Humor, Free Speech, Implicit Bias

On a Facebook group that Valentine and I are both in, I posted a screencap from a group chat of a mutual friend saying he “liked black dick” after his account was “hacked”. This led to a discussion in that Facebook group about the moral acceptability of the joke, which in turn prompted the following discussion between Valentine and I.

 –Peter

Valentine

For reference, ur a dumb [for posting the image]

But actually, saying that people only get riled up because they misinterpret “standard humor” as offensive statements seems to me a fairly big misread of why people get offended by stereotypes/marginalization

Also like, the messages themselves definitely aren’t ~all that funny/out there~ compared to literally anything else from that chat, which really does beg the question of “what exactly is it about this which makes it outrageous enough to post”

Peter

that its [HACKED-PERSON]

Valentine

Like, I’m not accusing you of being racist or homophobic lol

Peter

the whole joke is that its [HACKED-PERSON] xD

Valentine

I mean, why is the idea of [HACKED-PERSON] liking black dick so outrageous?

You keep saying that as if it does anything against the arguments against you

Which it doesn’t

Peter

i mean, its a bit like you guys shitting on me cause its fun to do. [HACKED-PERSON] has that position in our friend group

if [MUTUAL-FRIEND] posted it, e.g., it wouldn’t matter, but because its [HACKED-PERSON] its funny

Valentine

like – if [HACKED-PERSON] was like “guys I’m Italian” it would be wrong, but would it be a funny enough joke to post? Since your stated motivation for the humor is just “it’s funny because he’s mischaracterizing himself”

Peter

that would be pretty funny tbh

if he was like ‘guys im italian’

Valentine

But like cover photo worthy

Either way, you get what I’m trying to say lol – even if it was an unintentionally funny example

It’s a little disingenuous to say that the humor comes from pure mischaracterization, it also comes from the fact that the characteristics he’s choosing to pick are seen as transgressive/unusual/weird

Peter

*shrug* sure. I think the actual response to people being like, ‘hey im upset because this propagates stereotypes’ is to get into an involved discussion about why I *don’t* think the context is about the stereotype

Valentine

Or “not normal”

Peter

but im never going to change [OFFENDED-FRIEND]s mind, so im not going to do that

Valentine

Which is what makes it “funny”

Peter

like i just don’t believe that comedy propagates stereotypes the way this argument assumes it does

Valentine

I mean, this is that discussion then – what’s the argument that this doesn’t have to do with stereotypes/doesn’t propagate (however subtly) the idea that certain things “aren’t normal”

Peter

#killalljews

Valentine

That’s just a statement lol

What’s the argument against it propagating stereotypes?

That’s literally like an “I believe the world is flat axiomatically” argument

Also just like – how on earth could people using stereotypes not propagate stereotypes

Why is comedy somehow a protected thing which prevents an idea from being spread/having any societal implications

Peter

it wouldn’t be a joke if [GAY-FRIEND] was like, ‘hey guys i like dick’ because that’s what he identifies as. If [GAY-FRIEND] was like, ‘hey guys im straight where’s the nearest vagina’ it would be funny – and actually I think he does the latter quite often, precisely because everyone in the room knows its a mischaracterization

also it depends on how the stereotype is being used, see: russell peters or PDP.

Valentine

I feel like pretending like comedy is just completely removed from people’s thoughts or “normal” behavior or however you rationalize it is also a really strange argument

Peter

its not, but context matters. You’re just going to the opposite extreme by saying all use of stereotype regardless of context propagates stereotype

Valentine

I mean, in the case of “where’s the nearest vagina” I feel like there’s still an element of playing with “gay as not-normal” – part of the implication of the humor is how “weird” it is that being straight isn’t the status quo in that situation

Peter

i feel like this is a weird projection argument. *you* think its playing on the fact that gay is not normal, so you assume that other people do too

god you homophobe

#killalljews

i think separately its also possible to use stereotypes deprecatingly, which isn’t what is being done here but is another example of like using humor where propagating the stereotype clearly isnt whats happening

e.g. with pdp, the joke was that kill all jews is a horrible terrible thing to say

not that he legitimately supported killing all jews

Valentine

as for the latter – if the argument I’m making is “using stereotypes propagates stereotypes” then there are only two binary poles here right lol? In my framework you could make the argument that the harm of propagating the stereotype in this incident is mediated by context and worth it for the humor, but that’s a different argument

ypes propagates stereotypes~, just as like a truism – but that doesn’t mean that people can’t productively use stereotypes i.e. Reclaiming them, certain types of political action etc

Peter

yea, sure, that’s the standard you can apply. Other people don’t have to agree

Valentine

“Other people don’t have to agree” is a useless qualifier

Like of course nobody has to agree

But if we’re talking about it then I’m going to attempt to convince someone that this is the correct model

Saying they aren’t ~obligated~ to agree doesn’t mean I have to give up my belief or not attempt to sway them to my side

Peter

o sure, i meant that more as a response to [OFFENDED-FRIEND]’s original comment

Valentine

Since I still believe I’m correct, or at the very least have the more useful model

Peter

i think you’d be hard pressed to prove that context doesn’t matter when it comes to the propagation of stereotypes

especially because like…take a look at the overwatch group chat, or the mercenary group chat. Out of context we say a lot of shit that would be taken very poorly

Valentine

Also re the [GAY-FRIEND] thing – 1. I don’t think that’s how projection works and 2. Your argument is “you only believe this because you believe it!” which is like…yes?

Peter

thats not the 2nd argument

the 2nd argument is, ‘you believe this is true for you, therefore you believe this is true for other people’

other people don’t necessarily need to see that joke as funny for the reasons you do

e.g. playing on the fact that being gay is out of the ordinary, compared to the irony of mischaracterization in general

Valentine

Also like, yeah I agree that context matters, but I also believe that using stereotypes necessarily propagates them because that’s just a truism

In that the only vector for transmission of stereotypes is people using them lol

And comedy is one of those uses, and it’s not some kind of specially innocent use where people somehow don’t get any of the harms of stereotypes from it

Peter

so you’re against every use of any stereotype ever? that seems even harder to implement because there isn’t really a line between stereotype and more general grouping

Valentine

I’ve definitely seen firsthand how people use comedic stereotypes to form actually prejudiced opinions

I’m saying it’s inherently a form of humor that plays with fire

Peter

that last part feels like a tautology

Valentine

Which makes it true, so I win

Peter

meaning that ALL humor plays with fire, because thats what makes humor funny

no one laughs at obvious statements

‘it is 35 degrees and sunny today’

*laugh track*

Valentine

I think “all humor is stereotypes” is a horribly reductive statement

Peter

i didn’t say that

i said all humor is fundamentally about pushing boundaries and expectations

Valentine

I said “stereotype humor” is playing with fire

Specifically

Because of the transmission of a concept which I believe is societally harmful

How do you extrapolate from there to me saying “all subversion of expectations is harmful” lolol

Peter

you realize this feels an awful lot like wrongthink right?

Valentine

I think you misread my argument

Peter

we shouldn’t say certain things so that they are eliminated in the lexicon and therefore people won’t be able to think them

that’s very 1985

Valentine

I think some beliefs are immoral – if that sounds too much like wrongthink, then I think you’re applying the latter concept wrong

Again, I’m not suggesting methods to force anyone to do anything

Peter

we do disagree on that fundamental premise of believing ideas are immoral so i suppose that makes sense. But even under your standard if the concept of ‘grouping people by common characteristics’ is generally immoral I think you’ll find all people are just inherently immoral all the time, and no one will ever act to fix it ever.

Valentine

But obviously I would prefer a world where people didn’t make negative racial stereotypes, which means yes, I would prefer a world where people don’t have a certain kind of thought

Or rather, tried to avoid it

Peter

see: all trump supporters are white virgin neckbeards

Valentine

Just like I prefer a world where people avoid, say, thinking about raping and murdering people all the time

Have I made that argument? In those words?

Peter

i think your argument was trump supporters are all racists and/or idiots

Valentine

If you’re all about nuance, don’t lump me in with people whose views I disagree with lol

I’m argued about this with you before and made clear that I don’t think racism was the only motivation

That said, I think everyone who voted for trump made an idiotic mistake

Peter

you mean you DONT want to fuck stevebannon?

cause i do

like all the time

Valentine

That’s not a stereotype, that’s me having beliefs lol

I feel like people on the right who call for the whole unlimited free speech everyone should say what they want to say

Peter

i think on some level you cant have beliefs about the world without broad sweeping generalizations in some form or the other

(he said in a broad sweeping generalization)

Valentine

Don’t realize that in that world, leftists can also still talk lol

Then I would prefer a world where people minimize those sweeping generalizations as much as possible lol

Let me qualify: “some”

Also walking back will text later

Peter

I don’t think the statement ‘x likes dick’ is still banned in your model, because people can still find humor in it for reasons that aren’t ‘ha gay people are weird’

like for sure, *some* people might think its funny for that reason, but I don’t think we should step on the comedic intent of other people just to get at those few who view it as comedic for the stereotype

unless you’re talking about the big black dick part, which actually is statistically true

(amusingly, someone actually crunched those numbers)

http://www.penissizes.org/average-penis-size-ethnicity-race-and-country

easily the best thing i’ve ever googled

Valentine

Something I find frustrating: things like /r/kotakuinaction or /r/tumblrinaction are ostensibly “pro-free speech” institutions which are actually dedicated to mocking and condemning certain kinds of speech

Like, in the world where Richard spencer or whomever is allowed to get up and say they want to create a white ethnostate or kill all the Jews or whatever, then in this same world whatever caricature people who browse those subs imagine leftists to be should also be able to get up and talk about restricting speech

Peter

there is a difference between mocking and banning. At KIA (dunno about TIA) you won’t ever get *banned* for saying things that go against the norm

conflating banning something with arguing against it is a fairly big misstep i think

Valentine

Like, at some point I feel like many of these “free speech” bastions ALSO want to make certain kinds of thought into thoughtcrime, just the ones that ~they~ disagree with

Is there a real substantive difference between being banned or downvoted into oblivion

Peter

yes

absolutely

that’s like asking if there’s a substantive difference between being disinvited from speaking at a conference vs. being jeered throughout the entire speech

of course there is a difference

Valentine

If it’s impossible to breach the circle jerk either way, then why? The real alternative would be if those subs were open to discussion from the other side, which – based on what I’ve seen – is a big nahhh

Peter

actually there was a gamergate argument subreddit for a while but it got turned into a circlejerk for the other side

but also like i think this is fundamentally flawed

Valentine

I mean, would you say leftists have a right to jeer at milo? I feel like if it happened you would criticize that as well

Peter

your argument is, ‘well its hard to break the circlejerk so we should justify banning’

of course they have a right to jeer, and milo jeers back xD

that’s literally 80% of his schtick, is getting people riled up against him

Valentine

My argument rn is just “lots of people who claim to support free speech are hypocrites” tbh

Peter

have you ever seen how he responds to people who ask him reasoned questions at his presentations, instead of screaming like banshees with fake blood on their faces?

Valentine

I’m sure he’s just so articulate and logical

He’s right you know, gay rights WERE a bad thing

Peter

he at least will respond without mockery

even if his views are wrong

Valentine

Milo is a trash human being and you’ve drank far too much kool aid

If you think brief moments of “not being an active dick” are enough to redeem the rest of the time he’s spent being a shitstain

Peter

*shrug* i don’t like him, but im also not going to trash him for the reactions other people have to him

Valentine

Like, he should be praised for rarely behaving like a real human being lol

“Reactions other people have to him” = I really dislike arguments which are like “oh place the blame on the victim because it’s their fault for being offended”

As for the comedic intent argument: why does anyone’s “comedic intent” supersede anything if I believe what they’re saying has real harms?

Peter

there are different ways to respond to being offended. One is to actually argue the points on their merit, the other is to try and get the whole thing shut down. I support one of those things

as to the latter thing

because you dictating what someone else gets to say or not is dangerous and bad

like, the argument you are making is, well some people are reckless while driving so we should stop all people from driving

yes, it solves the problem, but it also is a bad solution

similarly, yes, some people might view the ‘liking dicks’ thing as funny because being gay is outside the norm, but banning all jokes about being gay just because they *might subjectively* propagate that stereotype is a big overstep

or, to put it more succinctly, you believing that there are harms doesn’t mean there actually are harms

anyway, i definitely agree with you that there are people who ‘support free speech’ who are big hypocrites and just want to see the pendulum swing to their side

i just don’t think that most of the people on KIA, at the least, are that. People who generally comment in favor of bans get downvoted to oblivion

like, i do think there are a lot of moderate liberals and left-leaning libertarians who are just really disaffected with identity politics, and those are the people who make up these groups

WED 3:51AM

Valentine

let’s say I believe that something causes tangible harms, and believe it should be shut down/should not be said any more

Surely it is a valid use of my freedom of speech to advocate for that lol

Like the thing about “valid responses to being offended” is that you kind of create a trap there

Where you’re saying the only “valid” response is to argue against something…but to not actually advocate for the position that the thing should not happen

so you’re really giving the person who believes that “we should not make racist jokes” no ground to stand on, but acting as if you’re willing to listen

as for like, “banning” – I think when it’s a conversation about social norms, it’s perfectly possible to say that “normatively people should not do x” without making it a conversation about “WE SHOULD BAN PEOPLE WHO THINK X FOR THOUGHTCRIME”

And the conflating of the former and the latter is honestly just a strawman argument

finally, i’m inclined to say “left-leaning libertarians” is a contradiction in terms

leftist “libertarians” are called anarchists lol

tbh I’m increasingly disillusioned with the word “moderate”

“moderate” liberalism is a discrete political position just like demsocialism or actual socialism or conservatism

but named in such a way that you can use “stating the view you hold” as an argument

“oh I’m a MODERATE, I don’t believe in these EXTREME VIEWS like a right to healthcare or equal treatment by the justice system for minorities”

“I’m totally in favor of the gays getting married, but don’t really have strong opinions about helping poor people”

Peter

Isn’t that the same kind of verbal trickery used with names like progressive or pro life?

Anyway, im willing to allow people to say we should ban shit as long as no one enforces it. It’s the enforcement that’s the problem right?

If you had an entirely objective arbiter who could say, this speech is bad, this speech is good, sure ban the speech that proves to be net negative. Insofar as we don’t have that, and I don’t trust anyone granted the power to restrict speech to use it properly without pushing their own political views, and there is no consensus on whether muzzling even the expression of the worst kinds of speech actually prevents it from happening (and may even cause it to spread), I’m willing to go the other way and say total free speech is better

Valentine

question: is saying that there is a moral concern advising against a certain kind of speech the same as “restricting speech” in your model?

i.e. if I just repeatedly say “people SHOULD NOT do this”

and “enforce” it through things like social stigma

is that also “muzzling”

Because it feels like in a lot of these discussions, it starts out as “we SHOULD NOT” say these things and then becomes an argument about defending the right to free speech

when in this case I don’t think that right is threatened

just because you ~can~ doesn’t mean you ~should~ right

I may have a constitutional right to be an asshole, but I would prefer the society where people choose not to exercise that right

Peter

The problem is that it very often does, eg disinviting people from campus

Valentine

but why assume that every argument against saying a certain thing is a veiled attempt to ban speech?

since that wasn’t the case in the original situation that sparked this discussion

and (my broader questioning of freedom of speech aside lol) wasn’t really what I was going for either

Peter

I think this is equivalent to expressing a belief that free speech should not be restricted

Which isn’t banning the speech that says it should be banned

Valentine

I think you’re missing my point

I’m not trying to defend “speech saying it should be banned” right now

Peter

Like no one is saying you CANNOT call for restrictions of free speech so much as that doing so is bad

Valentine

I’m trying to defend “speech saying we ~shouldn’t do it~”

as in “normatively, as human beings in a society, we shouldn’t do this thing, even if it isn’t actually illegal”

and like, we do that! all the time! through social codes!

Peter

O, sure that’s fine

Valentine

there are all sorts of things you ~can~ say but don’t

okay, because every single time this topic comes up in any fucking situation

the freedom of speech camp always immediately erupts into YOU SHOULDN’T BAN THE THOUGHTS OF THOSE YOU DON’T LIKE

Peter

I don’t think most people are making that argument, or if they are they are doing it very very poorly

Valentine

but like

why is that the first interpretation

when the better interpretation is

“just stop being inconsiderate”

or

“this is distasteful pls stop”

i question again who the “most people” you talk about are

I feel like spending all of your time on websites specifically meant to mock the worst of leftist arguments can’t give you a healthy or balanced perspective on what people on the left actually say on average

like, you have to agree that /r/tumblrinaction and /r/kotakuinaction specifically seek out the worst of things

because that’s kind of the ~point~

Peter

I think you’d be hard pressed to say that people don’t get banned from college campuses

Valentine

I bring up again “ALL VIDEO GAME REVIEWS ARE LIKE THIS NOW”

Peter

Make a mistake once and it haunts you for life eh?

Valentine

sure, I think empirically we can see that even in our leftist progressive bastion of [UNIVERSITY] the vast majority of students aren’t in favor of banning speakers

I think there was a poll once wasn’t there?

Peter

I don’t think that’s true, I think the admin just ignores people

Valentine

I dislike /r/KiA and such because they just construct boogeymen of what the “average” person on the left believes

Peter

But even if the average student doesn’t want to ban, I think it’s even worse then that so many colleges do disinvite speakers based on a loud minority

Gentle reminder that most people on Kia consider themselves leftists and wanted Bernie to win

The average progressive maybe

Valentine

to be honest I feel like being socially liberal isn’t really “leftist” any more

Peter

Welp

Valentine

no but like this is your argument too right

implicit in the trump campaign is “new conservatives don’t care as much about gay marriage”

Peter

Yes but Kia isn’t filled with people calling for the white ethnic state XD

Valentine

like, I think we’ve hit a point where conservatism is just “implicit bias,” “moderates” are pro-socially liberal things and leftists/progressives want to deconstruct gender completely lol

Peter

They are fairly against all identity politics

I don’t think THAT’S true

Valentine

i mean sure, i’m not calling the average KiA member richard spencer

perhaps this is just my liberal bastion bubble speaking

Peter

I think conservatives are increasingly just going the identity politics route

Valentine

fair

I think the american political center has shifted socially liberal in sort of shallow but still noticeable ways tho

Peter

Besides, there are moderate Dems like Hilary who still hold the majority of the party

Valentine

moderate dems are neoliberal trash tbh

Peter

I actually think the entire spectrum has shifted along a different axis altogether

Valentine

ever since clinton the first

bc of that “third way” bullshit

Peter

Like I don’t know what the identity politics axis is, but it’s there for sure

Valentine

I don’t think “identity politics” is as fundamental an axis as like

authoritarianism/anarchism lol

Peter

I actually in some ways appreciate that the shit going on with bannon is what I called like two years ago as being a reason why leftist identity politics are bad

And yea I know

Valentine

I think identity politics on the left is a social application of the same ideas behind economic redistribution, in a lot of ways

whereas identity politics on the right is similar to the economic ideas behind

well, I can’t say this without sounding condescending

Peter

Except not based on economics, but rather things that sorta correlate to economics but not really

Valentine

but like, feudalism/mercantilism

“amass power for the self/tribe”

Peter

Kinda, but it’s hard to apply those terms to a modern era

I don’t think right wing identity politics is really that economics focused. Just like I think left wing identity politics just uses economics as a justification for being shitty XD

Valentine

I mean like – I think the jump from “we need to redistribute economic resources to help the poor” and “we need to redistribute social power to help the worse-off” isn’t that far – it’s all class consciousness

Oh i’m not arguing that either side USES economic justifications

I’m just saying that the one clearly descends from Marxism

also: “for being shitty” lolol

nice unbiased analysis there

Peter

I hate identity politics so much XD

Valentine

I feel like you’ve just constructed it as a boogeyman

Peter

It’s just a reapplication of tribalism

Valentine

I also feel like you don’t understand/refuse to engage with a lot of its premises

which I feel like

Peter

I don’t think ever appealing to someone’s identity is useful. It’s a lazy argument.

Valentine

are just ~correct~ understandings of the world

like, identity is a metric upon which we mediate social behaviors

ignoring it is dumb

“I don’t see color” was always just an incorrect statement

and once we admit that, we admit discussions of identity into the political sphere

whether the exclusive FOCUS on identity is productive is an entirely different matter

and one we might agree on more

Peter

Even if that’s true, there’s a difference between passively acknowledging that and being like, identity needs to be in the foremost of our minds always

Valentine

e.g. I think the modern american left doesn’t care about economic issues nearly enough and that that’s a massive problem

Peter

Also like, I disagree with the idea that we can ever ‘not see color’

Valentine

there’s also the question of whether “not seeing color” would ever be desirable

because complete assimilation more or less means the destruction of cultural difference, right?

like, when everyone is the same, it’ll be because everyone is viewed as functionally the same as the majority culture

Peter

No, you can definitely be comfortable and want the same opportunities for all people without going so far as all culture must be destroyed

Comfortable with*

Valentine

And the issue is, so who chooses that majority culture? why do some people arbitrarily have to have their cultures destroyed because europe won the war so many years ago?

Peter

Like, when you see [HISPANIC-MUTUAL-FRIEND] or [ASIAN-MUTUAL-FRIEND] do you ever think of them as Hispanic or Asian

At all? XD

Valentine

I’m saying you can never reach a stage where “cultural/racial difference” fails to register

Peter

Cause in my interactions with them I sure don’t

Mebbe yer just racist

Valentine

[HISPANIC-MUTUAL-FRIEND] is an interesting case

It definitely registers in my discussions with [ASIAN-MUTUAL-FRIEND] if we ever talk about politics tho lol

Obviously I’m not suggesting that this should be the primary lens through which we view human experience

Peter

But that’s not what ‘not seeing race’ means right?

Valentine

Because I think that the latter kind of view is actually just condescending to the human

not really?

Peter

We can objectively acknowledge that they have different skin colors, but they’re part of our tribe

Valentine

when I think of that phrase “not seeing race,” I think of it as “not registering race”

which I think of as both logistically impossible and probably not desirable

Peter

You’ve restated both but haven’t really backed up why that would be true

Valentine

I mean the first, because we have color vision

and also implicit biases

about a whole host of things, including types of people lol

beyond just race but also like, “oh that dude looks tall and strong he’s probably a dumb football player” or something

Peter

O so you’re saying this in a – right OK sure

Valentine

as for “not desirable,” I’ve started making the point but now I’ve realized that I have a midterm in 8.5 hours and I wanted to get up early to study

Peter

XD

Valentine

so I’m gonna go do that

Peter

Kk

Also, you realize that implicit bias tests never actually have been shown to impact actions?

Valentine

what does that even mean

implicit bias is enough of a proven phenomenon that we study it in science of psych lol

Peter

Like, I presume by implicit bias you’re talking about stuff like the Harvard test right?

Valentine

like – lab experiments have shown that straight men are more likely to want to ask out women wearing red

we have implicit biases over lots of things lol

Peter

The one where you match words to categories and speed measures your implicit biases?

Valentine

I’m just talking about the psychological concept

which is like

a Thing

as for “implicit biases don’t impact actions”

tell this to eric garner/freddie gray/michael brown et al

Peter

Yea, I’m saying it exists, just that it doesn’t impact our behaviors because we’re not animals and consciousness is a thing

Valentine

you think ~humans~ use ~rationality~ or ~self-consciousness~ to mediate their behaviors?

what a dumb thought

(i am only like 1/4 joking)

Peter

Literally none of those social psych tests have ever been shown to work outside tightly controlled lab settings

Valentine

…because that’s how fucking science works

that’s such a weird rhetorical trick

nothing can be “proven” outside of a lab setting

but randomly questioning external validity doesn’t say that it isn’t externally valid

Peter

And for every experiment that shows some hypothesis, there are others that show the exact opposite

Valentine

that’s like saying “we can’t know about the interactions of particles on the pluto because we’ve only observed those particles on earth”

Peter

Here, he makes the argument better and backs it up too

Valentine

“in tightly-controlled laboratory settings”

Peter

https://slatestarcodex.com/2013/06/22/social-psychology-is-a-flamethrower/

Valentine

so what, do you just not believe in implicit bias?

what’s your explanation for cops shooting loads of unarmed black people then?

or do you just not address that

Peter

Also not quite, because we can see how people with implicit bias act because they’re not on Pluto.

Valentine

yes – as mentioned, they shoot black people

Peter

I think more black people are poor so they’re more likely to be heavily policed

Valentine

and if they’re shot by police at a greater rate than poor white people?

do you really think that this is a purely economic question?

Peter

I don’t think there’s an implicit bias problem there, because I don’t think cops are making those decisions subconsciously

Valentine

because I feel like while you were still in NYC you agreed that that was clearly a racial issue

lol

the defense of those cops is always that they’re acting on instinct in a stressful situation

Peter

Sure it’s racial in impact

Valentine

yet now the idea is that they’re acting through reasoned thinking?

you used to agree that it was racial in causation too lol

Peter

I always thought that was bullshit tbh, but it’s also like the only defense

Valentine

like, clearly they aren’t acting on reason

otherwise they wouldn’t be, you know, brutalizing and killing people

is your argument that cops are all thinking rationally enough to not be racist but not rationally enough to not shoot people lol?

Peter

No, my argument is that the decision calculus is about threat to life, and cops in poorer more violent areas are going to reasonably believe encounters will have greater threat to life

There are also some people who are just racist, mind you

But even that is a conscious decision of like, white people are inherently better

Belief*

Valentine

I think the model that “people only ever act on conscious beliefs” is garbage tbh

because even in our own lives, surely we know that people don’t

people do stupid shit all the time

because people are irrational creatures who act on impulse

and sure, our minds come up with stories to tell ourselves afterwards about why we did what we did

but we don’t do everything we do based on forethought – half of it is just connecting patterns

and even if you don’t agree with this, my psych textbook does lol

Peter

I didn’t say that, I just think cops as evidence of racial implicit bias in action is a bad one – or really as evidence of implicit bias at all.

Valentine

and i’m going to assume that that is a better authority on human behavior tbh

really?

really

the thing is, there’s no argument that I can present

that hasn’t already been presented to you probably

Peter

Probly true

Valentine

I’m just going to say that believing that implicit bias has no effect there feels like a straightforward denial of facts

Peter

You should take a look at the blog thing I sent you

Valentine

you’re 21 times more likely to be killed by police as a black kid than as a white kid

Peter

It’s more that you can’t ever say XYZ was caused by implicit bias than it has no effect

Valentine

I feel like that’s an outsize statistic

and either way, your model seems to imply that this is just business as usual and nothing should be done about it lol

which I personally find an intolerable outcome

Peter

No it doesn’t

It’s an argument about where the source of the issue is

Valentine

Here’s the thing: you can’t ever say that something was caused by ~anything~ when it comes to societal trends

if you doubt the evidence behind my argument, I can doubt the evidence behind your counterfactual one

with, by your model, equal validity

Peter

The impact being, if you spend all your time and effort and political will on implicit bias testing, that is a waste of effort if the problem lies elsewhere

Valentine

even harder than proving something is proving the lack of something lol

Peter

And this is true, but one of our models is OK with not knowing and just buying body cameras instead

Valentine

I feel like both of our models would encourage people to get body cameras

and my model is the one that got sufficiently outraged to bring attention to the issue, so there

i win on pragmatics and deontology

with that, I retire to sleep

Peter

XD

Valentine

Why do I fucking talk to you before midterms

I just lost an hour of sleep for this shit

Peter

Procrastination

Valentine

I need to learn to just let you be wrong

And walk away

Aight going to bed now

Peter

https://slatestarcodex.com/2016/08/25/devoodooifying-psychology/

This summarizes better how I feel about social psychology

And this guy is actually a MD who works in therapy and Neuro, and is citing people who also write papers for this stuff and spend their lives doing it, so I think it’s equally valid to your text book

But if you’re super into social psychology, consider believing hard enough that you’ll do well on your midterm tomorrow

THU 11:49AM

Peter

thinking about it, wouldn’t assuming that racism is caused by implicit bias, and also claiming that everyone is implicitly biased, be HARDER to act on?

like I don’t even think your model can claim right to justifiable outrage – if anything, your model would decrease outrage because *there is nothing you can do about implicit biases*

Valentine

the last thing you said about the implicit bias doesn’t make sense to me

Cuz like, my view doesn’t say implicit bias is impossible to take note of/act against

Just that everyone has it

Like, I don’t believe that we’re entirely just slaves to impulse lol

But the model where implicit bias is a thing just means that people need to learn to work on recognizing and counteracting their own implicit biases

Peter

How does one act against it/why do you assume people don’t do this by default?

Valentine

I also think that a model saying that implicit bias isn’t a thing is a little incoherent tbh

As for why they don’t do this by default: cuz like

They don’t

Peter

It’s not saying it’s not a thing is saying that no study has shown that people who have more implicit bias actually ever act on those biases

And in fact a lot of studies show that there is no effect

Valentine

On questions like this I feel like I can offer you little proof besides “because society is the way it is and the combination of thousands of individual experiences shows us this”

Btw you just keep alleging things about studies

Like, what are these studies that say implicit bias means nothing?

Also like, I just don’t understand what your point is – that people don’t act on their implicit or subconscious beliefs? But somehow still have them anyway?

Like, it just intuitively seems like a fantastical claim to me that nobody who has implicit biases and prejudices will ever act on them

Peter

So

Yea, OK, we have the biases, but they don’t seem to actually impact action

Valentine

And I feel like defending that point is just sort of like sticking ones head in the ground and urgently trying to believe that nobody is ever a racist

What does that even mean they “don’t impact action”

What about stop and frisk? Or just like day to day acts or racism/prejudice

Peter

Wifi is shitty, fair warning that responses will be all over

Valentine

I feel like we ~observe~ people acting on implicit bias in our day to day lives so fucking often

Peter

Stop and frisk was a policy that was put in place

Do you think that was implicit? XD

Like what

Valentine

And on a broader scale your point that “nobody ever acts on subconscious beliefs” is ridiculous

Peter

Terrible example

Valentine

Dude stop and think for a second

I meant the fact that stop and frisk disproportionately targeted black people

Like, the whole fucking controversy about it

I assumed that was obvious

Peter

I thought that was part of the policy specifically

Valentine

No

That was the whole deal – like why people who were pro-stop and frisk defended it

Peter

Even if it wasn’t, this is very much more linked to economic disparities than anything else. Statistically black people would be in poorer areas with more drug presence

Valentine

“Oh it’s totally not racist guys”

Peter

Racism can’t be your null hypothesis XD

Valentine

Incidentally: the idea that poor people use more drugs than rich people is laughable

Everybody uses drugs at the same rate

Peter

Anyway, it can seem fantastical to you but that’s because for some reason you put so much belief in the strength of our subconscious. Don’t get me wrong, that shit is important, but it’s not controlling our actions

Valentine

We just only think of it as a problem when poor people do, for whatever reason

Or rather, think of it as a problem when black people do lol

Peter

Also, sure. Meth vs cocaine right

Valentine

And everyone is doing weed or whatever

But rich kids don’t go to jail for that

I feel like no psychologist in the world would agree with you that the subconscious has no control over our actions

Peter

Sure. But conflating wealth for race and then retroactively adding in unconscious bias to explain the observation fails Occam’s razor

Valentine

And if you don’t believe it has any control over our actions, on what level do you think it is “important” at all?

Like, at the very least it leads into the beliefs that inform our actions, right?

Peter

Also I have linked you like a dozen times to this guy, I’ll do it again: https://slatestarcodex.com/2016/08/25/devoodooifying-psychology/

Valentine

How does it fail Occam’s razor except by your assertion that it does

I hate this blog because you use it in lieu of arguments

Peter

There’s a simpler answer, which is that police don’t police rich areas

Valentine

Yes, but the point I’m making is that the rich ~commit the same crimes~

Peter

But that is a CLASS issue

Valentine

Also like, conflating wealth and race isn’t that difficult lol

Is it? You’re asserting it’s a class issue, I’m asserting there’s clearly a racial element

Peter

Because as a demographic black people are poorer, sure

Valentine

Because in general, rich people are white and poor people who live in heavily-policed communities are not

Peter

Sure, but then you can’t say that people who were implementing stop and frisk were doing so because of skewed racial biases necessarily.

Valentine

And again, while this is the kind of thing for which I will never be able to produce studies, pretending like race has nothing to do with this seems to me like the worst kind of denial of obvious human nature

Peter

I don’t necessarily believe that class is the whole thing, but I’m not making it my null hypothesis like you are with race

Also

I have the studies

Here, one sec

Valentine

I feel like your views on this have shifted lately and I’m not a big fan of it tbh

Peter

https://www.researchgate.net/publication/239732934_Predicting_Ethnic_and_Racial_Discrimination_A_Meta-Analysis_of_IAT_Criterion_Studies

http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/sjop.12288/abstract

http://www.academia.edu/download/41431928/Reassessing_the_predictive_validity_of_t20160122-13160-1o95yg0.pdf

http://www.law.virginia.edu/pdf/faculty/reassessingpredictivevalidityoftheiat.pdf

Which, again, the other guy links to

Valentine

You realize that all of these aren’t proof against the concept of implicit bias but just one specific test designed to measure it right

Like

Tbh, implicit bias is the fact that you assume immediately that girls who get tech internships only do because they’re women in STEM

Or like, when we both made the same assumption about [MUTUAL-BLACK-FRIEND] getting the Microsoft thing

Peter

…OK, well, that one test is also the most commonly used test to measure this sort of thing, so if you want to propose an unfalsifiable hypothesis then fine, but I can’t provide evidence to disagree

Also those aren’t implicit

Valentine

I feel like we’re going to have a conversation one day where I have to justify to you why apartheid was bad for the black South African population or something

Peter

Those reactions are not implicit at all

Valentine

What are you even defining as “implicit”

Peter

Like, this is a very reasonable response to affirmative action and also one of my largest arguments against it

Valentine

I mean it’s not really reasonable lol

Since it’s assuming something that you have no proof for

And is pretty inherently prejudiced

Peter

What do you mean? The hiring policies are skewed for diversity for all diversity his

Hires*

Valentine

Look, on a broader scale: society as it exists is a place where nobody claims to be racist, but racist shit happens all the time anyway

Peter

It doesn’t matter if they could have gotten in on their own merit, because the hiring process doesn’t consider it that way

Valentine

I think, like, trump being president is enough evidence to me of the existence of racial bias

Peter

But it’s not implicit!

Valentine

People won’t ~say~ that they’re racist, but they’re pretty swayed by anti-Mexican rhetoric

Peter

You can’t be like, everyone acts on hidden subconscious things they don’t ever realize, and justify it with the kkk

Like, are you just defining buying into stereotypes as implicit bias?

Valentine

No, I’m justifying it with normal people who aren’t consciously racist who still chanted “BUILD THE WALL!” in their hundreds of thousands at trump rallies

Peter

Because I don’t think that’s the common definition of implicit bias at all, so much as conscious bias

Valentine

I’m sure that if you asked those people none of them would say they were racist

And I’m sure they don’t even BELIEVE that they’re racist

But surely some subconscious belief is letting them buy into that kind of rhetoric

Peter

Sure, they’d say they were against illegal immigration and most illegal immigrants are Mexican

It’s not subconscious

There’s a very clear line of thought

Valentine

And the anti-Muslim rhetoric? And calling Mexicans rapists?

Peter

That doesn’t mean it’s not racist in impact or intent, but it’s definitely not subconscious

Valentine

I feel like every time a racist impact or intent is brought up you try to argue it out of existence

Which makes me wonder what exactly you feel people who are upset about the state of race relations/racism and prejudice in the country should do

Or if their role is to sit down and accept their place as second-class citizens

Fine – implicit bias is that having a black name makes you less likely to get a job interview

Peter

I didn’t say it wasn’t racist

I just said it wasn’t what you called it

And the latter is more an example of implicit bias, but iirc it was unreplicatable

Though that might have been for females

Valentine

Btw I’m going about my day now so cutting the conversation short lol

Peter

At dinner myself

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