Hacker Newsnew | comments | show | ask | jobs | submit login

AVTizzle's post was, to me, so ignorant it was bordering on bigotry. So it's not just falcolas who was offended by it.

I tried hard not to respond to it as the hateful screed I felt it was. I had to cut lots from my post before I felt comfortable sending it. But, really, come on. Anyone posting paragraphs of "they just don't work hard enough" and "I took control" in response to personal stories of homelessness is going to get posts from people with different life experiences saying just how wrong that post is.

Re-reading AVTizzle's post now I am still angered by it, but I don't think it's hateful. Just ignorant.

{META} I agree that HN can be needlessly harsh, and I welcome people who work to avoid that. Normal advice is to save a post to drafts and go back to it later for sending. That's not easy on HN - there isn't any save to drafts (unless you use a script or weird text editor interface) and there's pretty big time pressure on posting. The guidelines are a good start to describing acceptable behaviour. I'm not sure about a good way to remind people of them. And recently there have been many 'hot button' ('shallowly, but intensely, interesting') topics, so maybe some over-enthusiastic posting has carried over from those.




And in all fairness, I think that the tone of your response was a hundred times less inflammatory than the post I responded to (and sadly, far less inflammatory than the post of mine you are responding to).

In an ideal world, more HNers would temper their reactions to start crying 'bullshit' and put more effort into treating each other like human beings. If more did exactly as you'd done, HN would be a far better place than it currently is.

AVTizzle's post may or may not meet that definition, as he hasn't responded to clarify his position, but he also isn't speaking directly about a particular person in general, rather, he's speaking about his own mindset about a group of people, and he's been blasted for it.

Thanks for the extra data point -- I'm a little amazed that we interpret the reference post so differently, but I thank you for clarifying.

Regarding the harshness, I didn't mean to imply that I felt this was a very recent phenomenon. And in fact, the HN of many years ago had perhaps far more in the way of pissing matches, but they were more academic in tone. I think it's that precedent that encourages the head-butting we see now, but either because people have 'settled in', or the community standards have lowered, there are less people who can say "No, I think that you're wrong -- here's why," without resorting to pejoratives and insults. I realize how potentially futile change is, but the idealist in me hopes it isn't.

-----


Bigoted against what?

-----


Against the homeless. I'm not sure what your question is.

-----


So nobody can criticize people who are homeless without being labeled a bigot? That doesn't seem productive.

-----


"a person who is obstinately or intolerantly devoted to his or her own opinions and prejudices; especially : one who regards or treats the members of a group (as a racial or ethnic group) with hatred and intolerance" (http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/bigot)

You can criticize the poor and homeless, but too many completely reject the idea that their struggles can be something other than self-imposed. That rejection turns criticism into bigotry.

-----


We're all walking the tightrope. Its an important part of our mental gymnastics that we regard those who fall as 'deserving it' or at least that its their own fault, that we'll avoid their error. Otherwise we'd all clutch and panic.

-----


No, I think it's far more honest to just clutch and panic.

-----


I didn't get that sense from the OP at all. In fact, they even mentioned that it may be related to luck after all. I'd be more careful about throwing the term "bigot" around in the future if I were you.

-----


About luck: in the final sentence, they mention luck. But even that is just I'm lucky I'm not lazy, I'm lucky I was born with the gift of hard-work and determination, rather than I'm lucky I've avoided the external forces that send people homeless.

They write a long post about how people who are homeless "don't get it".

They say things like "go to the public library", and "quit blaming the economy".

They say things like "I make sacrifices, I toil, I struggle, but I make it work."

I've edited the OP a bit - maybe this explains the bits I concentrated on.

"I can't tell you honestly why [...] I would be so driven. Why [...] I would be curious enough to seek out the books, essays, podcasts, and blog posts that have shaped my entrepreneurial character.

Why was I drawn towards the heroes and role models that I was - business and technology leaders, instead of rock-stars or athletes - who inspired me towards a particular path?"

It feels to me like it's hateful, obnoxious, vile writing. (Other people disagree, and that's fine.) People who are homeless do not have entrepreneurs as role models? People who are homeless do not have intellectual curiosity? The economy has no affect upon a person's ability to gain employment? People who are homeless did not struggle hard to make things work before the rug was pulled?

I sincerely wish AVTizzle never has to experience homelessness. But perhaps they should temper their remarks about homeless people until s/he's met a few or been in that situation.

-----


Well, it seems like a nuanced issue. There are both homeless people who are lazy and unlucky and rich people who are lazy but lucky. I think the OP has a general disdain for lazy people, regardless whether they are rich or homeless. I rather doubt he'd be praising some trust fund baby who's also lazy.

-----


I'd be more careful about checking that the person you're replying to said the thing you're replying to. I was offering a definition and a criteria for distinguishing between criticism of the poor and bigotry against the poor. I haven't called anyone a bigot.

-----


Sorry, my mistake. I'd be more careful about defending someone's poor use of the word "bigot".

-----


I wasn't defending it.

-----


Upon re-reading your post I take back what I said. I was really taking issue with the user who originally called the OP a bigot. Sorry bout that.

-----


All is forgiven.

-----


No, you can criticise people who are homeless.

What you can't do is use your lucky situation to cast all homeless people as feckless, lazy, stupid, inflexible people who deserve to be homeless because they just don't make enough effort.

-----




Guidelines | FAQ | Support | API | Security | Lists | Bookmarklet | DMCA | Apply to YC | Contact

Search: