The Daily Show took a look at racism recently in this sketch, and I continued to wonder if I were reasoning or rationalizing in my defense. And I realized I kinda had two defenses… and no real stance so much as a need to state both sides.
And I thought — totally disjointed — about privacy.
So — I guess, for a record in the “here and now” — with regard to “racism” (and you can probably insert “sexism” in there with minimal restructuring; maybe “tolerance”, ultimately, but let’s focus here) I have trouble understanding how to move forward in a way that both “honors” the truth of history (that horrible things have been done by horrible people for horrible reasons… and/or rationalizations™) — i.e., the facts and the narratives and their implications today — but still moves the fuck on. And I don’t know if that means “as fast as possible” or “as painless as possible” or… — I’m just certain it doesn’t mean in this chaotic “oh, it’s a thing but it’s not like there’s a definition that seems to fit” bullshit standoff we seem to be building toward. …Actually, yeah — that’s just “tolerance” in general.
I want to respect and commune with people. And that’s a pretty complicated word to define, but it doesn’t depend on “gender” or “sex” or “religion”. (Though, as an American, I feel obligated to apologize to French Canadians for the unfortunate double-whammy fate has dealt you.)
Er… as far as privacy — that I’ve always been pretty clear on (and by “always” I mean… I guess, since I really thought about it?). I don’t like it. Again, it’s lacking in definition — the above argument also applies here… —we’re getting there. I buy the argument that if you don’t have anything to hide then… can’t be fooled twice. Or something. But I also buy the arguments against it — that examining a person too closely is a process all too susceptible to confirmation bias… and/or some form of this. I don’t think that fully discredits the original concept, though — again, shitty definitions. Shitty boundaries. &c.
And then let’s go back — racism: shitty boundaries, arguments for both sides…
I think there’s a part of my… let’s go with “moral intuition” (which Haidt says is… irrational? not rational? pre-rational? …I forget) that advocates on behalf of “society”. And that’s that PC-ish side — it’s that side, but I’d like to think I’ve arrived here independently. Then there’s the adversarial side — I’m gonna go with that, because I’m not sure I have a “stance” so much as a “here’s what seems to be the Right Answer™” and a “ah, but what does that, like… even mean… man…?” sort of… naive skepticism. …Which certainly had roots in the communitarian underpinnings of my childhood. But it’s also what started questioning those things in the first place, it’s what led to the existence of that other sort of… system.
So there’s a real sense of “self” there.
Ultimately, it’s compromising with myself — I get that much. But how does that project into action? What’s the effect of this sort of reasoning? I understand the answer to that, oddly — I’m fascinated by the fact that I finally found the right question. It’s weird. The answer, though, is that I probe other people — if/when the opportunity arises, as “sensitively” as possible, &c. — to see if other people are even thinking about these things. To see if my reasoning isn’t so flawed. To see if people actually agree with one of my stances. To see if my perception of “society” is accurate. And it is… and it’s boring.