Are ethnic jokes inherently wrong, racist, or offensive?

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This topic contains 163 replies, has 8 voices, and was last updated by  Davis 3 months ago.

Viewing 15 posts - 16 through 30 (of 164 total)
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  • #37037

    TheEncogitationer
    Participant

    Davis,

    While it isn’t right to attribute chosen character traits to people for their immutable traits and while it isn’t right to degrade, diminish, and hate people for their immutable traits, ideas such as cosmologies, philosophies, ideologies and religions are all consciously chosen and espoused by human beings.

    Thus, ideas and their proponents are not immune from questioning, scrutiny, or derisive satire and humor.  Wokeism and the Woke are no exception and are especially deserving of such scornful jeering.

    Wokeism is not a viewpoint based in reason and science treating all people as individuals with equal dignity, rights, and justice, regardless of conditions of birth.  Wokeism is rehashed Postmodernism and Cultural Marxism.

    Wokeism thinks with Postmodernism that all words are solely self-referential and that there is no objective reality to which they can refer and which all rational minds can understand.  To Wokeism, there are only different “truths” and ways of understanding for different identity groups and language is part of some structure of oppression by some identities (i.e. “straight ‘white’ males”) to hold down certain other identity groups (i.e. everyone else.)  Here, Wokeism take the Marxist idea of “Class Struggle” and replaces it with “race,” ethnic, sexual, and gender struggle.

    Wokeism holds that identities such as “race,” ethnicity, sex, gender, and orientation are mystical entities that have primacy over individual human beings who may have these identities.

    In this way, as well as others, ( e.g.  unfalsifiability, Original Sin, revelation to some and not others, self-flagellation, apocalypticism, etc.) Wokeism is a totalitarian religious ideology, something that rational, freethinking Atheists need to consider anathema and fight against for dear life.

    And many such as Coleman Hughes, James Lindsay, Peter Boghossian, Sam Harris, and Linguist John McWhorter all argue this very well.

    Coleman Hughes on Where did Wokeism come from? with James Lindsay and Peter Boghossian

    The New Religion of Anti-Racism: A Conversation with John McWhorter (Episode #217)

    Maybe not all who identify as Woke exercise Wokeism fully, just as some Catholics are LGBTQ or practice contraception, but that doesn’t change the nature of Wokeism or where Wokeism leads.

    • This reply was modified 3 months, 2 weeks ago by  TheEncogitationer. Reason: Regard for spelling, which according Wokeism, is "racist."
    • This reply was modified 3 months, 2 weeks ago by  TheEncogitationer.
    #37040

    jakelafort
    Participant

    Okay Enco, so where does free market capitalism lead?

    You are wont to give simple examples to undermine a viewpoint. So deal with the owner of real property in fee simple (that means legally that the owner has all of the right title and interest that law can bestow) in which the sale is conditioned on the prospective purchaser not selling or transferring to Blacks.

    #37041

    Unseen
    Participant

    If you start telling any stereotypical Irish jokes I will punch your lights out as soon as I finish this drink.

    and here’s one for the gays:

    #37042

    Unseen
    Participant

    #37043

    Thanks Unseen. Pull up a bar stool . My round next.

    #37044

    _Robert_
    Participant

    I guess ethnic jokes would be acceptable and fun if we didn’t have a long history of violence, murder, and suppression of human rights based on ethnicity. But we do.  So intent and attitude needs to be established. I had family members who would spout racially-motivated or nationality-based jokes right after that first beer. It was to make themselves feel better about themselves, for no good reason. These we not “laugh-with-them” type jokes. Many jokes were bitterly directed at women as well. I didn’t even ‘get’ a lot of these jokes being too young at the time, so they would explain “it’s because (e.g. pollocks, jews, wops, spear chuckers, etc) are lazy, you see. So I was being taught to be a racist via jokes.

    So yeah, context matters, intent matters, attitudes matter. If an ethnic joke is truly harmless it probably wouldn’t go over well with those idiots anyways.

    #37045

    jakelafort
    Participant

    I agree Robert.

    Ethnic jokes between friends are often no more than good natured persiflage. It adds to a good time. At the other end of the spectrum there are racists and various haters who will utter such jokes in public with impunity and relish. Their intent is to belittle, normalize unacceptable stereotypes and in so doing to elevate themselves and their group. Certain words and stereotypes are so charged they cause an immediate painful physiological response with the intended sub group.

    There is a greater lesson. When we evaluate political ideology, legal issues and various viewpoints me must factor in what it is to be human and the history of our species. The very fact that we need an amendment for free speech is pathetic. A sophisticated alien civilization would probably know from that one fact that we are another sad sack of shit species of higher than bacteria intelligence.

    My wanting to censor true hate speech is not because of its philosophical appeal. It is because of our history and the consequences of allowing it to run amok. You see repeatedly how married people become to their ideology, mythology, beliefs, and how truly unshakeable they are no matter how stupid they look or how illogical they are. The notion that a free marketplace of ideas will elevate the good and defenestrate the bad is bullshit and it is espoused by many intellectuals. And that is just one little area where looking at reality of human nature is essential.

    #37057

    Davis
    Moderator

    Wokeism is rehashed Postmodernism and Cultural Marxism.

    Eco. You don’t have the slightest clue what wokeism is, what postmodernism is or what cultural marxism is if you honestly stand by that claim. I find myself more and more finding it really difficult to take 95% of what you say seriously. Consider educating yourself on the things you discuss rather than regurgitating the nonsense you read from ignorant commentators. The sources you educate yourself from are important. I suggest finding far more intellectually useful and honest sources of information and putting a little more effort into your inquiry.

    • This reply was modified 3 months, 2 weeks ago by  Davis.
    #37060

    Autumn
    Participant

    I have been a little curious where ‘postmodernism, neo/cultural-marxism’ entered mainstream lexicon. A decade ago, it’s not something I’d have heard casually tossed about. When I started seeing it casually chirped about reflexively on various fora and social media platforms, it was linked predominately to Jordan Peterson and Canada’s pending (at the time) transgender rights legislation bill c-16. But I’m not sure if he was the the spark that elevated this into a widespread meme, or if it just looks that way to me because I hadn’t been paying attention before that.

    #37062

    Davis
    Moderator

    Critique of post-modernist thought has actually been around for a while. Especially after the Sokal affair. Post-modernism is a huge family of activity ranging from post-modern arts (especially art and literature) and related affairs (architecture etc), post-modern philosophy and a post-modern approach to the humanities. I can say that in the arts…I don’t have the slightest problem with most of it. In philosophy…a lot of it is drivel though some questions that post-modernism have brought up have been very useful. In the humanities I would say the same. Most of it is nonsense, hard to follow. There are some tropes in post modern philosophy and some of their approaches to the humanities that, superficially are interesting but in the end prove rather useless. Extreme cultural relativism, a pretty strong anti-science and anti-rationalist movement and other forms of relativity. I don’t think any of this is a problem if you are simply taking a strong skeptical approach to any field of study. What is problematic is when they challenge “knowledge”, or “morality” and then follow that up with all sort of claims or moral judgements. It is what makes reading much of their text really painful to read. Truly painful.

    Having said all of this, I don’t think it is useful to discount all of it. For example post-modernists did help bring out things like racial studies and a lot of attention to the problem of marginalised people. Unfortunately areas like gender studies and queer studies tend to have a lot of literature which is a mixture of intellectual rigorous, analytical rational evidence based work…and then there is a fair bit of post-modernist drivel (stuff that is very hard to read, full of over generalising claims that are difficult to defend etc). People like Jordon Peterson excel at their attacks on things like gender studies, racial theory, queer studies by painting ALL of it as post-modern drivel. Which is super ridiculous. Much of it is evidence based. I mean you cannot argue with meta-studies which demonstrate beyond a doubt that black people in the United States suffer from fewer opportunities and harsher punishment in the justice system as well as unconscious bias in the job market etc. Same with queer studies. And in direct relation to what Eco is saying, it has been well demonstrated how harmful certain types of speech are for marginalised people. This shouldn’t be controversial. I don’t know why some people think it is.

    Eco though has thrown out a really bizarre curve ball here. I haven’t the slightest clue why he is making wokeism synonymous with post-modernism. While there certainly are some woke post-modernists, the two things are not remotely enough connected to justify the kind of claims he is making. How cultural-marxism got in there, is even harder to understand.

    In the end, being critical of an approach to a topic because it takes a philosophically post-modernist take…isn’t necessarily a bad thing. I often groan when reading it. But one really ought to be quoting an actual philosophical post-modernist approach…not one that you simply “think” or “claim” is post-modernist when it absolutely isn’t.

    • This reply was modified 3 months, 2 weeks ago by  Davis.
    #37064

    Autumn
    Participant

    Critique of post-modernist thought has actually been around for a while.

    Right, but I am talking about the specific trend of these terms being used the same way ‘snowflake’ or ‘alt right’ are used. At some point there was a strange emergence of uncritical application of these terms being used by people who ordinarily seem to feel alienated by the so-called ‘ivory tower’.

    The chronology for me was Peterson gave his insipid YouTube speech on bill C-16. I don’t recall if it was in that video or subsequent videos/ talks that he started referring it as postmodernism and cultural Marxism. From him, it’s not strange to hear such terms. Those are the sort of references we’d expect from him. Some time after, every conversation on c-16 was met with a chorus of contentless ‘postmodernism, cultural-Marxism’ cries. The question isn’t where Peterson got the terms from. They fit vaguely within his areas of study and interest. It’s where all the parrots got it from.

    The only reason I wonder is anyone invested in talking about human rights issues has to in some way come to terms with the fact that there is a propaganda battle going on. And the postmodernism/ cultural-Marxism piece ended up being an interesting bit of little propaganda—specious yet feels weighty and erudite when it catches you off guard. I’d wager it tripped up a lot of people in the short term. The way the terms were applied to c-16 (and I assume many other issues, especially feminism and blm) specifically was stupid on its face, but as a bit of propaganda, their deployment was well done.

    Eco though has thrown out a really bizarre curve ball here. I haven’t the slightest clue why he is making wokeism synonymous with post-modernism.

    And that’s basically why I brought it up and what I am getting at. It’s a surprisingly common meme even though it makes little sense most of the time.

    #37065

    Autumn
    Participant

    Having said all of this, I don’t think it is useful to discount all of it. For example post-modernists did help bring out things like racial studies and a lot of attention to the problem of marginalised people. Unfortunately areas like gender studies and queer studies tend to have a lot of literature which is a mixture of intellectual rigorous, analytical rational evidence based work…and then there is a fair bit of post-modernist drivel (stuff that is very hard to read, full of over generalising claims that are difficult to defend etc). People like Jordon Peterson excel at their attacks on things like gender studies, racial theory, queer studies by painting ALL of it as post-modern drivel. Which is super ridiculous. Much of it is evidence based. I mean you cannot argue with meta-studies which demonstrate beyond a doubt that black people in the United States suffer from fewer opportunities and harsher punishment in the justice system as well as unconscious bias in the job market etc. Same with queer studies.

    I’m separating this out just because it pertains to actual philosophy rather than the meme I was pointing out earlier.

    I do believe one of the complicating factors is as our understanding of certain phenomena advances, we run into issues on how our language has been constructed, especially in the intersection of social behaviours as they pertain to in groups and out groups defined often by biological characteristics. When we start deconstructing and reconstructing language, it can seem like attacks on the objective phenomena they describe. “There is no sex.” That statement alone is dubious. However, ‘sex’ has become a semantically problematic word. The way most people use it seems to be divorced from objective reality. So much of what we refer to as ‘sex’ doesn’t exist outside of generalization or loose characterization.

    The language we use to describe gender identity, race, sexual orientation, power dynamics and a whole host of other things has evolved rather awkwardly. As we learn more and more about various phenomena and the underlying diversity and complexity, our language can’t possibly keep up. For me, the answer to the issue isn’t that difficulty. Simple accept there are inherent limitations to the way we speak, and make gradual improvements over time. I suppose at the extremes you end up with dissecting terminology endlessly to the point it becomes entirely unwieldy (which, admittedly, is appealing in the way abstract art is appealing), or locking down words with heavy prescriptivism. Of those two groups, it’s the former who will be accused of trying to deny objective reality. But I’d say the latter tends to be worse in this regard. It results in absurd reductionism and pseudo-pedantry.

    #37079

    _Robert_
    Participant

    I got drawn into JP’s line for a bit. Being an alimony-paying white male, of course it made some sense to me (for a while.) Biological reasoning, lobsters…and all that. The commercial media can certainly feel like an enemy to a white male these days. Standing over the backyard grill, dumb look on the face, the definition of cluelessness. Even though the stereotype fits often, is this the best way to achieve equality? Probably not. Well JP saw a market and has his cult of white males, MGTOWs included. Guys who find it difficult to find a mate because women are becoming independent. The ones who scare me the most sit in their rooms and pet their guns. Maybe he helps some of them stay off the edge. Maybe he makes them worse, IDK. Seems he fell off the edge for a while himself.

    #37082

    Simon Paynton
    Participant

    I got drawn into JP’s line for a bit.

    What do you think is his actual message?  How is it positive for people?  I always found it hard to understand a lot of it.  I understand that “stand up straight, clean your room, get organised, stop acting like a loser, find some meaning” is a good message for a generation of “lost boys”.

    Guys who find it difficult to find a mate because women are becoming independent.
    Surely the old model of patriarchy is dying away in the West, because under the old model, women were dependent on men, and men exploited the situation to oppress women.  If men were dependent on women financially, they would want to get out of this situation, because it makes them vulnerable.  There is research to say that when women are more dependent on men, the rate of wife-beating goes up.
    I think another model of patriarchy – another part of that same reproductive strategy, of men provisioning women with what they need – is precisely that.  These lost boys should try to find out what it is that women actually want, and give it to them, instead of, perhaps, attempting to continue to control them.  That has to be one of JP’s messages.
    So I can understand if a generation of men is feeling lost.
    #37083

    _Robert_
    Participant

    I got drawn into JP’s line for a bit.

    What do you think is his actual message? How is it positive for people? I always found it hard to understand a lot of it. I understand that “stand up straight, clean your room, get organised, stop acting like a loser, find some meaning” is a good message for a generation of “lost boys”.

    Guys who find it difficult to find a mate because women are becoming independent.
    Surely the old model of patriarchy is dying away in the West, because under the old model, women were dependent on men, and men exploited the situation to oppress women. If men were dependent on women financially, they would want to get out of this situation, because it makes them vulnerable. There is research to say that when women are more dependent on men, the rate of wife-beating goes up.
    I think another model of patriarchy – another part of that same reproductive strategy, of men provisioning women with what they need – is precisely that. These lost boys should try to find out what it is that women actually want, and give it to them, instead of, perhaps, attempting to continue to control them. That has to be one of JP’s messages.
    So I can understand if a generation of men is feeling lost.
    I don’t think JP is honest and oversimplifies things a lot and that is enough for me to disregard his pitch. A list of rules doesn’t work for me. He uses spirituality and religion to loosely back up his ‘thesis’ and yet I can’t tell what he really believes in. There is an odd mix of apparent sensitivity and clinical coldness.
    It is OK however, to point out some looming relationship issues as women become independent. For example since a woman deserves equal pay she should no longer expect a man to make significantly more money than her. I think perhaps there needs to be societal changes by BOTH women and men to reach some form of egalitarianism. It may be just as hard for women as it will be for men. There are obvious biological and evolutionary differences between the average characteristics of those born male and those born female. Can we all accept that a lot of these traits fall along a continuous spectrum; stop behaving like it is a binary function with all the harmful expectations that go along with that attitude.
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