Can Racist or Bigoted Attitudes be Changed by Discussion? Apparently, Yes, but

owedtojoy

Moderator
Joined
Feb 27, 2010
Messages
53,764
... it is not easy.

Well, one guaranteed-to-fail, way to stop any racist attitudes in their tracks is to call someone a racist or a bigot, or a homophobe, or a TERF, or whatever. Or indeed to call them a Libtard, or a Hasbara or whatever obscure insults are popular in your faction. You will probably get the often-observed Backfire Effect - a stinging rebuttal of someone's views will actually lead them to uphold those values more strongly than ever. Admit it, you do that when challenged, too. We dig an intellectual trench and defend our opinion even more hotly.

So, what's the point? Can deliberative discussion survive in the age of social media mobs and Twitter shaming? Yes, but ...

First of all, racists and bigots do exist. There are what I call Grand Racists, people for whom racism (like White Supremacy, or Nazism) is a competely satisfying explanation of the world, and who will hardly be budged. There are people who are so intellectually attached to their particular bigotry (against Jews, Catholics, Whites, Blacks, Gays, ... whatever) that it obsessively dominates their lives and permeates their existence. It is part of who they are, a badge of identity. These are not plentiful, but such people can by persistence get themselves into influential positions.

OTOH, most "ordinary people" will hold views they might even not realise are bigoted, like racial or gender stereotyping ( "Jews are greedy and grasping", "Black people have a natural sense of rhythm", "Pedophiles are also gay", "Catholics worship statues" ... ). Now, ordinary people can be shifted from their views, and it is good that they should, as such stereotyping is a link that the Grand Rascists exploit for political advantage.

Some academic and practical work has been done on this. Yes, minds can be changed and dangerous negative opinions replaced by positive ones. Not easily, as it takes an Effort, it takes Empathy, or approaching the person on a human level, not being Judgemental, not using Shame, and keeping the discussion honest, adult-to-adult and "on the level" at all times. It means having the courage or guts to have a conversation with someone who may say harsh things.




The video shows a California example where a canvasser (who is gay) talks to a black woman about including transgender people in antidiscrimination laws. As it turns out, she has a beloved nephew who shocked her by coming out as transgender. Ok, it may be staged, but it lays out the concept.

This gives me hope. We have had a barrage of hype about how everyone is locked in internet silos, only reading confirmation of their prejudices, actively being goaded into hating "the other", becoming a Facebook statistic, a puppet of inhuman, hidden forces like Cambridge Analytica, Info Wars or Russian Intelligence, beginning to believe appalling conspiracy theories that bring out the worst in us. Apparently, there is something to be gained from honest human face-to-face communication after all. Even if we cannot achieve it, perhaps it is something we should strive for?
,
For example, a few months ago, in the UK, the actor Lawrence Fox sent out some objectionable tweets. He was challenged by (among others) the black writer Bonnie Greer. What happened after is extraordinary - instead of escalating, as usually happens, the two met over coffee for a face-to-face conversation. They did not give details, only that it was amicable, and agreed to meet again.

Should we keep the foregoing in mind with debating on politics.ie? Within its obvious limitations, yes.
 


fat finger

Well-known member
Joined
Oct 22, 2016
Messages
2,685
Last edited:
Last edited:
Do many Catholic’s not worship statues?
No.
Worshipping statues is considered idol worship which The Lord ordered our Israelite ancestors never to do (see Bible).
Worshipping statues is an ABOMINATION to Him. He told our ancestors don't do it, so we don't do it.
We do, however, use statues to help focus our thoughts before praying or before asking a specific Saint to intercede on our behalf with a petition to The Lord. That's why statues of different saints are often positioned around the sides of the church.
It's worth informing non-believers who might be considering joining The Church today that Catholics only ever pray to Our Lord or Our Lady, who is of course The Mother of God. Praying to Saints or even non-saints is considered sin, so we resolve never to do that.
 

owedtojoy

Moderator
Joined
Feb 27, 2010
Messages
53,764
Do many Catholic’s not worship statues?
No.
Worshipping statues is considered idol worship which The Lord ordered our Israelite ancestors never to do (see Bible).
Worshipping statues is an ABOMINATION to Him. He told our ancestors don't do it, so we don't do it.
We do, however, use statues to help focus our thoughts before praying or before asking a specific Saint to intercede on our behalf with a petition to The Lord. That's why statues of different saints are often positioned around the sides of the church.
It's worth informing non-believers who might be considering joining The Church today that Catholics only ever pray to Our Lord or Our Lady, who is of course The Mother of God. Praying to Saints or even non-saints is considered sin, so we resolve never to do that.
See, it's working already! :)
 

blinding

Well-known member
Joined
Jul 1, 2008
Messages
23,779
Call people Racist who are not Racist and see how that works out long term ! ! !
 

rainmaker

Administrator
Joined
Mar 26, 2012
Messages
26,090
... it is not easy.

Well, one guaranteed-to-fail, way to stop any racist attitudes in their tracks is to call someone a racist or a bigot, or a homophobe, or a TERF, or whatever. Or indeed to call them a Libtard, or a Hasbara or whatever obscure insults are popular in your faction. You will probably get the often-observed Backfire Effect - a stinging rebuttal of someone's views will actually lead them to uphold those values more strongly than ever. Admit it, you do that when challenged, too. We dig an intellectual trench and defend our opinion even more hotly.

So, what's the point? Can deliberative discussion survive in the age of social media mobs and Twitter shaming? Yes, but ...

First of all, racists and bigots do exist. There are what I call Grand Racists, people for whom racism (like White Supremacy, or Nazism) is a competely satisfying explanation of the world, and who will hardly be budged. There are people who are so intellectually attached to their particular bigotry (against Jews, Catholics, Whites, Blacks, Gays, ... whatever) that it obsessively dominates their lives and permeates their existence. It is part of who they are, a badge of identity. These are not plentiful, but such people can by persistence get themselves into influential positions.

OTOH, most "ordinary people" will hold views they might even not realise are bigoted, like racial or gender stereotyping ( "Jews are greedy and grasping", "Black people have a natural sense of rhythm", "Pedophiles are also gay", "Catholics worship statues" ... ). Now, ordinary people can be shifted from their views, and it is good that they should, as such stereotyping is a link that the Grand Rascists exploit for political advantage.

Some academic and practical work has been done on this. Yes, minds can be changed and dangerous negative opinions replaced by positive ones. Not easily, as it takes an Effort, it takes Empathy, or approaching the person on a human level, not being Judgemental, not using Shame, and keeping the discussion honest, adult-to-adult and "on the level" at all times. It means having the courage or guts to have a conversation with someone who may say harsh things.




The video shows a California example where a canvasser (who is gay) talks to a black woman about including transgender people in antidiscrimination laws. As it turns out, she has a beloved nephew who shocked her by coming out as transgender. Ok, it may be staged, but it lays out the concept.

This gives me hope. We have had a barrage of hype about how everyone is locked in internet silos, only reading confirmation of their prejudices, actively being goaded into hating "the other", becoming a Facebook statistic, a puppet of inhuman, hidden forces like Cambridge Analytica, Info Wars or Russian Intelligence, beginning to believe appalling conspiracy theories that bring out the worst in us. Apparently, there is something to be gained from honest human face-to-face communication after all. Even if we cannot achieve it, perhaps it is something we should strive for?
,
For example, a few months ago, in the UK, the actor Lawrence Fox sent out some objectionable tweets. He was challenged by (among others) the black writer Bonnie Greer. What happened after is extraordinary - instead of escalating, as usually happens, the two met over coffee for a face-to-face conversation. They did not give details, only that it was amicable, and agreed to meet again.

Should we keep the foregoing in mind with debating on politics.ie? Within its obvious limitations, yes.
It's an admirable idea, but I doubt the vast majority of racists can be reached through reasonable discussion.

I worked for a while against racist and organized hate organizations, I wont bore anyone with the details. And from that experience I very quickly realized a few things.

Most racists genuinely do not believe they are racists. This is because they have only a limited grasp of what racism is, if they have any grasp of it all, even.

As a single example. We had a prolific & well know poster on here who is now, thankfully, banned and spouting his hatred on a certain other site.

He enthusiastically informed us at one point that if any black person were to cross his gate he would have beaten them to a pulp, & if a daughter of his were to date a black guy, he would shoot him.

He was, and is to this very day, genuinely aghast that anyone would consider him a racist because he really does not think he is one. According to his self image, he is only called a racist because no one can handle his arguments.

I am not sure what the success rate would be in reaching such people
 

McTell

Well-known member
Joined
Oct 16, 2012
Messages
8,599
Mostly racists are poor ignorant peeps who, in time-honoured fashion, are taking it out on other poor ignorant peeps.

Theorists go on about oppression in a marxist sense, but nobody oppresses the poor like the poor. Skin colour is just another excuse for being mean, and mean peeps are generally mean to all and sundry.
 

stopdoingstuff

Well-known member
Joined
Feb 26, 2011
Messages
23,039
Humanisation is the key. Hating in the abstract is the easiest thing, since what you hate is a concept. The best way to overcome this is by face-to-face encounters. I have seen it more than once. The most obvious case was of a Congolese family who moved to my street back in 2004. The State decided to kick them out, and hardened racists who had gotten to know them and their kids ended up signing the petition to keep them in the country.
 

blinding

Well-known member
Joined
Jul 1, 2008
Messages
23,779
Mostly racists are poor ignorant peeps who, in time-honoured fashion, are taking it out on other poor ignorant peeps.

Theorists go on about oppression in a marxist sense, but nobody oppresses the poor like the poor. Skin colour is just another excuse for being mean, and mean peeps are generally mean to all and sundry.
Some of the Irish were Great Racists in America against Black People.
 

McTell

Well-known member
Joined
Oct 16, 2012
Messages
8,599
Some of the Irish were Great Racists in America against Black People.
Yes, particularly when they were on the way up.

And a few were slave traders in N'orlins.
 

Rural

Well-known member
Joined
Apr 28, 2007
Messages
29,894
Offering a platform to racists allows them to multiply.

Why pretend there's a debate when there isn't one?
I don't think that OTJ is suggesting that P.ie builds a platform for "Racists" (you can correct me if I have picked you up wrong @owedtojoy). I think that what he is saying is, not everyone is a racist, homophobic, or a misogynist and being labelled as such in the middle of a debate just because you voted a certain way or because of the way you described something, stifles debate and is unproductive on a discussion site.

I know that there are horrible racists/homophobes/misogynists etc. out there and many of them were allowed to crawl around this site for too long. But labelling some poster as such just because of the way they say they voted in a referendum is completely stifling debate and it might be more interesting to find out why people vote a certain way instead of calling them stupid names.
 

Clanrickard

Well-known member
Joined
Apr 25, 2008
Messages
34,593
Offering a platform to racists allows them to multiply.

Why pretend there's a debate when there isn't one?
Because it is called free speech. Racism isn't nice but racists should be allowed to say their piece. Stopping them from saying it won't stop them thinking it. The problem is the word racist has become debased because of over use.
 

Hewson

Well-known member
Joined
Apr 29, 2009
Messages
10,291

Hewson

Well-known member
Joined
Apr 29, 2009
Messages
10,291
Gina Miller met one of her internet bullies face-to-face. The results were interesting.

 

Seán E. Ryan

Well-known member
Joined
Feb 4, 2007
Messages
1,303
I don't think that OTJ is suggesting that P.ie builds a platform for "Racists" (you can correct me if I have picked you up wrong @owedtojoy). I think that what he is saying is, not everyone is a racist, homophobic, or a misogynist and being labelled as such in the middle of a debate just because you voted a certain way or because of the way you described something, stifles debate and is unproductive on a discussion site.

I know that there are horrible racists/homophobes/misogynists etc. out there and many of them were allowed to crawl around this site for too long. But labelling some poster as such just because of the way they say they voted in a referendum is completely stifling debate and it might be more interesting to find out why people vote a certain way instead of calling them stupid names.
Nope. I've no problem whatsoever with the OP. It's good to talk about these things.

There are plenty of ignorant folks on this site, but ignorance on its own isn't racism. If it becomes a debate about the toleration of ignorance, that's a different thing, and I'm all for debate and education. Racism is an end product with ignorance at its root. Ignorance on its own is an opportunity for education and not a one of us hasn't been there.
 

Emily Davison

Well-known member
Joined
Jun 9, 2013
Messages
34,240
No.
Worshipping statues is considered idol worship which The Lord ordered our Israelite ancestors never to do (see Bible).
Worshipping statues is an ABOMINATION to Him. He told our ancestors don't do it, so we don't do it.
We do, however, use statues to help focus our thoughts before praying or before asking a specific Saint to intercede on our behalf with a petition to The Lord. That's why statues of different saints are often positioned around the sides of the church.
It's worth informing non-believers who might be considering joining The Church today that Catholics only ever pray to Our Lord or Our Lady, who is of course The Mother of God. Praying to Saints or even non-saints is considered sin, so we resolve never to do that.
What about Ballinspittle then! I know two people went there and believe they saw the statue move. And they were sane people.
 


New Threads

Popular Threads

Most Replies

Top Bottom