[ExI] Status as human motivator

F. C. Moulton moulton at moulton.com
Wed Apr 27 05:43:30 UTC 2011

Concerning racism
On 04/26/2011 09:24 PM, Olga Bourlin wrote:
> But, hey, here everybody gets a free pass.

Allow me to disagree.  I do not think that anyone should get a free pass
on issues of race, gender, etc.  I was actually considering how to
structure a reply on the topic of race but got distracted by a small
leak in my sink (now fixed) and the other intrusions of life.

Talking about race or gender or similar matters is not easy particularly
if we each have different conceptual frameworks and different
backgrounds.   Further we have different modes of discourse when
discussing certain topics.  Plus there is the problem of how we
consciously perceive the actions of ourselves and our social group and
the unconscious and unobserved actions.  I am not accusing anyone of any
thing and I am not excusing anyone of anything.  I am just urging us to
be careful in our communications so that we do not express things which
we later regret. 

One the things that I have come to realize over the past couple of years
is that there is a vocabulary about race and gender as well as
conceptual framework which is common in some circles but is not common
in the tech and most other circles that I frequent.  While I do not
agree in all aspects with the framework I have found it instructive to
at least be aware of it and to be at least minimally conversant in that
framework when someone else is using it to discuss a situation.  Just as
it is useful to have a basic understanding of economics, physics,
chemistry, philosophy and computers to follow many of the discussions we
have here.

To get a brief idea of the kind of thing I am referring to I suggest the
following as a starter:
I am not endorsing it whole heartedly but I think it is a reasonably
short starting piece for those who are interested.  It was written in
the late 1980s so it is over 20 years old and thus might be a bit
dated.  But I do recommend it as a starting piece.  I expect that some
will read and say what rubbish and reject it out of hand as a personal
insult.   As I said above I am not saying it is totally correct; what I
am saying is that by reading the document it might be easier to
communicate on this topic with people who have that view point since
there will be greater familiarity with the viewpoint.  Of course this
will lead to meta-level discussions but at least it will be easier to
find the points of agreement and disagreement.

I suspect that Olga and Keith are really not as much in disagreement as
it might seem rather I suspect that it is a difference of focus and a
difference in modes of expression as well as a sincere difference of
perception of our daily situation.

Sorry about how long this message turned out.  I was trying without
success to keep it short.


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