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November 14 2017

it keeps happening and it’s a surprise each time

feotakahari:

pervocracy:

“Hey, you know Rapin’ Bob?  The guy who’s always joking about being a rapist and everyone is always joking about him being a rapist?  The guy we all sorta knew was “rapey” but that’s not the same thing as rapist, right?  The guy who was always pestering women/men/children in a sexual sort of way, but not a rape sort of way precisely?  You know him?  Rapin’ Bob McRapeface, we always called him?”

“Well, I just saw the news and I am completely shocked what just came out about him.”

I once saw an article about a guy who used to farm gold in Word of Warcraft. The other gold farmers “joked” about how they would ostracize anyone who stopped being a gold farmer. Then he stopped being a gold farmer, and they all ostracized him.

I’ve decided it’s simpler and more accurate to assume most of the things people say as “jokes” aren’t actually jokes. When I assume they don’t really mean it, I’m wrong way more often than I’m right.

November 13 2017

theunitofcaring:

I think a big part of how I see the world is that -

In college I was sick. In particular I was anorexic, and I nearly starved myself to death. I never accomplished anything, made commitments I couldn’t keep, lost track of time, and struggled with the most basic life tasks. I was anxious (mostly because I correctly knew that everything was going horribly) and lazy (because I could not possibly do enough things to matter, and doing things was hard and hurt) and unreliable and terrible. I ended up owing people a lot of money (I have since paid them all back) and failing at things that were really important to me and to other people.

And now I am in a good environment for me. I live with people who I can be reasonably assured don’t hate me and will tell me when they need me to do things differently, and I am no longer anxious. My work has clear expectations and is bite-sized and doesn’t pile up on me, and I reliably deliver it and do a good job. I have enough money I don’t have to deal with the mental overhead of deciding whether to buy the food I want, and I spend that mental overhead on better things. I am still messy and I am still bad at getting places on time, but I’m never late on rent. I am mostly a productive, honest, trustworthy, reliable person and I’m getting better at those things. I have friends and kiss girls (and the occasional boy) and I make a positive difference in peoples’ lives.

Some of the difference was immaturity and lack of skills; much of the difference is that I had starved my brain until it stopped functioning; much of the difference was that I was in an environment that was not shaped to my strengths. But living through it gave me this powerful sense that the difference between a “lazy” person and a “successful” person, between a reliable person and an unreliable person, between a “good” person and a “bad” person, is a lot about whether they are in an environment shaped to their strengths. That almost everybody will be great in the right environment and really really struggle in a bad one. And some people have never ever encountered a bad one and think they’re just inherently great; and some people have never encountered a good one, and think they’re just inherently miserable and hard to get along with and unreliable and untrustworthy.

I absolutely think people are still accountable for the things they do in bad environments. I’ve worked really hard to fix the things I fucked up at when I was sick, and I don’t mean “it’s all the environment” to mean “it’s not you”. Just - the same you who was miserable and did bad things will be happy and do good things, in better circumstances, and lots of the human project is building those circumstances. 

I don’t know how to give everyone an environment in which they’ll thrive. It’s probably absurdly hard, in lots of cases it is, in practical terms, impossible. But I basically always feel like it’s the point, and that anything else is missing the point. There are people whose brains are permanently-given-our-current-capabilities stuck functioning the way my brain functioned when I was very sick. And I encounter, sometimes, “individual responsibility” people who say “lazy, unproductive, unreliable people who choose not to work choose their circumstances; if they go to bed hungry then, yes, they deserve to be hungry; what else could ‘deserve’ possibly mean?” They don’t think they’re talking to me; I have a six-figure tech job and do it well and save for retirement and pay my bills, just like them. But I did not deserve to be hungry when I was sick, either, and I would not deserve to be hungry if I’d never gotten better.

What else could ‘deserve’ possibly mean? When I use it, I am pointing at the ‘give everyone an environment in which they’ll thrive’ thing. People with terminal cancer deserve a cure even though right now we don’t have one; deserving isn’t a claim about what we have, but about what we would want to give out if we had it. And so, to me, horrible people who abuse others all the time deserve an environment in which they would thrive and not be able to abuse others, even if we can’t provide one and don’t even have any idea what it would look like and sensibly are prioritizing other people who don’t abuse others. If you have experiences, you deserve good experiences; if you have feelings, you deserve happy feelings; if you want to be loved, you are worthy of love. You flourishing is a moral good; everybody flourishing is in fact the only moral good, the entire thing morality is for. Your actions should have consequences, sure, and we should figure out how to build a world where those consequences are ones that you can handle, and where you can amend the things that you do wrong. When you hurt people, that can change what “you thriving” looks like, because part of thriving is fixing, and growing from, things you have done wrong; but nothing you do can change that it is good for you to thrive.

I reject that I ever deserved to starve, and so I reject that anyone, ever, deserves to starve. I reject that I ever deserved to suffer, and so I reject that anyone, ever, deserves to suffer. Happiness is good. Your happiness is good. And without a single exception anywhere I want you to thrive.

November 07 2017

November 02 2017

doomhamster:

grison-in-labs:

grison-in-labs:

moon-boob:

fecundism:

prissygrrrl:

fecundism:

fecundism:

ive been reading a book that basically explains how so-called “brain differences” between the genders is the result of gendered socialization and not the cause of it. i honestly expected the book to be very cis-centric but its actually the opposite, the author stresses that testimony from trans ppl is actually indispensable because we’ve, in a sense, “lived both experiences”

more cis feminists should have this mindset

one of the first examples that she uses to introduce her point about how perception by others can shape a person’s performance actually uses a trans woman. it explains that as a certain trans woman became to be seen as a woman more and more frequently, the ppl arond her eventually started viewing her as being ill equipped for tasks that they did not bother her about pre-transition. eventually she even found herself underperforming in these tasks herself.

whats the name of the book

Delusions of Gender by Cordelia Fine

Here’s a pdf, babes <3

Can testify that Fine’s new book Testosterone Rex is equally excellent and also reasonably friendly to gender variant folks. Would also recommend the shit of out of her colleague Rebecca Jordan-Watson’s book Brain Storm, particularly for anyone interested in where all that information on intersex kids actually comes from and how that data on “gay genes” and “masculine versus feminine brains” is generated–and how, generally, the scientific sausage gets made. 

(I’m seriously tempted, frequently, to hand out those three books plus Stephanie Coontz’ Marriage, a History, Emily Nagoski’s Come As You Are on human sexuality and Joan Roughgarden’s Evolution’s Rainbow to anyone who is interested in biology, sexuality, and gender. All but Evolution’s Rainbow have been terribly influential to me, and that one mostly just suffers from the fact that I’d run across most of the data in Roughgarden’s book before I read the book itself–and the part where as an evolutionary biologist I’m pretty skeptical of the lengths to which she goes re: promoting cooperation-based theories vs competition-based theories of animal behavior. Of course, I don’t think she’s entirely wrong, either: you ought to consider all potential reasons as you design your studies. And her book is a fabulous deconstruction of the idea that sex and gender in biology can ever be considered a single, simple binary. 

Anyway, all are very thorough and with the exception of Marriage, a History they’re close enough to my field that I can personally verify that they are solid and based on good data, techniques, and analysis. The five books specifically about biology (and in Fine’s case, neurological research framed in a sexist context) are as trans- and intersex-inclusive as they can be given the data available. 

Nagoski, for example, apologizes in her preface for not having the data to really talk about how genderqueer and trans* folks’ sexuality differs on average from cis women’s, because the studies haven’t been done. Jordan-Watson’s piece talks in depth about the abuse perpetuated on intersex children by the scientific establishment and how the intense focus on their gender identity growing up can create difficulty in interpreting the effects of things like prenatal hormonal exposure; she’s notable for considering the subjects of studies on intersex children as human, and humans who are watching the researchers right back, at that. Fine . And Roughgarden is, of course, openly trans herself and has been blazing trails in behavioral ecology for a good long time.)

Reblogging on request.

Thanks =)

Worth noting that Fine’s books have been heavily criticised. For a critical view of Testosterone Rex, check out http://quillette.com/2017/03/21/cordelia-fines-testosterone-rex-a-review/

See also her Wikipedia page https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cordelia_Fine?wprov=sfla1 for some more critical views.

October 29 2017

theunitofcaring:

So GiveDirectly is a charity that gives money to the poorest people in the world who have access to reliable financial infrastructure. The idea is that no one knows better than an individual family what that family needs most - a new roof, school supplies, food, clothes, medicine, chickens - so instead of giving them chickens or giving them school supplies or giving them food, you give them money and they can choose what to do with it.

GiveDirectly is rated among the most effective ways to help people living in extreme poverty. A few direct medical interventions seem to be even better, because the medical interventions can be delivered at scale, but giving people money is definitely one of the most powerful ways to help them.

So I was really interested to read this blog post by GiveDirectly announcing that they’re branching into hurricane relief. The idea is the same: lots of natural disaster relief gets wasted or stolen or spent on things that aren’t what the people affected need the most; if we just directly give people money, then they can figure out what their most urgent disaster relief needs are, instead of us trying to decide from far away what they deserve. And GiveDirectly has a reputation for being highly efficient at identifying poor people and just giving them money, a reputation which might mean they can become a trustworthy source of disaster relief.

I have a couple concerns. One is that the people GiveDirectly currently help are people who live in extreme poverty. The average recipient lives on $.65 a day. Money goes really far in helping such people - $1000, the average GiveDirectly grant, is more than a year’s income. If GiveDirectly donations which would otherwise go to people living on $.65 a day go instead to people in the United States, the money won’t go nearly as far or empower nearly as many people. On the other hand, it might be that people who donate to the global poor will keep right on donating to the global poor, and that people who donate to U.S. hurricane relief will donate to effective hurricane relief instead of the Red Cross - which means more money going to poor people. Maybe some people will even hear about the GiveDirectly model of giving through their hurricane efforts and then later choose to give to the global poor. I assume GiveDirectly expects that their venture into hurricane relief will not decrease how much money they get for tackling global poverty - and if they’re right, then I’m glad they’re doing it.

The other concern is that a disaster situation might not be the best situation for money, even though usually giving people money gives them much more flexibility than giving them specific things which we think they’ll want. If you can’t buy electricity, clean water, or shelter for any price, then being rich doesn’t help you, and making disaster victims rich won’t be as useful as figuring out how to effectively deliver aid. And maybe people will just end up bidding up the fixed supplies that do exist.

But on the other hand, there are tons of organizations trying to effectively deliver aid. And they suck at it, because it’s really hard. There’s not a lot of reason to join them without some reason to expect that you’d be uniquely good at it. There are not many organizations that are trying to just give disaster survivors money, and there should probably be some. Secondly, the thing I wrote above? “Being rich doesn’t help you?” I don’t really believe that. I think rich disaster victims do fare better than poor disaster victims, and that if most people got $1000 in their bank account the moment that a crisis hit, they’d have more options. For one thing, some people don’t evacuate because they can’t afford to lose their jobs. For another, if they do evacuate they might not have anywhere to stay and end up temporarily homeless. I think that money really does help with the problems associated with a catastrophe like Harvey or Maria, and that it probably would help disaster victims to get money - if it happens fast, ideally before the storm even hits. I don’t know if GiveDirectly has the resources to do that. They probably don’t - people donate in the aftermath of a disaster, not in the days when the hurricane is bearing down, and we don’t know exactly who will be affected until it hits.  But I think they have the right idea, and I think this approach to fixing disaster relief - just giving the affected people money - is a really great one as long as it doesn’t distract them from their important work in Kenya.

October 28 2017

The rules about responding to call outs aren’t working

realsocialskills:

Privileged people rarely take the voices of marginalized people seriously. Social justices spaces attempt to fix this with rules about how to respond to when marginalized people tell you that you’ve done something wrong. Like most formal descriptions of social skills, the rules don’t quite match reality. This is causing some problems that I think we could fix with a more honest conversation about how to respond to criticism.

The formal social justice rules say something like this:

  • You should listen to marginalized people.
  • When a marginalized person calls you out, don’t argue.
  • Believe them, apologize, and don’t do it again.
  • When you see others doing what you were called out for doing, call them out.

Those rules are a good approximation of some things, but they don’t actually work. It is impossible to follow them literally, in part because:

  • Marginalized people are not a monolith. 
  • Marginalized people have the same range of opinions as privileged people.
  • When two marginalized people tell you logically incompatible things, it is impossible to act on both sets of instructions.
  • For instance, some women believe that abortion is a human right foundational human right for women. Some women believe that abortion is murder and an attack on women and girls.
  • “Listen to women” doesn’t tell you who to believe, what policy to support, or how to talk about abortion. 
  • For instance, some women believe that religious rules about clothing liberate women from sexual objectification, other women believe that religious rules about clothing sexually objectify women. 
  • “Listen to women” doesn’t tell you what to believe about modesty rules. 
  • Narrowing it to “listen to women of minority faiths” doesn’t help, because women disagree about this within every faith.
  • When “listen to marginalized people” means “adopt a particular position”, marginalized people are treated as rhetorical props rather than real people.
  • Objectifying marginalized people does not create justice.

Since the rule is literally impossible to follow, no one is actually succeeding at following it. What usually ends up happening when people try is that:

  • One opinion gets lifted up as “the position of marginalized people” 
  • Agreeing with that opinion is called “listen to marginalized people”
  • Disagreeing with that opinion is called “talking over marginalized people”
  • Marginalized people who disagree with that opinion are called out by privileged people for “talking over marginalized people”.
  • This results in a lot of fights over who is the true voice of the marginalized people.
  • We need an approach that is more conducive to real listening and learning.

This version of the rule also leaves us open to sabotage:

  • There are a lot of people who don’t want us to be able to talk to each other and build effective coalitions.
  • Some of them are using the language of call-outs to undermine everyone who emerges as an effective progressive leader. 
  • They say that they are marginalized people, and make up lies about leaders.
  • Or they say things that are technically true, but taken out of context in deliberately misleading ways.
  • The rules about shutting up and listening to marginalized people make it very difficult to contradict these lies and distortions. 
  • (Sometimes they really are members of the marginalized groups they claim to speak for. Sometimes they’re outright lying about who they are).
  • (For instance, Russian intelligence agents have used social media to pretend to be marginalized Americans and spread lies about Hillary Clinton.)

The formal rule is also easily exploited by abusive people, along these lines:

  • An abusive person convinces their victim that they are the voice of marginalized people.
  • The abuser uses the rules about “when people tell you that you’re being oppressive, don’t argue” to control the victim.
  • Whenever the victim tries to stand up for themself, the abuser tells the victim that they’re being oppressive.
  • That can be a powerfully effective way to make victims in our communities feel that they have no right to resist abuse. 
  • This can also prevent victims from getting support in basic ways.
  • Abusers can send victims into depression spirals by convincing them that everything that brings them pleasure is oppressive and immoral. 
  • The abuser may also isolate the victim by telling them that it would be oppressive for them to spend time with their friends and family, try to access victim services, or call the police. 
  • The abuser may also separate the victim from their community and natural allies by spreading baseless rumors about their supposed oppressive behavior. (Or threatening to do so).
  • When there are rules against questioning call outs, there are also implicit rules against taking the side of a victim when the abuser uses the language of calling out.
  • Rules that say some people should unconditionally defer to others are always dangerous.

The rule also lacks intersectionality:

  • No one experiences every form of oppression or every form of privilege.
  • Call-outs often involve people who are marginalized in different ways. 
  • Often, both sides in the conflict have a point.
  • For instance, black men have male privilege and white women have white privilege.
  • If a white woman calls a black man out for sexism and he responds by calling her out for racism (or vice versa), “listened to marginalized people” isn’t a very helpful rule because they’re both marginalized.
  • These conversations tend to degenerate into an argument about which form of marginalization is most significant.
  • This prevents people involved from actually listening to each other.
  • In conflicts like this, it’s often the case that both sides have a legitimate point. (In ways that are often not immediately obvious.)
  • We need to be able to work through these conflicts without expecting simplistic rules to resolve them in advance.

This rule also tends to prevent groups centered around one form of marginalized from coming to engage with other forms of marginalization:

  • For instance, in some spaces, racism and sexism are known to be issues, but ableism is not.
  • (This can occur in any combination. Eg: There are also spaces that get ableism and sexism but not racism, and spaces that get economic justice and racism but not antisemitism, or any number of other things.)
  • When disabled people raise the issue of ableism in any context (social justice or otherwise), they’re likely to be shouted down and told that it’s not important.
  • In social justice spaces, this shouting down is often done in the name of “listening to marginalized people”.
  • For instance, disabled people may be told ‘you need to listen to marginalized people and de-center your issues’, carrying the implication that ableism is less important than other forms of oppression.
  • (This happens to *every* marginalized group in some context or other.)
  • If we want real intersectional solidarity, we need to have space for ongoing conflicts that are not simple to resolve.

Tl;dr “Shut up and listen to marginalized people” isn’t quite the right rule, because it objectifies marginalized people, leaves us open to sabotage, enables abuse, and prevents us from working through conflicts in a substantive way. We need to do better by each other, and start listening for real.

October 24 2017

ingoodtimeihopeipray:

argumate:

seriously though the life of Ada Lovelace is some next level Mary Sue bullshit

oooh I’m the daughter of Lord Byron, I’m a countess, I get Dickens to come to my house to read me bed time stories in person, I’m learning mathematics from De Morgan, I know calculus, I take tea with Charles Darwin, I’m the world’s first computer programmer, I display a depth of understanding that won’t be reached in the software industry for another hundred years, la de fucking da

lady, chill

an even bigger observation that must be made from Lovelace’s story is that she is the WORLDS FIRST COMPUTER programmer, and in today’s world so many women in tech are harassed or made to feel inferior by men in the field…. IT ALL ORIGINATED FROM A GIRL, BASTARDS!

No, she wasn’t the world’s first computer programmer. That’s a myth. Her Wikipedia article, despite saying it over and over, eventually admits that the historian of computing Doron Swade and other experts have refuted the claim.

In any case, I would argue you can’t be a programmer if you don’t have a real working computer to test your programs on, and no-one did back then.

October 23 2017

Robin Green🌹🔰 on Twitter

In which I get roasted by Rick Sanchez himself.

October 22 2017

mitigatedchaos:

mitigatedchaos:

tanadrin:

This pisses me off so, so much. Warning: what follows is not very calm. Probably not very charitable either. I write “fuck” a lot.

Keep reading

< caring about opinions being actually good vs being seen to be good >

 Well, there’s your answer right there, isn’t it?

Scott may be the Rightful Caliph (or a contender for the position) within Rationalism and its Adjacency, but outside of our sphere, he has all sorts of markers that are low-status, or are tribal low-status, and he poses a danger to a lot of people that are farming status through toxic takes.

I mean, imagine if Rationalism became the new normal.  Sure, this would probably crash a lot of metaphorical trains and the results would be observable in the global GDP, but one of the trains that got crashed would be most of the established Commentariat, their pundits, the outrage-farming, clickbaiting and so on.

New ones would likely develop in the aftermath, because Rationalism doesn’t actually remove all sorts of base human emotions.  However, the new ones would be different people.  

Scott’s social status is zero sum with these people.  His gain is their loss.  They’re going to attack, attack, attack.  They may not even fully know why they’re doing it.

@more-whales offers this take:

I’m also sick of snark passing for wisdom about important things but my evaluation is probably closer to Maciej’s and I do think you are off the mark wrt where this snark in particular is coming from. He goes on to tweet here he doesn’t think Scott is evil and he’ll try to articulate it more clearly, so we’ll see

October 21 2017

prokopetz:

While it’s absolutely important to examine the demographics of the candidate pool when evaluating the results of a psychological experiment, you’ve also gotta keep in mind the most basic source of selection bias: psychological experiments are 100% biased toward the sort of people who agree to participate in psychological experiments.

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noirandpumpkinspice:

“Ponder,” by Stephen Player
2015 Discworld Calendar September Image

The only sane man at Unseen University.  I am in love with the use of an actual notebook with a glowing pineapple on it to look like a laptop.  The FTB is enabled, the anthill is inside, the icons are installed, and there is plenty of ram.  Oh and Ponder has his pocket protector.  So it’s obviously time to get down to some serious calculating of the nature of reality.

October 18 2017

Time Inc.

techcompaniesthatonlyhiremen:

We are looking for a developer who is dedicated to his craft, writes code that he is proud of and can hit the ground running. We need you to write beautiful, fast code to a high standard, in a timely and scalable way that improves the code-base of our products in meaningful ways. You will be a part of a creative team that is responsible for all aspects of the ongoing software development from the initial specification, through to developing, testing and launching. You will be expected to take on a lead role in developing projects using new and emerging technologies on a variety of platforms using open standards.

http://careers.stackoverflow.com/jobs/95274/senior-developer-web-and-mobile-si-play-time-inc?searchTerm=lead

October 04 2017

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oktavia-von-gwwcendorff:

earthboundricochet:

trans-dave-strider:

marauders4evr:

marauders4evr:

marauders4evr:

WHAT THE ACTUAL FUCK!?

NO SERIOUSLY WHAT THE FUCK!?

The United Nations proposed a law condemning nations who sentence people in the LGBT community, among other minorities, to death. 

And the U.S. voted against it.

They refused to condemn countries who SENTENCE THE LGBT COMMUNITY TO DEATH!

The United Nations isn’t one of those gray areas. All of the laws and legislations are intentionally black and white. In this case, you either condemn killing the LGBT community for the sake of being gay/trans/etc. Or you don’t. 

There’s no middle ground. There’s no interpretation. There’s no reading into it. 

On October 3rd, 2017, the United States refused to condemn sentencing the LGBT Community to death. Which can only mean that they’re in favor of sentencing the LGBT Community to death. 

but in good news

I wonder what could be the explanation…

what a mistery…

I guess we’ll never know…

we can only imagine there must have been a reason

No let’s be honest the resolution also condemns executing kids and mentally retarded people, and using death penalty against blasphemers and apostates. We can’t know for sure it was specifically the “don’t kill gays” part that rustled America’s jimmies.

September 25 2017

It wasn’t typical for NFL players to stand for the national anthem until 2009—before then, it was customary for players to stay in the locker room as the anthem played. A 2015 congressional report revealed that the Department of Defense had paid $5.4 million to NFL teams between 2011 and 2014 to stage on-field patriotic ceremonies; the National Guard shelled out $6.7 million for similar displays between 2013 and 2015.

Josh Levin, Colin Kaepernick’s Protest Is Working

💵 🇺🇸 💵 (via mehreenkasana)

September 24 2017

apprenticebard:

I feel like a lot of attempts at convincing conservatives that larger social safety nets and state-funded healthcare are good things are like… fundamentally failing to engage with their basic concerns.

Like, guys, I have literally been asked questions along the lines of “what are your plans for when the economy collapses and all of our currency becomes worthless” by multiple family members in the past month. If people keep yelling WHY DO YOU HATE THE POORS at them, then I think they’re going to feel roughly the same as a conservationist who keeps hearing WHY DO YOU HATE POOR PEOPLE IN THE CONGO WHO CUT DOWN THE RAIN FOREST FOR AGRICULTURAL PURPOSES

like, you don’t. you don’t hate those people. maybe you hate people much more powerful than them who cut down many more trees, but the people who clear four acres so they have some land to grow crops to feed their families? nah, you don’t hate those people. if you object to their actions, it’s because you’re afraid that those people might accidentally be hastening the end of the world as we know it. And if you think the debate is Person In The Congo Would Like To Clear Some Rain Forest To Feed His Family, Please vs This Will Bring About The End Of The World, you might reasonably conclude that we are just not gonna be able to compromise on the end of the world thing.

There are a lot of conservatives who seem to be every bit as concerned about government spending as liberals are about climate change and extinction rates. And like–you might think that’s dumb. You might think they’re tilting at windmills while ignoring the hurricane right behind the windmills. But as long as they think that the windmills are an imminent threat to everything they know and love and hold dear–as long as they turn to me and say “bard, I’m so sorry we couldn’t defeat those windmills for you, I’m so sorry that you’re the one who’s going to have to live in a world where their reign of terror seems impossible to escape”–like, at that point, you gotta engage with their concern about the windmills. You gotta try to convince them that your proposed policies are not going to destroy everything they care about.

Yelling at them to have compassion doesn’t solve that problem. They have compassion. That’s why they’re so worried about the killer windmills.

This is why economics is important. The right care about economics, even if they don’t understand it.

August 31 2017

fatpinocchio:

“If it’s not at least a bit painful, it’s not moral” is one of the worst moral intuitions.

It’s what produces vegetarians against lab-grown meat, environmentalists against Pigovian taxes (”You can’t let people pay to pollute!”), fetishizing self-sacrifice in charity over actually helping people (compare the reputations of Mother Teresa and Wal-Mart), and it’s viscerally opposed to Pareto improvements.

August 07 2017

theunitofcaring:

afloweroutofstone:

Y'all know I research the far-right, and whenever you start lurking around their trenches for very long you realize they have the idea that Europe is on the brink of war right now- that there’s violent racial tensions boiling just below the surface, that there are constant migrant attacks and that all it’s going to take is one major incident to spark a race war. That can be disproved from afar, of course, but actually having travelled (Western) Europe this past month, I’ve gotten the chance to see first hand that that’s just a total fabrication. Not to say that there aren’t racialized attacks in Europe, especially against immigrants and refugees, but it isn’t really reflected in the public atmosphere much at all. Hijabi women are just riding the metro to take their kids to school today, Muslim men are running a halal butchery, and black men are just out for a night with their friends. The integration seems pretty seamless on a surface level. Contra the culture clash narrative, this trip has pretty dramatically bolstered my belief in multiculturalism

I had the same experience! In particular, Berlin is safe at night, it was common to see hijab-wearing women out and about with non-hijab wearing friends and non-hijab wearing kids and teens, everyone was gearing up for Pride which they correctly anticipated would be supported and peaceful and prone to problems like ‘corporate cluelessness’ and ‘liberal infighting’ rather than ‘violent backlash’, there were people of all races and backgrounds working all kinds of jobs. 

It’s funny because if you’d asked me ‘do you believe the alt-right narrative about western Europe I’d have said ‘of course not’ but I think on some level I was expecting it to be rooted in something - some social and commercial segregation of new immigrants, maybe, or hostility, or homelessness. Nope. 

(The point is not that there is no discrimination or hardship or isolation or terror happening in Europe, obviously. The point is that there is a broad and peaceful public sphere where it’s not on the radar and where integrated people are living happy, integrated lives. I imagine white supremacists are inclined to downplay this because the call to expel them is much crueler when understood to mean ripping people out of happy lives in a welcoming multicultural country.)

June 28 2017

slatestarscratchpad:

At the child psych hospital, we have a kid who came in with a photo of his parents, freaked out when staff tried to take it away from him, said he carries it with him everywhere he goes.

Those of you who haven’t worked in institutions before are probably saying “Awww, how cute, he really loves his family.”

Those of you who have worked in institutions before are probably asking “Was there a shiv hidden in the photo frame?” And yeah, there was.

June 24 2017

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