A Teaching Moment

Here is an example of a long, well-written, fact-filled diary on a subject:

Facts Belie the Scapegoating of Black People for Proposition 8

And here is an example of the opposite, on the same subject:

why are african americans so intolerant of others?

By the way, it took only a single Recommendation to send the latter onto the Recommended list, which suggests some adjustment is needed in that algorithm. (There are actually two Recs for it now, but for a while, there was just one.)

Tags: meta, Prop 8 (all tags)

Comments

17 Comments

Re: A Teaching Moment

I didn't find either of those diaries very impressive.  The one posted on MyDD about intolerance was very poorly and aggressively written and was not appropriate for launching a discussion on the issue.

However, the one posted on DailyKos was defensive and skirted the main issues.  First it argued that CNN's exit poll was inaccurate.  However, it ignored the fact that all pre-election polls indicated the same point, i.e., that Blacks supported Proposition 8 considerably more than Whites and somewhat more than Asians and Latinos.  The DailyKos diary also made a big issue about the fact that Blacks themselves couldn't have tipped the issue, which is true, but they are an important constituency that has to be reached in order to eventually reinstate gay marriage at the ballot box.

Actually, I blame the No on 8 campaign.  With Obama publicly opposing proposition 8, that was potentially gold for publicity purposes.  All they had to do was flood the state with ads stating the "Barack Obama, Arnold Schwartzenegger, Bill Clinton, and every major California newspaper agree -- NO ON 8."  Yet they hardly mentioned Obama in their ads until it was too late."  The No on 8 campaign also should have more directly taken on the massive role of out-of-state Mormons in pushing 8.  African-Americans don't have a good history with Mormons and they probably would have responded to that.

by markjay 2008-11-07 05:54PM | 0 recs
Re: A Teaching Moment

The DailyKos diary also made a big issue about the fact that Blacks themselves couldn't have tipped the issue, which is true, but they are an important constituency that has to be reached

As indeed are the many other demographic groups who did not support Prop 8. The diarist was quite correct to be defensive, when a particular group is receiving the brunt of the criticism.  Scapegoating is an appropriate term for this.

by Rob in Vermont 2008-11-07 06:49PM | 0 recs
Re: A Teaching Moment

I think it's natural that a particular group receive the brunt of the criticism when that group, compared to other groups, disproportionately takes a bad stand on the issue.

All evidence suggests that a higher percentage of African-Americans supported proposition 8 than have other groups.  So it's natural that people will be upset with that community because of that.  Opponents of prop 8 may not have expressed themselves that elegantly on the issue, but people are incredibly angry right now for justifiable reasons.

African-Americans are not the only group to come under criticism.  Other groups that lent disproportionate support to Prop 8, whether Mormons, evangelicals, or Republicans, have also come under criticism.  As I said, it's natural and I don't consider it to be scapegoating.

by markjay 2008-11-07 08:29PM | 0 recs
Re: A Teaching Moment

(Oops, I meant to say "did support" not "did not support" above.)

All evidence suggests that a higher percentage of African-Americans supported proposition 8 than have other groups. So it's natural that people will be upset with that community because of that.

Well, there we're many quite reasonable arguments that were made in the Dailykos diary and its comment thread, including, for example, demographics in California that would suggest the black sample could skew older.

In any event, blacks represent a much smaller proportion of the electorate than many other groups, and the black population obviously includes progressive folks who voted against Prop 8. I don't buy that there's a parallel to anger at groups such as Mormons or evangelicals whose views on gay rights are essentially monolithic, and who led the Prop 8 movement.

by Rob in Vermont 2008-11-08 06:51AM | 0 recs
Re: A Teaching Moment

Well yes, it's not parallel and shouldn't be parallel, and I don't think it's being seen that way.  Gay and lesbian groups are protesting at Mormon churches.  They are not protesting at black churches.  I don't think anybody, other than a few foolhardy individuals, are criticizing African-Americans in the same way they are criticizing the right-wing religious groups that launched and funded this initiative.

At the same kind, it's a different kind of disappointment with African-Americans, since there was the hope they could be allies on this issue (as many, but a still a minority, were), in a way that Mormons as a whole would never be expected to be allies.  That being said, I think the main point is that the pro-gay marriage movement needs to do a much more effective job of reaching out to African Americans.

by markjay 2008-11-08 11:51AM | 0 recs
The rec list

it is not just by the amount of recs. It is also calculated by the number of comments, the number of comments in a short period of time (shows "popularity") and the time/date it was posted compared to other diaries.

I do not know any of this for fact but it is what I have been able to figure out by studying how diaries get on the rec list.

The best thing to do, is for everyone to start and continue recing UP good diaries! This happens at Dkos but not here... at least not in the same way.

by kevin22262 2008-11-07 07:17PM | 0 recs
Re: The rec list

Yeah, as I stated, the algorithm needs some adjustment.  That diary was on the Rec list after receiving just 1 rec and several comments. Certainly the number or rapidity of comments should not be given too much weight in that algorithm since it may reflect little more than people expressing their low opinion of the diary.

by Rob in Vermont 2008-11-07 07:31PM | 0 recs
Re: The rec list

Food for thought there.  The 'teaching' may be not to comment in crap diaries, just ignore them no matter how incendiary.

by Shaun Appleby 2008-11-07 08:12PM | 0 recs
Re: The rec list

Hey, there! Haven't seen you in a while.  Happy election!

Unfortunately it's hard to hold oneself back from commenting on some issues. There's always the fragment of hope that even though you can't make any impression on a troll diarist, you might help convince others out there not to swallow the kool-aid.

by Rob in Vermont 2008-11-08 06:06AM | 0 recs
Re: The rec list

Sure, and some really obnoxious diaries become decent forums but it still seems unfortunate.

by Shaun Appleby 2008-11-08 08:34AM | 0 recs
Re: A Teaching Moment

I'm the one who recc'd the diary and put it on the rec list, and here's why:

it's an important discussion.  Whether one agrees with the tone or not, we don't address sensitive issues by ignoring them, regardless of how strong the emotions about it are.  Here are the facts:  (1) some 70-80% of blacks supported prop 8 at the same time that some 95% of blacks supported the election of a president who has argued that the sort of division that prop 8 generated needs to become a thing of the past. (2) blacks supported prop 8 at a greater rate than other subgroups, so even if the exit pollng numbers are off, there is no reason to believe that subgroup comparisons would be.  (3) blacks have been an oppressed minority in the country for literally centuries.  It is hypocritical to vote for a progressive politician trying to overcome oppression and unite the country and at the same time vote for more division by voting for the oppression of another minority. So, even in the event there weren't subgroup differences in voting patterns for prop 8, blacks in my view have a responsibility to explain why they voted as they did.

And what the comments in that diary showed is that it is hard to justify the vote.  So, perhaps it will make people think a little more before the issue comes up again.

For the record, I thought the tone of the diary was too strong.  I don't condemn all blacks as individuals for supporting prop 8, but I also don't think it's out of line to call a group--as a group--intolerant when such high numbers supported prop 8.  FWIW, I call on any group the vast majority of which voted for prop 8 to justify voting for Obama and prop 8 together.  But is especially troubling that a traditionally oppressed minority would have done so.

by slynch 2008-11-08 08:21AM | 0 recs
Re: A Teaching Moment

The largest historically oppressed subgroup of the electorate is the female subgroup, who, for example, did not even have the Constitutional right to vote in America until many decades after freed slaves did.

According to polls, a majority of Califoria women supported Obama, and yet about half of them also supported Prop 8.

If hypocrisy concerns you, then consider the hypocrisy of deciding to lecture a relatively small historically oppressed subgroup of the electorate, instead of lecturing the largest historically oppressed subgroup of the electorate.

The fact is, EVERY Californian who VOTED FOR Prop 8 shares the blame for its passage.

Remember what this marriage rights issue is all about. We are fighting for everyone in society to be treated equally.  It is going against that principle to single out a subgroup of Obama voters for blame in the passage of Prop 8, when every one of them who voted for Prop 8 made the same bad decision.

by Rob in Vermont 2008-11-09 07:33AM | 0 recs
Re: A Teaching Moment

First, the female vote was more evenly split, while the vast majority of blacks--70% or more-- voted for prop 8.  They are more unified as a group than females; consider their proportion voting for Obama.

Second, it's arguable whether women have been more oppressed than blacks.  Women were never enslaved in this country, never lynched, and never segregated.  Women still make more on the dollar (relative to white men) than blacks do, their health is better, their education is better, etc.  You can only hang your hat on the right to vote.  

Third, it is not hypocritical to criticize one group for committing a particular act while not focusing on others.  You're making the "but Daddy, everyone else is doing" it argument, and I bet you remember where that got you.

I agree with you that everyone who voted for prop 8 is blameworthy.  But, I am especially bothered that a group that voted for Obama at 95% also voted for prop 8 at 70%.  

by slynch 2008-11-09 07:59AM | 0 recs
Re: A Teaching Moment

it's arguable whether women have been more oppressed than blacks.

I never claimed or suggested that, so you're making a strawman argument here. I simply pointed out that women are a historically oppressed group of citizens (and cited one obvious example of that). From this, I made the obvious mathematical point that women are therefore the largest historically oppressed group in America.

I certainly agree that it would be great if every person whose group has been historically oppressed would feel obligated to vote against measures that deny equal rights to gay people.

And if you personally are especially bothered by black people who voted for Prop 8, well, you're entitled to your feelings, of course.  

Myself, I get especially irked when someone from my own group acts bigoted. I'm Jewish, and while I (of course) don't like to hear anyone say bigoted things, I probably cringe the most when I hear a Jew say something bigoted. This is perhaps a bit irrational, since I may not know this person from Adam, and I know they certainly don't represent all Jews.  But their remark is embarrassing to me because I think (some) people will hear them and attribute their behavior to Jews in general.

by Rob in Vermont 2008-11-09 09:50AM | 0 recs
Re: A Teaching Moment

yeah, you're right.  It was an unintentional strawman--I misread what you said.  You said "largest" and I read "most."  My mistake.

And, I agree--as a straight white male I abhor bigotry against any group but especially when it comes from other straight white males.  It justifies, to some extent, the dislike for my "group," and I just want to shout "I'm not like that."

It just especially troubles me that a historically disadvantaged group would vote against another one in such numbers.  It's disappointing.  I've come to expect that sort of crap from straight white males (and, as I said, I abhor it); but I don't expect it from oppressed minorities.

by slynch 2008-11-09 10:36AM | 0 recs
Re: A Teaching Moment

I appreciate your admitting the mistake; I'm sure I'm just as guilty of sometimes reading too fast.

It just especially troubles me that a historically disadvantaged group would vote against another one in such numbers.  It's disappointing. I've come to expect that sort of crap from straight white males (and, as I said, I abhor it); but I don't expect it from oppressed minorities.

But beware the danger that's implicit in these types of expections.  You acknowledge you are very disappointed seeing members of a minority, historically oppressed group acting in a bigoted way.  But of course bigotry is an unfortunate part of the human condition - the condition of all humans, not just the majority groups whose bigotry we've become accustomed to.  

We have to be careful of unconsciously placing a greater burden of expected good behavior on minority groups.  When we do that, it becomes inevitable that we will have disproportionately greater disappointment and negative feelings when we see an abhorent behavior amongst individuals in that group, than when we see the very same abhorent behavior amongst individuals in the majority groups.

"He's black; he should know better; she's Jewish; she should know better." No. Everyone should know better. People who are a part of the historically discriminating groups should know better, and people who are a part of the historically discriminated-against groups should know better.

by Rob in Vermont 2008-11-09 05:03PM | 0 recs
Re: A Teaching Moment

(I'm also guilty of writing too fast. "Expections" = Expectations)

by Rob in Vermont 2008-11-10 05:22AM | 0 recs

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