Poll: Do you agree with me that we should discourage generalizations of any sort?
Poll Options
View poll results: Do you agree with me that we should discourage generalizations of any sort?
Yes, positive racism is still racism
117 79%
No, generalizations are only bad if it hurts people's feelings
31 21%
Voters: 148.
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#1
We live in a society where negative generalizations are largely discouraged, but positive ones are tolerated and even encouraged. For example, something I see a lot is if someone calls Mexicans lazy, there is usually someone standing by to say "No, Mexicans are very hard working." To me, both of these statements are racist, as they both generalize millions of people into a category based on their ethnicity. I believe that instead of combating only negative generalizations, we should discourage generalizations whether positive or negative.

Do you agree with me, or am I making a mountain out of a molehill?
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#2
Voted first choice. You shouldn't have to mention a person's race, just what they did or said.
Quote by lolmnt
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#4
It's hard to tell...most definitions I've found of "racism" fit into:

1. the prejudice that members of one race are intrinsically superior to members of other races
2. discriminatory or abusive behavior towards members of another race

So I think "positive generalizations" are not "racism" by this definition, but rather have something to do with ignorance than prejudice.

So I won't vote for anything on the poll since I do think that we should discourage generalizations of any sort, but I don't particularly agree that positive racism is still racism.
#5
Quote by denfilade
It's hard to tell...most definitions I've found of "racism" fit into:

1. the prejudice that members of one race are intrinsically superior to members of other races
2. discriminatory or abusive behavior towards members of another race

So I think "positive generalizations" are not "racism" by this definition, but rather have something to do with ignorance than prejudice.

So I won't vote for anything on the poll since I do think that we should discourage generalizations of any sort, but I don't particularly agree that positive racism is still racism.



My example fits under #1. Just change 'work harder' to 'are smarter' and there you go.
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#6
Quote by StewieSwan
My example fits under #1. Just change 'work harder' to 'are smarter' and there you go.


Well that changes things drastically. In the OP, "No, Mexicans are very hard working." doesn't necessarily imply superiority. "Work harder" or "are smarter" does. In that case, I'd probably have to agree with you.
#7
Preconceptions and generalizations are inextricably bound to our existence. If it wasn't for them you would never be able to go out at night and drive a car everyday. We have to generalise positively to get by. We generalise that e.g. all those drivers we are going to meet on our way are not going to hit our car - this is a constructive generalization - there are hundreds.
#8
Well, if you're going to ban constructive generalisations, you'd also have to lose "he graduated from Harvard, so he's probably pretty smart" sort of generaliation too.
#9
Quote by MightyAl
Well, if you're going to ban constructive generalisations, you'd also have to lose "he graduated from Harvard, so he's probably pretty smart" sort of generaliation too.


You don't think that that's a pretty unsafe generalization to make?


Way to put the pressure on the Harvard graduates, man.

EDIT: I'm not saying constructive generalizations are bad, I just think that, like everything, it is only helpful to a certain degree.
Last edited by denfilade at Aug 7, 2010,
#10
Stereotypes exist because they have a basis in reality. How far that reality extends is irrelevant. It's like saying I'm going to buy an Ibanez because they have a reputation for quality. How many morons around here judge Line 6 as being crap when they have literally no experience and no clue with the higher-end products they produce? People live by generalisations.
#11
Well, I see what you mean but I have a hard time seeing anyone being offended by positive generalizations.

For example if I told a German that they are the most hard working people I know of, I wouldn't think he would throw his weissbier in my face and leave because he was hurt by my generalization. He would properly think that he really do work hard and maybe fell a little sense of pride.

Generalization rarely does any good but in this case I can't really see the harm either. If one made positive generalizations about one's own ethnic group, then we have something looking like racism because you would also imply superiorty
Last edited by Fender Dane. at Aug 7, 2010,
#12
I don't think the problem with generalisations is with race. I think the problem is that people should just never generalise. It's very important with psychological studies. Why shouldn't we regard it as important not to generalise people's behaviour based on social/racial/sexual orientation/gender factors.
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#13
Quote by Fender Dane.
Well, I see what you mean but I have a hard time seeing anyone being offended by positive generalizations.



I can think of one easily. Asians are good at math.
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#14
Freedom of speech brah
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I'm gonna have a really hard time if we're both cannibals and racists.

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#15
By saying that one group of people are good at something is then suggesting that every other group is worse at it and that is a negative generalisation.
#16
Quote by mychemicalbert
By saying that one group of people are good at something is then suggesting that every other group is worse at it and that is a negative generalisation.


Not necessarily. For example, I can say that Blink 182 is good at making music. Does that suggest that Blink 182 is better at making music than everyone else? Certainly, certainly not.
#17
Quote by denfilade
Not necessarily. For example, I can say that Blink 182 is good at making music. Does that suggest that Blink 182 is better at making music than everyone else? Certainly, certainly not.

true

edit: but it still suggests that they are better than atleast one other group
Last edited by mychemicalbert at Aug 7, 2010,
#18
You're correct, in that both statements are generalisations and can be construed at racist, but at the end of the day if you're offended by a positive generalisation then you need to man the hell up.
#19
Quote by mychemicalbert
true

edit: but it still suggests that they are better than atleast one other group


Well maybe if you define good by comparing them to something else. But say from my example, if you define the "goodness" of Blink 182 by how much you enjoy it yourself, no other music needs to be mentioned.
#20
Quote by denfilade
Well maybe if you define good by comparing them to something else. But say from my example, if you define the "goodness" of Blink 182 by how much you enjoy it yourself, no other music needs to be mentioned.

But if you aren't comparing them to another group then why bother generalising the group with the compliment. If you aren't comparing them to anyone then they aren't special and there was no point generalising them. I understand what you mean though.
#22
Quote by mychemicalbert
But if you aren't comparing them to another group then why bother generalising the group with the compliment. If you aren't comparing them to anyone then they aren't special and there was no point generalising them. I understand what you mean though.


Yeah, why bother? I agree. But that still doesn't mean that in all cases a superiority is implied.
#23
Why discourage stereotypes? They all arise from fact.
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#24
Quote by MHDrunk
Why discourage stereotypes? They all arise from fact.

Yeah, but they don't apply to every member of that particular demographic.
There may be trends and general cases, but it's never true for absolutely everyone. And a lot of stereotypes are specific cases blown out of proportion.
#25
One of the ways in which I'm trying to better myself is to make less generalizations. Sure, the evidence is there sometimes, but it can be really hurtful to people. And I want to start taking others' feelings more into consideration as well.

To me, even 'good' generalizations aren't good in the long run.
#26
The first option doesn't make sense, racism is discrimination, of which positive comments aren't.
#27
Quote by br33dlove
The first option doesn't make sense, racism is discrimination, of which positive comments aren't.



Look up the actual definition of racism. It's much more than simple racial discrimination.
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#28
Isn't racism built on intent? So the person speaking the Positive Stereotype is not intending to be racist (or maybe they are, subconsciously) but they are actually generalizing, which can be derogatory can't it?

I really don't know, it is late, not in the mood for thinking.
#29
I don't like it because it's usually factually wrong. nobodies better than anyone else at anything,and i don't mean that in a hippy way. It's just true.

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#30
Quote by denfilade
You don't think that that's a pretty unsafe generalization to make?

Seems like a relatively safe generalization...in general, Harvard graduates are probably better educated than most.
#31
Well, I can see how someone would consider it racist, BUUT THEN AGYYYAAAIIN, It's not really hurting anybody...
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#32
I think positive racism in turn makes negative racism too. Generalizations are important in living day to day life, but that doesn't mean we need racism to live daily.
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#33
Quote by DimebagLivesOn
Voted first choice. You shouldn't have to mention a person's race, just what they did or said.


If someone has a mohawk, I'll refer to them as the guy with the mohawk. If someone is black, I'll refer to them as the black guy. I don't see how it's racist, it's a fact.
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#34
Quote by eazy-c
If someone has a mohawk, I'll refer to them as the guy with the mohawk. If someone is black, I'll refer to them as the black guy. I don't see how it's racist, it's a fact.


This is a very valid point really, people should stop seeing any mention of race as the defining characteristic and start seeing it as a simple descriptor.

Also I'm of the opinion that even "affirmative action" is racism; true equality can never be had until the world is truly blind to race.
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#35
Quote by Jiggzy.UK
I don't like it because it's usually factually wrong. nobodies better than anyone else at anything,and i don't mean that in a hippy way. It's just true.

Stepen Hawking is probably better at physics than you.
But I bet you'd kick his ass at golf.
#36
Quote by padgea7x
Freedom of speech brah


Common sense brah
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#37
******s have large dicks
white people are really rich
Japanese are way too smart

you mean that kinda stuff?
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thats pretty epic actually.

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#38
Quote by RevaM1ssP1ss
I don't think the problem with generalisations is with race. I think the problem is that people should just never generalise. It's very important with psychological studies. Why shouldn't we regard it as important not to generalise people's behaviour based on social/racial/sexual orientation/gender factors.

Mexican isn't a race though. I can make generalisations towards groups of geographically linked people, like how English are more subtle than Americans who are more frank and how there's a strange type of tribalism in Wales. Naturally, I'm not going to use this concepts and apply them to everyone. I'm not subtle, I've met silent judgemental Americans and I know many Welsh who aren't too concerned about disliking nearby towns and villages. You will find trends in groups of people, and it's a nice thing really actually. It's quite interesting.
#39
i was having this discussion with a guy who is a dick one of these days, i said no because if it doesnt hurt anyone what? i said something like ''all japenese people are lefties'' and he said i was racist
#40
generalizations are only good for banal jokes. you can't really make a truthful broad statement about any group of people, other than describing what factor makes them a group.
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