Monday, March 19, 2018

Benjamin Franklin sounding like a communist

"All the Property that is necessary to a Man, for the Conservation of the Individual and the Propagation of the Species, is his natural Right, which none can justly deprive him of: But all Property superfluous to such purposes is the Property of the Publick, who, by their Laws, have created it, and who may therefore by other Laws dispose of it, whenever the Welfare of the Publick shall demand such Disposition. He that does not like civil Society on these Terms, let him retire and live among Savages. He can have no right to the benefits of Society, who will not pay his Club towards the Support of it." -Benjamin Franklin

YouGov poll suggests Americans of all races are becoming more racist

From Nearly 20 Percent of Americans Think Interracial Marriage is ‘Morally Wrong,’ Poll Finds:
Seventeen percent of respondents said interracial marriage was “morally wrong” while 83 percent said it was “morally acceptable.” There was a bit of a divide along party lines on the subject, with 28 percent of Republicans and just 12 percent of Democrats replying that interracial marriage was morally wrong.

There wasn’t much of a difference among respondents by race, however, according to YouGov. Seventeen percent of white respondents felt interracial marriage was morally wrong, compared with 18 percent of black respondents and 15 percent of Hispanic respondents.
If the poll is accurate, this is troubling for two reasons. Gallup had found higher support five years ago, and historically, black people have been more supportive of interracial marriage. From In U.S., 87% Approve of Black-White Marriage, vs. 4% in 1958:
Blacks' approval of black-white marriage (96%) is now nearly universal, while whites' approval is 12 percentage points lower, at 84%. Blacks' approval has consistently been higher than whites' over the decades, although attitudes among both racial groups have generally moved in a parallel manner since 1968 -- when Gallup first was able to report reliable estimates of each group's opinion. The gap between black approval and white approval in recent years has been smaller than it was prior to 1997.
I can offer two theories for why people might be becoming more racist:

1. Economic desperation can make people more racist. See Will privilege theorists call this black female privilege? Plus evidence that ending poverty will end racism

2. Promoting antiracism theory often increases racism. See Antiracism campaigns: Twenty years of making racism worse

Will privilege theorists call this black female privilege? Plus evidence that ending poverty will end racism.

That black men have it tougher than white men shouldn't surprise anyone. If you didn't know that, the data's at Sons of Rich Black Families Fare No Better Than Sons of Working-Class Whites - The New York Times.

This surprised me:
Black and white girls from families with comparable earnings attain similar individual incomes as adults.
Should privilege theorists be talking about black female privilege now?

This is useful for those of us who want to end racism:
The authors, including the Stanford economist Raj Chetty and two census researchers, Maggie R. Jones and Sonya R. Porter, tried to identify neighborhoods where poor black boys do well, and as well as whites.

“The problem,” Mr. Chetty said, “is that there are essentially no such neighborhoods in America.”

The few neighborhoods that met this standard were in areas that showed less discrimination in surveys and tests of racial bias. They mostly had low poverty rates. And, intriguingly, these pockets — including parts of the Maryland suburbs of Washington, and corners of Queens and the Bronx — were the places where many lower-income black children had fathers at home. Poor black boys did well in such places, whether their own fathers were present or not.
I italicized the line that suggests something many of us believe: If you want to end racism, you have to end poverty. 

On false memories and confirmation bias at File 770


I'm amused and pleased none of my doubters have taken up my offer to let them see all the emails between the Fourth Street Board and me. But after watching them over a couple of days, I suspect they're simply not interested in facts that would force them to rethink their beliefs. All humans are susceptible to this, especially when they believe in things like neoliberalism or identitarianism that have nothing to do with facts.


Though estee confirmed that Coffeeandink had been public about her legal identity, Andy H insisted, the time of Racefail I had been a regular reader of coffeeandink’s blog for at least five years. For most of that period I did not know her real name. I don’t recall how I eventually learned it, but I understood it to not be something that was generally linked to the blog and with which it was appropriate to be discreet. I do not believe it to be true that she had ever used her first name as her livejournal username; she was coffeeandink for the entire time I followed her, but commenters occasionally called her affectionately by another pseudonym which I think may have been her username before.
I believe Andy H is being completely honest about her memory. But memory is so unreliable that good detectives know eye witnesses sometimes give false testimony without realizing it.

Fortunately, in this case, we have Coffeeandink's own words to show that Andy H misremembers. On March 7, almost a full week after I am supposed to have outed Coffeeandink, she made a public post addressed to Kathryn Cramer that included this:
Please also explain how I was hiding my identity from you or the Nielsen Haydens in a LiveJournal pnh friended a few years ago, with a user profile that lists my very identifiable first name, in a post that is signed with my very identifiable first name.

As the conversation peters out, the neoliberals have been promoting two thoroughly debunked theories. I provided two relevant linkfests:

A few links for Clinton fans who still say Sanders was never attacked

A reminder for Clinton fans that the polls were right all along

But confirmation bias always rules. We trust things that confirm our beliefs. Cultists carry this to such an extreme that it might be called denial bias--they will reject disquieting information even when they don't have comforting information to fill the void.

Saturday, March 17, 2018

For Lis Carey, Hampus Eckerman, JJ, or anyone who has said I must have held back relevant information about the Fourth Street Kerfuffle

With two conditions, here's my offer to end part of the whispering:

Write me—shetterly at gmail—and I'll forward the raw email discussions that I drew on for Positively Fourth Street, or On being banned for ... vague reasons about nearly indescribable things? That's easy to do in Gmail and it will show what I thought was unnecessary. If there's something you think relevant, you're free to share it.

The conditions:

1. This offer isn't open to everyone who's curious because life's short. It's only open to people who have said in public that I must have left something important out.

2. Some of the material in those conversations, like Alex Haist's gmail account, is private and must stay private. The only things I am giving permission to share are things that the Board said officially (which, I suppose, would include the comments Alex Haist incompetently or maliciously included at the end of an official letter) and anything that I said.

Why I prioritize class and identitarians don't

Anyone who knows history knows this:

1. The gender gap is narrowing.

2. The racial gap is narrowing.

3. The wealth gap is widening.

Neoliberals support all three of these.

And socialists whose beliefs about identity come from liberals like Derrick Bell and Kimberle Crenshaw effectively support all three when they focus on the battles that are being won instead of the one that's being lost.

Friday, March 16, 2018

Writers at File 770 validate my concern about the Fourth Street ban

At Shetterly Banned by 4th Street Fantasy Convention | File 770, Lis Carey says,
I’m also not inclined to believe he has engaged in full disclosure about his interactions with Fourth Street over this. Not suggesting anything is faked; just that I wouldnt be surprised if there’s more, stuff that he’s decided is “not relevant,” but which Fourth Street might consider very relevant.
Hampus Eckerman says,
we can be fairly sure that he will not mention everything relevant.
JJ says,
I’m quite sure that WS has, as usual, presented only the information which supports his narrative. 
This amuses me. In order to show I wasn't omitting anything relevant, I was afraid I'd included too much.

For the record, I omitted the emails about planning the seminar before I was kicked off it, I omitted the emails we shared once it was settled that I'd be doing a panel at the convention, and out of consideration for Alex Haist, I omitted some insulting notes that she incompetently or maliciously left on the copy of the letter she sent me to answer my four questions. If there's anything I left out that seems pertinent, I invite anyone from the Board to share it with the assurance that I have no intention of suing anyone.

It also saddens but doesn't surprise me to see people insisting "But there must be something more!" It is another way cults try to discredit outsiders: when they have nothing, they suggest that the absence of evidence must be significant.

Meredith says,
I’ve never got the impression that Shetterly is dangerous – apart from a willingness to out people, which is a different sort of dangerous –
My "willingness to out people" consists of ironically saying I was outing one person, Micole Coffeeandink. If there were more, Meredith's community would have screen caps to prove it.

For much too much about this claim: The Retroactive Pseudonymity of Micole “Mely” Coffeeandink

Jayn says,
I remember vaguely how he went around here saying that he took some sketchy exam online that proved he wasn’t racist while vaguely implying that anyone who didn’t want to take the same exam online was.
The idea that Project Implicit's Race IAT is "sketchy" is also amusing. The test actually suggested I am racist--like a large minority of white people, I show an implicit preference for black folks. I wish I was among the people who show no preference, but sometimes you have to accept that you are what you are.

estee says,
about the “outing” business—that woman was not closeted in the first place, no matter what she said about it afterwards. Back in 2009 when Racefail was in full swing, I used to read the various blogs every few days, when I could snatch a little free time. On one occasion I had trouble finding hers because I couldn’t remember the name of the blog and hadn’t bookmarked it; but I did remember the personal name used by the blogger, because it was unusual. So I Googled it, and among the first things that came up were her Amazon wish list, and references to her published fiction, all with her full legal name. I had no idea who she was and certainly wasn’t trying to find anything except the blog, but there all the information was, for anyone to see. So when she started claiming that she had been outed by the people she disliked, my first reaction was bewilderment, and my second reaction was outrage at such a bold-faced lie. (And my third reaction was disgust at how many people fell for the lie.)

I strongly disagree with many of Will’s opinions, but for several years—specifically, between 2009 and 2014—I read his blog regularly because he seemed to be the only person willing to tell the truth about something important: namely, that very ugly things were being said and done in the name of social justice in SFF. Eventually, of course, the nastiness became so extreme that other people pointed it out as well, and Laura Mixon won a Hugo for going public with it. But for quite a while there, Will was the solitary, bratty kid complaining about the Emperor’s new clothes while everyone else politely pretended that all was well.
estee, thank you.

Oneiros says,
It seems to me that WS could’ve just taken his lumps and gone on with his life. His decision to go public about all this is just trying to create drama over a non-situation. He’s done with them; they’re done with him. Nothing of substance has changed as far as I can tell.
The discussion at File770 shows what has changed: so far as I know, no one is implying that I'm physically dangerous to be around, which would have been the first assumption if I'd stayed silent.

Litch says,
Really, there was no threat of lawsuit in his email, none. He both explicitly denies an interest and provides a reasonable explanation for why he brought it up

Why go out of your way to piss him off? Ive seen some people call him a drama queen but really, this crown was thrust upon him.
Litch, thank you.

John A Arkansawyer says,
One advantage of taking this to court–which I’m increasingly hoping he’ll do as I watch you go all white cell group mind over the intruder, something I doubt you realize looks as ugly to outsiders at it does–would be an outside check on whether or not this is bullshit.

I think it sounds like bullshit. Once you wipe away the dust, what happened was that Shetterly and Brust disagree politically with identity populism. They take a traditional left-wing approach to ending oppression. That is not an acceptable political position to say out loud in America, so they got booted under pretexts.

(That’s clearly not what happened with whatsisname, who made publicly explicit his intentions to commit clear and unequivocal harassment.)

So I’d like to see a judge–or anybody who isn’t the buddy or antagonist of someone involved, though a judge can really rub your nose in it–say whether or not what what Shetterly is accused of is actually harassment. A word the board avoids using, though folks here have felt free to do so without knowing what the board knows.

That last is a rather delicious irony which only occurred to me as I typed it.
One of my assumptions is that this is not about harassment. I assume that because the board was explicit in what they said.

The bouncing from a panel–but not from the convention, as I assume it would be if he were harassing people–was about “mode of discourse and your pattern of pursuing conversation past the point of when the other party wants to disengage”. I read that as being about panel behavior, though I could be wrong.

The banning is explicitly said to be because they are worried about a lawsuit.

Neither is characterized as harassment by the board, which presumably knows more about the situation than anyone in this discussion. Yet two commenters had used the word harassment in varyingly indirect references three times, all after the comment where I quoted the board’s explicit statements.

I don’t like slippery slope arguments, because all of life is a slippery slope. Being on the the slippery slope of banning people for harassment is a righteous place to be. It’s made righteous by not by leaving the slope–since you can’t leave it–but by resisting going down it. So perhaps people could resist sliding from right to wrong on this one.
@Meredith: Since I’m here, I’ll say it again: The board did not make any claim of harassment whatsoever. Harassment entered the discussion here, when people did exactly what Shetterly predicted they’d do: Decide something happened that was super terrible and double secret. And so entered harassment, from thin air.

He was bounced from a panel for…harassment? Why wouldn’t he be bounced from the con for that? Isn’t it much likelier such a limited sanction involved a more limited reading of the board’s words: “your mode of discourse and your pattern of pursuing conversation past the point of when the other party wants to disengage”?
John, thank you. I'm sorry to disappoint you about suing them though. Life's too short.

Lenora Rose says,
Then more reports of following people after racefail (And some later smaller incidents, if I recall correctly) — including into private correspondence. That started to weird me out.
it seemed exceedingly frequent for him to attack other leftists
Following people around and repeatedly trying to get them to continue an argument thay have said they don’t want to have, and who have asked you to leave – IS HARASSMENT.mis
I suspect the mention of "private correspondence" refers to an attempt to end a disagreement by email. In many communities, trying to resolve things privately is considered a virtue, not a sin. Whenever I was told someone did not want to discuss this, I dropped the subject. If I am misremembering anything, I invite people to share my emails. One of the codes I try to live by is Bob Dylan's "to live outside the law, you must be honest."

As for disagreeing with people on public forums, I completely own that. I do not tolerate lies or misrepresentations, and I do not plan to change my ways. Anyone is free to respond at a public site, much though people promoting agendas may wish it were not so.

I'm not sure who the "other leftists" are. I suspect they're neoliberal identitarians, who I criticize because they are not leftists. I just today came across Adolph Reed's observation from 1996:
"...identity politics converges with old-fashioned middle-class reform in favoring form over substance."
The flamewar called Racefail was entirely about form over substance.

Lydy Nickerson says,
The woman in question did not want her LJ handle linked explicitly to her real life handle.
If that were true, why did she use her extremely uncommon first name as her LJ handle? At the time, if you googled just her first name, she was among the very first hits thanks to her habit of using her full legal name in public posts on her LJ.

ETA: There has been more discussion at File 770. I say that for thoroughness—none of it seems worth adding to this post.

ETA 2: For Lis Carey, Hampus Eckerman, JJ, or anyone who has said I must have held back relevant information about the Fourth Street Kerfuffle

Potential Fourth Street fallout—on mobbing, emotional abuse, depression, and suicide

So far as I know, no one in science fiction fandom has chosen suicide as a consequence of being mobbed. But if nothing changes, someone will.

At least two of the targets in the #MeToo movement have killed themselves—Jill Messick and Jo Min-ki. That's no surprise to anyone who has read about mobbing—see The very real link between workplace bullying and suicide: Twice as likely to contemplate suicide. I've written about this before: Mobbing drives people a little—or a lot—mad.

More people than anyone knows have been attacked by fandom's New McCarthyites. After posting Positively Fourth Street, or On being banned for ... vague reasons about nearly indescribable things?, I was told more stories. I should have expected that--people whose fears keep them silent will tell things in confidence to those who speak out. Once, in an online argument, I was foolish enough to say I was supported by lurkers in email. The people on the other side assumed I was lying and mocked me. I only pitied them—if you've never been supported by lurkers, you're the bully in the room.

I want to assure people that I'm not suicidal. I like to think it's because I'm a hard ass, but I know it has more to do with having people in my life who love me.

Yet people kill themselves even though they're surrounded by love. Being driven out of a community causes enormous psychological damage. Humans are herd animals. For some, death is more comforting than being cast out.

If you're one of those people, reach out to a friend or a suicide hotline now. That feeling is powerful, but it is a lie.

People who have not experienced mobbing often think it would not harm them. They are like Trump claiming he would have run into danger. Braggarts are usually people who have not been tested.