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Have We Found The Cure For Racism?

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    DisruptedCapitalistDisruptedCapitalist I swear! Registered User regular
    edited April 2010
    The Cat wrote: »
    Loklar wrote: »
    The idea of using this to "cure racism" is some sort of Huxley-Nightmare scenario. It also wouldn't work. Social anxiety keeps me safe. It also keeps me in the corner at parties, but that's another story.

    Our goal should be to convince people that racism is stupid through the power of reasoned argument.

    That's the problem right there. You're assuming that rational debate can solve irrational problems. Sadly though, mental and social illnesses are not cured by reasoned arguments. (Just look at the Tea Parties.)

    What, like the irrationality of labelling every behaviour you disagree with "crazy"?

    racists are closeminded and stupid, among other failures of personality. They're not mentally ill. That's an insult to the mentally ill, not to mention being an entirely unproductive accusation to make.

    Sorry, I should have included more of an explanation. I mean Social Illness, as in when society itself is ill. However it does stem in a sense from mental illness in that the individual becomes incapable of rational thought.

    DisruptedCapitalist on
    "Simple, real stupidity beats artificial intelligence every time." -Mustrum Ridcully in Terry Pratchett's Hogfather p. 142 (HarperPrism 1996)
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    The CatThe Cat Registered User, ClubPA regular
    edited April 2010
    Yeah, neither of them are in the DSM-IV so maybe you could stop using made-up terms that confuse the issue.

    The Cat on
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    Pi-r8Pi-r8 Registered User regular
    edited April 2010
    RUNN1NGMAN wrote: »
    Pi-r8 wrote: »
    RUNN1NGMAN wrote: »
    Couscous wrote: »
    God bless the required cynic who blames everything on instinct. Humanity is much more complicated than that. If racism is based on social anxiety as a result of meeting new and different looking people, it should be possible to prevent this by socializing them at a very early age with people of different races.

    There's a good chapter in Nurtureshock on all of this. It's pretty fascinating. I'm not going to go into all the details, but essentially they said that it's natural for young kids to form positive inferences about people who look like them, and negative inferences about people who don't. This actually has nothing to do with race, per se. One study gave one half of a class red shirts, and one half blue shirts. They wore the shirts every day. Even though the kids still played together and had positive reactions with the opposite color, when asked questions about which color shirts are smarter/better at a game/etc. they usually said that it was their color. They would also say things like "Blue is good at math, but not as good as red." It's a lot more complicated than just saying "Kids are racist!"

    But what about the numerous examples where black children still show a bias against other black kids and in favor of white kids? And this happens with people of other races too. It's not just a simple matter of "choosing people the same as you".

    You'll have to be more specific about what examples you're talking about. Nurtureshock was focusing on the neurological and developmental basis for race bias, and specifically on why most parent's attempts to raise "color-blind" children are backfiring. They weren't addressing any sort of societal issues that might cause black children to favor white kids.
    Well the one I was mainly thinking of was the "doll touching" experiments, mentioned in the OP. Where they give a kid two dolls, one white and one black, and ask the kid questions like "which one of these dolls looks more friendly? which one is more scary?" and, not only do white kids choose the white doll as having all the good qualities, but a lot of black children do too.

    There's other examples like this though. I remember a thread here a few months ago, where the OP brought up how, even though he himself was Asian, whenever he imagined himself as a hero in his fantasies, he imagined himself as white. There's also the popular stereotype of the "self-hating Jew". This kind of thing seems to happen a lot, and it's really weird.

    Pi-r8 on
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    The CatThe Cat Registered User, ClubPA regular
    edited April 2010
    Not really. Our culture is saturated with images of white-as-normal, and kids pick it up way earlier than most adults give them credit for. Most of what I'm seeing from this study is that the ethnic baggage doesn't accumulate as early as the gender baggage, and is more vulnerable to interruption.

    The Cat on
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    monikermoniker Registered User regular
    edited April 2010
    RUNN1NGMAN wrote: »
    Couscous wrote: »
    God bless the required cynic who blames everything on instinct. Humanity is much more complicated than that. If racism is based on social anxiety as a result of meeting new and different looking people, it should be possible to prevent this by socializing them at a very early age with people of different races.

    There's a good chapter in Nurtureshock on all of this. It's pretty fascinating. I'm not going to go into all the details, but essentially they said that it's natural for young kids to form positive inferences about people who look like them, and negative inferences about people who don't. This actually has nothing to do with race, per se. One study gave one half of a class red shirts, and one half blue shirts. They wore the shirts every day. Even though the kids still played together and had positive reactions with the opposite color, when asked questions about which color shirts are smarter/better at a game/etc. they usually said that it was their color. They would also say things like "Blue is good at math, but not as good as red." It's a lot more complicated than just saying "Kids are racist!"

    A Class Divided

    moniker on
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    WienkeWienke Registered User regular
    edited April 2010
    Sounds like they could be on their way to developing "Prozium" from that movie Equilibrium before too long. Personally I think people are way too medicated as is and I really don't think that a 'miracle drug' derived from a rare disorder would exactly solve our problems.

    Also, I find it hard to believe that Racism, of all things, is what is really holding the human race "back". Yeah it sucks, and its a flaw, but I think a general assumption can be made that we're making efforts, at the very least, to eliminating it. I would argue that religious conflict and general douche-baggery are screwing it all up for everyone more than racism these days.

    I'm also speaking First/Second world here. The third world is currently still pretty fond of genocide last I checked.

    Wienke on
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    tbloxhamtbloxham Registered User regular
    edited April 2010
    The Cat wrote: »
    Not really. Our culture is saturated with images of white-as-normal, and kids pick it up way earlier than most adults give them credit for. Most of what I'm seeing from this study is that the ethnic baggage doesn't accumulate as early as the gender baggage, and is more vulnerable to interruption.

    Actually, all this study really shows is what we already knew. That Williams syndrome is the opposite of Autism. Show a strongly autistic child a picture of a black baby and a white baby and they will say there is no good child, that neither is more like him, and neither is the sort of person he wants to be. They have retarded social skills and empathy, and heightened attention spans and focus on tasks involving order and so on.

    Williams no more speaks to something about the whole condition of racism than Autism is a cure for a short attention span.

    tbloxham on
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    DuffelDuffel jacobkosh Registered User regular
    edited April 2010
    The closest thing we will have to a "cure" for racism is when socioeconomic disparities cease to exist between the races, which is usually the root of social stress. Increases in interracial families would help a lot, too. But even then people are going to find something else to be prejudiced against each other about.

    Duffel on
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    PaladinPaladin Registered User regular
    edited April 2010
    Racism and other prejudices are natural results of our brains' ability to make snap decisions with as little information as possible, which harkens back to the olden times when it was more advantageous to knife the intruder in your cave which could either be a bear or your neighbor, or ostracize the person that looked too different because there was the off chance it could be a genetic deformity. Racism as inappropriate prejudice manifests itself because of a failing on the part of our prefrontal cortex to recognize when these snap judgments with inadequate information become disadvantageous and filter them out.

    Taking out our ability to be racist might have a side effect of making us slower on the take or something else detrimental. It would be better instead to buff our ability to evaluate and filter these thoughts so that we may retain our functionality while still being socially conscientious.

    Paladin on
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    zeenyzeeny Registered User regular
    edited April 2010
    I find the fact that we're looking for a biological "cure" for racism disturbing.

    zeeny on
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    LoklarLoklar Registered User regular
    edited April 2010
    zeeny wrote: »
    I find the fact that we're looking for a biological "cure" for racism disturbing.

    This. Yes.

    This is like comic-book supervillany.

    Loklar on
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    monikermoniker Registered User regular
    edited April 2010
    zeeny wrote: »
    I find the fact that we're looking for a biological "cure" for racism disturbing.
    moniker wrote: »
    I don't think that's what the researchers were suggesting.

    moniker on
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    shrykeshryke Member of the Beast Registered User regular
    edited April 2010
    I swear we need to like scrap this thread and start again with an OP that doesn't completely 100% fuck up in seeing what this article is ACTUALLY ABOUT.
    GoodOmens wrote: »
    The really interesting question is, ca0n people with Williams be taught to be racist? That is, are they simply lacking a "natural" tendency toward it, or are they, for lack of a better term, immune to being racist? That could tell us some very interesting things about how racism differs from gender discrimination and so forth.

    Of course, I have no clue how such a thing could be done with regard to any ethical considerations.

    Probably imo. If you can teach them gender bias, you can probably teach them racial bias too.

    Of course, it may not stick as well as you'd think since, as several people have pointed out, Williams Syndrome kids have no anxiety about anyone. (among other problems)

    shryke on
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    SipexSipex Registered User regular
    edited April 2010
    Yeah, this definitely isn't a cure, it solves one problem while creating another. Social anxiety is a survival tool which can be tuned to help us avoid what we perceive as the 'wrong kind of people'. In useful cases this helps you avoid the sketchy guy at the bar who seems too eager to buy you a drink or the sales associate who dodges the tricky important questions. Sure, it's unfair to assume these people have sinister motives but it gives you a warning to be careful around them in the case that they fit their stereotype.

    Also, the key to beating racism isn't to not be racist, it's to acknowledge how you are racist and then work around it.

    Sipex on
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    CorehealerCorehealer The Apothecary The softer edge of the universe.Registered User regular
    edited April 2010
    Racism can't be cured. All we can do is educate, try and compromise between ethnicities, and promote multiculturalism. Embracing others and our differences as a good thing rather then a bad thing, as well as focusing on universal social ills like crime and poverty and fixing that as it relates to racism is what must be done.

    Easier said, however, obviously it's wishful thinking to say all the black kids will have a future outside prostitution and crime in the next decade just because I said so. The reason for that and other race problems is not really racism but reality and poverty cycles. Racism comes after as a bad side effect and will go away when the perception of these people is changed by our efforts to help them.

    Corehealer on
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    ueanuean Registered User regular
    edited April 2010
    Loklar wrote: »
    The idea of using this to "cure racism" is some sort of Huxley-Nightmare scenario. It also wouldn't work. Social anxiety keeps me safe. It also keeps me in the corner at parties, but that's another story.

    Our goal should be to convince people that racism is stupid through the power of reasoned argument.

    lol. <<Arrested Development Buster No-Glasses Dance>>

    uean on
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    zeenyzeeny Registered User regular
    edited April 2010
    moniker wrote: »
    zeeny wrote: »
    I find the fact that we're looking for a biological "cure" for racism disturbing.
    moniker wrote: »
    I don't think that's what the researchers were suggesting.

    I find the fact that I was so easily mislead by a thread title disturbing.

    zeeny on
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    DelzhandDelzhand Hard to miss. Registered User regular
    edited April 2010
    The Cat wrote: »
    ...everyone seems to be missing the part where Williams makes its sufferers much more likely to get themselves harmed or killed though being overly trusting and friendly.

    That's what I was thinking, but you beat me to it. Social anxiety has its uses - it keeps people out of danger. I suppose if this pill falls through as a racism cure, it might have a second life as a date-rape drug.

    To head off a potential shitstorm, I'm not implying that one race or another is more prone to rape, but that social anxiety is rooted in deep unconscious thought processes. The guy with crazy eyes that smells like a meth lab? You don't follow him into an alley because of social anxiety.

    Delzhand on
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    ShivahnShivahn Unaware of her barrel shifter privilege Western coastal temptressRegistered User, Moderator mod
    edited April 2010
    There is no pill. The disorder causes issues because of developmental issues in the brain, causing abnormalities in structure. There's no way to cause it other than inducing it in embryos. Or theoretically, super futuristic brain surgery.

    Shivahn on
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    durandal4532durandal4532 Registered User regular
    edited April 2010
    Man, really?

    This isn't a cure for racism any more than actual blindness is a cure for racism.

    durandal4532 on
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    OtakuD00DOtakuD00D Can I hit the exploding rocks? San DiegoRegistered User regular
    edited April 2010
    Pel wrote: »
    Williams doesn't cure racism, it "cures" social anxiety, removing our natural social defense mechanisms: one of which, I assume, is the classification of individuals into easily distinguished groups. These defense mechanisms may backfire on us or others quite frequently but "curing" racism, if it were even possible, by interfering with the natural operation of the brain sounds pretty morbid. Hopefully this insight can help us to understand racism and the inner working of the mind that cause it more completely, however.

    Pretty much. The problem with Williams is that it seems to wipe away social anxiety to such an extreme extent that the person suffering from it is just unable to realize the fact that he may be biting off more than he can chew in certain situation; IE, as the link said, makes him/her more susceptible to getting raped, manipulated, beaten up, whatever the case.

    There's a reason why we have social anxiety to begin with. It's a survival mechanism, for better or worse. This just isn't the solution. If anything, it'd open up a whole new can of worms.

    OtakuD00D on
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    FeralFeral MEMETICHARIZARD interior crocodile alligator ⇔ ǝɹʇɐǝɥʇ ǝᴉʌoɯ ʇǝloɹʌǝɥɔ ɐ ǝʌᴉɹp ᴉRegistered User regular
    edited April 2010
    Other folks have dealt pretty well with the subject of Williams disorder, but I wanted to address the abstract questions in the OP.
    Rent wrote: »
    1. If racism is indeed genetic, do we, as a race, have an obligation to cure it? Further, to use the slippery slope arguement, if we are able to literally eradicate racism from the planet, should we treat other perceived genetic 'illnesses' in the same manner?

    This requires a reasoned cost:benefit analysis of the potential 'treatment.' Changing a genotype does not necessarily mean the phenotype goes away; nor does it necessarily mean you won't have unintended effects on other phenotypes.
    Rent wrote: »
    2. If racism is indeed genetic, how accountable for their actions are racists?

    Don't conflate "racism," an attitude, with the behaviors that may or may not come from racism.
    Rent wrote: »
    Indeed, to most sane (Texas nonwithstanding) people, the mentally retarded are not accountable for the actions they commit.

    I don't agree with that statement and I think it's based on an archaic and simplistic notion of accountability.
    Rent wrote: »
    3. If racism is indeed genetic, but the only known way to 'cure' it is by eliminating genes, can or should we use this as punishment to people who commit hate/racist crimes? (This of course assumes gene modification becomes a reality). One could argue we already use this as a punishment to serial rapists; should serial haters be treated the same?

    See my response to point 1.
    Rent wrote: »
    4. Is racism a bad thing? By this I mean, if assuming racism is genetic, one could naturally assume that racism was developed as an evolutionary defense mechanism against perceived outsiders. Should we be fucking with millions of years of evolutionary development?

    Just because a trait or behavior conferred a selective advantage doesn't necessarily mean it's morally forgivable.

    Feral on
    every person who doesn't like an acquired taste always seems to think everyone who likes it is faking it. it should be an official fallacy.

    the "no true scotch man" fallacy.
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    PaladinPaladin Registered User regular
    edited April 2010
    so wait, are socially anxious people more racist



    dang, I'm a racist

    Paladin on
    Marty: The future, it's where you're going?
    Doc: That's right, twenty five years into the future. I've always dreamed on seeing the future, looking beyond my years, seeing the progress of mankind. I'll also be able to see who wins the next twenty-five world series.
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    NeadenNeaden Registered User regular
    edited April 2010
    In general I think the idea of trying to genetically alter humans is pretty terrible. If nothing else in general this kind of thing has a low success rate. I've never worked with animals myself but with plans or bacteria you might at times be shooting for one out of a thousand. From what I've read in primate studies they generally get below 10% for the safest stuff. These kinds of ratios are all fine and dandy when we are dealing with animals but don't sound too good with people.

    Neaden on
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    SyngyneSyngyne Registered User regular
    edited February 15
    edit: was report message

    Syngyne on
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