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baboon2004
01-11-2009, 12:49 AM
Did anyone catch this on Channel 4 (sorry, UK-specific question) this week? Say what you like about the woman's methods (she split a group of volunteers between brown eyes and blue eyes, treating the former as the dominant group and the latter as the subjugated group), but as far as people's reactions to the 'task' went, it was astonishingly accurate in bringing out people's lack of empathy towards the oppressed, and the willingness of people to pretend that oppression simply is not there if it is not signposted.

Really depressing, but brilliant TV, I thought.

grizzleb
01-11-2009, 01:18 AM
It's shit like this that makes me think psychology is fucking evil.

Martin Dust
01-11-2009, 08:58 AM
Did anyone catch this on Channel 4 (sorry, UK-specific question) this week? Say what you like about the woman's methods (she split a group of volunteers between brown eyes and blue eyes, treating the former as the dominant group and the latter as the subjugated group), but as far as people's reactions to the 'task' went, it was astonishingly accurate in bringing out people's lack of empathy towards the oppressed, and the willingness of people to pretend that oppression simply is not there if it is not signposted.

Really depressing, but brilliant TV, I thought.

I found it interesting how quick the blues started to defended their position.

don_quixote
01-11-2009, 09:55 AM
that twat at the start. boy... i think from this programme i am learning yet again that i hate all white people.

oh my fucking god, this is a teacher and she just said coloured and half caste /o\

(i'll point out i am white, since it changes the context of what i said above)

baboon2004
01-11-2009, 10:40 AM
It's shit like this that makes me think psychology is fucking evil.

you'll have to expand.

baboon2004
01-11-2009, 10:48 AM
that twat at the start. boy... i think from this programme i am learning yet again that i hate all white people.

oh my fucking god, this is a teacher and she just said coloured and half caste /o\

(i'll point out i am white, since it changes the context of what i said above)

The number of people who were trying to justify their own experiences as being "equivalent to racism" again shows that you can have all the sophisticated discourses around race and prejudice you like (and the UK tries to do so, to show that it is post-race or some such ridiculous assertion), but the majority of people can't show any empathy and don't understand at a very basic level.

Yeah, the teacher was a particularly stupid individual.

Some of the people on the brown-eyes team were gratifyingly eloquent about their experiences, and somehow managed to avoid twatting people from the other side when they started trotting out the "but we ALL suffer prejudice" line.

don_quixote
01-11-2009, 10:53 AM
i was watching on 4od and the way she tried to cover up what she was saying "i said we!!! i said we!!!" - she did say "what are you going to do about it?".

what i didn't understand was why they got bogged down in debate so quickly. when they young black lad said all blue eyed people were liars that was awesome.

baboon2004
01-11-2009, 11:00 AM
what i didn't understand was why they got bogged down in debate so quickly. when they young black lad said all blue eyed people were liars that was awesome.

That was a defining moment in the programme.

I thought the anecdote the mixed-race guy from Birmingham (?I'm shit at identifying accents) gave would have led to a brilliantly revelatory discussion, but maybe that bit got edited out. He didn't go to collect his daughter from school, as she's a quarter black, and is passing as white at her all-white school. Explaining the concept of passing to some of the people there would've been a task and a half.....

don_quixote
01-11-2009, 11:15 AM
you have to remember that is the same as a scruffy rugby player picking up a child from school.

Martin Dust
01-11-2009, 11:58 AM
Do you think that teacher will be any the wiser for watching that back? I don't think so, I can hear her voice now...

It's so strange to see people not getting it or even trying to understand the big picture.

baboon2004
01-11-2009, 12:06 PM
you have to remember that is the same as a scruffy rugby player picking up a child from school.

My bad! Of course it is.

I don't think she will 'get it', but I do think that some other people will have. Did you catch that bit where she confided to someone else on her 'team' that she was surprised when a black child scraped herself and the scratched layer under the skin was pink?! 'Skin-deep' acquires a whole new level of meaning after that fist-in-mouth moment.

What I found amazing was the general lack of understanding of oppression, and the not seeming to understand the point of the exercise.

vimothy
01-11-2009, 12:46 PM
I watched some of this. It was certainly interesting, but ultimately I thought it failed, for two reasons. The first is that the woman leading the expirement no longer has the same authority she once had. Of course, you could tell she had some serious steel. But compared to the archive footage shown of her totally humiliating people, she could not control the group or set the agenda. Secondly, our relationship to race and racism is different. This is not the deep south in the 1960s. This is multicultural Britain in the 21st Century. Racism is wrong. The experiment's power is that it demonstrates the experience of racism along similarly arbitrary lines to race. However, today we feel that for the most part we have already learnt this lesson. Thus the experiment needed to also convince the participants that it was relevent, and this it could not do in full.

routes
01-11-2009, 12:56 PM
It's shit like this that makes me think psychology is fucking evil.

yep.. wiki link (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Milgram_experiment)

baboon2004
01-11-2009, 01:09 PM
yep.. wiki link (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Milgram_experiment)

If this is the same experiment I'm thinking of, I don't see why it is the experimenters who are evil. It's brutish, sure, but if your intention is uncovering the underlying brutishness of people, how are you supposed to proceed?

baboon2004
01-11-2009, 01:15 PM
I watched some of this. It was certainly interesting, but ultimately I thought it failed, for two reasons. The first is that the woman leading the expirement no longer has the same authority she once had. Of course, you could tell she had some serious steel. But compared to the archive footage shown of her totally humiliating people, she could not control the group or set the agenda. Secondly, our relationship to race and racism is different. This is not the deep south in the 1960s. This is multicultural Britain in the 21st Century. Racism is wrong. The experiment's power is that it demonstrates the experience of racism along similarly arbitrary lines to race. However, today we feel that for the most part we have already learnt this lesson. Thus the experiment needed to also convince the participants that it was relevent, and this it could not do in full.

First point - I was thinking this during the programme.

Second point - the programme demonstrated the blindingly apparent, yet generally taboo, point that we have not absorbed that lesson at all in any profound way (ie recognising the pervasiveness of prejudice). The people who were resistant betrayed their ignorance of this lesson (and their inability to comprehend being the victims of holistic prejudice) at every turn. Sure it was a different setting to 60s America, but ignorance persists, and this programme neatly uncovered issues that are simply rarely, if ever, addressed by the mainstream media (passing being an obvious one).

droid
01-11-2009, 02:50 PM
video: http://testtubetelly.channel4.com/programmes/items/45382194

grizzleb
01-11-2009, 04:21 PM
If this is the same experiment I'm thinking of, I don't see why it is the experimenters who are evil. It's brutish, sure, but if your intention is uncovering the underlying brutishness of people, how are you supposed to proceed?The basic problem I have with it is does the end justify the means? We already know that people are brutes, do we need to force the ordinary person to become a rapist to know that it happens? I mean, there is some stuff I think people should recoil from. And most psychologists I meet seem to err on the side of 'the end always justifies the means'. They're a bit power mad in my experience.

Part of me thinks that this woman enjoys conflict, power and tension and hides it under this 'uncontestable' banner of exposing racism. Obviousley racism is wrong, but I failed to see the point of it other than making the black people in the group feel empowered and give them an excuse to be nasty fucks, out of bitterness. If you think you are doing things for morally good reasons, you will do ANYTHING. And I think we all know that racism still goes on, and trying to explain in the way that it was done emphasises conflict, bitterness and victimhood over understanding.

nomadthethird
01-11-2009, 05:16 PM
The basic problem I have with it is does the end justify the means? We already know that people are brutes, do we need to force the ordinary person to become a rapist to know that it happens? I mean, there is some stuff I think people should recoil from. And most psychologists I meet seem to err on the side of 'the end always justifies the means'. They're a bit power mad in my experience.

Part of me thinks that this woman enjoys conflict, power and tension and hides it under this 'uncontestable' banner of exposing racism. Obviousley racism is wrong, but I failed to see the point of it other than making the black people in the group feel empowered and give them an excuse to be nasty fucks, out of bitterness. If you think you are doing things for morally good reasons, you will do ANYTHING. And I think we all know that racism still goes on, and trying to explain in the way that it was done emphasises conflict, bitterness and victimhood over understanding.

It's always wise to question the ethics of social experiments. But this experiment is nothing like asking people to rape one another or become racists, is it?

I actually think it's very valuable as evidence of the fact that people have not advanced as far beyond racism/social prejudice as they believe they have. Unearthing what's already there is very different from creating something that wasn't there to begin with just for "fun."

I've never in my life met a psychologist who believed that the "ends justify the means", and my experience with them has been that they are far more sensitive than the average person to just about anything an individual might be feeling/perceiving.

nomadthethird
01-11-2009, 05:22 PM
I have noticed (and this is just an anecdote) that some British people seem to have a strong, visceral response against psychology and analysis. Some Americans do, too, of course.

But I think this comes from the mistaken belief that repressing bad/negative/difficult feelings is better than processing them. This is a very unhealthy attitude, according to most psycho-medical models.

grizzleb
01-11-2009, 05:25 PM
Yeah, my rape comment was probably not the wisest. I didn't watch the whole of this btw, I turned it off after the first half. I dunno, obviously racism still goes on but there's a problem (for people of ethnic minority) in that you can turn any situation that involves someone behaving negatively towards you and explain it in terms of racism - whereas white people can't explain it in those terms. People are commonly dicks to each other, race or not. What I'm not saying here is that people aren't commonly the victim of prejudice, but that there's an inherent bias in how people of a black, asian etc background classify their own negative encounters with others.

I guess I'm fighting a losing battle here in that it would be stupid to say that exposing this isn't a good idea - the methods behind it didn't seem to show that it's ideals fully matched up with the practise. "Do you know how to behave white?" "Of course I do" hmmm...

grizzleb
01-11-2009, 05:29 PM
I have noticed (and this is just an anecdote) that some British people seem to have a strong, visceral response against psychology and analysis. Some Americans do, too, of course.

But I think this comes from the mistaken belief that repressing bad/negative/difficult feelings is better than processing them. This is a very unhealthy attitude, according to most psycho-medical models.I guess you are right, I'm probably more interested in psychoanalysis than psychological experiments than anything.

I've got a psychology lecturer in the course I'm doing just now and he acts really over the top aggressive with me and everyone else in the class, with the belief that because this gets his class good marks that it's worthwhile. I'm just not comfortable with forcing yourself to be aggressive and justifying it with the belief that you are doing it 'for the greater good'.

nomadthethird
01-11-2009, 05:29 PM
Yeah, my rape comment was probably not the wisest. I didn't watch the whole of this btw, I turned it off after the first half. I dunno, obviously racism still goes on but there's a problem (for people of ethnic minority) in that you can turn any situation that involves someone behaving negatively towards you and explain it in terms of racism - whereas white people can't explain it in those terms. People are commonly dicks to each other, race or not. What I'm not saying here is that people aren't commonly the victim of prejudice, but that there's an inherent bias in how people of a black, asian etc background classify their own negative encounters with others.

I guess I'm fighting a losing battle here in that it would be stupid to say that exposing this isn't a good idea - the methods behind it didn't seem to show that it's ideals fully matched up with the practise. "Do you know how to behave white?" "Of course I do" hmmm...

Oh, I don't know. I've lived in predominantly black and hispanic neighborhoods. I've experienced race-based conflict. I was told once by a black woman that she was going to shoot me on a crowded subway train. There was me and one other Jewish lady, the only whites, and of course, it was our fault that some guy stepped on her foot. I don't really blame her, though--there was a lot of racial tension as a result of gentrification of the neighborhood, Jewish landlords were being blamed for steep rents, it was a week before Christmas, we were visibly professionals and she wasn't, etc.

These "racial" conflicts are all pretty deeply class encoded.

nomadthethird
01-11-2009, 05:34 PM
The video link didn't work for me, but I've seen similar experiments before.


I guess you are right, I'm probably more interested in psychoanalysis than psychological experiments than anything.

I've got a psychology lecturer in the course I'm doing just now and he acts really over the top aggressive with me and everyone else in the class, with the belief that because this gets his class good marks that it's worthwhile. I'm just not comfortable with forcing yourself to be aggressive and justifying it with the belief that you are doing it 'for the greater good'.

Hmm...well, who knows? Maybe he has found that this is the only way he gets through to his students. I know some professors swear, some tell personal stories, some tell jokes, just to keep students engaged.

People have different thresholds for what's perceived as "aggressive" behavior, as well.

grizzleb
01-11-2009, 05:42 PM
Yeah I think this is why he does it - he's called me an ugly fat bastard in class which I found pretty offensive, I guess I question whether the result of slightly better marks for the class is worth the actual act.

And yeah, it's hugely a class thing. I think in the US it would be much more obvious that there was racial tension. Anyway I'm going for some tea.

nomadthethird
01-11-2009, 05:44 PM
Yeah I think this is why he does it - he's called me an ugly fat bastard in class which I found pretty offensive, I guess I question whether the result of slightly better marks for the class is worth the actual act.

And yeah, it's hugely a class thing. I think in the US it would be much more obvious that there was racial tension. Anyway I'm going for some tea.

Oh, well, namecalling isn't very professional.

I'd probably talk to the dean about that. Or at least go to him and confront him. Which is probably what he's trying to get you to do.

I would've said "suck my dick" the first time he said that and walked out probably. Y'all are too polite.

grizzleb
01-11-2009, 06:02 PM
I'm not even fat either! haha

It's precisely the idea that I think some psychologists have that 'trying to get a response' from people is OK, just because you have some "special" insight into how people work and will react. Like people are just some input output machine and they have the power to make you a better person... I think this is an abuse of power and unneccessary.

I didn't really do anything in response btw, more trouble than it's worth most likely.

don_quixote
01-11-2009, 06:03 PM
as a teacher ive found that if i shout at the kids they tend to shout twice as hard back.

doesn't stop you doing it now and then...

massrock
01-11-2009, 06:06 PM
She seemed to lose the thread a bit of where the exercise was supposed to be going I thought. I guess she usually wings it to a large extent, a lack of understanding of how race and class issues operate in the UK can't have helped with that.

It did seem kind of ill defined as to whether people were supposed to be aware that they were playing roles or not. I thought it was going to be a bit more like a Stanford prison experiment type thing - set up a power structure along arbitrary lines and encourage participants to treat it as real. See how it becomes real and roles emerge...

nomadthethird
01-11-2009, 06:19 PM
She seemed to lose the thread a bit of where the exercise was supposed to be going I thought. I guess she usually wings it to a large extent, a lack of understanding of how race and class issues operate in the UK can't have helped with that.

It did seem kind of ill defined as to whether people were supposed to be aware that they were playing roles or not. I thought it was going to be a bit more like a Stanford prison experiment type thing - set up a power structure along arbitrary lines and encourage participants to treat it as real. See how it becomes real and roles emerge...

I wish I could watch it and see, but is the moderator supposed to be "guiding" the experiment? Usually they're not supposed to, unless it's a role play...

nomadthethird
01-11-2009, 06:21 PM
I'm not even fat either! haha

It's precisely the idea that I think some psychologists have that 'trying to get a response' from people is OK, just because you have some "special" insight into how people work and will react. Like people are just some input output machine and they have the power to make you a better person... I think this is an abuse of power and unneccessary.

I didn't really do anything in response btw, more trouble than it's worth most likely.

Honestly, I have never noticed this, and I've known a fair share of psychologists. I think this teacher might just be a little over-earnest and trying too hard to make some kind of point to the class in a "performative" way. Teaching is different from practicing, too.

massrock
01-11-2009, 06:33 PM
that twat at the start. boy... i think from this programme i am learning yet again that i hate all white people.
The white studenty lad? I dunno, I mean twat or not I thought he was justified in refusing to act in bad faith. Actively bullying the 'brown eyes' into treating the 'blue eyes' negatively seemed really ill conceived and poor practice. She was insisting people go along with a negative portrayal of 'the blue eyes' but without making it clear whether this was role play or not.

Grizz - the guy who said he did know how to "behave white" later explained that he has a largely white family background.

Also the sandwiches didn't look that bad and what's so good about buffet anyway?

credit crunch
01-11-2009, 06:37 PM
more trewly ridiculous tele from channel 4:(

The methods used by that that little sex starved Hitler proved absolutely nothing. No room for debate or considered discussion. The only purpose of that exercise was to feed her needy ego and get the attention she so craves, through another example of American human bear baiting techniques tarted up as a 'radical new approach in modern psychology' :( Any attempt to question said technique was then immediately dismissed with the water-tight 'latent racist' accusation!

Every one knows that such aggressive tactics used by legions of teachers never gets any rewards from kids let alone adults. A good show would be interviews from her ex-pupils to see how good a teacher she was.

Loved her statement at the end about how anyone who went to high school must be racist..............what a sweeping generalisation by a classic example of the kind of bullying, omnipotent c**t that the teaching profession unfortunately attracts in their droves:(

But sure it got the ratings up and the interwebs talkin and thats whats really important:mad:

grizzleb
01-11-2009, 06:41 PM
It's a loaded question though, whether or not he does 'know'. Surely it implies that there is a 'white' way that white people behave, and it reinforces the idea that there is some difference there between us. Or that white people deserve abuse because they have 'had it easy'. Making people feel like they always have a right to feel the victim (because you are this) enforces the idea that victimhood is the appropriate response in that situation. And victimhood is only one step away from bitterness, etc etc. Scapegoatism in reverse, and it's acceptable because who would question that racism is a bad thing? And she gets an ego boost because "I'm a white woman taking a stand on behalf of all these black people". Major point-scoring.

massrock
01-11-2009, 06:44 PM
I wish I could watch it and see, but is the moderator supposed to be "guiding" the experiment? Usually they're not supposed to, unless it's a role play...
I don't know what it was supposed to be and I don't think the participants did either really. It was apparently largely about her "guiding" the exercise towards an end. Other than that the parameters didn't seem well defined at all. The result was that people on both sides were questioning the basis of what they were supposed to be doing. I don't think most psychologists would describe this as a well designed exercise. It might work in a specific context but it's not water tight enough to translate into a different situation. Some interesting stuff did come up but I think even the psychologists they had commentating were having trouble justifying where she was going with it. I guess it's intended as a demonstration more than anything but it was kind of scatter-shot - set up an awkward situation, treat people badly...

massrock
01-11-2009, 06:48 PM
It's a loaded question though
Yeah, I just mean that he did have some basis for cautiously nodding along with that suggestion as he did. You mentioned you didn't watch the 2nd half so you might have missed that.

nomadthethird
01-11-2009, 06:49 PM
more trewly ridiculous tele from channel 4:(

The methods used by that that little sex starved Hitler proved absolutely nothing. No room for debate or considered discussion. The only purpose of that exercise was to feed her needy ego and get the attention she so craves, through another example of American human bear baiting techniques tarted up as a 'radical new approach in modern psychology' :( Any attempt to question said technique was then immediately dismissed with the water-tight 'latent racist' accusation!

Every one knows that such aggressive tactics used by legions of teachers never gets any rewards from kids let alone adults. A good show would be interviews from her ex-pupils to see how good a teacher she was.

Loved her statement at the end about how anyone who went to high school must be racist..............what a sweeping generalisation by a classic example of the kind of bullying, omnipotent c**t that the teaching profession unfortunately attracts in their droves:(

But sure it got the ratings up and the interwebs talkin and thats whats really important:mad:

Yikes.

(Sex-starved?? Hitler? "needy" "attention" she so desperately "craves" "tarted up"...)

Project much, do we? Would you like some misogyny with your racism?

Was the experiment guide a teacher? I'm confused now.

Edit: By the way, we're all racists. In case you hadn't heard.

nomadthethird
01-11-2009, 06:51 PM
It's a loaded question though, whether or not he does 'know'. Surely it implies that there is a 'white' way that white people behave, and it reinforces the idea that there is some difference there between us. Or that white people deserve abuse because they have 'had it easy'. Making people feel like they always have a right to feel the victim (because you are this) enforces the idea that victimhood is the appropriate response in that situation. And victimhood is only one step away from bitterness, etc etc. Scapegoatism in reverse, and it's acceptable because who would question that racism is a bad thing? And she gets an ego boost because "I'm a white woman taking a stand on behalf of all these black people". Major point-scoring.

You are getting back into "reverse racism" territory again. Racism doesn't work in reverse. Racism works in every direction, all the time.

Some people are victims of an unjust system. There is nothing wrong with working through the affects this produces in people.

grizzleb
01-11-2009, 07:00 PM
You are getting back into "reverse racism" territory again. Racism doesn't work in reverse. Racism works in every direction, all the time.

Some people are victims of an unjust system. There is nothing wrong with working through the affects this produces in people.I guess that's why I feel silly saying it, and I don't want my point to be simply that it's 'reverse racism', cause that's a bit daft isn't it.
I just wonder if it's always correct to 'expose' latent racism in people, many of whom probably have never done anything racist in their life (just seen your edit - yeah of course we are all racist to some degree). What is the appropriate way of dealing with racism? Who has a right to feel victim? Are you always a victim simply because you are black? Are all the bad things that happen to you evidence of a system built with the odds stacked against you? I'm not saying I have the answers. I guess most of the both groups would have came away from that feeling more angry and more defined simply by their race than before.

nomadthethird
01-11-2009, 07:07 PM
I haven't seen the video, so I can't really comment on that specific experiment, but I think it's a good thing to get people to switch roles and see maybe how it feels to be on the other end. I think it's a good thing for people to be jolted out of their "polite" mechanical reactions to conventional behaviors, at times.

The problem is that people think "racism" has to mean an outwardly aggressive act, or inwardly hateful feeling against someone--that you aren't a racist if you don't actively feel hatred toward people of other races. The problem with this is that racism is institutionalized, it's built into the economic, social, and political structures we live in, and so it's unavoidable. We participate in it all the time without even having to act at all, or feel genuine "hate."

Here's an interesting youtube video along these lines:

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grizzleb
01-11-2009, 07:17 PM
I haven't seen the video, so I can't really comment on that specific experiment, I think it's a good thing to get people to switch roles and see maybe how it feels to be on the other end.

The problem is that people think "racism" has to mean an active, hateful act against someone--that you aren't a racist if you don't actively feel hatred toward people of other races. The problem is that racism is institutionalized, it's built into the economic, social, and political structures we live in, and so it's unavoidable. We participate in it all the time without even having to "act" or feel "hate."
Yeah I totally agree - maybe my point is that these kind of experiments only deal with it on a 'subjective/active' etc basis. They do nothing to deal with it as an institutional problem... So people are made to experience what it is like to be a victim of hate (which they have not actively participated in), but not any wider social construct (which they have). The way people are divided is as arbitrary (eye colour not skin) but the system in this case is not - it's one which focuses on degrading invididuals, as well as face to face tension. So the participants mistake the two different things for each other...If these experiments gained us any insight into how they work without the element of active hatred then maybe I wouldn't be so repulsed by it.

I can't get your video to work, will swatch later.

credit crunch
01-11-2009, 07:22 PM
Tarted up is maybe an unfortunate turn of phrase but anyone can be sex starved, needy and crave attention..... and Hitler was a man.

credit crunch
01-11-2009, 07:24 PM
oh aye, and said little Hitler was a primary school teacher in the youth. She perfected her vile technique on terrified little kids. Lovely:(

nomadthethird
01-11-2009, 07:59 PM
Tarted up is maybe an unfortunate turn of phrase but anyone can be sex starved, needy and crave attention..... and Hitler was a man.

Yes, but what would any of that have to do with an experiment about racism? Jeez.

You Godwinned yourself and made yourself look like a completely sexist freak all in one fell swoop.

If you disagree with the methodology used in the experiment, you disagreed with it. No need to go projecting all sorts of crazy sexualized motives onto the woman. (This is a chauvinist's preferred mode of maintaning social control over uppity women, I've noticed: a woman who is a professional and does something he doesn't like really just desperately needs to get fucked--presumably by him, of course.) Her gender and her sexuality really have little to do with the whole thing.

credit crunch
01-11-2009, 08:18 PM
Yes, but what would any of that have to do with an experiment about racism? Jeez.

You Godwinned yourself and made yourself look like a completely sexist freak all in one fell swoop.

If you disagree with the methodology used in the experiment, you disagreed with it. No need to go projecting all sorts of crazy sexualized motives onto the woman. (This is a chauvinist's preferred mode of maintaning social control over uppity women, I've noticed: a woman who is a professional and does something he doesn't like really just desperately needs to get fucked--presumably by him, of course.) Her gender and her sexuality really have little to do with the whole thing.

My werd I have touched a nerve. Maybe sex starved was a little much, but her entire demeanor really reminds me of all the nuns and priests I have encountered in education. The most sinister, wicked, aggressive and controlling people in the education system.

Sexism is another of the great water tight accusations employed by those without a reasonable argument I feel.
And 'projection' is more psychological rubbish fer faux-intelektuals.......perhaps some grammer and spelling mistakes could also be added to ur arsenal?

nomadthethird
01-11-2009, 08:22 PM
My werd I have touched a nerve. Maybe sex starved was a little much, but her entire demeanor really reminds me of all the nuns and priests I have encountered in education. The most sinister, wicked, aggressive and controlling people in the education system.

Sexism is another of the great water tight accusations employed by those without a reasonable argument I feel.
And 'projection' is more psychological rubbish fer faux-intelektuals.......perhaps some grammer and spelling mistakes could also be added to ur arsenal?

I'm simply calling it like I see it: you've managed to Godwin yourself and make your own sexual obsession with this woman (and her apparent "power" issues) very apparent all in one go. Impressive.

I think you've done a pretty good job of making yourself look like the brainless and socially clueless one here. No help from anybody else needed, really.

nomadthethird
01-11-2009, 08:25 PM
And yes, as a woman and a professional, unfortunately I've had to deal with more than my fair share of pathetic sexists who make statements like yours above-- not always directly, but it's always with us.

credit crunch
01-11-2009, 08:36 PM
Holy shit. I'll know not to mention sex or Hitler on dissensus again!!

vimothy
01-11-2009, 09:08 PM
Second point - the programme demonstrated the blindingly apparent, yet generally taboo, point that we have not absorbed that lesson at all in any profound way (ie recognising the pervasiveness of prejudice). The people who were resistant betrayed their ignorance of this lesson (and their inability to comprehend being the victims of holistic prejudice) at every turn. Sure it was a different setting to 60s America, but ignorance persists, and this programme neatly uncovered issues that are simply rarely, if ever, addressed by the mainstream media (passing being an obvious one).

I agree to an extent, but I think it is slightly complicated, or perhaps that we are slighrtly more compromised. The problem is rather that we have absorbed in part the lessons of the 1960s...

vimothy
01-11-2009, 09:14 PM
No room for debate or considered discussion.

But that was the whole point, no?


The methods used by that that little sex starved Hitler proved absolutely nothing... The only purpose of that exercise was to feed her needy ego and get the attention she so craves, through another example of American human bear baiting techniques tarted up as a 'radical new approach in modern psychology' :

Come on man, I'm sure you have more to offer than this.

vimothy
01-11-2009, 09:19 PM
Yes, she was vile to the participants. Nothing else would make sense.

massrock
01-11-2009, 09:31 PM
The problem with this is that racism is institutionalized, it's built into the economic, social, and political structures we live in, and so it's unavoidable. We participate in it all the time without even having to act at all, or feel genuine "hate."
Yes, to be fair this was discussed towards the end and was I assume what the exercise was intended to reveal. This lady's method being I guess to insert herself in an exaggerated role of "the system", to the extent of bullying unwilling "oppressors" into playing the mean oppressor role.

It did seem a bit confused though. The terminology moved back and forth from being about the game assignations of "brown eyes" and "blue eyes" to being about "white people" and "black people." Also having no non-white people on the "oppressed" side made it less clear if a general demonstration of prejudice and power relations was being made or if it was a simple case of role reversal which I think is more likely to throw it back on to existing assumptions without as much likelihood of reassessment.

nomadthethird
01-11-2009, 09:49 PM
Yes, to be fair this was discussed towards the end and was I assume what the exercise was intended to reveal. This lady's method being I guess to insert herself in an exaggerated role of "the system", to the extent of bullying unwilling "oppressors" into playing the mean oppressor role.

It did seem a bit confused though. The terminology moved back and forth from being about the game assignations of "brown eyes" and "blue eyes" to being about "white people" and "black people." Also having no non-white people on the "oppressed" side made it less clear if a general demonstration of prejudice and power relations was being made or if it was a simple case of role reversal which I think is more likely to throw it back on to existing assumptions without as much likelihood of reassessment.

That's really strange-- if they wanted to do a black and white role play, they should've just done that and ditched the eye color premise. And yeah, it would've been better to mix up the races on each side in that case. And then ask the participants to act out a given scenario the way they think it would happen in "real life" if they were either black or white and in x role.

Reminds me a little of that scene in the American version of the Office where they have "racial sensitivity training" that turns out to be a big mess.

Sounds as if maybe what happened was the participants were supposed to keep the discussion of oppression limited to eye color, but because all the blue eyes were white and the brown eyes weren't, lines were drawn along race as well, and the race distinction sort of took over the experiment.

grizzleb
01-11-2009, 09:53 PM
That's really strange-- if they wanted to do a black and white role play, they should've just done that and ditched the eye color premise. And yeah, it would've been better to mix up the races on each side in that case. And then ask the participants to act out a given scenario the way they think it would happen in "real life" if they were either black or white and in x role.

Reminds me a little of that scene in the American version of the Office where they have "racial sensitivity training" that turns out to be a big mess.

Sounds as if maybe what happened was the participants were supposed to keep the discussion of oppression limited to eye color, but because all the blue eyes were white and the brown eyes weren't, lines were drawn along race as well, and the race distinction sort of took over the experiment.Well I think this is where my problem with the experiment probably stems from...

sufi
01-11-2009, 10:37 PM
That's really strange-- if they wanted to do a black and white role play, they should've just done that and ditched the eye color premise. And yeah, it would've been better to mix up the races on each side in that case. And then ask the participants to act out a given scenario the way they think it would happen in "real life" if they were either black or white and in x role.

Reminds me a little of that scene in the American version of the Office where they have "racial sensitivity training" that turns out to be a big mess.

Sounds as if maybe what happened was the participants were supposed to keep the discussion of oppression limited to eye color, but because all the blue eyes were white and the brown eyes weren't, lines were drawn along race as well, and the race distinction sort of took over the experiment.#i assumed that was because it's an arbitrary divide, which will place the people who have & havent experienced discrimination in different camps,

i missed the start so i guess i probably missed all the justificating psychological claptrap, but when i tuned in it was pure telly magic on a subject that's rarely confronted openly.
watching how defensive and entrenched the blue eyed white people became was a joy, raging against the experiment, dissembling, throwing tantrums - it demonstrated the lack of insight & empathy that underlies most discrimination,
i wonder what the viewing figures were like, i spose the hellbent gobfrothing racists will write it off as propaganda, but it's not about them, it's more interesting to see how the 'i'm not racist, but' types respond,

nomadthethird
01-11-2009, 11:09 PM
it's more interesting to see how the 'i'm not racist, but' types respond,

That's exactly who I figured it was for without even seeing the video...

grizzleb
01-11-2009, 11:30 PM
The desire to both be on the moral high ground and enjoy bellitling people in the process is the dangerous thing here in the first place. The video they played where they had that women crying her eyes out was horrible. Cruelty for fun under the guise of moralism.

nomadthethird
01-11-2009, 11:35 PM
The desire to both be on the moral high ground and enjoy bellitling people in the process is the dangerous thing here in the first place. The video they played where they had that women crying her eyes out was horrible. Cruelty for fun under the guise of moralism.

But isn't your concern sort of misplaced? Who do you suppose is "enjoying" this? And how would you be justified in making that kind of assumption?

I mean, how sorry do I feel for somebody who's crying because they've been backed into a corner and exposed as a racist? Nowhere near as sorry as I feel for the millions of black and latino and ethnic minority identified people who experience actual racism everyday.

grizzleb
01-11-2009, 11:38 PM
The video didn't really show her exposed as a racist at all though. It just showed that women shouting at her calling her 'worthless'. I wouldn't mind if it did expose them as racist but it didn't really.

I suppose that the woman who conducts these things is enjoying herself, and the people who she gives the right to abuse others for a few hours.

nomadthethird
01-11-2009, 11:44 PM
The video didn't really show her exposed as a racist at all though. It just showed that women shouting at her calling her 'worthless'. I wouldn't mind if it did expose them as racist but it didn't really.

I suppose that the woman who conducts these things is enjoying herself, and the people who she gives the right to abuse others for a few hours.

AHA

I get it.

This really is about normativity.

Women aren't supposed to be "mean" like that. Nobody is, but especially not women. She's a "vile little sex starved Hitler"...she must be...otherwise, how could a woman, a woman of all people, make people cry (boohoo:() for reasons so trivial as an experiment. She couldn't possibly really care about racism, and want to show people who have lived with white privilege how it feels to be on the receiving end of discrimination day in and day out, to have your self-esteem minimized from the day you're born, to be told that you're worthless over and over and over...

Have you ever seen the research that was done into black children and black and white dolls? Clearly the indoctrination runs deep; black children will throw away black dolls and call them "bad" and "dirty" from ages as young as 2, in favor of white dolls. Unsurprisingly, white children have similar reactions.

There must be something desperately wrong with that psychologist, though. Clearly, she's the one with the problems. How dare she.

grizzleb
01-11-2009, 11:51 PM
Because it's a woman who conducts the experiment, if I disagree with her methods and her experiment it must be because she's a woman? Come on, that's mental. I wouldn't liked to have seen a guy doing that either.

And again, I'm probably just more sensitive to ends not marrying with means than I should be, but whatever. I'm too much of an idealist then. Yes racism is shit, but is the cruelty justified? That's what I take issue with. I never said anything about sex starved hitler either...

massrock
01-11-2009, 11:53 PM
Yes racism is shit, but is the cruelty justified?
A couple of hours of mild unpleasantness? And these people are volunteers.

grizzleb
01-11-2009, 11:55 PM
I dunno, I just don't like getting people to do bad shit, because it's 'the right thing to do'. It's a slipperly slope that shit. "Suck it up lads, we're doing this for the good of the volk. We know this is difficult, but you are made of stronger stuff."

nomadthethird
01-11-2009, 11:55 PM
Because it's a woman who conducts the experiment, if I disagree with her methods and her experiment it must be because she's a woman? Come on, that's mental. I wouldn't liked to have seen a guy doing that either.

And again, I'm probably just more sensitive to ends not marrying with means than I should be, but whatever. I'm too much of an idealist then. Yes racism is shit, but is the cruelty justified? That's what I take issue with. I never said anything about sex starved hitler either...

No, I realize you didn't say those things.

But I find it depressing if unsurprising that yours and credit crunch's objections to the experiment hinge so heavily on normativity.

Why protect these normative constraints as if they're so important and precious when they're what's keeping people oppressed in the first place? This is what bothers me about normativity-based ethics.

grizzleb
01-11-2009, 11:59 PM
No, I realize you didn't say those things.

But I find it depressing if unsurprising that yours and credit crunch's objections to the experiment hinge so heavily on normativity.

Why protect these normative constraints as if they're so important and precious when they're what's keeping people oppressed in the first place? This is what bothers me about normativity-based ethics.What, recoiling from cruelty is keeping people oppressed? Not daring to go beyong good and evil is what keeps people getting shat on?

nomadthethird
02-11-2009, 12:02 AM
What, recoiling from cruelty is keeping people oppressed? Not daring to go beyong good and evil is what keeps people getting shat on?

Well, yes and no.

I don't think that within the context of that experiment what was going on constitutes "cruelty" by any stretch of the imagination.

But yes, sometimes a more 'violent' rupture might be necessary. If you went around recoiling from all of life's cruel and violent experiences you'd have a pretty dull life wouldn't you?

grizzleb
02-11-2009, 12:12 AM
Well, yes and no.

I don't think that within the context of that experiment what was going on constitutes "cruelty" by any stretch of the imagination.

But yes, sometimes a more 'violent' rupture might be necessary. If you went around recoiling from all of those experiences you'd have a pretty dull life wouldn't you?
I do have a dull life, haha. I guess I'm too sensititve and too much of an idealist really. And I'm always suspicious of people's motives for doing these things. Anyone who gains satisfaction (which she must do if she has made a career out of it) from work that involves shouting abuse at people is someone to be worried about, and that type of attitude for me is at the kernel of why things are fucked up. The concept of insight from violence, abuse, etc just is something I don't like, and this idea that because an event happened in some socially acceptable construct of education doesn't make it 'real' is another one too. If you seen someone in some seminar about 'Jesus' or whatnot be 'broken down' to gain 'insight' you wouldn't think it was a good thing, you'd think it was abuse, would you not?

nomadthethird
02-11-2009, 12:41 AM
I do have a dull life, haha. I guess I'm too sensititve and too much of an idealist really. And I'm always suspicious of people's motives for doing these things. Anyone who gains satisfaction (which she must do if she has made a career out of it) from work that involves shouting abuse at people is someone to be worried about, and that type of attitude for me is at the kernel of why things are fucked up. The concept of insight from violence, abuse, etc just is something I don't like, and this idea that because an event happened in some socially acceptable construct of education doesn't make it 'real' is another one too. If you seen someone in some seminar about 'Jesus' or whatnot be 'broken down' to gain 'insight' you wouldn't think it was a good thing, you'd think it was abuse, would you not?

I have no idea why this person chose her career, and I have no idea what most of her career entails. It's altogether possible that this TV show was some kind of sideline for her. But if she does dedicate her life to raising awareness about racism, I'm all for it. Bravo. I hope she does piss people off and make them think.

And I think that if some white woman crying because she volunteered for an experiment and was called "worthless" after signing all kinds of waivers--well, she should get a grip on reality. There are people with real problems in the world. Serious and real ones. And that doesn't count in my book. She should cry for the people who get called worthless everyday and nobody does anything about it, not for her own damn privileged self.

You're not even going to hear the world's tiniest violin playing for that kind of nonsense.

Edit: Also, people routinely "break people down" at churches. I've been to them. You get called a sinner over and over and told you need to repent, and blah blah blah, you're bad, you're evil, you're not right, original sin, blah blah blah, you'd better be scared of God, etc.

grizzleb
02-11-2009, 12:45 AM
People do have real problems, but they stem from a readiness for people to be dicks to each other, and it'd be a helluva nice if they weren't so up for it. You get some really bad shit when you get people to do 'difficult' 'hard' stuff to other people for 'the greater good'. FACT.

grizzleb
02-11-2009, 12:45 AM
Edit: Also, people routinely "break people down" at churches. I've been to them. You get called a sinner over and over and told you need to repent, and blah blah blah, you're bad, you're evil, you're not right, original sin, blah blah blah, you'd better be scared of God, etc.That was my point.

nomadthethird
02-11-2009, 12:47 AM
People do have real problems, but they stem from a readiness for people do be dicks to each other, and it'd be a helluva nice if they weren't so up for it. You get some really bad shit when you get people to do 'difficult' 'hard' stuff to other people for 'the greater good'. FACT.

Grizzle, I've actually been abused and had bad shit happen to me. And it's nothing like volunteering for a social experiment and having the psychologist say some mildly not-nice things in a role-play. My guess is that if you think the two things are equivalent in some way, you've had a damn easy life and have probably never been abused.

nomadthethird
02-11-2009, 12:48 AM
That was my point.

Some people find church very therapeutic, though, for that very reason.

Dusty
02-11-2009, 12:50 AM
I only saw the last 10 minutes, but found it odd when Krishnan Guru-Murthy asked her the loaded question "So are all white people racist?" To which she didn't seem to recognise the irony.

Am I missing something here, or was her experiment all about showing the racism inherent in a white-dominated system only? Is this because she comes from the terrible repression of blacks by whites in the US deep South and doesn't recognise wider issues? I can't believe it was this narrow minded and dare I say flawed? All in all I was confused and don't feel any urge to see the whole thing. Please correct me if I got the wrong end of the stick.

nomadthethird
02-11-2009, 12:51 AM
I only saw the last 10 minutes, but found it odd when Krishnan Guru-Murthy asked her the loaded question "So are all white people racist?" To which she didn't seem to recognise the irony.

Am I missing something here, or was her experiment all about showing the racism inherent in a white-dominated system only? Is this because she comes from the terrible repression of blacks by whites in the US deep South and doesn't recognise wider issues? I can't believe it was this narrow minded and dare I say flawed? All in all I was confused and don't feel any urge to see the whole thing. Please correct me if I got the wrong end of the stick.

What other kinds of systems might you be interested in her exploring, other than white-dominated ones?

massrock
02-11-2009, 12:53 AM
http://www.janeelliott.com/

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JCjDxAwfXV0

grizzleb
02-11-2009, 12:55 AM
Jesus. I've got nothing to say to that. Of course it's not the same thing. There are degrees to which people abuse each other, but saying just because even worse shit happens that something slightly unpleasant in comparison shouldn't happen is crazy. It's not a huge deal what happened with that woman crying, OK? But that doesn't mean I can't be mildly fucked off about it, or think that people who engage in that practise aren't fucked up.

Also - you don't have a fucking clue about my life BTW. It's a bit cheap appealing to whether or not I've been abused ???

nomadthethird
02-11-2009, 01:00 AM
Oh yeah!

We did this in second grade. I remember.

Brown eyed people went first. We all got extra stickers for bonus calendar.

I was the only person who gave the sticker back to the teacher.

Dusty
02-11-2009, 01:07 AM
What other kinds of systems might you be interested in her exploring, other than white-dominated ones?

Are we saying that racism isn't a problem in Jamaica for example? That you don't find gangs of racist Asian youths on the streets of the UK? That the Chinese hate the Japanese. The question isn't 'are white people racist?' it's 'are people racist?'.

nomadthethird
02-11-2009, 01:08 AM
Grizzle, I was not appealing to you for anything. I'm just saying. That's not a big deal, it's not technically "abuse" even if it's not really very nice.

Ok, so Jane Elliot is not a psychologist. She's a teacher.

This video I suppose is supposed to be shocking, but these kids are acting exactly the way kids always acted at my school, and how they demonstrably act at every school. Whether it was fat kids, skinny kids, tall kids, kids with disabilities, kids with speech delays, poor kids, kids who weren't good looking, kids who were ethnic minorities-- the taunting and the ostracizing, it was all already there. The blue eye/brown eye exercise just shows kids that these sorts of characteristics are entirely arbitrary and beyond the control of the person.

I think experimenting with kids should be tightly controlled, of course, and Jane Elliot is clearly not a trained psychologist. Still, not a big deal.

nomadthethird
02-11-2009, 01:09 AM
Are we saying that racism isn't a problem in Jamaica for example? That you don't find gangs of racist Asian youths on the streets of the UK? That the Chinese hate the Japanese. The question isn't 'are white people racist?' it's 'are people racist?'.

Of course, all people are racist. But when you're in a predominantly white society, where you're in a post-colonial diaspora, it does make sense to focus on the ways in which white people are privileged over others in that society.

Dusty
02-11-2009, 01:13 AM
Seems a rather childish simplification to me. I can't see how you overcome racial tension by labelling the white man the racist problem.

massrock
02-11-2009, 01:18 AM
As regards a little harshness, you have to consider what you can do to simulate the effect of pervasive systemic discrimination in the space of a one day workshop. It's definitely not a big deal, certainly not with adult volunteers.

Something else that distorted this though - it seems obvious that quite a few of the participants were approaching the experience through the lens of their expectations of Reality Television. Notably this wasn't the people most aware of being affected by real issue, of course. Actually that probably adds a whole other level of overmediated gormlessness to break through...

nomadthethird
02-11-2009, 01:18 AM
Seems a rather childish simplification to me. I can't see how you overcome racial tension by labelling the white man the racist problem.

Oh yes, it's a complete mystery why we'd do that, given the hundreds of years of slavery, oppression, imperialism, and colonialism much of the world endured at the hands of white Europeans.

nomadthethird
02-11-2009, 01:54 PM
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baboon2004
02-11-2009, 02:04 PM
Are we saying that racism isn't a problem in Jamaica for example? That you don't find gangs of racist Asian youths on the streets of the UK? That the Chinese hate the Japanese. The question isn't 'are white people racist?' it's 'are people racist?'.

Well yes, but racism hinges upon power. In the world we live in, historical circumstances have been such as to ensure that white people have much greater access to power that people who are not white. This is of course a contingent factor based upon circumstance - the question is really "are the power-wielding group racist?", and that group happens to be white people.*

People who don't understand that have such a tenuous link to reality that I can't even argue with them.

You can't seriously be saying that "gangs of racist Asian youths on the streets of the UK" (not the last words that would come out of Nick Griffin's mouth, to be honest) are in an equivalent universe problem-wise as the tacitly racist structures in this country that mean it is far more difficult for non-white people to get anywhere in life? Any idea WHY Asian youths might not be too fond of white people???


*of course this is inflected by class and gender etc as well.

baboon2004
02-11-2009, 02:17 PM
As regards a little harshness, you have to consider what you can do to simulate the effect of pervasive systemic discrimination in the space of a one day workshop. It's definitely not a big deal, certainly not with adult volunteers.


Right on. People who have a problem with it should imagine that being their experience every day. Which is the point of the exercise.

I don't think the programme was perfect by any means, but any discussion of how oppression works on a whole array of different levels, (and how members of the majority will systematically deny the experiences of the oppressed, and tell them they're imagining it all) is fine by me. It's frequently a taboo subject, and is one of the ways in which oppression is self-sustaining (which is why it's taboo, of course).

Mr. Tea
02-11-2009, 02:30 PM
Well yes, but racism hinges upon power. In the world we live in, historical circumstances have been such as to ensure that white people have much greater access to power that people who are not white. This is of course a contingent factor based upon circumstance - the question is really "are the power-wielding group racist?", and that group happens to be white people.*

People who don't understand that have such a tenuous link to reality that I can't even argue with them.

You can't seriously be saying that "gangs of racist Asian youths on the streets of the UK" (not the last words that would come out of Nick Griffin's mouth, to be honest) are in an equivalent universe problem-wise as the tacitly racist structures in this country that mean it is far more difficult for non-white people to get anywhere in life? Any idea WHY Asian youths might not be too fond of white people???


*of course this is inflected by class and gender etc as well.

But how much "power" does any one ordinary white person have? A person who may in effect belong to a local ethnic minority if they live in, say, a mainly Asian area? That person isn't magically invested with invulnerability from the prejudices of others just because they have the same skin colour as Gordon Brown and David Cameron.

Of course you can frame all this in the wider context of white prejudice and the legacy of colonialism, but pretending that prejudice is something that only white people are capable or that when non-white people feel it, they have a good reason for it, isn't going to help reduce racism and inequality in general.

And to compare someone to Nick Griffin even for mentioning these issues is pretty lame, TBH.

allegiant
02-11-2009, 04:21 PM
you have to remember that is the same as a scruffy rugby player picking up a child from school.

Her input throughout the entirety of the exercise was astoundingly nescient for an educator. The aside that she made about a child grazing its skin was particularly unedifying.

droid
02-11-2009, 04:35 PM
But how much "power" does any one ordinary white person have? A person who may in effect belong to a local ethnic minority if they live in, say, a mainly Asian area? That person isn't magically invested with invulnerability from the prejudices of others just because they have the same skin colour as Gordon Brown and David Cameron.

Of course you can frame all this in the wider context of white prejudice and legacy of colonialism, but pretending that prejudice is something that only white people are capable or that when non-white people feel it, they have a good reason for it, isn't going to help reduce racism and inequality in general.


IMO, her point isn't so much about 'racism' it's about 'privilege'. What she does is remove privileges that are automatically conferred on whites, and are so taken for granted that most white people fail to even recognise or acknowledge they exist. In this regard her experiment isnt about racism in the tribal sense, its about racism in the structural sense.

Try walking down the street with a disabled person - the amount of negative micro and macro gestures from other people is extraordinary, and its something you simply can't appreciate without having some experience of it. I think the severity of her manner and technique are a worthy attempt to simulate the effect that a lifetime of structural racism and marginalisation can have on a person.

nomadthethird
02-11-2009, 04:36 PM
But how much "power" does any one ordinary white person have?

I think the ABC News video I posted earlier demonstrated pretty well how much power ordinary individual people have when they decide to stand up and do something about discrimination.

After a while, individuals add up to groups.

You have to understand, this whole exercise is being performed initially during an era when Martin Luther King is being shot/assassinated for peacefully demonstrating.

Watch the videos on youtube. She makes some great points about the white "media" response to that whole ordeal.

Bang Diddley
02-11-2009, 05:06 PM
I wonder what is it like to be at a bar and people all around are getting served and you have been waiting longer and you know the barman is aware of your presence

what is it like walking down the road with a white woman and be able to see nvc subtitlies that most people would miss

what is to like hear a hurtful word like n***** or p***, its so much more than the sum of the letters

what it is like to be and old man and be told to fuck off home having worked most of his life in this country

what is like to be disabled

what is like to be in a minority

what is it like to come from a country where other people have ruled the host nation and know your people have been beaten killed and made to serve

baboon2004
02-11-2009, 05:15 PM
But how much "power" does any one ordinary white person have? A person who may in effect belong to a local ethnic minority if they live in, say, a mainly Asian area? That person isn't magically invested with invulnerability from the prejudices of others just because they have the same skin colour as Gordon Brown and David Cameron.

Of course you can frame all this in the wider context of white prejudice and legacy of colonialism, but pretending that prejudice is something that only white people are capable or that when non-white people feel it, they have a good reason for it, isn't going to help reduce racism and inequality in general.

And to compare someone to Nick Griffin even for mentioning these issues is pretty lame, TBH.

I wasn't comparing him to Nick Griffin! I just said that that particular phrase ("gangs of racist Asian youths on the streets of the UK") is ridiculous scaremongering of the type that would fit squarely into BNP scaremongering. Where are these "gangs of racist Asian youths" who are terrorising the country? And generally, the attitude that 'we' are so far from having any racialised tendencies, and 'they' are the only ones who do (be 'they' BNP supporters or whoever),is part of the problem anyway. I will admit to having had racialised preconceptions about people that I've sat down and been appalled at myself for having - but race and the idea of the 'Other' etc is so ingrained, certainly in British society, that I defy anyone truthfully to say otherwise (may not be true for those who have grown up in very mixed areas, I understand, but personally I didn't).

As for being a local ethnic minority in a mainly Asian area:
(i) Last time I looked, the Asian population of Britain was 6 per cent or so. I imagine growing up white in Southall might not be the most comfortable experience in the world, and never said that it wouldn't be. But I propose that: White people who are discriminated against living in Asian areas are often living in pretty poor areas, hence the fact they can't move to another adjacent white area where they would feel less discriminated against (which would surely be the gut reaction in a 90 &#37; plus majority white country, no?). Thus in this case the general oppression of poverty imposed from above on Asian and white alike becomes the overriding factor in this case. Of course race is intersected with class massively.
(ii) The bureaucracy and institutions that control the lives of those people are still white-majority. Who's going to get the better deal when going to the police, for example?

White skin does give a certain level of power, in terms of instantly evading the numerous negative stereotypes that are attached to black and south Asian and east Asian people, and anyone else who isn't white. I think you're vastly underestimating what it means to belong to the majority in a country. Again, of course class is a huge factor too.

"Of course you can frame all this in the wider context of white prejudice and legacy of colonialism, but pretending that prejudice is something that only white people are capable or that when non-white people feel it, they have a good reason for it, isn't going to help reduce racism and inequality in general."

Of course you can frame it like that, because that's the reality of how the global system was set up, and it was set up to eternally perpetuate white power structures.

I wasn't saying that only white people are capable of prejudice, but that the programme in question brought to light many subtler forms of racism in a society such as the UK which white people generally don't like to confront, because they illustrate the difference between living as a white and a non-white person in this country. Anti-white prejudice is much easier to escape, except in cases where you can't because of poverty (as above).

I think you'll find the occasions where non-white people are told they're imagining things when they have genuine reason for feeling racism, vastly outnumber the occasions where non-white people claim racism, and don't "have a good reason for it".
Edit: the previous post expressed this point more eloquently than I have done.

baboon2004
02-11-2009, 05:20 PM
IMO, her point isn't so much about 'racism' it's about 'privilege'. What she does is remove privileges that are automatically conferred on whites, and are so taken for granted that most white people fail to even recognise or acknowledge they exist. In this regard her experiment isnt about racism in the tribal sense, its about racism in the structural sense.

Try walking down the street with a disabled person - the amount of negative micro and macro gestures from other people is extraordinary, and its something you simply can't appreciate without having some experience of it. I think the severity of her manner and technique are a worthy attempt to simulate the effect that a lifetime of structural racism and marginalisation can have on a person.

A very well-made point. Actually, two of them.

Stigma operates in all kinds of different ways structurally, and it's precisely the denial by the majority that these mechanisms exist, that allows the stigmatised group/individual to be kept as stigmatised.

Irving Goffman - 'Stigma' - brilliant book on this. What he suggests by way of conclusion, is that eternally keeping 'identity politics' separated into race politics, gender politics, disability politics etc, is self-defeating, when the structures of stigma/privilege operate in almost exactly the same exclusionary and madness-making ways in each case.

Tentative Andy
02-11-2009, 05:54 PM
Try walking down the street with a disabled person - the amount of negative micro and macro gestures from other people is extraordinary, and its something you simply can't appreciate without having some experience of it. I think the severity of her manner and technique are a worthy attempt to simulate the effect that a lifetime of structural racism and marginalisation can have on a person.

Interesting thread, but this confused me quite a bit. To me 'negative micro and macro gestures from other people' (if they were directed at someone because of skin colour rather than disability) isn't to do with 'structural racism', it's an example of personal racism.
Structural racism, to be a meaningful phrase, I think has to refer to racism incoded in rules, laws, and perhaps in the most generous interpretation in conventions which have the force of a rule. Behaving rudely or strangely to someone in the street because of their skin colour I find hard to view as the direct application of a structural rule in this way.

I'm getting similar impressions about the show. I've not yet managed to watch it - I am going to try to although part of me is rather wary. But from what people are summarising here it seems to work by simulating structural racism - that is, applying rules which priviledge one arbitrary group and dispriviledge another.
This is in itself somewhat misleading, as in this country we have managed to go a long way, if perhaps not all the way, to abolishing this kind of direct racial discrimination by law. But it confuses things further because what it aims to do is reveal personal racism on the part of the volunteers, that is expose racist beliefs that they had previously denied having.
Am I getting the wrong end of the stick here? Because it sounds like the show is trying to do two things at cross-purposes to each other.

Edit: watching the show via Droid's link (thanks!), already my worries are being confirmed. They summarise her project as 'aiming to simulate a racist, apartheid-style regime': the problem with this is that racism in Britian today does not operate in anything like such a simple, law-enforced way, so the experiment is not simulating anything very relevant to our society. If they'd wanted to explore and expose current racial tensions, then they should have designed an experiment which matches the subtler ways that racism currently operates in the UK.
Will update again when I've seen more.
Edit edit: another general problem that occurs to me is that's it dangerous to assume that the way someone may end up behaving under extreme psychological conditions is their 'true' nature, and even more so to assume that it relates closely to how they behave in day-to-day life. As has pointed out, everyone is racist to some extent (and I certainly wouldn't excuse myself from that), it seems to be an unfortunate fact of human psychology. But due to a combination of reforms in the law and changing social conventions, many people have learned to 'repress' their racism (prob not the best word but couldn't think of a better one) in daily conduct, whearas the experiment creates conditions where it can reign unchecked, which is again not very relevant to real-world conditions.
Still more: I agree with those who have said the fact that the eye-colour division in this case leads to all of the non-white participants ending up on the priviledged, persecuting side seems problematic. Firstly, because it tends to undermine the claim that the division is truly arbitrary (like real-world racism); given that they would have had information about the volunteers in advance, it looks like there is actually a plan, a guiding design behind the division, and the way that she first addresses the brown-eyed group seems to confirm this. It's also a problem becasue it makes it in part about 'getting your own back' for the day, which is both a distraction from the main stated project, and probably not helpful for the people involved in the long run, because once they are outside of the experiment again they won't have anything like that kind of direct power.

don_quixote
02-11-2009, 06:06 PM
i really want to smash that teachers face to fucking pieces. ARGH. so fucking pious and safe in her cosy little fucking world.

droid
02-11-2009, 06:14 PM
Interesting thread, but this confused me quite a bit. To me 'negative micro and macro gestures from other people' (if they were directed at someone because of skin colour rather than disability) isn't to do with 'structural racism', it's an example of personal racism.
Structural racism, to be a meaningful phrase, I think has to refer to racism incoded in rules, laws, and perhaps in the most generous interpretation in conventions which have the force of a rule. Behaving rudely or strangely to someone in the street because of their skin colour I find hard to view as the direct application of a structural rule in this way.

I'm suggesting that discriminatory attitudes are built it at a societal level. That we are conditioned to percieve certain categories of people as 'normal' and certain categories as 'others'.

Mr. Tea
02-11-2009, 06:20 PM
IMO, her point isn't so much about 'racism' it's about 'privilege'. What she does is remove privileges that are automatically conferred on whites, and are so taken for granted that most white people fail to even recognise or acknowledge they exist. In this regard her experiment isnt about racism in the tribal sense, its about racism in the structural sense.

Try walking down the street with a disabled person - the amount of negative micro and macro gestures from other people is extraordinary, and its something you simply can't appreciate without having some experience of it. I think the severity of her manner and technique are a worthy attempt to simulate the effect that a lifetime of structural racism and marginalisation can have on a person.

Sure, I appreciate that - should make it clear I didn't see the programme and was responding directly to baboon's post.

Tentative Andy
02-11-2009, 06:30 PM
I'm suggesting that discriminatory attitudes are built it at a societal level. That we are conditioned to percieve certain categories of people as 'normal' and certain categories as 'others'.

Yes OK, I understand you now - what you are talking about is of course a massive problem, indeed I would say that along with, and probably even more than, personal racism, it is the primary way that racism operates in the UK today.
I might want to find a different term for it to distinguish it from the kind of structural racism I was discussing - perhaps 'cultural racism', because I think it's ultimately a matter of cultural hegemony which allows the racial majority to present itself in myriad, subtle ways as the 'normal' group and to present racial minorites as abnormal others. But the terminology is a side-issue, I guess, not the most pressing one.

However, again I have to say that the experiment doesn't seem to directly deal with this kind of racism (you didn't yourself directly claim that it did, I realise). Instead it simulates a kind of structural racism enforced by law - this vastly simplifies and distorts the modern reality (in Britian) in a way that doesn't seem very helpful to me.

Tentative Andy
02-11-2009, 06:51 PM
Going to start a new post for the rest of my responses, as the first is already too long -

Just watching the bit where the brown-eyed group are told what they are expected to do, and some of them walk out in protest. I agree with people who were saying that first lad to go came over as pretty smug and studenty, but the personality aspects aren't what it's all about. The white brown-eyed people who dissent from their role are presented - both by the teacher and by the presenter and psycologists who are monitoring and interpreting for us - as doing so because they are uncomfortable with opressing fellow white people, and as therefore secretly racist.
This overlooks the possibility that they might be uncomfortable opressing people based on arbitrary physical differences in general, or indeed uncomforable with opressing people full-stop. (And isn't the experiment officialy centred around eye-colour not skin-colour anyway?) Of course, we can't know for sure what's going on in their heads (and neither can the people running the experiment), and it's a plausible interpretation in some cases. But to argue that refusing to participate in simulated racism is automatic proof that you are yourself a racist seems like somewhat backwards logic to me.
Edit: now she's telling the remaining brown-eyed volunteers that 'all they need to do is act white'. So it the experiment is about white and non-white colours after all? The methodology seems so confused already. Plus she's very strongly directing the course of her experiment towards her desired outcome. Which, y'know, might be fine in itself if she's convinced that it's an experience that will lead people to be less racist, or more aware of racism, or whatever, by the end of it. But it does mean that the experiment can't be simultaneously revealed as obejective excercise in revealing people's true racial attitudes. Those who go along with it are behaving how they are being told to behave.
Edit again: five minutes more and there's already loads of things I could say, but will leave it till the end now, otherwise will take me all day to watch it.

Update: finished now, my main reaction is that the both the experiment and the programme framing it came over as very confused about what exactly they were trying to achieve. Some interesting things came up, but I didn't feel like it gave any coherent insight into the issue of race in contemporary Britian.

Mr. Tea
02-11-2009, 07:09 PM
Where are these "gangs of racist Asian youths" who are terrorising the country?

Well there are some in Whitechapel, for sure. A mate of mine had to hot-foot it when he and his friends were set upon for no reason by some Asian lads near Brick Lane, which incidentally is the location of a pub that was firebombed in a racist attack a few years back. That's without even mentioning the recent upswing in anti-semetic incidents, which is hard to pin entirely on yer traditional far-right skinhead element. I read in the paper the other day about a school that had become almost entirely segregated into white and Asian pupils, where a white pupil was attacked by a gang of Asian kids who left him brain-damaged. The school refused even to say if they thought it was a racially-motivated attack! Can you imagine them doing that if an Asian pupil had been attacked by an all-white gang?

Obviously these kinds of incidents happen far less frequently than racist incidents in which a black or Asian person is the victim, but to dismiss them is only going perpetuate prejudice and inequality in the long run.

Then there are prejudices that don't even directly involve the white majority directly: tensions between blacks and Asians for example (which led to rioting in Birmingham a couple of years back), or even between Africans and West Indians; employers finding difficulty with the 'cultural insensitivity' (read: racism) of some recent immigrants from the new EU states; anti-semetism among a lot Muslims...



And generally, the attitude that 'we' are so far from having any racialised tendencies, and 'they' are the only ones who do (be 'they' BNP supporters or whoever),is part of the problem anyway. I will admit to having had racialised preconceptions about people that I've sat down and been appalled at myself for having - but race and the idea of the 'Other' etc is so ingrained, certainly in British society, that I defy anyone truthfully to say otherwise (may not be true for those who have grown up in very mixed areas, I understand, but personally I didn't).

Sure, agreed: clearly the fact that someone doesn't vote BNP doesn't mean they're free of prejudice.



As for being a local ethnic minority in a mainly Asian area:
(i) Last time I looked, the Asian population of Britain was 6 per cent or so. I imagine growing up white in Southall might not be the most comfortable experience in the world, and never said that it wouldn't be. But I propose that: White people who are discriminated against living in Asian areas are often living in pretty poor areas, hence the fact they can't move to another adjacent white area where they would feel less discriminated against (which would surely be the gut reaction in a 90 % plus majority white country, no?).

OK, I take your point, but the make-up of the actual neighbourhood you live in has far more impact on your life than some more-or-less abstract statistic about the whole country. That there are hardly any non-white people in, say, Cornwall or north Wales or the highlands of Scotland is neither here nor there to someone who lives in Birmingham or Leeds or London.



Thus in this case the general oppression of poverty imposed from above on Asian and white alike becomes the overriding factor in this case. Of course race is intersected with class massively.
(ii) The bureaucracy and institutions that control the lives of those people are still white-majority. Who's going to get the better deal when going to the police, for example?

White skin does give a certain level of power, in terms of instantly evading the numerous negative stereotypes that are attached to black and south Asian and east Asian people, and anyone else who isn't white. I think you're vastly underestimating what it means to belong to the majority in a country. Again, of course class is a huge factor too.

Sure, agreed again, with the proviso about local vs. national 'majorities'.



"Of course you can frame all this in the wider context of white prejudice and legacy of colonialism, but pretending that prejudice is something that only white people are capable or that when non-white people feel it, they have a good reason for it, isn't going to help reduce racism and inequality in general."

Of course you can frame it like that, because that's the reality of how the global system was set up, and it was set up to eternally perpetuate white power structures.

I didn't mean to say that it shouldn't be framed like that, just that we should be wary of saying things like "Any idea WHY Asian youths might not be too fond of white people???"; many people have legitimate grievances, some more than others, but it's up to you to find a legitimate outlet for those grievances and try not to blame everyone of a certain ethnicity for things that are (or seem) unfair. Because you can always ask "Any idea WHY an East End Jew might not be too fond of Asian youths???", and then "Any idea WHY someone with family in Gaza might not be too fond of Jews???", and so on and so on.

(Yeah yeah, easier said than done, obvs.)

Tentative Andy
02-11-2009, 07:49 PM
i really want to smash that teachers face to fucking pieces. ARGH. so fucking pious and safe in her cosy little fucking world.

This, btw, I can agreee with. For fuck's sake! :mad::eek:

nomadthethird
02-11-2009, 09:42 PM
Uh, what? Cozy world?

Growing up in a the backwoods of Iowa in the early-mid 20th century hardly qualifies as a "cozy world".

It's entirely symptomatic that people prefer to come up with all sorts of weird, labyrinthine justifications regarding why they should hate the facilitator of the exercise in an effort skirt the real issue here, which is staring them in the face. Racism is the issue. Racism as a function of privilege.

I really don't get how anyone could object to any of what Elliot's said or done, or the to exercise, or to what it unearthed, or to what the participants felt was accomplished, or anything.

nomadthethird
02-11-2009, 09:47 PM
This thread is disturbing. It really is.

The blind rage and hatred that's stirred up at the mere *suggestion* that people discriminate based on phenotypes.

Surprise, surprise--it's all white males who want to "smash" the person who dares speak out in the face. Or make sure she gets fucked. Whichever comes first.

don_quixote
02-11-2009, 09:56 PM
she was really fucking annoying. so small-minded and refusing to actually listen to whatever anyone is telling her. denying anyone's opinions as irrelevant as if her life is so fucking hard.

i would never smash anyone in the face. obviously.

----

just reading that post above it seems ive been misread. i meant the teacher in the blue-eyed group who went on about her scruffy rugby player husband and how he has to conform and how the kids with brown skin in her class scraped herself and it was pink underneath. not the american woman. she was great i thought.

nomadthethird
02-11-2009, 09:56 PM
Just watching the bit where the brown-eyed group are told what they are expected to do, and some of them walk out in protest. I agree with people who were saying that first lad to go came over as pretty smug and studenty, but the personality aspects aren't what it's all about. The white brown-eyed people who dissent from their role are presented - both by the teacher and by the presenter and psycologists who are monitoring and interpreting for us - as doing so because they are uncomfortable with opressing fellow white people, and as therefore secretly racist.
This overlooks the possibility that they might be uncomfortable opressing people based on arbitrary physical differences in general, or indeed uncomforable with opressing people full-stop. (And isn't the experiment officialy centred around eye-colour not skin-colour anyway?) Of course, we can't know for sure what's going on in their heads (and neither can the people running the experiment), and it's a plausible interpretation in some cases. But to argue that refusing to participate in simulated racism is automatic proof that you are yourself a racist seems like somewhat backwards logic to me.

No, you're missing the point of this part of the exercise entirely. The reason why the facilitator and whichever psychologists might be involved (I haven't seen any involved in any renditions I've watched) would tell the people who try to bow out of the exercise because they object to judging other based on phenotypes that they can't opt out is because, in real life, you can't opt out of these social dynamics. You can't opt out of being seen as part of a social group. You can't opt out of white privilege if you're white. And if you're black or a minority, if you dare to step outside your proscribed role, you're quickly put back in your place. This is what the facilitators are trying to simulate.

That is why I posted the video part 6 of 6 before, where that's made abundantly clear.

nomadthethird
02-11-2009, 09:58 PM
she was really fucking annoying. so small-minded and refusing to actually listen to whatever anyone is telling her. denying anyone's opinions as irrelevant as if her life is so fucking hard.

i would never smash anyone in the face. obviously.

How could anyone watch any of those videos and get that out of it?

She was excitedly asking for reactions, she was ESPECIALLY interested in getting negative ones, because they proved her point. I didn't see her "silencing" anyone, especially not dissenters.

Edit: Sorry, wrong teacher, was confused.

droid
02-11-2009, 09:59 PM
Surprise, surprise--it's all white males who want to "smash" the person who dares speak out in the face. Or make sure she gets fucked. Whichever comes first.

I think they were talking about the teacher who was participating in the experiment?

nomadthethird
02-11-2009, 10:02 PM
I think they were talking about the teacher who was participating in the experiment?

Can we stop talking about hitting and fucking people because we hate them, anyway?

massrock
02-11-2009, 10:03 PM
She was excitedly asking for reactions, she was ESPECIALLY interested in getting negative ones, because they proved her point. I didn't see her "silencing" anyone, especially not dissenters.
It did play out a bit differently in the Ch.4 program, possibly in part because of the TV people interfering with the format. That's speculation on my part, I don't know how much control she did or didn't have. It wasn't about her life though, that's a strange conclusion to come to. I'd certainly recommend watching the Class Divided doc on youtube.

The psychologists in this program were there 'behind the scenes' explaining things for the thick audience. They weren't directly involved in the workshop.

Edit - OIC - I made the same mistake. Wrong teacher.

droid
02-11-2009, 10:05 PM
Can we stop talking about hitting and fucking people because we hate them, anyway?

Dont ask me. I'm sure its possible.

Regardless - as you havent seen the video - there is a primary school teacher who makes some particularly noxious comments whilst protesting against the experiment.

massrock
02-11-2009, 10:07 PM
We have judged you harshly don quixote.

massrock
02-11-2009, 10:13 PM
That woman, the wrong teacher, was one of the best things though. so transparently revealing of the Little Englander mentality, so unaware. That's what it was all about.

Tentative Andy
02-11-2009, 10:20 PM
Yeah ok, just to echo all the clearing-up, when I quoted d_q and agreed with him, (a) I was referring to the primary school teacher on the blue-eyed group. She was one of the people on the programme that I would be most tempted to actually call a racist, and (b) I didn't actually mean that I wanted to hit her, I was expressing my anger towards her, and I suppose also indicating to d_q that I wasn't wholly unsympathetic to his interpretation of the programme. But obviously, doing so in a way that endorsed that kind of language wasn't clever, or helpful to the overall discussion. So fair dos. I apologise on that one.

don_quixote
02-11-2009, 10:25 PM
i think it is perfectly natural to have a violent reaction to that level of imbecility and obnoxiousness, knowing full well it is on a television screen. if i was confronted with her i would have walked away long before she had said her worst. if i remember correctly she said "i walked in knowing i didn't need to change my opinions". and this woman is a teacher? jesus christ.

i have to wonder, by the way, why teachers agree to be on any television programme. a teacher from my old sixth form was on come dine with me the other week and came across as a complete mentalist. i don't know how i'd cope with that level of scrutiny into my private life once i'd returned to the classroom. similarly i think if i had a child and the woman on this programme (the blonde haired blue eyed brit) was his or her teacher i would absolutely flip that this ignoramus was going to have a significant influence on my child's life.

droid
02-11-2009, 10:26 PM
Yeah ok, just to echo all the clearing-up, when I quoted d_q and agreed with him, (a) I was referring to the primary school teacher on the blue-eyed group. She was one of the people on the programme that I would be most tempted to actually call a racist, and (b) I didn't actually mean that I wanted to hit her, I was expressing my anger towards her, and I suppose also indicating to d_q that I wasn't wholly unsympathetic to his interpretation of the programme. But obviously, doing so in a way that endorsed that kind of language wasn't clever, or helpful to the overall discussion. So fair dos. I apologise on that one.


Nah. You were fine. A smash in the face would be a bit OTT though.

A good kick in the gee would be fine.

Tentative Andy
02-11-2009, 10:35 PM
No, you're missing the point of this part of the exercise entirely. The reason why the facilitator and whichever psychologists might be involved (I haven't seen any involved in any renditions I've watched) would tell the people who try to bow out of the exercise because they object to judging other based on phenotypes that they can't opt out is because, in real life, you can't opt out of these social dynamics. You can't opt out of being seen as part of a social group. You can't opt out of white privilege if you're white. And if you're black or a minority, if you dare to step outside your proscribed role, you're quickly put back in your place. This is what the facilitators are trying to simulate.


Thanks for responding on this. I wouldn't disagree as such with what you've said.
I haven't watch the videos you posted yet - I was concentrating on the C4 documentary, but will do so now. But I'm sure the explanation you give here applies to them, and it also makes a lot of sense as a general explanation of that part of the experiment, considered in the abstract.

However, my criticism was directed specifically at the way this segment was played out in the C4 documentary. Here, it was claimed, particularly by the tv psychologists who as massrock explained were placed in a behind-the-scenes role explaining the activity for the audience at home, that those white people who refused to take part in the exercise were really doing so because it would be other white people that they were oppressing, and that this suddenly made them feel uncomfortable.
This is an unfair interpretation in my eyes, because it assumes that they would be perfectly comfortable with the oppression of any other race, despite no evidence at this stage being given to suggest this - indeed, from what some of them actually said when explaing why they didn't want to continue, it seemed very likely that they wouldn't be happy at all to oppress other races.

Now, one might say that, no matter what these people's personal beliefs were or even how they behaved, they were still 'guilty' of the priviledge of being white in a white-dominated and white-lead society. I think this is true in some way, though we need to be careful how we formulate it.
But this kind of 'tacit racism' is very different from the kind of explicit, active, rule-encoded racism that the people were being asked to engage in during the experiment - being rude to people, treating them in a demeaning, patronising manner, forcing them to sit in certain places, forcing them to eat and not eat certain food, and so on. That's my basic criticism, yet again: the kind of racism simulated in the experiment is not an accurate reflection of the racism in our contemporary society, and this reduces the relevancy of the experiment.

Dusty
03-11-2009, 01:32 AM
Some people seem to have misunderstood what I tried to point out - probably because I worded it pretty badly; but I wasn't disagreeing with the gist of the experiment - or that white people are racist...that we exist within a racist social structure in the UK. That is obvious.

BUT, and this is the but - I simply didn't think it right to summarise by focusing entirely on white racism no matter how terrible the crimes of history. There are racist factions of other ethnic groups in the UK, that is just a sad fact - it isn't ammunition for the BNP. My throwaway example of Asian gangs (which I have experienced and do exist) was probably a bit sensationalist... they certainly aren't rampaging across the country - nor did I say all Asian youths, I was just trying to highlight other groups that are part of the UK. It isn't all skinheads and English Defence League.

It's not ok to make the statement 'all white people are racist' in my book - that is a racist statement in and of itself. If you want to deal with racism - deal with all racism as a human condition and break down social boundaries on all sides. Yes elements of Asian youth may be disaffected because of their poor treatment by the white mainstream but that still doesn't justify a racist reaction as an outlet for that. Two wrongs don't make a right and all that jazz.

nomadthethird
03-11-2009, 12:36 PM
i think it is perfectly natural to have a violent reaction to that level of imbecility and obnoxiousness, knowing full well it is on a television screen. if i was confronted with her i would have walked away long before she had said her worst. if i remember correctly she said "i walked in knowing i didn't need to change my opinions". and this woman is a teacher? jesus christ.

i have to wonder, by the way, why teachers agree to be on any television programme. a teacher from my old sixth form was on come dine with me the other week and came across as a complete mentalist. i don't know how i'd cope with that level of scrutiny into my private life once i'd returned to the classroom. similarly i think if i had a child and the woman on this programme (the blonde haired blue eyed brit) was his or her teacher i would absolutely flip that this ignoramus was going to have a significant influence on my child's life.

No, I know you didn't really mean it and it was a figure of speech. It's just that in the context of the discussion, knowing that people actually have been smacked and shit over this stuff, I'm afraid language like that will always escalate and then you have a bunch of really angry people... I've seen it happen in person, too... it can get ugly. Even on the "good" anti-racist side.

Dusty, I understand what you're saying, but I don't think that experiment is meant to focus on "white" racism. It's just meant to focus on racism, which happens to be against certain racial minorities more often than others.


That's my basic criticism, yet again: the kind of racism simulated in the experiment is not an accurate reflection of the racism in our contemporary society, and this reduces the relevancy of the experiment.

This is an interesting point to bring up, but I'm not sure I agree. I mean, look at the "shopping while black" and "driving while black" phenomena. Ask any white cop or security guard, and they'll say that they're "just doing their job" and they don't hate anyone. There are all sorts of things people do unconsciously to discriminate against people of color. My grandmother, for example, doesn't actively hate people of any race. But she's the first one to clutch her purse and lock her car doors and act terrified in a black neighborhood. That's the kind of discrimination and racism the exercise was trying to tease out. Creating a situation where black people (or any people) are told that they're inferior creates a psychological climate where people believe that about those people, whether they do so consciously or not.

Right? I mean it all seems so obvious to me.

grizzleb
03-11-2009, 12:50 PM
This is an interesting point to bring up, but I'm not sure I agree.*cough*

nomadthethird
03-11-2009, 01:47 PM
*cough*

?

When people say that things have changed so drastically that this exercise doesn't apply anymore, I wonder what world they're living in. What kind of tenuous thread connects them to reality, as Baboon put it.

There's all kinds of data on this stuff.

Black people are still discriminated against. Latinos are still discriminated against. Middle Easterners are still discriminated against. Women are still discriminated against.

vimothy
03-11-2009, 02:28 PM
Amusingly, this was on the Metro's front page this morning:


BNP leader Nick Griffin 'racially abused by passer by' (http://www.metro.co.uk/news/article.html?BNP_leader_Nick_Griffin_racially_abus ed_by_passer_by&in_article_id=761037&in_page_id=34)

British National Party leader Nick Griffin was racially abused by a man who made threatening "gun gestures" towards him, a court heard today.

The North West MEP was giving evidence in the trial of 23-year-old Tauriq Khalid, from Burnley, who is accused of shouting "white bastards" towards Griffin and other BNP members who were demonstrating in the Lancashire town.

sufi
03-11-2009, 02:34 PM
Amusingly, this was on the Metro's front page this morning:
it's amazing how the media consistently misrepresents discrimination as "colour-blind" or "even-handed" somehow, instead of portraying anything like the proportions of discrimination actually suffered by different groups,
well, amazing in one way, but also depressingly obvious, it's ALL about power innit

sadly prosecutions under a lot of the anti-discrimination legislation have also gone the same way

vimothy
03-11-2009, 03:22 PM
Yes, I felt that the urge for even-handedness came through on the sections of "The Event" that I managed to see. I think that the identification of white participants with the victims of racism mitigated against the success of the experiment and is probably the signal difference between today and 1960s America.

EDIT: Although obviously this in itself is hardly an unalloyed evil...

Mr. Tea
03-11-2009, 03:39 PM
BNP leader Nick Griffin 'racially abused by passer by'

British National Party leader Nick Griffin was racially abused by a man who made threatening "gun gestures" towards him, a court heard today.

The North West MEP was giving evidence in the trial of 23-year-old Tauriq Khalid, from Burnley, who is accused of shouting "white bastards" towards Griffin and other BNP members who were demonstrating in the Lancashire town.

Well Griffin is definitely both white and a bastard. That's hardly racial abuse, it's just a statement of commonly-known fact.

baboon2004
03-11-2009, 03:45 PM
Some people seem to have misunderstood what I tried to point out - probably because I worded it pretty badly; but I wasn't disagreeing with the gist of the experiment - or that white people are racist...that we exist within a racist social structure in the UK. That is obvious.

BUT, and this is the but - I simply didn't think it right to summarise by focusing entirely on white racism no matter how terrible the crimes of history. There are racist factions of other ethnic groups in the UK, that is just a sad fact - it isn't ammunition for the BNP. My throwaway example of Asian gangs (which I have experienced and do exist) was probably a bit sensationalist... they certainly aren't rampaging across the country - nor did I say all Asian youths, I was just trying to highlight other groups that are part of the UK. It isn't all skinheads and English Defence League.

It's not ok to make the statement 'all white people are racist' in my book - that is a racist statement in and of itself. If you want to deal with racism - deal with all racism as a human condition and break down social boundaries on all sides. Yes elements of Asian youth may be disaffected because of their poor treatment by the white mainstream but that still doesn't justify a racist reaction as an outlet for that. Two wrongs don't make a right and all that jazz.

Sorry, may have come across too forcefully - I think Dissensus is bringing out all too aggressive impulses in me in recent weeks (no idea which threads i might have caught that tendency from! ahem).

You're right of course - racism can work in all ways, but is stronger the more levels on which the aggressing party holds power. I would say though that the way in which society, the media etc work (in terms of imagery that is taken in semi-consciously especially) means that barely anyone is free of some racialised (rather than racist) preconceptions.

But I def think there needs to be more focus on the issues brought up by that show. And there needs to be an equivalent focus on how deeply class issues cut through the UK (esp on the 'unseen', structural level in both cases). And an appreciation of 'stigma' in general and the ways in which power works to enforce this.

baboon2004
03-11-2009, 03:47 PM
it's amazing how the media consistently misrepresents discrimination as "colour-blind" or "even-handed" somehow, instead of portraying anything like the proportions of discrimination actually suffered by different groups,
well, amazing in one way, but also depressingly obvious, it's ALL about power innit

sadly prosecutions under a lot of the anti-discrimination legislation have also gone the same way

and as for getting allegations of insitutional racism off the ground....that whole necessity for a 'comparator' makes it hugely unlikely, sadly.

grizzleb
03-11-2009, 04:18 PM
?

When people say that things have changed so drastically that this exercise doesn't apply anymore, I wonder what world they're living in. What kind of tenuous thread connects them to reality, as Baboon put it.

There's all kinds of data on this stuff.

Black people are still discriminated against. Latinos are still discriminated against. Middle Easterners are still discriminated against. Women are still discriminated against.
Nah, I've revised my thoughts and put my dislike of it down to squeamishness more than anything else. I think it probably could have been done better too - but the basic concept is ok. My cough was just pointing out I'd already said what andy did...Pettiness styles.

Dusty
03-11-2009, 04:44 PM
Dusty, I understand what you're saying, but I don't think that experiment is meant to focus on "white" racism. It's just meant to focus on racism, which happens to be against certain racial minorities more often than others.

Yeah, quite frankly I think I'm being a bit of a twat about it. I was just riled by the experimenters defiant response to Krishnans question - to my ears it sent out the wrong message.

grizzleb
03-11-2009, 04:57 PM
And also - you can't say people are racist simply because they don't sit down and take it when they get verbally abused *yeah yeah i know. Surely it's in everyones nature to feel angry when they are picked on for no reason, even if they formulate their response in a way that's a little silly. Also the other groups readiness to jump in against them shows that it's something common to everyone, a willingness to put down other people if you think it's for the right reasons...I always thought the points of these things were to show both groups the arbitrary and conditioned nature of it, rather than pick on one group to 'enlighten' them.

vimothy
03-11-2009, 05:02 PM
It's would also be wrong for the audience to sit in safety and say, "well, they wouldn't stick it, must be because they're unenlightened racists..."

baboon2004
03-11-2009, 05:12 PM
True, but (and it's hard to know what was edited, of course) when some of the people in that group said absurd things, no-one in their own group seemed to speak up and tell them to stop being a twat. As I say, this could have been edited, so hard to tell if this is a fair reflection.

vimothy
07-12-2009, 05:35 PM
I just read this and realised that AM's Londonstani (http://www.cnas.org/blogs/abumuqawama/2009/12/preventing-terrorism-home-view-ground-zero.html) was the journalist cum non-English speaking immmigrant in the documentary I saw on racism... Balls of steel, that man.

vimothy
07-12-2009, 05:38 PM
Fucking excellent post too.

sufi
07-12-2009, 10:14 PM
wow impressed

Mr. Tea
07-12-2009, 10:26 PM
I just read this and realised that AM's Londonstani (http://www.cnas.org/blogs/abumuqawama/2009/12/preventing-terrorism-home-view-ground-zero.html) was the journalist cum non-English speaking immmigrant in the documentary I saw on racism... Balls of steel, that man.

Pretty depressing article, especially the first half. Balls of steel, as you say.

Some real dicks in the comments section - including several requests for photos of jailbait chav boob action. Makes you proud to be a Westerner. GO TEAM USA!!!

humann
07-12-2009, 11:43 PM
Seems a rather childish simplification to me. I can't see how you overcome racial tension by labelling the white man the racist problem.


Oh yes, it's a complete mystery why we'd do that, given the hundreds of years of slavery, oppression, imperialism, and colonialism much of the world endured at the hands of white Europeans.

Dusty makes a valid point I think and the sarcastic reply isn't much of a response from where I'm sitting.

What's interesting to me is that slavery, oppression, imperialism and colonialism are all still being practiced in some form now. If you want to argue that those crimes are or were only done by whites against non-whites then you need to look more closely at both history and current events. Those in power believe that they deserve it no matter their race. Just as they believe the powerless deserve their lot regardless of their race. Egalitarianism is a very recent development and I suspect it's always going to have to struggle with our greedy primitive psyches.

I regularly deal with the racism of both whites and non-whites here in urban Los Angeles but I try not to let it bother me. I try to explain it to my white-looking half-latina daughter when non-white kids are racially cruel to her as kids often are to minority children on the playground. I tell her the race thing is just another way that mean people can be mean. And that mean people sometimes regret being mean and change their attitudes.

I'm honestly tired of the holistic-racism idea that because racism is inescapable it automatically confers benefits on whites while hurting non-whites. That's just nonsense in my white-minority world here. You can't say that personal responsibility is the greatest factor in non-white successes and that institutional racism is the greatest in non-white failures. It really starts to fall apart when you have to reverse the equation for whites. The widely-subscribed-to idea that both ancestral victimhood and oppressor status are inherited neatly ignores the reality of our mutual heritage. That we all came from Africa in the distant past but for example, my European ancestors came to America during the civil rights movement and participated in it. So I'm not a part of the problem and never have been. I've had plenty of non-white people accuse me of racism the instant we came into conflict over something completely non-racial in nature. It's so very convenient. The irony is they're the ones with the slaveholder or conquistador blood in them from centuries of race-mixing. And race-mixing is probably our best long-term hope as the nasty killer apes we are. Everybody get busy.

I didn't see the TV show in question but it sounds like a particularly poorly-executed version of an old experiment I am familiar with. A bit like a mini Stanford prison experiment based on race more than authority. But the element of authority is still present in that the leader encourages one group to treat the other badly. Actually without that being enforced by the rules there is no experiment. Stanley Milgram proved that most of us do what we're told to do. If that's not going to change then we need to make sure that those doing the telling are saying to do good things to eachother.