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How should public figures atone for past bad acts?

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  • CalicaCalica Registered User regular
    Henroid wrote: »
    Well in the case of elected officials, there's the issue of representation. Bigots shouldn't be representing non-bigots nor the targets of said bigotry. Hence calls to step down.

    It's entirely possible for a person to be bigoted (or just a dumbass) in college and then mature out of it, though. In theory, that's one of the things higher education is for.

    I was religiously homophobic for most of college. I remember joking about Pride Week with one of my friends. That there are no photos of me participating in homophobic "outreach" is more because I thought that kind of thing was tacky than because I fundamentally disagreed with it.

    Jedoc wrote: »
    The GOP cares about babies until they're born, soldiers until they're in need of care, and families until they interfere with stockholder dividends.
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  • Inkstain82Inkstain82 Registered User regular
    ElJeffe wrote: »
    I hate to bust out the p-word - like, I really fucking hate it - but it seems the idea that the proper course of action is to step down from power comes from a position of privilege.

    Like, our hypothetical person here did something bad, is genuinely remorseful, and legitimately wants to make things better. Further, they are in a position where they can directly effect change.

    And the argument is that, even though they can make a positive difference where they are, they have not earned the right to use their power to make such changes? "Hey, sorry, underpriviliged people. This person could do something to help you out in a meaningful way, but he's not worthy. We're going to have him step down and hope the next person also wants to help you out."

    White savior paternalism

  • AstaerethAstaereth In the belly of the beastRegistered User regular
    ElJeffe wrote: »
    Buuuuuuut isn't the idea that they're no longer engaging in bigoted behavior, and in fact are legitimately remorseful and want to use their power to enact good?

    Because if they're still doing bigoted shit, or don't care to make amends, then the question is an easy and uninteresting one. But that's not the question posed.

    A lot of this discussion seems overly focused on the hypothetical ex-bigot. "He should step down because he did a bad thing and giving up power is the punishment for that." But that completely ignores what he can accomplish in his current position. It seems as if the question of where he can do the most good is irrelevant.

    I feel like the question of where he can best atone for his past is not really the primary concern

    You’re assuming that somebody else can’t slot their way in there and do just as much good, if not more good, because they don’t have the public mistrust and the scandal and maybe they themselves are more in touch with and thus better able to help the offended group. A Congressman is discovered to have sexual misconduct in his past. Sure, maybe he can sincerely want to atone and do right by his female constituents, and maybe they trust him to do so and maybe they don’t. Orrrrr he resigns, a woman is appointed to finish out his term, and she has an even better idea of how best to help her female constituents than the previous guy did.

    Explain to me the problem in that scenario.

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  • discriderdiscrider Registered User regular
    Inkstain82 wrote: »
    ElJeffe wrote: »
    I hate to bust out the p-word - like, I really fucking hate it - but it seems the idea that the proper course of action is to step down from power comes from a position of privilege.

    Like, our hypothetical person here did something bad, is genuinely remorseful, and legitimately wants to make things better. Further, they are in a position where they can directly effect change.

    And the argument is that, even though they can make a positive difference where they are, they have not earned the right to use their power to make such changes? "Hey, sorry, underpriviliged people. This person could do something to help you out in a meaningful way, but he's not worthy. We're going to have him step down and hope the next person also wants to help you out."

    White savior paternalism

    Right.
    And what happens when your minority spokesman has their past raked for an indiscretion of their own?
    Because they will be scrutinized to a larger extent than the privileged candidate, and a harsher standard of acceptable past behaviour will be applied to them.

    Should they also step down for behaviour that they have moved on from?

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  • PaladinPaladin Registered User regular
    Well sure, everyone's replaceable. A whole bunch of people are waiting in the wings to replace those who can't cut it.

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  • shrykeshryke Member of the Beast Registered User regular
    Astaereth wrote: »
    ElJeffe wrote: »
    Buuuuuuut isn't the idea that they're no longer engaging in bigoted behavior, and in fact are legitimately remorseful and want to use their power to enact good?

    Because if they're still doing bigoted shit, or don't care to make amends, then the question is an easy and uninteresting one. But that's not the question posed.

    A lot of this discussion seems overly focused on the hypothetical ex-bigot. "He should step down because he did a bad thing and giving up power is the punishment for that." But that completely ignores what he can accomplish in his current position. It seems as if the question of where he can do the most good is irrelevant.

    I feel like the question of where he can best atone for his past is not really the primary concern

    You’re assuming that somebody else can’t slot their way in there and do just as much good, if not more good, because they don’t have the public mistrust and the scandal and maybe they themselves are more in touch with and thus better able to help the offended group. A Congressman is discovered to have sexual misconduct in his past. Sure, maybe he can sincerely want to atone and do right by his female constituents, and maybe they trust him to do so and maybe they don’t. Orrrrr he resigns, a woman is appointed to finish out his term, and she has an even better idea of how best to help her female constituents than the previous guy did.

    Explain to me the problem in that scenario.

    That it's a stretch to assume that's even an option, let alone the most likely one.

    Because any statement that you believe people can atone or grow past things they've done in the past rings completely hollow if you just chuck them out of their job the minute you find out about those things.

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  • tbloxhamtbloxham Registered User regular
    discrider wrote: »
    Inkstain82 wrote: »
    ElJeffe wrote: »
    I hate to bust out the p-word - like, I really fucking hate it - but it seems the idea that the proper course of action is to step down from power comes from a position of privilege.

    Like, our hypothetical person here did something bad, is genuinely remorseful, and legitimately wants to make things better. Further, they are in a position where they can directly effect change.

    And the argument is that, even though they can make a positive difference where they are, they have not earned the right to use their power to make such changes? "Hey, sorry, underpriviliged people. This person could do something to help you out in a meaningful way, but he's not worthy. We're going to have him step down and hope the next person also wants to help you out."

    White savior paternalism

    Right.
    And what happens when your minority spokesman has their past raked for an indiscretion of their own?
    Because they will be scrutinized to a larger extent than the privileged candidate, and a harsher standard of acceptable past behaviour will be applied to them.

    Should they also step down for behaviour that they have moved on from?

    And what happens when highly skilled and motivated people think, "Jesus Christ, I can't get involved in politics. I'm sure I've got something in my past which will destroy me. I'll go and become an investment banker instead"

    "That is cool" - Abraham Lincoln
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  • rndmherorndmhero Registered User regular
    Astaereth wrote: »
    ElJeffe wrote: »
    Buuuuuuut isn't the idea that they're no longer engaging in bigoted behavior, and in fact are legitimately remorseful and want to use their power to enact good?

    Because if they're still doing bigoted shit, or don't care to make amends, then the question is an easy and uninteresting one. But that's not the question posed.

    A lot of this discussion seems overly focused on the hypothetical ex-bigot. "He should step down because he did a bad thing and giving up power is the punishment for that." But that completely ignores what he can accomplish in his current position. It seems as if the question of where he can do the most good is irrelevant.

    I feel like the question of where he can best atone for his past is not really the primary concern

    You’re assuming that somebody else can’t slot their way in there and do just as much good, if not more good, because they don’t have the public mistrust and the scandal and maybe they themselves are more in touch with and thus better able to help the offended group. A Congressman is discovered to have sexual misconduct in his past. Sure, maybe he can sincerely want to atone and do right by his female constituents, and maybe they trust him to do so and maybe they don’t. Orrrrr he resigns, a woman is appointed to finish out his term, and she has an even better idea of how best to help her female constituents than the previous guy did.

    Explain to me the problem in that scenario.

    Because very often he isn't replaced by a "woman with a better idea of how to help their female constituents." They're replaced by a Republican saying "see, even those libs are racist/homophobic/bigoted etc." It's difficult to find the line between "someone in blackface shouldn't represent us" and internal purity testing being a never-ending handicap on like-minded individuals working towards social progress.

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  • Atlas in ChainsAtlas in Chains Registered User regular
    We don't vote by round of applause. Unless we're talking about a lifetime appointment, there is always the next election where the voters can decide how to treat someone with a past. We can take care of these issues ourselves as voters without arming the GOP with weaponized yearbooks. I don't want their input at all when it comes to what somebody in my tent "should do." A congressperson stepping down isn't just ceding personal power, they are ceding our power. Unless the person in question is a current threat to the Union, we're always better off cleaning up our own mess.

    Which i guess shifts the question onto us. Do we primary somebody with a terrible past? I tend to look at most congresspeople as the tool that signs the bills and not as leaders. If the tool is doing good work currently, I'm much more forgiving. Electability and reliability are my main concerns, outside of a handful, I'm not interested in their leadership in any way.

  • ElJeffeElJeffe Moderator, ClubPA mod
    Astaereth wrote: »
    ElJeffe wrote: »
    Buuuuuuut isn't the idea that they're no longer engaging in bigoted behavior, and in fact are legitimately remorseful and want to use their power to enact good?

    Because if they're still doing bigoted shit, or don't care to make amends, then the question is an easy and uninteresting one. But that's not the question posed.

    A lot of this discussion seems overly focused on the hypothetical ex-bigot. "He should step down because he did a bad thing and giving up power is the punishment for that." But that completely ignores what he can accomplish in his current position. It seems as if the question of where he can do the most good is irrelevant.

    I feel like the question of where he can best atone for his past is not really the primary concern

    You’re assuming that somebody else can’t slot their way in there and do just as much good, if not more good, because they don’t have the public mistrust and the scandal and maybe they themselves are more in touch with and thus better able to help the offended group. A Congressman is discovered to have sexual misconduct in his past. Sure, maybe he can sincerely want to atone and do right by his female constituents, and maybe they trust him to do so and maybe they don’t. Orrrrr he resigns, a woman is appointed to finish out his term, and she has an even better idea of how best to help her female constituents than the previous guy did.

    Explain to me the problem in that scenario.

    If there is a woman standing right there who has equal qualifications and is in a position to actually assume the role and had the same ideological values? Not really a problem. What about when that's not the case? What about if the guy poised to take the reins doesn't have past problematic beliefs, but CURRENT problematic beliefs? Either a) you tell the guy with the good ideas to GTFO and let the next guy in line potentially fuck things up, or b) you decide your principles aren't really that important to you. One is objectively harmful and one isn't a great look.

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  • ElJeffeElJeffe Moderator, ClubPA mod
    Inkstain82 wrote: »
    ElJeffe wrote: »
    I hate to bust out the p-word - like, I really fucking hate it - but it seems the idea that the proper course of action is to step down from power comes from a position of privilege.

    Like, our hypothetical person here did something bad, is genuinely remorseful, and legitimately wants to make things better. Further, they are in a position where they can directly effect change.

    And the argument is that, even though they can make a positive difference where they are, they have not earned the right to use their power to make such changes? "Hey, sorry, underpriviliged people. This person could do something to help you out in a meaningful way, but he's not worthy. We're going to have him step down and hope the next person also wants to help you out."

    White savior paternalism

    Ha, no.

    "White savior paternalism" is saying that only a white guy can save you.

    This is saying that a white guy is literally standing there offering to pull you out of the burning building, but you'll pass, an underprivileged guy will probably be along any minute.

    Ignoring the fact that this doesn't even necessarily have to be a white person or a guy, since, you know, we could be talking about a minority woman with a homophobic past.

    Maddie: "I named my feet. The left one is flip and the right one is flop. Oh, and also I named my flip-flops."

    I make tweet.
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  • discriderdiscrider Registered User regular
    I think the nature of the indiscretion also matters to this discussion.
    I wouldn't want a known abuser to stay in power for instance, because they've proven not to be able to handle a power imbalance properly previously.

    I also present for consideration an example from two years ago:
    Photos have emerged of Paul Hollywood dressed as a Nazi. Yes, The Great British Bake Off guy.

    They're from an 'Allo 'Allo themed costume party 14 years ago..

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  • SmrtnikSmrtnik job boli zub Registered User regular
    MrMister wrote: »
    Astaereth wrote: »
    MrMister wrote: »
    Inkstain82 wrote: »
    MrMister wrote: »
    For some public figures, I think it's essentially no one's business what they did in the past. I'm fine with some of them rejecting inquiries. For others, like politicians, *cough cough*, this is less so. For active political figures, ideally they should display appropriate contrition for what they did. Still, I tend to value the concrete over the symbolic. "I'm doing a good job, in this job" seems like it should be a fine enough statement to me.

    Symbolism and moral leadership is a *huge* part of their jobs. Frequently the most important part.

    I think the most important part of politicians' jobs is passing legislation and running executive agencies in a way as to materially impact millions of people's lives.

    A random legislator may have bullied a couple gay kids in high school. By passing a nondiscrimination law he might keep thousands of gay people from losing their jobs or housing. Not a tough call, imo.

    On the other hand we could replace the legislator who once bullied gay kids with a legislator who would pass the same nondiscrimination law AND didn’t bully gay kids in high school. Is there a downside there?



    I think a lot of these discussions revolve around the immediate impact of the applied standard—if so and so resigns, who will replace them? What does this scandal mean for the person at its center and for their career going forward?

    But not nearly as much is about the impact of having a standard at all. That enforcing a social standard now about what today’s politicians did when they were young is also about demonstrating that standard to today’s youth. At the very least an ambitious person in grad school recognizes that their actions may have an impact on their future ability to lead and thinks twice about doing the kind of thing whose revelation is causing problems for their present leaders. If it’s okay to do bad things now and regret them later from that comfortable seat of power, why stop to think that you shouldn’t do them, or why you shouldn’t do them?

    I knew kids in college who thought about their lives that way--they were patiently building a resume, and definitely considering how whatever they were presently doing might look in ten years when they were running for a big office. They were like aliens. I don't think most people, especially most younger people, relate to their lives that way.

    I also think that it's easy to overstate the constancy of social concerns of the moment. There were a ~lot~ of things people were doing in 1980 that wouldn't fly now. Who knew, at the time, which would be most incendiary now--of all the dicey things that were going on, which would be the sticking point in 2018? Let alone which they'd get caught for? I think it's a finding in criminology that chance of being caught is generally more significant than magnitude of punishment, when it comes to deterrence. And aside from the fastidious alien type, that would suggest that most people aren't really getting deterred from acting badly on camera one night on the off chance that they are later running for something and it happens to get unearthed.

    I think the more interesting question is which things that are totally fine now will be considered grossly inappropriate in 40 years from now. And if you are doing those things now and are a politician in 2060 someone will be calling for you to resign because of it.

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  • jungleroomxjungleroomx Spicy Rudolph Registered User regular
    It appears the answer to the OP is public figures cannot atone for their past acts, and so they shouldn't even try.

    Which is... well, I find it to be an absurd standard to set for anyone.

    Make. Time.
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  • QuidQuid I don't... what... hnnng Registered User regular
    Calica wrote: »
    Henroid wrote: »
    Well in the case of elected officials, there's the issue of representation. Bigots shouldn't be representing non-bigots nor the targets of said bigotry. Hence calls to step down.

    It's entirely possible for a person to be bigoted (or just a dumbass) in college and then mature out of it, though. In theory, that's one of the things higher education is for.

    I was religiously homophobic for most of college. I remember joking about Pride Week with one of my friends. That there are no photos of me participating in homophobic "outreach" is more because I thought that kind of thing was tacky than because I fundamentally disagreed with it.

    Ditto. I grew up in a sexist, racist household and, not shockingly, left at 19 with sexist, racist views I’d express. It took several years of experience and growth outside of that environment, in another where those things are explicitly forbidden.

    Over a decade later and I’ve spent years actively working against those concepts. Yet were I ever to leverage this work in to a more prominent position several people here contend I shouldn’t be allowed to.

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  • bowenbowen How you doin'? Registered User regular
    Rchanen wrote: »
    Inkstain82 wrote: »
    Rchanen wrote: »
    Inkstain82 wrote: »
    Inkstain82 wrote: »
    MrMister wrote: »
    For some public figures, I think it's essentially no one's business what they did in the past. I'm fine with some of them rejecting inquiries. For others, like politicians, *cough cough*, this is less so. For active political figures, ideally they should display appropriate contrition for what they did. Still, I tend to value the concrete over the symbolic. "I'm doing a good job, in this job" seems like it should be a fine enough statement to me.

    Symbolism and moral leadership is a *huge* part of their jobs. Frequently the most important part.

    No its not, and "making" it part of there jobs is a fucking mistake-we keep making. It creates a pile of very intentionally biased value judgments as a barrier to both exclude people and shield ineffective/harmful politics.

    Its why congress is lousy with god-fearing, church going, white, hetero, cis, millionaire family men. Who do little beyond selling out their constituents to businesses/donors.

    Allow me to posit a theoretical election, between idk Mitt Romney(who despite my dislike of, I don't know of him doing anything in the sort of criminal/scandal area) and Bill Clinton(who basically got lucky metoo happened 20 years later than it did, otherwise he would have been impeached with cause).

    I'm not voting for Romney and in no world would I(or 90% of Americans) be better off if he won.

    I can’t imagine any world in which I would equate Mitt Romney with moral leadership and positive symbolism.

    A good 47% of the voting public can. 60.9 million people. And they believe that they are correct as heartily as you do.

    Some of them may be cynical. But I doubt all of them are.

    Do we choose the lesser evil? That's not always a good path. But I do not know if I can agree with Astaereth and Inkstain82 either.

    I don’t understand the argument here. Moral leadership is less important than legislation because sometimes people vote for bad moral leadership? As if nobody every votes for bad legislation?

    My argument is that moral leadership does not exist in a vacuum. And is a very relative term. Mitt Romney was definitely not your moral leadership, but he was somebody's. It's the kind of thing that makes me uncomfortable with the phrase moral leadership. "Whose morality and where are they leading us?" is the first question that springs to my mind.

    I don't think I particularly trust moral people. They give me the heebie-jeebies.

    Here's the problem. Laws very often don't line up with morality. Why? Because morality can be hella fucking subjective. It may be immoral to cheat on your significant other, but it is not illegal to do so. We need to be very careful about what we hold people to political office standard to, because if we put someone moral up, we are signaling that "yes this is a good person" and the world is frequently not black and white like that. It wasn't so long ago that it was "moral" and legal to beat your wife.

    We should endeavor to do better than morality, and we should stop letting perfect be the enemy of good for people who are making the world a better place because they did some dumb shit once or twice in their teen years or as a young adult, as long as current them is absolutely better. Think of the worst thing you've ever done, now imagine someone holding that over you for decades even though you're probably a much better person than you were then. I don't know a person yet that is a perfect bastion of truth and justice from birth until death.

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  • jungleroomxjungleroomx Spicy Rudolph Registered User regular
    Quid wrote: »
    Calica wrote: »
    Henroid wrote: »
    Well in the case of elected officials, there's the issue of representation. Bigots shouldn't be representing non-bigots nor the targets of said bigotry. Hence calls to step down.

    It's entirely possible for a person to be bigoted (or just a dumbass) in college and then mature out of it, though. In theory, that's one of the things higher education is for.

    I was religiously homophobic for most of college. I remember joking about Pride Week with one of my friends. That there are no photos of me participating in homophobic "outreach" is more because I thought that kind of thing was tacky than because I fundamentally disagreed with it.

    Ditto. I grew up in a sexist, racist household and, not shockingly, left at 19 with sexist, racist views I’d express. It took several years of experience and growth outside of that environment, in another where those things are explicitly forbidden.

    Over a decade later and I’ve spent years actively working against those concepts. Yet were I ever to leverage this work in to a more prominent position several people here contend I shouldn’t be allowed to.

    Same. Absurdly conservative to a fault.

    I went another direction because it felt like there was less purity testing and No True Scotsman-ing as well as better overall values, but this OP and discussion line seems to contradict that idea with absolutely rigorous purity testing and messianic standards for everyone, something nobody is capable of.

    Make. Time.
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  • zepherinzepherin Registered User regular
    Another related question is how long a go do we hold a person to their past bad behaviors? Do we take a picture of something shitty a person did in high school and crucify them as a 50 year old? College maybe?

    Societal norms of the time change.

    I am so grateful that Facebook and smartphones didn’t exist when I was in high school. Because I was an asshole.

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  • Hexmage-PAHexmage-PA Registered User regular
    edited February 5
    Don't forget there are also people with a vested interest in dragging something from a long time ago up to "own the libs".

    Last year on his Harmontown podcast Dan Harmon expressed that there was something he couldn't talk about going on that was causing him a lot of stress. In a recent episode he revealed that something had to do with someone contacting the company he works for about a skit he had performed over ten years ago that involved him humping a baby doll. Apparently his employers took this so seriously that they launched an investigation into whether he possessed child pornography or if he was involved with child sex trafficking.

    However, there are also people who just plain did something fucked-up or wanted to do something fucked-up, like how Liam Neeson is currently in hot water for revealing in an interview recently that he once wanted an excuse to attack a black man after a female friend was raped by one, walking around with a weapon waiting to see if he'd be accosted by someone so he would have an excuse to attack them.
    “It was horrible, horrible, when I think back, that I did that,” he said. “And I’ve never admitted that, and I’m saying it to a journalist. God forbid.”

    Mr. Neeson cast the episode as a parable on the pointlessness of seeking revenge and connected it back to the conflict in Northern Ireland, which officially ended in 1998.

    Liam Neeson Describes Racist Revenge Fantasy in Newspaper Interview

    I mean, he's saying that was a bad thing, that he's ashamed to admit it, and he outed himself of his own free will, but fuuuuuuuck...that's quite a thing to admit.

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  • Inkstain82Inkstain82 Registered User regular
    It appears the answer to the OP is public figures cannot atone for their past acts, and so they shouldn't even try.

    Which is... well, I find it to be an absurd standard to set for anyone.

    Still manipulative threats.

    If someone won’t be sorry for participating in abusive power dynamics unless you promise them it won’t hurt their power, they aren’t really atoning anyway. They’re performing to protect their power

  • Inkstain82Inkstain82 Registered User regular
    ElJeffe wrote: »
    Inkstain82 wrote: »
    ElJeffe wrote: »
    I hate to bust out the p-word - like, I really fucking hate it - but it seems the idea that the proper course of action is to step down from power comes from a position of privilege.

    Like, our hypothetical person here did something bad, is genuinely remorseful, and legitimately wants to make things better. Further, they are in a position where they can directly effect change.

    And the argument is that, even though they can make a positive difference where they are, they have not earned the right to use their power to make such changes? "Hey, sorry, underpriviliged people. This person could do something to help you out in a meaningful way, but he's not worthy. We're going to have him step down and hope the next person also wants to help you out."

    White savior paternalism

    Ha, no.

    "White savior paternalism" is saying that only a white guy can save you.

    This is saying that a white guy is literally standing there offering to pull you out of the burning building, but you'll pass, an underprivileged guy will probably be along any minute.

    Ignoring the fact that this doesn't even necessarily have to be a white person or a guy, since, you know, we could be talking about a minority woman with a homophobic past.

    The idea that white liberals with ties to the abuse are going to pull people out of the burning building is not one that seems popular in the circles I listen to about what it’s like to be in the burning building.

    It’s more like they set the fire and want to be in charge of the fire hose. Then they get really offended when you suggest that maybe you should get to hold the hose and they should stop carrying matches.

  • Inkstain82Inkstain82 Registered User regular
    Basically, white liberal America hates being confronted with the possibility that merely being liberal doesn’t absolve us from the part we play in our society’s racism.

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  • shrykeshryke Member of the Beast Registered User regular
    Inkstain82 wrote: »
    ElJeffe wrote: »
    Inkstain82 wrote: »
    ElJeffe wrote: »
    I hate to bust out the p-word - like, I really fucking hate it - but it seems the idea that the proper course of action is to step down from power comes from a position of privilege.

    Like, our hypothetical person here did something bad, is genuinely remorseful, and legitimately wants to make things better. Further, they are in a position where they can directly effect change.

    And the argument is that, even though they can make a positive difference where they are, they have not earned the right to use their power to make such changes? "Hey, sorry, underpriviliged people. This person could do something to help you out in a meaningful way, but he's not worthy. We're going to have him step down and hope the next person also wants to help you out."

    White savior paternalism

    Ha, no.

    "White savior paternalism" is saying that only a white guy can save you.

    This is saying that a white guy is literally standing there offering to pull you out of the burning building, but you'll pass, an underprivileged guy will probably be along any minute.

    Ignoring the fact that this doesn't even necessarily have to be a white person or a guy, since, you know, we could be talking about a minority woman with a homophobic past.

    The idea that white liberals with ties to the abuse are going to pull people out of the burning building is not one that seems popular in the circles I listen to about what it’s like to be in the burning building.

    It’s more like they set the fire and want to be in charge of the fire hose. Then they get really offended when you suggest that maybe you should get to hold the hose and they should stop carrying matches.

    I think it's really strange that you can only seem to conceive of this in terms of "white liberals". And given the "paternalism" shot earlier, seemingly male too. It can and has happened to other people. With this recent Virginia stuff we now have like 2 high-profile accusations against black male Democratic politicians, for example. Or, you, Tulsi Gabbard.

    You seem to want to stuff this whole thing into a specific framing where it's only about white men keeping minorities down or something and that's just not how it goes. This shit applies to anyone.

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  • Inkstain82Inkstain82 Registered User regular
    That’s fair. It’s an easier shorthand because that’s the case most in my mind, but it’s true for all abusive power dynamics

  • bowenbowen How you doin'? Registered User regular
    Assholes, slimebuckets, and shitheads exist in all shapes, sizes, and colors.

    Generally when you're using systematic racism like this, yes, sure, white people are the bulk of the problem. However when you're talking about atonement of political figures, we're talking individuals, not society as a whole. Thus it is not useful to talk about systematic racism. Plenty of PoC are just as guilty of being general-level shitfucks as white folks here. Plenty of them will set fire to the building to gain from it.

    Ladies.
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  • shrykeshryke Member of the Beast Registered User regular
    Inkstain82 wrote: »
    That’s fair. It’s an easier shorthand because that’s the case most in my mind, but it’s true for all abusive power dynamics

    It's not a shorthand though. Because it isn't the same thing. It's just a way to try and turn the actual issue into a different issue that's easier to get righteous about. Any kind of politician or public figure can end up accused of bad things in their past and we should be asking this question in those terms because "What if it's a minority women who's done bad things in their past?" is not even a hypothetical.

    bowenMrMisterLord_AsmodeusLostNinjadiscriderAridholFeralQuidTofystedethPreacherHeirA Kobold's KoboldjdarksunHacksawKamarabotkinfurlion
  • jungleroomxjungleroomx Spicy Rudolph Registered User regular
    Inkstain82 wrote: »
    Basically, white liberal America hates being confronted with the possibility that merely being liberal doesn’t absolve us from the part we play in our society’s racism.

    Whites aren't the only racists out there, nor are they the only ones preserving systemic racism, so this is a dumb metric by which to measure things. It also has nothing to do with the subject of the thread, which is about individual actions.

    Make. Time.
    PreacherForarzepherin
  • AstaerethAstaereth In the belly of the beastRegistered User regular
    It appears the answer to the OP is public figures cannot atone for their past acts, and so they shouldn't even try.

    Which is... well, I find it to be an absurd standard to set for anyone.

    Can you give an example of a public figure in the last ten years who sufficiently atoned for their past acts in your estimation?

    ACsTqqK.jpg
    Feral
  • Fuzzy Cumulonimbus CloudFuzzy Cumulonimbus Cloud Nurse, Veteran, Army Mom, Ficus, Space Dad, Survivor Contestant God Bless This Mess Registered User regular
    Astaereth wrote: »
    It appears the answer to the OP is public figures cannot atone for their past acts, and so they shouldn't even try.

    Which is... well, I find it to be an absurd standard to set for anyone.

    Can you give an example of a public figure in the last ten years who sufficiently atoned for their past acts in your estimation?
    Guy Fieri said some homophobic stuff and to repay he did like a billion gay weddings and is very pro gay now.

    bowenFeraljungleroomxwanderingjdarksunMrMisterMazzyxabotkinnever diezepherinhanzoSmrtnikfurlionFawst
  • AridholAridhol Registered User regular
    Astaereth wrote: »
    ElJeffe wrote: »
    Buuuuuuut isn't the idea that they're no longer engaging in bigoted behavior, and in fact are legitimately remorseful and want to use their power to enact good?

    Because if they're still doing bigoted shit, or don't care to make amends, then the question is an easy and uninteresting one. But that's not the question posed.

    A lot of this discussion seems overly focused on the hypothetical ex-bigot. "He should step down because he did a bad thing and giving up power is the punishment for that." But that completely ignores what he can accomplish in his current position. It seems as if the question of where he can do the most good is irrelevant.

    I feel like the question of where he can best atone for his past is not really the primary concern

    You’re assuming that somebody else can’t slot their way in there and do just as much good, if not more good, because they don’t have the public mistrust and the scandal and maybe they themselves are more in touch with and thus better able to help the offended group. A Congressman is discovered to have sexual misconduct in his past. Sure, maybe he can sincerely want to atone and do right by his female constituents, and maybe they trust him to do so and maybe they don’t. Orrrrr he resigns, a woman is appointed to finish out his term, and she has an even better idea of how best to help her female constituents than the previous guy did.

    Explain to me the problem in that scenario.


    sorry if the thread moved on but to address this; the problem isn't that there are no "better" people waiting to take the reins of power. There probably is BUT no one is perfect and with the pace of change no one can be.
    This results in a situation where you are continually using current standards to view every potential leaders past behaviour for purity. In my opinion this will, AT BEST, result in a revolving door of candidates and scandal after scandal. People just aren't that good at the end of the day, left or right.

    Then you add your opponents to the mix who don't give a shit about past or even present behaviour as long as they implement policies that the electorate wants.

    It sucks to get hit with the reality stick but here we are in the real world with real human beings and real consequences for losing power.






    Feral
  • bowenbowen How you doin'? Registered User regular
    edited February 5
    Astaereth wrote: »
    It appears the answer to the OP is public figures cannot atone for their past acts, and so they shouldn't even try.

    Which is... well, I find it to be an absurd standard to set for anyone.

    Can you give an example of a public figure in the last ten years who sufficiently atoned for their past acts in your estimation?
    Guy Fieri said some homophobic stuff and to repay he did like a billion gay weddings and is very pro gay now.

    He also does an poopload of community service too.

    bowen on
    Ladies.
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  • TL DRTL DR Not at all confident in his reflexive opinions of thingsRegistered User regular
    edited February 5
    shryke wrote: »
    Inkstain82 wrote: »
    ElJeffe wrote: »
    Inkstain82 wrote: »
    ElJeffe wrote: »
    I hate to bust out the p-word - like, I really fucking hate it - but it seems the idea that the proper course of action is to step down from power comes from a position of privilege.

    Like, our hypothetical person here did something bad, is genuinely remorseful, and legitimately wants to make things better. Further, they are in a position where they can directly effect change.

    And the argument is that, even though they can make a positive difference where they are, they have not earned the right to use their power to make such changes? "Hey, sorry, underpriviliged people. This person could do something to help you out in a meaningful way, but he's not worthy. We're going to have him step down and hope the next person also wants to help you out."

    White savior paternalism

    Ha, no.

    "White savior paternalism" is saying that only a white guy can save you.

    This is saying that a white guy is literally standing there offering to pull you out of the burning building, but you'll pass, an underprivileged guy will probably be along any minute.

    Ignoring the fact that this doesn't even necessarily have to be a white person or a guy, since, you know, we could be talking about a minority woman with a homophobic past.

    The idea that white liberals with ties to the abuse are going to pull people out of the burning building is not one that seems popular in the circles I listen to about what it’s like to be in the burning building.

    It’s more like they set the fire and want to be in charge of the fire hose. Then they get really offended when you suggest that maybe you should get to hold the hose and they should stop carrying matches.

    I think it's really strange that you can only seem to conceive of this in terms of "white liberals". And given the "paternalism" shot earlier, seemingly male too. It can and has happened to other people. With this recent Virginia stuff we now have like 2 high-profile accusations against black male Democratic politicians, for example. Or, you, Tulsi Gabbard.

    You seem to want to stuff this whole thing into a specific framing where it's only about white men keeping minorities down or something and that's just not how it goes. This shit applies to anyone.

    The topic of the thread is presumably people who want to legitimately atone for past sins, or at least want to appear as such - which means that Republicans are largely irrelevant. If you're in hot water because you did blackface 20 years ago and more recently have a good record on race, there is a conversation to be had there in a way that there just isn't if you're Mitch McConnell.

    That abuse and (relative) privilege are correlated shouldn't be controversial. Hence, the discussion will largely involve liberals who trend white and male.

    TL DR on
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  • Inkstain82Inkstain82 Registered User regular
    Inkstain82 wrote: »
    Basically, white liberal America hates being confronted with the possibility that merely being liberal doesn’t absolve us from the part we play in our society’s racism.

    Whites aren't the only racists out there, nor are they the only ones preserving systemic racism, so this is a dumb metric by which to measure things. It also has nothing to do with the subject of the thread, which is about individual actions.

    I have zero interest in divorcing individual actions from the extremely relevant context in which they occur

  • VeeveeVeevee WisconsinRegistered User regular
    edited February 5
    I think a large part of the problem Astaereth and others have is that we think we know these people, that their public image is who they are. We also know we are generally wrong about that, but we dont know who is faking and to what degree. When we get a huge shocking revelation that goes against that public image, we rebel and lash out at the perpetrators for perceived lies.

    Ultimately, I dont think there is a one size fits all answer to this. It all depends on several factors like the severity of the "lie", how long ago it happened, and how repentive the transgressor is. What is correct will always be subjective, but I think the trust required to hold high office should make resignation one of the required repentive steps for all but the most minor of past bad behaviors.

    Veevee on
  • CalicaCalica Registered User regular
    Inkstain82 wrote: »
    Inkstain82 wrote: »
    Basically, white liberal America hates being confronted with the possibility that merely being liberal doesn’t absolve us from the part we play in our society’s racism.

    Whites aren't the only racists out there, nor are they the only ones preserving systemic racism, so this is a dumb metric by which to measure things. It also has nothing to do with the subject of the thread, which is about individual actions.

    I have zero interest in divorcing individual actions from the extremely relevant context in which they occur

    Ok, but the context for individual actions isn't systemic racism; it's the rest of that individual's life. What's their public service record (since we're discussing elected officials)? Do they work for or against social justice? Are they abusive to people they have power over?

    I also think it's ok in some cases to have a divide between public and private life: for example, a Christian politician who privately believes homosexuality is a sin, but champions LGBT rights because they also believe in separation of church and state. If you can replace them with a more progressive and/or LGBT candidate next election, great! But if they're the best available option for now, then I don't want them ousted because somebody got ahold of a homophobic Facebook comment or something.

    Jedoc wrote: »
    The GOP cares about babies until they're born, soldiers until they're in need of care, and families until they interfere with stockholder dividends.
    Forar
  • shrykeshryke Member of the Beast Registered User regular
    TL DR wrote: »
    shryke wrote: »
    Inkstain82 wrote: »
    ElJeffe wrote: »
    Inkstain82 wrote: »
    ElJeffe wrote: »
    I hate to bust out the p-word - like, I really fucking hate it - but it seems the idea that the proper course of action is to step down from power comes from a position of privilege.

    Like, our hypothetical person here did something bad, is genuinely remorseful, and legitimately wants to make things better. Further, they are in a position where they can directly effect change.

    And the argument is that, even though they can make a positive difference where they are, they have not earned the right to use their power to make such changes? "Hey, sorry, underpriviliged people. This person could do something to help you out in a meaningful way, but he's not worthy. We're going to have him step down and hope the next person also wants to help you out."

    White savior paternalism

    Ha, no.

    "White savior paternalism" is saying that only a white guy can save you.

    This is saying that a white guy is literally standing there offering to pull you out of the burning building, but you'll pass, an underprivileged guy will probably be along any minute.

    Ignoring the fact that this doesn't even necessarily have to be a white person or a guy, since, you know, we could be talking about a minority woman with a homophobic past.

    The idea that white liberals with ties to the abuse are going to pull people out of the burning building is not one that seems popular in the circles I listen to about what it’s like to be in the burning building.

    It’s more like they set the fire and want to be in charge of the fire hose. Then they get really offended when you suggest that maybe you should get to hold the hose and they should stop carrying matches.

    I think it's really strange that you can only seem to conceive of this in terms of "white liberals". And given the "paternalism" shot earlier, seemingly male too. It can and has happened to other people. With this recent Virginia stuff we now have like 2 high-profile accusations against black male Democratic politicians, for example. Or, you, Tulsi Gabbard.

    You seem to want to stuff this whole thing into a specific framing where it's only about white men keeping minorities down or something and that's just not how it goes. This shit applies to anyone.

    The topic of the thread is presumably people who want to legitimately atone for past sins, or at least want to appear as such - which means that Republicans are largely irrelevant. If you're in hot water because you did blackface 20 years ago and more recently have a good record on race, there is a conversation to be had there in a way that there just isn't if you're Mitch McConnell.

    That abuse and (relative) privilege are correlated shouldn't be controversial. Hence, the discussion will largely involve liberals who trend white and male.

    Except I'm not talking about Republicans. I have 3 examples there, all of whom are Democrats. So I can't really figure out what you are responding to here.

  • TL DRTL DR Not at all confident in his reflexive opinions of thingsRegistered User regular
    I think that in addition to current behavior / policy informing how an individual might have changed since their 'pre woke period', discoveries of private prejudices can inform suspicions over whether an individuals stated wokeness may be performative

    It's also why the talking points / moralizing / symbolic gestures are basically meaningless when we're talking about power and how someone's behavior when they think no one is watching can inform us on how they'll use that power. I agree with Feral and others who are cautious about the idea that folks who have done something problematic should necessarily recuse themselves from their positions, both because it disproportionately affects people who are sensitive enough to care to begin with and because it's not the best way to redeem themselves.

    'Meeting with Jesse Jackson' is actually representative of the most appropriate course of action, imo. If I'm a public figure of whatever variety and a video comes out of me in college using a racial slur or something, it's appropriate to engage in dialogue with the people who I slighted and have an honest coming-to-terms with what's happened. It may be that an apology is sufficient, and that my current record stands as proof that I've grown as a person and have a deeply-held commitment to anti-racism. Much more likely, however, is that I'll hear that I'm not as woke as I want to believe or especially as I want to portray myself as being, at which point there should be a path for actual change and actual making amends not only for the incident but for injustice that I've reproduced thusfar.

    There are nontrivial questions like "who represents X group in this situation?" and "in a country founded on and continuing to reproduce hierarchies of white supremacy, what does individual justice look like?" I'd be interested to hear what folks think on that, because although individual action isn't a substitute for systemic revolution, people in positions of privilege (talking about us, here) should be making personal sacrifices in accordance with their morals to empower those whose oppression we routinely benefit from - and that doesn't mean a token recurring contribution to a nonprofit group.

    Feral
  • jungleroomxjungleroomx Spicy Rudolph Registered User regular
    Astaereth wrote: »
    It appears the answer to the OP is public figures cannot atone for their past acts, and so they shouldn't even try.

    Which is... well, I find it to be an absurd standard to set for anyone.

    Can you give an example of a public figure in the last ten years who sufficiently atoned for their past acts in your estimation?

    James Gunn pretty much right off the top of my head.

    Make. Time.
    kime
  • jungleroomxjungleroomx Spicy Rudolph Registered User regular
    edited February 5
    Inkstain82 wrote: »
    Inkstain82 wrote: »
    Basically, white liberal America hates being confronted with the possibility that merely being liberal doesn’t absolve us from the part we play in our society’s racism.

    Whites aren't the only racists out there, nor are they the only ones preserving systemic racism, so this is a dumb metric by which to measure things. It also has nothing to do with the subject of the thread, which is about individual actions.

    I have zero interest in divorcing individual actions from the extremely relevant context in which they occur

    Good luck with that, then.

    People make up the system. You change the system by changing the people, not the other way around. Engaging in this strange, self-flagellation meets white mans burden type stuff is exactly how you lose people willing to listen.

    jungleroomx on
    Make. Time.
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  • Styrofoam SammichStyrofoam Sammich WANT. 5386-8443-8937Registered User regular
    Astaereth wrote: »
    It appears the answer to the OP is public figures cannot atone for their past acts, and so they shouldn't even try.

    Which is... well, I find it to be an absurd standard to set for anyone.

    Can you give an example of a public figure in the last ten years who sufficiently atoned for their past acts in your estimation?

    I don't know how answerable this is for a lot of us. What business do I have in determining when someone has sufficiently atoned for their past homophobia? I'm straight. Ditto race, religion etc.

    jungleroomxAridholElvenshaeA Kobold's Kobold
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