t convince you that one thing is more creepy than another, I so say we move on.

  30. #30 racaille
    December 21, 2006

    saying “you’re a woman who shares my typically geeky male interests, and you’re not unattractive?!?”

    hm, reading this again, it’s probably not the best thing to say if you want to keep the conversation going. but whatever, I hope you see why actually saying this isn’t really “creepy” like the racism example that follows.

  31. #31 Evil Monkey
    December 21, 2006

    haha. that’s exactly my point. Proposition 2 is also true. so lay off the righteous outrage.

    So then it is always perfectly acceptable to call somebody a moron to their face when it is true? Just because a proposition happens to be true doesn’t make voicing it appropriate. You don’t seem to get that. Else there really wouldn’t be anything wrong with me making an off-color comment to the next Indian I see working the desk at a Motel 8, or an Indian oncologist who my dad sees for chemotherapy e.g. “hey, its totally COOL that you’re an Indian oncologist! Indians make great doctors!” can still be condescending and stereotyping.

    Try laying off the ridiculous blanket assertions in the future.

    it’s a sterotype, but it’s not malicious. nor is saying “you’re a woman who shares my typically geeky male interests, and you’re not unattractive?!?”

    That’s pretty easy for the male to say; he’s still in the socially acceptable position of being a male geek. Attractive women (hell, most women, attractive or not) don’t have that luxury, which is precisely the point of this whole exercise! One would think that obvious from the responses by female bloggers on Sb.

    but yeah, I obviously can’t convince you that one thing is more creepy than another, I so say we move on.
    Of course not. I treat sexism the same way I treat racism. Both are equally pathetic. As for moving on, nobody is stopping you.

  32. #32 JYB
    December 21, 2006

    I’m going to speak for the entire intertube here and say that we all stopped caring 3 days ago. I mean this in the nicest possible way, but this has become a personal argument between people who will never come to a resolution. It was interesting at first, but now, let’s get back to umm… science.

  33. #33 racaille
    December 21, 2006

    So then it is always perfectly acceptable to call somebody a moron to their face when it is true? Just because a proposition happens to be true doesn’t make voicing it appropriate. You don’t seem to get that

    we’re going in circles. it’s ok for you or pz to say that fundamentalist christians are generally dumbasses (a possibly true statement) on your blogs. But it’s not ok for razib to say that science fiction geeks are generally not beautiful (a possibly true statement) on his? My goal here, I’ll admit, is for you to say that your sterotypes are more socially acceptable (as a blogger on scienceblogs, which tends a little to the left) than his.

    and re: your question. on the internet, it’s always acceptable to call someone a moron to their “face”. that’s what blogs are for, right? πŸ™‚

  34. #34 ed
    December 22, 2006

    HYPERBOLE (n.):

    1. obvious and intentional exaggeration.
    2. an extravagant statement or figure of speech not intended to be taken literally, as “to wait an eternity.”

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