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> Is it wrong to be so uninformed?

I wouldn't say it's wrong, but I would say it is an expression of privilege. People who don't find their race, gender or identity regularly being touted as either some up and coming new social fad or the boogeyman to a given group that oppose them and the source of everything evil in the world or what have you can pretty safely disconnect from the discourse with no real ramifications to their lives.

So again, no I wouldn't say it's wrong, and hell, I have to disconnect occasionally too simply to keep my sanity. But I also say that from a similar position of privilege. I don't have lawmakers attempting to restrict my rights, my gender and race aren't an oppressed group. But, exercising privileges doesn't make you a bad person in my book so long as you're not fighting to maintain those privileges at the expense of others.

Getting tweets that make you emotionally upset isn't furthering any groups rights minority or otherwise. If you want to make a real difference you need to get out and connect with local political forces.

Twitter can make you feel like you are making a difference. If you can only share this with one more person maybe my rights won't abused. It is distracting you from making that difference.

Making a difference takes hard work.

It wasn’t until I quit social media that I found time to get engaged locally. Joined the board of a nonprofit, spoke with my council people, started becoming engaged in other community orgs and attending zoning and policy hearings. If you have political drive, staying away from the timeline as an outlet of that energy can be liberating.

I wouldn't call it privilege. I think it's more about accepting that there's nothing they can do to change the course of events. Whether they add their voice or not to Twitter discussions, it won't change people's opinions.

There are many rights under attack. They are rights all of us share and with them being stripped or changed we all lose. The GP is avoiding discussions about those rights as well.

I've also done what the GP has done. It's not because the decisions that are made don't affect me, but that past experience has shown me that what I think is irrelevant to the outcome. Yet paying such attention to these topics just weighs on me and negatively impacts my life.

Disconnecting from people trying to push a so called 'culture war' on the general populous seems like a rational choice - as a white male, social media seems to tell me emphatically that I am the problem. Similarly social media pundits from the other side are trying to blame all measure of economic and social ills on brown people/gay people/trans people.

Both narratives are patently false.

To touch very lightly on politics, we blame the poor for being poor, and the marginalized for being marginalized - the so called 'culture war' (and the outrage on both sides) is just another round of 'circuses and bread' to distract us from real issues and prevent any real change from happening.

I’m LGBTQ, and I am not a federally protected class. It is legal to fire me for my identity in many states, and the current republicans in power are continuing to make it legal and condoned to discriminate against LGBTQ people at the federal level- rolling back several policies that benefited marginalized folks along this umbrella. These changes happen with very little fanfare or any notification safe for observant reporters and the spread of social media.

I find this comment overtly dismissing that there might be very real, legitimate reasons to be keyed into social media and the news.

I'm also LGBTQ - and I believe effectively we're being used a pawn to score points with the conservative base. Employment protections I believe do very little, because in most states you can fire someone for any reason, or no reason at all. It's a law that effectively only punishes stupid people.

I find that catching up on what’s going on once every week or so provides enough information to make the decisions I can. Social media, in contrast, serves up a sub 24 hour news cycle that prevents focus and produces emotional exhaustion and constant anxiety.

I’m sure there are people for whom it’s valuable (e.g. if immigration raids could affect you directly), but for members of most groups, being plugged in all time probably does more harm than good.

And I am simply arguing that that is not always the case and the original statement, that it is a privilege to be able to unplug from news and social media, may be true given that I as an LGBTQ person often feel the need to keep abreast of new and rarely-covered updates to local and federal policy that are associated with LGBTQ issues. For example, the department of labor moving through fairly recently to make it legal for federal contractors to fire LGBTQ or unmarried pregnant women on the grounds of religious beliefs.

Did you change anything about your behavior immediately when you found that out?

I’m saying the high proportion of button-pushing click-bait and the low probability that I need any particular info in real time means i’ll be better off getting news through other sources.

You don’t win a war by maximizing fear, outrage, and low quality info on your own side (which, IMO, social media does).

YMMV, obviously. What do I know?

> Did you change anything about your behavior immediately when you found that out?

Yes. I removed any involvement with LGBTQ organizations off my resume.

That sucks. I’m sorry you have to deal with that shit.

So far, I haven’t run into any “shit, if only I had known that five days ago!” situations. I doubt I ever will, no matter how hostile the current administration is to women. But who knows; you pays your money and you takes your choice.

well a problem is that lgbtq doesnt belong together anyway because what are you fighting for? sexual orientation or gender identity? those are really different and are people really being fired for it?

> what are you fighting for?

Simple: Freedom to be who the fuck you are. I don't know why that's so damned difficult to understand.

Wow. Was that really needed?

>are really different and are people really being fired for it?

Absolutely not. The nice thing about being LGBTQPA+* is all the constitutional lawyers that will take your case pro-bono to persecute anyone you can speculatively accuse of discerning something about you.

If you are straight then there is basically no such free help available to protect your rights, and have fun trying to bring something up to the supreme court all by yourself if you don't want to be forced to express homophilic opinions.

Actually, as I said, it is legal to discriminate against LGBTQ people in much of the country and the federal government had recently rolled back protections for LGBTQ people. Lawyers are not going to take pro bono cases because LGBTQ status is not constitutionally or federally protected.


I'm curious where in the US Constitution you think it states that discrimination on the basis of LGBTQ identity is legal.

The question is about changing federal law to make LGBTQ identity a protected class, under the same principle that race, gender, religion, etc are currently protected.

The first amendment.

The first amendment protects the right to fire someone on the basis of their LGBTQ identity?

Care to give any example of this happening?

Yes. This is a case the supreme court refused to hear in 2017 of a woman who claims to have been fired for being a lesbian. https://www.newsweek.com/jameka-evans-lgbt-workplace-discrim...

Here is a case in 2014 of a man who was fired because his new manager went through his phone and found male gymnast photos. https://www.npr.org/2014/11/10/363049315/for-people-fired-fo...

Here are 5 more examples: https://www.mic.com/articles/11738/5-people-who-were-fired-f...

That links to a study citing that american LGBTQ people experience much higher rates of workplace discrimination: https://www.americanprogress.org/issues/lgbt/news/2011/06/02...

None of which the recently rolled back protections would fix had they occurred while the protections were in place as they only applied to the federal government. You can't guarantee a civil right with an executive order.

That was not the requested ask.

I suspect that the LGBTQ people in these cases must have really done something that broke the law in these cases. In the news just the other day there were TWO gay lawyers who defended a gay person PRO BONO who murdered two kids in a school with 100 witnesses just because he said those kids teased him for being gay (though witnesses said no such thing ever happened).

Just as a minor correction: Nobody is telling you that you specifically are the problem. The problem is that as a white male, what is called "western society" was built with you as the presumed default, and that confers to you tons of small benefits that fall into one of two categories:

1) Unfair advantages that allow you certain freedoms other groups don't have, that one could argue no one should have

2) Advantages that everyone should have, but due to being ethnic or female, they don't.

The best example I usually have for this is that when I'm pulled over by a cop for speeding, I'm annoyed to be sure and it's going to be a really bad inconvenience and probably a fair financial burden too. But I don't fear for my life. I'm not panicking on whether or not my vehicle will be searched or if the officer might plant something on me. That's not to say those things can't happen, but it's intrinsically not on my mind at all, even though it could. And those things happen to other groups all the time.

Doesn't it strike you as odd to suggest that society was built for "white" males when such classification, as a meaningful indicator, didn't even exist until extremely recently? Irish, German, Italian, and many more are all groups today you'd just often just refer to as "white males." In times past? People who were very much second class citizens. And it went well beyond just national origin. Protestant vs Catholic was a huge deal and this also persisted until extremely recently. For instance something lost to history is how monumental JFK's election was because of the fact that he was a Catholic - the Obama of his time. Incidentally the first and last Catholic elected, even though more than 20% of America is Catholic.

Even when you get into things like slavery, Africans were not enslaved because they were black. Slavery was global and of course always began as in group - whites enslaving whites, browns enslaving browns, blacks enslaving blacks, etc. The big reason that "white" on "white" slavery ended was because of a shared religion and Christian church declaring it illegal for any Christian to enslave another Christian (in times before the schisms, such as 'Christian' was reasonably encompassing). The "problem" this posed for those seeking slaves is that tremendous empires were starting to form around the world.

For instance in the ~18th century you're looking at the Qing dynasty in China, the Mughal Empire in South Asia, the Ottoman empire in the Mideast, etc.. The world was rapidly unifying under incredibly powerful empires who were more than capable of protecting their borders and people. But Africa was a major exception. It not only lacked both meaningful unification and technology, but also had a thriving domestic slave trade. This made them a prime target. It had nothing to do with the color of their skin. Had Africans happened to have had a bit less melanin, but the situation remained otherwise identical, it's extremely improbable that things would have changed in any way whatsoever.

If you're not at least mildly afraid of the cops when being pulled over, you're not paying attention. My whiteness (in my opinion) does very little for me in a situation with such a large power imbalance.

“...ethnic or female.”

It’s funny to me that you’re treating white here as the “presumed default.” White people have ethnicities, just like midwestern newscasters have accents.

Those things are on my mind as well, why are you just assuming they aren't?

If you're going to say that Western society was built with white males as the presumed default, you might want to also mention who the builders were.

And as a broader point, it also might be worth considering how Western society stacks up against all other societies to ever exist.

Except that Western civilization as in the minds of it's inhabitants likely wouldn't have existed without the subjugation and exploitation of those other societies, including but not limited to: China, India, the Middle East, most of Africa minus Ethiopia, and even some parts of Europe, and much more recently, South America.

The West has largely won because it won a lot back in the day, and that inertia builds up and continues to favor us.

> The West has largely won because it won a lot back in the day, and that inertia builds up and continues to favor us.

FWIW, Japan went from a feudal society to a world dominating power in the span of like 60 years. China has done something similar in the last 50 years. Whereas countries right next door in SE Asia have not made any similar progress. I'd say that's all pretty contradictory evidence for the hypothesis that the reason the West is doing well now is because it has done well in the past.

Also, your focus on European colonization is extremely Eurocentric and kind of strips non-Europeans of their agency. The rest of the world existed and had stuff going on before the Europeans became sea-faring nations. The Arabs conquered most of the Middle East in the late first millennium and later colonized part of Europe. Then the Turks took their place several centuries later and almost successfully invaded Europe (actually, they successfully invaded Constantinople, which was part of Christendom; present day Turkey used to be Christian territory). The Chinese have been a civilization for something like 2500-3000 years. The Indian subcontinent has an extremely ancient civilization and parts of it were colonized by Muslims well before Europeans even knew it existed.

And, finally, how does this theory of European Colonialism being the most important world event that ever happened explain differences in outcomes between the U.S. and Canada on one hand and, say, Brazil and Mexico on the other? All four countries were colonized by Europeans, after all.

>> The Arabs conquered most of the Middle East in the late first millennium and later colonized part of Europe... Then the Turks took their place several centuries later and almost successfully invaded Europe (actually, they successfully invaded Constantinople, which was part of Christendom; present day Turkey used to be Christian territory).<<


Moreover, the Maghreb, the Levant and Asia Minor (North Africa, East Mediterranean coastal countries and Turkey today) were inarguably "Western" (Roman, Greek, Phoenician and Judean) before the Arab and Turkic invasions.

Bantu peoples were sold as slaves for millennia, until late into the 20th century, from the east coast of Africa by Somalis to Arabs and Indians. Muslim Barbary piracy (from the Tunisian and Moroccan coast) terrorized and devastated European coastal towns for centuries. There are entire extinct populations from the Baltic region who were literally sold down the Volga River to Muslim Turks and on into the Middle East, who were particularly valued for their blond hair and pale skin. There are surviving populations of pale people (whom most Americans would classify as "White") still suffering from the effects of their ancestors having suffered genocide and slavery, some at the hands of slavers who would be considered "People of Color" today.

No. The idea of slavery and genocide being a sin, of being morally wrong, is a recent Western idea that is not even today a universal, global cultural value. If "sins of the Father" is actually a thing, then it spectacularly makes no sense to divide the world into "White" (descendants of slavers and colonizers) and "People of Color" (descendant of slaves and colonized).

While such a division might arguably be a reasonable case to make given specifically US History, attempting to impose this racial world view on other cultures and nations is yet another example of the very American cultural imperialism that these same people decry.

There is no realistic scenario where one civilization does not dominate others.

Macro-history is fundamentally about the rise and fall of civilizations - the undesirable elements of this are consistent, but Western tradition and enlightenment has also given us democracy and science, and put us in a collective position where we are so relatively prosperous that we can look at the past with an inflated sense of shame.

Failing to see how this is responsive to parent’s observation that white privilege is a thing.

Maybe you’re arguing that if the enlightenment never happened we wouldn’t have the set of egalitarian political values that cause us to give a shit about that. But even if that argument were true: the enlightenment did happen and we do care. And you’re not really articulating any reason we shouldn’t.

I was just giving their observation some context.

To address the idea of white privilege directly: - It's increasing racial awareness and conflict. - It's a blunt instrument that doesn't take into account the myriad of circumstances each individual faces (such as financial wealth, mental health and physical height).

To provide a counter example to parent's, I'd rather be a rich ethnic minority unfairly stopped by a cop, than an ethnic majority person living in a trailer park and addicted to meth. The ethnic bigotry in this example isn't excused, but it's not the main concern.

Perhaps, all else being equal, one could argue that 'white privilege' matters.

But all else will never be equal. And the one place where equality really matters, it already exists - the law.

Notions of privilege could at least attempt a full accounting at the individual level, rather than dictating in broad strokes.

Slave labor built this country.

There's an extremely interesting datum that most are not familiar with. In total in the transatlantic slave trade, about 12.5 million Africans were shipped to the New World. Of these, 10.7 million survived the voyage. And of those, about 388,000 thousand went to North America. [1] Up to 60-70k more would make their way North America eventually for a total of up to ~450k - about 4% of the slaves that made their way to the New World.

North America's use of slavery was relatively low compared to many other places in the world. Even within the United States itself it's interesting to compare the states where slaves disproportionately ended up to those where they did not. And the Confederate/Union states works as a pretty solid proxy there.

- Confederate: South Carolina, Mississippi, Florida, Alabama, Georgia, Louisiana, and Texas

- Union: California, Illinois, Massachusetts, Michigan, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and many others.

Suffice to say, slavery does not seem have had a lasting positive effect for the states that most actively utilized it. Ultimately I think the reason slavery is more of a focus for the United States than other countries is not because of any unusual usage of slavery, but because of an extremely unusual outcome.

For instance Brazil alone ended up taking on about 5 million slaves yet, like much of the south, has little to show for it. The point of this is not to say 'what about other countries' but to emphasize that the relative impact of slavery in the US was smaller than in many other places, yet we achieved vastly more than those places. So to attribute the exceptionalism of the United States to slavery, in any meaningful way, seems driven more by bias than logic.


No it didn't. When it was legal, most inhabitants of the U.S. had no personal experience with slavery. It was critical to agriculture in the Southern states, but the North was the industrial powerhouse. And the states that constituted the North continue to be the most dominant region in the U.S. to this day.

I don't see how such sweeping statements about the nature of a country are useful.

Slave labor was only one component of practically all great countries/empires. The West was the first to outlaw it.

The US in particular was built upon the hard-earned lessons of the past, including the moral worth of individual liberty.

How is the US in particular built upon the hard-earned lessons of the past. Because it is younger?

This just sounds like more American exceptionalism that most of the world is tired of, and that includes many Americans.

The counterpoint to your second sentence is that most of the world would sacrifice much to migrate to the US.

Most of the world is poor, and would like the chance to earn more money. That's nothing special about the US there. The same applies to most rich countries.

Fine: USA, #1 when compared to developing nations.

Got an answer to my first sentence?

One example - the US Constitution draws from Ancient Greece and Rome, and is a response to the oppression of European monarchies.

Louis XIV: "I am the state." US Constitution: "We the people...secure the Blessings of Liberty"

That's no cosmetic difference.

Sure, that was a big deal in 1776. But there's nothing exceptional about being a liberal democracy today, and there are plenty of countries that are more free than the US.

> Nobody is telling you that you specifically are the problem.

They very much are. I'm guessing you don't live in a coastal city or read the newspaper of record?

no thats not what privilege is, you can turn off social media too, youre not forced to listen to anything

and youre showing the problem with the news because theres really not that much going on. who is losing their rights? what oppression are you talking about?

Of course the ramifications hit me, just like everyone else. Why do you think I get upset about the news?. The question is whether I should accept those negative ramifications or spend energy protesting against them.

I wouldn't care about politics at all if I didn't think I and/or other people were being fucked over.

If you have any political opinion at all, then at some point you'll think that you or others are being treated unfairly by society or by the state. Isn't that the whole point of expressing political opinions?

Counterpoint: Having the free time and energy to participate in culture war theatrics is a much greater expression of privilege.

If you're doing something productive, though, good on ya.

Well actually we are all victims of the lawmakers as noone dares to punish the CO2 polluters. All this talk of privilege is meaningless compared to what we will all have to endure if we keep destroying our enviroment like that.

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