Thursday, May 23, 2019

white men, heterogeneity, and judging individuals as individuals (vs. stereotyped members of groups)

A few excerpts and thoughts on a really nice, provocative article by Elizabeth Corey in FT, "An Acceptable Prejudice"...

Early-on, Corey gets to this easy but powerful question/observations: "Do men, and white men in particular, really constitute a homogeneous bloc?"

The theory of intersectionality holds that oppression and privilege do not attach to a single characteristic (race or gender, for instance) but occur in combination depending on the intersecting traits one possesses...In this framework, group identity always takes precedence over individual identity, and white men are the most privileged group...Yet anyone must admit that white men are as intellectually and morally diverse as any other group. Stanley Fish, Donald Trump, Paul Krugman, and Sean Hannity are all part of this demographic. So are the millions of middle- and working-class men who have no voice in the public conversation and little political power—single fathers who support their families, rural small-business owners, men who work in urban convenience stores. These people are positioned across a broad spectrum of privilege and disadvantage, wealth and poverty, achievement and failure...
Great observation. But really, white men are probably more diverse than any other group, right? White women also have considerable diversity, but often (and ironically), they're often reduced to gender (for political purposes-- did you vote for Hillary or not) or pro-life/"pro-choice". 
The "progressive" use of stereotyping is odd and ironic, except when one considers the real goal: "When they talk about white male privilege, they commit the same stereotyping that they claim women and minorities suffered in the past and still suffer. Their goal, however, is not to end stereotyping, but to stereotype a different group..."
After a reference to Haidt and Lukianoff's The Coddling of the American Mind, Corey notes that:  
To say that women learn best from women, blacks from blacks, Hispanics from Hispanics, is to propose much the same educational segregation that Civil Rights integration was designed to overcome. Nor is there much, if any, empirical evidence to substantiate the 'mirroring effect'...
Corey describes this as "a religious conviction", before making a personal please: 
Even if (as we’re continually told on campus) women continue to suffer discrimination based on sex, it does not necessarily follow that women want to be given benefits and advantages. They might prefer to earn them. How many times have I heard the well-intentioned but ­patronizing phrase, “We need a woman for this job”?...Judge us, then, as men and women, not by our race or gender, but as individuals. Judge us by our work, our minds, our characters, our kindness (or lack of it), our generosity, our energy, and our talents. Do not prejudge us. 


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