Thursday, October 12, 2017

The whiteness of Harvey Weinstein

Harvey Weinstein's sex scandal is inspiring a lot of identitarians to comment about white men. So far as I know, none of the "Jews are not white" crowd has tried to correct them.

I suspect this is because:

1. Race is often code for class in the US. When some speakers talk about black people, they mean poor people, and when talking about white people, they mean rich people. (The blog Stuff White People Like is mostly about stuff that richer people of all races like.)

2. Identitarians confuse "white privilege" with capitalism, so whiteness equals privilege, entitlement, and abuse of the less powerful.

3. Identitarians have an inconsistent approach to identity. With poor groups, anything good is attributed to race while anything bad (like crime statistics) is attributed to class. But with richer groups, talking about class would suggest Jewish Americans, Hindu Americans, and Asian Americans are more privileged than white Christian Americans. So the "Jews are not white" crowd avoids that with another approach: Jews are white when, like Weinstein, they do something bad.

Monday, October 9, 2017

Sexually abusive men and class: Harvey Weinstein vs Clarence Thomas

Meryl Streep is quoted in “Appalled” By Harvey Weinstein News | Deadline:
The disgraceful news about Harvey Weinstein has appalled those of us whose work he championed, and those whose good and worthy causes he supported. The intrepid women who raised their voices to expose this abuse are our heroes. 
One thing can be clarified. Not everybody knew. Harvey supported the work fiercely, was exasperating but respectful with me in our working relationship, and with many others with whom he worked professionally. I didn’t know about these other offenses: I did not know about his financial settlements with actresses and colleagues; I did not know about his having meetings in his hotel room, his bathroom, or other inappropriate, coercive acts. And If everybody knew, I don’t believe that all the investigative reporters in the entertainment and the hard news media would have neglected for decades to write about it. 
The behavior is inexcusable, but the abuse of power familiar. Each brave voice that is raised, heard and credited by our watchdog media will ultimately change the game.
Weinstein appears to have taken one traditional approach to sexual abuse: he targeted women he saw as subordinates.

During the Clarence Thomas hearings, several of his subordinates defended him, saying he'd always treated them respectfully. If Anita Hill testified honestly (which I mention only because her story has not been verified—I find it perfectly plausible), Thomas took the second approach to sexual abuse with her; she was his professional equal, so he saw her as someone to belittle.

Friday, September 22, 2017

Why socialists should support Basic Income

Socialists should support Basic Income for the same reason we should support universal health care: though it has nothing to do with socialism, it reduces desperation.

Why would socialists oppose Basic Income? Because it shares income rather than wealth, which reduces the economic gap without threatening capitalism. Worse, Basic Income may slow down the march for socialism by ending economic desperation, making people less wiling to work to overthrow capitalism.

We can live with that. When economic desperation ends, people can make decisions calmly. So long as the gap between the rich and the rest of us stays wide, humans will ask why. The best people will always demand something better. Our species resents inequality--that's why the rich work so hard to rationalize a system that they know is unjust.

Basic Income helps the working class. That's enough reason for socialists to support it.