The Assorted Fruits and Nuts Thread

For topics not directly related to eikaiwa.
Forum rules
The basic forum rules are here :wink: . Refer to the BBCode Guide for information on using BBCode tags, plus this post about additional tags for embedding video.
User avatar
MacGyver
Shockproof shit detector
Shockproof shit detector
Posts: 4807
Joined: Fri Aug 08, 2003 12:22 pm
Location: In the Stargate

Re: The Assorted Fruits and Nuts Thread

Unread post by MacGyver » Tue Feb 17, 2015 12:23 pm

steki47 wrote:Or if they have professional options and work their way up and out of shit conbini work.
Senseiman made an interesting point when we were talking about mombusho scholarships and how many international students here are Asians/SEAs, which I think applies in this situation: shit in comparison to what? And maybe one day they'll own the convenience store or a string of them like many immigrants in the west. To be fair I'm not sure how easy it would be for a foreigner to do that, and certainly the institutionalized racism here is an issue for foreigners who want to stay long term and own/run businesses etc.

steki47

Re: The Assorted Fruits and Nuts Thread

Unread post by steki47 » Tue Feb 17, 2015 12:33 pm

MacGyver wrote: And maybe one day they'll own the convenience store or a string of them like many immigrants in the west. To be fair I'm not sure how easy it would be for a foreigner to do that, and certainly the institutionalized racism here is an issue for foreigners who want to stay long term and own/run businesses etc.
Good example. I see a lot of gas stations and convenience stores in the US being run by South and East Asians. They typically have a higher rate of owning businesses than "Americans". Come to think of it, I read that Japanese women have a higher rate of business ownership than American women. I'm guessing due to sexism in the conventional workplace here.

In Japan, I see a lot of Filipinos running bars and other Asians operating restaurants.

These are all perfectly legit ways of making a living, but it seems as though it comes out of a lack of other options as you mentioned.

My morning classes got cancelled so I have time to fart around here on LJ. A little great! :thumbsup:

User avatar
senseiman
9 miles of bad road
9 miles of bad road
Posts: 1870
Joined: Fri Oct 03, 2003 1:51 pm
Location: Japan again

Re: The Assorted Fruits and Nuts Thread

Unread post by senseiman » Tue Feb 17, 2015 2:11 pm

The vast majority of foreigners you see working in conbinis are actually students just working there part time. It is possible for them to get permission from Immigration to work up to 28 hours per week and a lot of them do. Generally the lower you go down the scale of respectability of the University, the nature of student work changes. At national universities and reputable private ones they are mostly working at conbinis with formal permission of Immigration (by default the student visa doesn`t allow work so they need that special permission). At low level private ones, a lot of the students (particularly from China) are basically using their status as student as a way of entering the country to work illegally without permission (said work ranging from working for companies that import consumer goods to China to the sex trade).

They guys you see opening their own restaurants and other businesses are, IMO, the type of immigrants that Japan needs more of. These people work hard, invest their earnings in their business, learn the language and customs and generally provide goods and services that Japanese otherwise don`t provide themselves. They also pay taxes and in other ways support the economy. This is generally why I find the short term, exclusionary mentality of people like Sono so self destructive to Japan even if we ignore the underlying racist assumptions it is based on. In her world these are precisely the type of immigrants she does not want coming here. She just wants short termers who will take care of grandma for a few years and then fuck off back to wherever they came from. This is the absolute worst type of immigration that a country can have. Such people are given no incentive to work hard (since they have no long term employment future), no incentive to learn the language or customs, no incentive to invest their earnings in the Japanese economy. Having an immigration system based primarily on that model just assures the country of getting a revolving assortment of people who perpetually contribute as little as possible to the country while remitting all of their earnings overseas.

steki47

Re: The Assorted Fruits and Nuts Thread

Unread post by steki47 » Tue Feb 17, 2015 2:20 pm

senseiman wrote: Having an immigration system based primarily on that model just assures the country of getting a revolving assortment of people who perpetually contribute as little as possible to the country while remitting all of their earnings overseas.
Well, you just described 90% of the English teachers here.

User avatar
senseiman
9 miles of bad road
9 miles of bad road
Posts: 1870
Joined: Fri Oct 03, 2003 1:51 pm
Location: Japan again

Re: The Assorted Fruits and Nuts Thread

Unread post by senseiman » Tue Feb 17, 2015 2:33 pm

steki47 wrote: Well, you just described 90% of the English teachers here.
It wasn`t intentional but frankly 90% of Eikaiwa teachers are just a drain on the Japanese economy. This is through no fault of their own but basically because (as the case in so many areas) the system is designed to keep them that way. Virtually every element of an Eikaiwa teacher`s life is designed to reinforce the notion that they are intended to get the hell out of here after a couple of years - short term contracts, short term visas, short term housing, etc etc. Moreover pretty much all of these elements are ones the Eikaiwa teacher cannot aspire to change no matter how hard they work or how good they are at their job.

So instead of having a system in which you have a large pool of experienced and competent teachers in the workforce who are effectively teaching and further investing in their own skills and, for some, businesses you have a system in which 90% of the people teaching English don`t know how to teach English and have no meaningful incentives to learn how.

steki47

Re: The Assorted Fruits and Nuts Thread

Unread post by steki47 » Tue Feb 17, 2015 3:37 pm

senseiman wrote:
steki47 wrote: Well, you just described 90% of the English teachers here.
It wasn`t intentional but frankly 90% of Eikaiwa teachers are just a drain on the Japanese economy.
And I was half joking. ;)

Overall, Japan does not want longterm foreign professionals laying down roots here. I have no idea how anyone could convince them of the value of adding skilled professionals.

I will be honest and say that I am going through something akin to midlife crisis as I go into my 40s and look at my 10+ years here and realize I am still at an entry level job and my future prospects are not all that great, either. I made the decision.

User avatar
senseiman
9 miles of bad road
9 miles of bad road
Posts: 1870
Joined: Fri Oct 03, 2003 1:51 pm
Location: Japan again

Re: The Assorted Fruits and Nuts Thread

Unread post by senseiman » Tue Feb 17, 2015 6:06 pm

steki47 wrote:
And I was half joking. ;)
Yeah, I got the hint of that but decided to reply in earnest anyway, its literally been years since the last time I had an intelligent discussion on LJ so I kind of wanted to run with it. Feels like 2005.
steki47 wrote:Overall, Japan does not want longterm foreign professionals laying down roots here. I have no idea how anyone could convince them of the value of adding skilled professionals.
Ironically they have actually just introduced a new highly skilled foreign professional class of visa, purportedly to attract more highly skilled people. I have a friend who is doing research on it, the stated goal was to attract about 2000 people a year but they`ve only gotten about 1/5 that number. According to him the whole application review process is mainly geared towards excluding rather than including candidates from qualifying for the visa, which is kind of typical.
steki47 wrote:I will be honest and say that I am going through something akin to midlife crisis as I go into my 40s and look at my 10+ years here and realize I am still at an entry level job and my future prospects are not all that great, either. I made the decision.
Bummer, I can sympathize. I am getting close to 40 too and have also spent more than 10 years here. On the plus side I like my current job and it pays reasonably well, but on the downside like almost everyone else I am on yearly contracts and have no long term employment stability (in fact funding for my position will end in 2 years, possibly sooner so I know I`ll be looking for work soon). I have a kid now and would like to settle down and buy a house, but the need to constantly be ready to move to take another job really prevents that....

Kuronama
Eikaiwa Hero
Eikaiwa Hero
Posts: 701
Joined: Mon Oct 22, 2007 1:50 pm

Re: The Assorted Fruits and Nuts Thread

Unread post by Kuronama » Tue Feb 17, 2015 6:30 pm

steki47 wrote:
As for immigration, I also typically have strong negative thoughts about it. It increases many bad things (wage deflation, housing, traffic, tears the social fabric) and only sometimes helps in the labor force (American employers could have paid a living wage rather than importing cheap foreign labor-Chinese railroad workers, Mexican laborers, African slaves).

I am very skeptical about immigration as a magical solution to a country's problem. In the West, the elites have completely sold out their citizens through massive immigration. The reasons are totally self-serving (cheap labor, cheap votes and a dash of hatred towards their own people).

Many Japan will be different. The several thousand Westerners floating around Japan are not a huge problem.

I couldn't agree more with everything said here. Since moving back to Canada from Japan three years ago, my tune has changed considerably, having experienced first-hand what I feel are the problems with excessive immigration. Vancouver has the second worst traffic after LA in North America, the lowest average annual income of the ten largest cities in Canada and is the second most expensive city in the world after Hong Kong!! (relative to income levels, not in absolute terms). A book that I recently bought called Millionaire Migrants, researched and written by a former prof of mine, David Ley, takes a critical stance towards the neo=liberal, globalized economic agenda and it affecting smallish cities like Vancouver - which has an economy largely based on tourism and the export of raw materials. Haven't read the book yet, just bought it, but I think it goes into considerable detail about these migrants purchasing property in places like Vancouver (normally in cash), outbidding locals, and causing 'white flight', resulting in a hollowed, resort city.

The Temporary Foreign Worker program is another liberal concoction that has resulted in thousands of unskilled people coming from places like the Phillipines to work at places like McDonalds and Tim Hortons (a coffee shop chain), taking away jobs from high school kids trying to get their first job. That really pisses me off. Bring in people with skills that are needed in a particular place, I'm all for that - but not this horseshit.

The overall feeling I've gotten since returning is companies prefer to hire visible minorities simply because they have quotas to fill, and they know caucasians will likely not make much of a stink, and even if they do, what can be done. I'm all for equality, etc… and hiring based on merit, but I seriously feel as if I'm at a severe disadvantage being a white male in Metro Vancouver - the most liberal city in Canada, in my opinion. I used to get really pissed off about Japan's reluctance about accepting outsiders, but in some respects I see their point - to a certain degree. Once you open the door, that's it. I'm for immigration - sustainable immigration, with numbers that change (go up or down) relative to the overall strength of the economy. I think Australia does this. Regional programs like sponsoring geologists to work in Western Australia, outside of Perth, for example. Canada's immigration policy is akin to a high school student whose parents are away and decides to invite the entire class over for a house party. Around 2/3 of Immigrants (according to the research I did for my last grad school paper) move to either Toronto, Montreal or Vancouver - so basically almost 200,000 a year, and that's only the official number (not sure about all the grandparents, etc.. who are brought in annually and contribute almost nothing to the tax base). Not all obviously, but many move to the enclave bubble and find employment in places such as Chinese restaurants, etc… earning minimum wage, or simply stay unemployed. Also, the lack of willingness among immigrants from places like HK, Taiwan, China to start up firms due to labour laws and pay a 'decent wage' are other reasons for the likely stagnant growth in Metro Van. I think the book I mentioned goes into detail about all of this as well. Plan to start reading it tomorrow :thumbsup:

User avatar
senseiman
9 miles of bad road
9 miles of bad road
Posts: 1870
Joined: Fri Oct 03, 2003 1:51 pm
Location: Japan again

Re: The Assorted Fruits and Nuts Thread

Unread post by senseiman » Tue Feb 17, 2015 6:56 pm

Vancouver is a bit atypical though. I think it has the worst cost of housing/ wage ratios in the world. Not all of that is driven by immigrants per se but also by foreign investors who just buy them as a place to park money without ever intending to actually live in them. This can wreak havoc on the locals but really only relates to a tiny minority of the migrant population - 99.9% of immigrants don`t fall into the class of people with millions of dollars to spend on Vancover condos.

Agree about the temporary foreign worker program - it is a horribly designed system that seems like it was intended to be used by employers to actively avoid hiring Canadians. Again though, this accounts for a very small portion of actual immigrants (and technically such people aren`t immigrants since the program is for temporary rather than permanent workders).

Not sure why you are complaining about immigrants settling in cities, where else would they go? Like, rural Manitoba or somewhere? Beyond that its hard to make out a coherent argument in what you`ve written since you seem to be contradicting yourself - on the one hand the immigrants are taking the good jobs away from white people like yourself, yet on the other hand all they do is work in low level minimum jobs in their own neighborhoods or are unemployed. These seem like mutually exclusive facts which cannot co-exist, so which is it?

steki47

Re: The Assorted Fruits and Nuts Thread

Unread post by steki47 » Tue Feb 17, 2015 7:52 pm

senseiman wrote:
steki47 wrote:
And I was half joking. ;)
Yeah, I got the hint of that but decided to reply in earnest anyway, its literally been years since the last time I had an intelligent discussion on LJ so I kind of wanted to run with it. Feels like 2005.
steki47 wrote:Overall, Japan does not want longterm foreign professionals laying down roots here. I have no idea how anyone could convince them of the value of adding skilled professionals.
Ironically they have actually just introduced a new highly skilled foreign professional class of visa, purportedly to attract more highly skilled people. I have a friend who is doing research on it, the stated goal was to attract about 2000 people a year but they`ve only gotten about 1/5 that number. According to him the whole application review process is mainly geared towards excluding rather than including candidates from qualifying for the visa, which is kind of typical.
steki47 wrote:I will be honest and say that I am going through something akin to midlife crisis as I go into my 40s and look at my 10+ years here and realize I am still at an entry level job and my future prospects are not all that great, either. I made the decision.
Bummer, I can sympathize. I am getting close to 40 too and have also spent more than 10 years here. On the plus side I like my current job and it pays reasonably well, but on the downside like almost everyone else I am on yearly contracts and have no long term employment stability (in fact funding for my position will end in 2 years, possibly sooner so I know I`ll be looking for work soon). I have a kid now and would like to settle down and buy a house, but the need to constantly be ready to move to take another job really prevents that....
Me too! Enjoying this exchange. Miss this stuff on LJ.

The review process excluding applicants-that sounds about right. I'll get paranoid here, but it seems the Japanese like to put on a show of being "international" but then actually do everything they can to avoid that. JET is more of a puppet show than an educational reform.

As for work,I find it easy to get ALT jobs every year. No job security at all, but I also get an offer. They are all lateral moves and I haven't been able to move at all. Will keep trying. Will also try to develop my side projects for extra cash.

steki47

Re: The Assorted Fruits and Nuts Thread

Unread post by steki47 » Tue Feb 17, 2015 8:01 pm

Kuronama wrote: The Temporary Foreign Worker program is another liberal concoction that has resulted in thousands of unskilled people coming from places like the Phillipines to work at places like McDonalds and Tim Hortons (a coffee shop chain), taking away jobs from high school kids trying to get their first job. That really pisses me off. Bring in people with skills that are needed in a particular place, I'm all for that - but not this horseshit.
Funny I was talking to a Canadian who lives in the US. He said that Canada doesn't have cheap labor in the form of Mexican immigrants, yet the lawns get mowed and the dishes washed. They use teenagers.
Kuronama wrote:Once you open the door, that's it.
In the US, one immigrant can sponsor their family members to come in. I forgot the math, but it can quickly add up and exponentially increase rather quickly. These people are not bad people per se, but they will enter the workforce, require housing, want an education, have kids and so on. Specifically with some of the Asian immigrants, they often create businesses that discriminate against "Americans" (non-Asians), yet they demand equality under US law. This double standard is never addressed. I saw this firsthand when I lived in California.

Kuronama
Eikaiwa Hero
Eikaiwa Hero
Posts: 701
Joined: Mon Oct 22, 2007 1:50 pm

Re: The Assorted Fruits and Nuts Thread

Unread post by Kuronama » Wed Feb 18, 2015 5:00 am

steki47 wrote:
Kuronama wrote:Once you open the door, that's it.
In the US, one immigrant can sponsor their family members to come in. I forgot the math, but it can quickly add up and exponentially increase rather quickly. These people are not bad people per se, but they will enter the workforce, require housing, want an education, have kids and so on. Specifically with some of the Asian immigrants, they often create businesses that discriminate against "Americans" (non-Asians), yet they demand equality under US law. This double standard is never addressed. I saw this firsthand when I lived in California.

It's the same here. I live in an area in Vancouver where Chinese is now officially the largest spoken language - and it sure is reflected in most institutions including banks. I love that - it's okay to hire 100% Chinese Canadians because they can speak Cantonese and/or Mandarin so they can serve those who speak no little to no English, and then just say, 'oh well, that's the demand.' Unacceptable in my opinion. Sure, have some staff who can speak Chinese, but when 90+% can, that simply encourages no English language learning on the part of those who move here. It wasn't always smooth sailing at the post office in Japan when I sent money orders home to pay off my student loan, but I sure as hell always had my paper dictionary and got by without any assistance. The same should be happening here…. not necessarily full-on fluency, but some kind of effort to struggle a bit to learn the common language spoken outside the ethnic bubble.

Kuronama
Eikaiwa Hero
Eikaiwa Hero
Posts: 701
Joined: Mon Oct 22, 2007 1:50 pm

Re: The Assorted Fruits and Nuts Thread

Unread post by Kuronama » Wed Feb 18, 2015 5:34 am

senseiman wrote:Vancouver is a bit atypical though. I think it has the worst cost of housing/ wage ratios in the world. Not all of that is driven by immigrants per se but also by foreign investors who just buy them as a place to park money without ever intending to actually live in them. This can wreak havoc on the locals but really only relates to a tiny minority of the migrant population - 99.9% of immigrants don`t fall into the class of people with millions of dollars to spend on Vancover condos.

laksdjfklad

Agree about the temporary foreign worker program - it is a horribly designed system that seems like it was intended to be used by employers to actively avoid hiring Canadians. Again though, this accounts for a very small portion of actual immigrants (and technically such people aren`t immigrants since the program is for temporary rather than permanent workders).

Not sure why you are complaining about immigrants settling in cities, where else would they go? Like, rural Manitoba or somewhere? Beyond that its hard to make out a coherent argument in what you`ve written since you seem to be contradicting yourself - on the one hand the immigrants are taking the good jobs away from white people like yourself, yet on the other hand all they do is work in low level minimum jobs in their own neighborhoods or are unemployed. These seem like mutually exclusive facts which cannot co-exist, so which is it?

steki47

Re: The Assorted Fruits and Nuts Thread

Unread post by steki47 » Wed Feb 18, 2015 6:47 am

Kuronama wrote: some kind of effort to struggle a bit to learn the common language spoken outside the ethnic bubble.
One could point out that some of the gaijin here don't speak much Japanese. Are the Chinese in Vancouver working as Mandarin teachers in an immersion program? Didn't think so.

By the way, in parts of the Southwest US, English proficiency is no longer required to serve on a jury. And in SF, kids are sent home for wearing American flags T-shirts because it could cause offense.

I understand why the Japanese are not in a rush to be colonized.

User avatar
senseiman
9 miles of bad road
9 miles of bad road
Posts: 1870
Joined: Fri Oct 03, 2003 1:51 pm
Location: Japan again

Re: The Assorted Fruits and Nuts Thread

Unread post by senseiman » Wed Feb 18, 2015 11:08 am

steki47 wrote: I understand why the Japanese are not in a rush to be colonized.
This is why I have such a hard time taking the views of , for lack of a better phrase, "right wing racial paranoia" even remotely seriously.

I just looked into those 2 incidents and it is more or less just a bunch of alarmist bullshit (again for lack of a better term).

English proficiency is still a requirement to serve on juries throughout the US. In the southern US where there is a high hispanic population you have the problem of people being able to avoid jury duty by claimng not to speak English, so it seems that at the initial phase, after a summons is issued, of determining whether someone is qualified to serve on a jury they interpret this rather broadly to avoid jury evasion. This does not mean that people who cannot speak English are serving on juries - jury selection is a lengthy process and anyone with questionable English skills will be weeded out at a later stage in the process. I defy you to provide a single case in which a single person who could not speak English served on a jury.

This is just so fucking idiotic (once again, I cannot think of a better phrase) that it bears putting out in black and white - the interpretation of a rule that is designed to impose an additional burden on minorities and ensure that they cannot escape their civic duty is being held up as an example of how those minorities are "colonizing" white people.

The T-shirt case at least has some legitimate issues around it, but its still being hyped out of proportion. There are no blanket bans on wearing flag T-shirts, it was one incident in which a group of students wore the flag in a deliberate attempt to provoke racial tensions on Cinco de Mayo - I'm guessing that it was more their provocative actions rather than the T shirts themselves that resulted in the action taken against them.

While I disagree with the teacher's decision - free speech might have its limits but displaying your national flag shouldn't be within them - it is also pretty clear that this was an isolated incident involving a spur of the moment judgment call by administrators in a racially charged environment who saw it as the easiest way to defuse a potentially violent situation.

But, no, instead of taking a reasonable approach to analyzing the facts lets just hold this up as exhibit B along with the non-existent Spanish speaking juries as evidence of the colonization of America by foreigners.

steki47

Re: The Assorted Fruits and Nuts Thread

Unread post by steki47 » Wed Feb 18, 2015 12:51 pm

senseiman wrote:
steki47 wrote: I understand why the Japanese are not in a rush to be colonized.
This is why I have such a hard time taking the views of , for lack of a better phrase, "right wing racial paranoia" even remotely seriously.
You say paranoia, I say caution. What's the difference between being frugal and cheap? Not much. A matter of opinion.

Your first three words are quite apt, though. It is largely conservative whites who are expressing anxiety about the (rapdily) changing demographics in the US. The percentage of whites voting Republican has been steadily increasing. And, curiously, any expression of this anxiety is quickly pathologized as "racism" (Buchanan getting fired from MSNBC) and "paranoia" whereas I see these feelings as being quite natural and healthy. I really can't imagine any other group of people simply saying nothing or even cheering their displacement/replacement. Hence the Japanese apprehension. I think their control filters are set way too high, but I understand their sentiments.
senseiman wrote: the colonization of America by foreigners.
Well, white Americans may be familar with the process as that is exactly what Europeans did to the First Nation/Native American peoples. If you let a lot of "them" in, it becomes "their" country. And it all starts with the camel's nose under the tent.

steki47

Re: The Assorted Fruits and Nuts Thread

Unread post by steki47 » Wed Feb 18, 2015 1:34 pm

senseiman wrote:I defy you to provide a single case in which a single person who could not speak English served on a jury.
http://blogs.wsj.com/law/2013/08/14/jur ... ourt-says/
The New Mexico Supreme Court this week found that a trial court erred in dismissing a juror from a murder trial because he understood little English.

In doing so, the state’s highest court issued a stark reminder to judges and lawyers that non-English speakers have the right to serve on juries there—a right enshrined in the state Constitution.
You are correct, no non-English speaking citizen ever served on a jury. In this case from New Mexico, the state's highest court ruled that low language ability was not sufficient to dismiss the potential juror.

You are right on that one.

User avatar
senseiman
9 miles of bad road
9 miles of bad road
Posts: 1870
Joined: Fri Oct 03, 2003 1:51 pm
Location: Japan again

Re: The Assorted Fruits and Nuts Thread

Unread post by senseiman » Wed Feb 18, 2015 2:56 pm

steki47 wrote: The percentage of whites voting Republican has been steadily increasing. And, curiously, any expression of this anxiety is quickly pathologized as "racism" (Buchanan getting fired from MSNBC) and "paranoia" whereas I see these feelings as being quite natural and healthy.
The problem for me is that while there are legitimate (by which I mean fact-based) concerns that need to be addressed with immigration (potential negative effects on wage levels, ability of immigrants to integrate themselves in society, etc), some of which may indeed indicate a need to reduce or re-think immigration numbers or policies, the rhetoric being used basically ignores these issues and instead focuses on sensationalistic fear mongering which bears no resemblance to actual reality. When you start using phrases like `colonization` to describe incidents which ultimately just involve a school teacher telling kids to take off a T-shirt in order to avoid a schoolyard fight then you have gone so far into the realm of "paranoia" that the realm of merely being "cautious" has been left miles behind.

It is very difficult to interpret this apocalyptic worldview (the language you use explicitly indicates a fear that your people, which I take to mean white Americans, will be destroyed by immigration) as motivated by anything other than racist paranoia. Otherwise we'd be having a more rational conversation.

I mean, seriously, how are we meant to interpret what you are saying here as being anything but racist paranoia given that you yourself are defining the issue entirely in terms of race, and further stating that your own views are motivated by a fear of racial conquest by immigrants?

I should add that this stuff isn`t just something I have an intellectual opposition to owing to its overt stupidity (though that bothers me too), but it also pisses me off on a deeply personal level. I am an immigrant in this society who is trying to raise a family. The racist mindset you seem to have, and furthermore seem to see no problem with, is the exact same as those motherfuckers in the black vans who ride around doing everything they can to make my family feel unwelcome. My kid, who is half Japanese but looks like me, is going to have to deal with this racist bullshit, which you seem to admire(if not the black vans then at least the exclusionary mindset which views people like us as some sort of threat to racial purity), for the rest of his life. This hurts me. It also hurts me to think that there are similarly situated immigrant families in the US (and my home country Canada) who despite having never done a thing to hurt anybody nonetheless have to raise their kids in an environment in which racist fucking ass holes spout off the same hostile, racist bullshit and seek to scapegoat them for every fucking problem imaginable with no factual justification whatsoever.

Its fucking racist, its fucking bullshit.

steki47

Re: The Assorted Fruits and Nuts Thread

Unread post by steki47 » Wed Feb 18, 2015 5:18 pm

senseiman wrote: Otherwise we'd be having a more rational conversation.
I consider to myself to be quite rational. Others don't.

I susbscribe to a certain form of cultural ecology, if you will. Viewing cultures as ecosystems, they can only be maintained if the majority of the participants are of the same culture and hold the same values. When that changes and a certain percentage of outgroup members come into the society, this can disrupt the balance of said society. It depends a lot on the compatability of the groups in question. When immigration into the US was overwhelmingly European, there was a relatively easy transition from "foreigner" to "American". My own greatgrandparents are examples. Among white Americans, there is a certain pan-European identity. In contrast, Japan imported Chinese and Korean (other East Asians) and they are still considered to be "Chinese" and "Korean", even though they were born in Japan. Further contrast, Sweden absorbed a few Norwegians rather easily but is having problems with the Somalis and Iraqis.

Continuing the ecological metaphor, I see that environmentalists struggle to save the whales, spotted owls and pandas. This typically also includes their natural habitats. Likewise with human groups, I see the value in trying to preserve certain cultures. Up until 1965, American immigration policy explicitly sought to maintain a European identity for the US. Yet the US has never been more than 90% white. I criticize Israel for various reasons, but the motivation behind early Zionism makes sense to me. Particularly after the atrocities of the Nazis, establishing a Jewish homeland was a good move. Granted, that has created its own set of problems.

Now that I have brought up both Nazis and Jews, I should touch upon notions of racial purity. I would be opposed to state mandated rules regarding interracial marriage and such as it reeks of totalitarianism. Having said that, most people appear to have strong tendencies towards tribalism and I don't see that disappearing anytime soon. Lots of exceptions, including myself as I chose to marry a woman from a different ethnic group. However, I not necessarily against immigration laws designed to maintain a certain identity. Not that I would ever be asked to decide such things, of course.

The strangest thing to me about accusations of racism is that Northern European societies and the general Anglosphere are some of the most individualistic and tolerant of human societies. Transparent, democratic, you name it. The attitudes you describe as racist are virtually standard in many of the non-Western societies. Asia, certainly. Gender equality and gay marriage? White people stuff. Intellectual freedom and satire? Apparently not Middle Eastern/Muslim stuff.

I use colonization partially for the fact that some of the more outspoken Hispanics use the Spanish word "reconquistadore" or reconquering. They see it as an invasion, complete with threats and taunts about "old white men soiling their pants with fear". Not too ambiguous.
senseiman wrote:you yourself are defining the issue entirely in terms of race
Yes, I prefer Darwin over Marx when examining human behavior.

In addition, I generally judge individuals as individuals. However, individuals form groups and groups have discernible patterns. Ingroup/outgroup distinctions, enforcing moral/cultural values and punishing violators. Large levels of diversity typically erode trust and social cohesion in a way that seems sad and easily avoided.

I find the general Japanese attitude to be a bit harsh and kneejerk, but much of their culture is quite binary in nature.

Again, I am enjoying this exchange.

User avatar
senseiman
9 miles of bad road
9 miles of bad road
Posts: 1870
Joined: Fri Oct 03, 2003 1:51 pm
Location: Japan again

Re: The Assorted Fruits and Nuts Thread

Unread post by senseiman » Wed Feb 18, 2015 5:52 pm

So in other words, you more or less agree with Hitler`s views on race (though perhaps not his methods).

Got it, thank you.

steki47

Re: The Assorted Fruits and Nuts Thread

Unread post by steki47 » Wed Feb 18, 2015 6:32 pm

senseiman wrote:So in other words, you more or less agree with Hitler`s views on race (though perhaps not his methods).

Got it, thank you.
So, in other words, I present my ideas and you resort to name calling. Got it.

Typical liberal Commie. ;p

User avatar
senseiman
9 miles of bad road
9 miles of bad road
Posts: 1870
Joined: Fri Oct 03, 2003 1:51 pm
Location: Japan again

Re: The Assorted Fruits and Nuts Thread

Unread post by senseiman » Wed Feb 18, 2015 6:56 pm

Not name calling, just identifying the obvious in the interest of saving time and cutting to the chase so to speak. You are a self identified social Darwinist whose belief system is, according to what you have written above, fundamentally rooted in the belief that white people and non-white people should ideally be kept separate and only closely related racial groups (ie Europeans and other Europeans) can/should co-exist in a given society.

While I believe a lot of Mein Kampf is devoted towards relatively arcane subjects like Austrian-German reunification, the above is also one of its central theses. In fact what you have written above is almost identical to what you read in clumsy Neo-Nazi literature trying to come up with an academic-y sounding justification for race hatred.

I realize that Hitler analogies usually amount to attacking the messenger rather than the message, but I honestly don't think there is much point in directly engaging in a discussion with that type of worldview. I don't mean this to be insulting, I just really find that line of thinking to be deeply disturbing and I'd rather not go there.

steki47

Re: The Assorted Fruits and Nuts Thread

Unread post by steki47 » Wed Feb 18, 2015 7:47 pm

senseiman wrote:Not name calling, just identifying the obvious in the interest of saving time and cutting to the chase so to speak. You are a self identified social Darwinist whose belief system is, according to what you have written above, fundamentally rooted in the belief that white people and non-white people should ideally be kept separate and only closely related racial groups (ie Europeans and other Europeans) can/should co-exist in a given society.

While I believe a lot of Mein Kampf is devoted towards relatively arcane subjects like Austrian-German reunification, the above is also one of its central theses. In fact what you have written above is almost identical to what you read in clumsy Neo-Nazi literature trying to come up with an academic-y sounding justification for race hatred.

I realize that Hitler analogies usually amount to attacking the messenger rather than the message, but I honestly don't think there is much point in directly engaging in a discussion with that type of worldview. I don't mean this to be insulting, I just really find that line of thinking to be deeply disturbing and I'd rather not go there.
OK, point taken.

I'm not sure where I called myself a Social Darwinist. An actual SD society would probably to be unpleasant for most of us. When I think of SD societies, I think of many of the Middle East and SE Asian societies where an elite control everything and the poor have nothing. No welfare, no student loans for collegem, just eternal poverty. The income inequality in the US is stunning by first world standards, but poor people in the US have much greater access to education, health care and such.

My comment on Darwin was more based on ethnic tension that seems to pop up in so many heterogeneous societies. There has been a steady stream of violence between blacks and Hispanics in the US, with Mexicans killing blacks on the West Coast and blacks killing Hispanics (Puerto Ricans, I believe) on the East Coast. The standard liberal (Marxist) analysis is all about economics and oppression, whereas I see it as largely tribalism and territorialism.

I have opinions and beliefs to be sure, but my statements about mono- versus multicultural societies are largely based on data and other people's research. Blacks and whites in the US consume almost completely separate pop cultures. Different TV shows, different movies, they even smoke different cigarettes. Some overlapping, of course. Is this a sign of racism? Is there some way we can create a pop culture that everyone likes? Maybe, but why bother messing with it?

(While I'm talking about pop culture, I was thinking about all the gaijin who gripe about Japanese TV. Hey, it wasn't designed for us in mind. It's for them.)

I have been following white flight in the US for about twenty years now. Recently, I am hearing of black flight. Certain parts of Texas and California that were largely black for generations, large numbers of Hispanics move in and lots of blacks move out. I have no idea how to "fix" this.

Going back to the original topic, if Japan lets in a bunch of foreigners, segregated housing on a official level seems hard to bring about, even in Japan. Rather, many landlords will refuse to rent to them and the newcomers will gravitate to the ones that do. I can also imagine that a lot of the newcomers, particularly if they are from more collective societies, will often choose to live around their coethnics.

I don't consider myself to be promoting anything as such, but rather I see serious problems with the naively idealistic notions of a harmonious diverse society. (Not you per se.)

steki47

Re: The Assorted Fruits and Nuts Thread

Unread post by steki47 » Wed Feb 18, 2015 9:37 pm

PS-One more thought. While you and I were debating this stuff, it occurred to me that the Japanese generally don't care what you and I think about this issue. Despite our differences, most Japanese would simply see us as "gaijin". You guys ever get mistaken as an American? Yup, no one cares what we think and they will make the decisions.

User avatar
senseiman
9 miles of bad road
9 miles of bad road
Posts: 1870
Joined: Fri Oct 03, 2003 1:51 pm
Location: Japan again

Re: The Assorted Fruits and Nuts Thread

Unread post by senseiman » Wed Feb 18, 2015 10:31 pm

steki47 wrote: I'm not sure where I called myself a Social Darwinist. An actual SD society would probably to be unpleasant for most of us. When I think of SD societies, I think of many of the Middle East and SE Asian societies where an elite control everything and the poor have nothing. No welfare, no student loans for collegem, just eternal poverty. The income inequality in the US is stunning by first world standards, but poor people in the US have much greater access to education, health care and such.

My comment on Darwin was more based on ethnic tension that seems to pop up in so many heterogeneous societies. There has been a steady stream of violence between blacks and Hispanics in the US, with Mexicans killing blacks on the West Coast and blacks killing Hispanics (Puerto Ricans, I believe) on the East Coast. The standard liberal (Marxist) analysis is all about economics and oppression, whereas I see it as largely tribalism and territorialism.
Sorry, I may have misinterpreted your reference to Darwin.

To respond to the point, one needn't be a Marxist to point out that economically disadvantaged people, having little to lose, are more prone to engaging in that type of crime. Obviously gang affiliation tends towards a tribalist/territorialist mindset, but its mistaken to ascribe this to part of some broader black or hispanic culture. Middle class black or hispanic people don't do that sort of stuff any more than middle class white people do, so there is obviously a socio-economic element at work.
steki47 wrote:I have opinions and beliefs to be sure, but my statements about mono- versus multicultural societies are largely based on data and other people's research. Blacks and whites in the US consume almost completely separate pop cultures. Different TV shows, different movies, they even smoke different cigarettes. Some overlapping, of course. Is this a sign of racism? Is there some way we can create a pop culture that everyone likes? Maybe, but why bother messing with it?

(While I'm talking about pop culture, I was thinking about all the gaijin who gripe about Japanese TV. Hey, it wasn't designed for us in mind. It's for them.)
An important distinction which you seem to be missing is that which exists between culture and expression of culture. Culture is a shared set of norms and beliefs held by a group of people. TV shows, music, etc isn't actually culture but rather an expression of that culture.

There are a few other important points to make which flow from this. For one thing, culture isn't necessarily synonymous with race or ethnicity, we all belong to multiple cultures at multiple levels, ranging from office culture (casual/formal, etc) to that formed by membership in a religion or (where ethnicity is important) a national group.

Furthermore, contrary to what you have said, it actually isn't all that difficult for people from different cultures to co-exist peacefully - almost no culture in human history has existed in a bubble in which its members did not co exist with people from other backgrounds. The reason for this is simple - the vast majority of the norms and beliefs that our myriad cultures have produced are, while different, usually not actually in conflict with each other.

This isn't always the case and we see clashes particularly with ultra orthodox religious groups (like ISIS of course but also including other, less violent groups) whose views on for example the role of women fundamentally clash with the norms of equality that have come to dominate western culture. This is a point of serious tension.

On the other hand, however, most cultural differences don't involve such fundamental clashes. A westerner living in Japan rarely has to compromise any fundamental rules of his/her culture in order to get along here for example. You generally have to be less outspoken about your feelings and more formal in certain situations (and take your shoes off indoors), which represent minor compromises of our own cultural norms but don't fundamentally conflict with our core beliefs so its not a real problem.

So this is why I find the use of culture in your worldview so annoying. Mexicans and South Americans seem to be by far the number one example you have in mind, and your two examples (flag t-shirt/ Spanish juries) both involved them. But Hispanic people do not actually have any major cultural differences with European America. They are mostly descended from Europeans, speak a European language and are practicing Christians. Nothing about their culture is fundamentally in conflict with anything about American cultural norms. In fact most of them would probably be voting Republican but for the fact that Republicans openly hate them. While you can make the case that fundamentalist muslims are completely at odd with Ameircan cultural values, the same cannot be said of Hispanics.

So its not really possible to accept a culture-based explanation for their being the target of all this bile (nor, by the way, for any view that they constitute any threat to American values). While their culture is perfectly compatible, they do have a lot of other things which sets them apart - they are generally poorer, have darker skin, speak a foreign language, eat different food, listen to different music, etc etc. This makes them a target for what is basically just racist hatred.

So I don't know what to say. You've obviously cobbled together this notion of cultural ecosystems in order to justify pre-existing prejudices, but it doesn't really hold up to close scrutiny. Hence my discomfort in addressing it directly, but what the fuck, I did so anyway.

steki47

Re: The Assorted Fruits and Nuts Thread

Unread post by steki47 » Thu Feb 19, 2015 7:18 am

senseiman wrote: An important distinction which you seem to be missing is that which exists between culture and expression of culture. Culture is a shared set of norms and beliefs held by a group of people. TV shows, music, etc isn't actually culture but rather an expression of that culture.

There are a few other important points to make which flow from this. For one thing, culture isn't necessarily synonymous with race or ethnicity, we all belong to multiple cultures at multiple levels, ranging from office culture (casual/formal, etc) to that formed by membership in a religion or (where ethnicity is important) a national group.

Furthermore, contrary to what you have said, it actually isn't all that difficult for people from different cultures to co-exist peacefully - almost no culture in human history has existed in a bubble in which its members did not co exist with people from other backgrounds. The reason for this is simple - the vast majority of the norms and beliefs that our myriad cultures have produced are, while different, usually not actually in conflict with each other.

On the other hand, however, most cultural differences don't involve such fundamental clashes. A westerner living in Japan rarely has to compromise any fundamental rules of his/her culture in order to get along here for example. You generally have to be less outspoken about your feelings and more formal in certain situations (and take your shoes off indoors), which represent minor compromises of our own cultural norms but don't fundamentally conflict with our core beliefs so its not a real problem.

So I don't know what to say. You've obviously cobbled together this notion of cultural ecosystems in order to justify pre-existing prejudices, but it doesn't really hold up to close scrutiny. Hence my discomfort in addressing it directly, but what the fuck, I did so anyway.
Yes, TV viewing habits is more of a reflection. I see it as reflection of a certian distance between whites and blacks, though.

As for culture and race, I would largely disagree with that statement. African-American culture is certainly more American than African, yet is still quite distinct from (white) American culture. With a lot of overlap. Blacks are overrepresented in some areas of pop culture.

Some peoples don't bump heads much, you're right. As I mentioned before, whites/Westerners and Asians don't typically have too many problems working together. Lots of Western/Asian marriages. Other combinations of races and cultures produce different results. The Muslims/Middle Easterners in Europe produce fantastically high levels of rape, violent theft and some of them celebrate the new year by burning cars. Or, some of them like to murder journalists and knife rabbis. Many Whites, of course, blame themselves in such situations and say we have to do more to accept them and understand them. Oh, and they demonize anyone who doubts the benefits of importing third world rapists. Sort of like you are doing with me.

As far as Hispanics/Mexicans, you are partially right. They are socially conservative, but I don't see them voting Republican in large numbers. And don't blame the GOP as they have been "Hispandering" for years to no avail. (Republicans reaching out to minorities is akin to me trying to seduce lesbians: you may succeed occasionally but it will not produce a longterm relationship. Better to double down on the white Christians that actually vote Republican. ) Hispanics are largely low on the skills/education ladder and they require a lot of government services and help (welfare, affirmative action and so on). Economic, they are a net loss to the US (taxpayer included). Throw in the higher crime rates and a general lack of identification with the traditional culture of the US and I say it is bad idea to let lot of them in.

"Cobbled together"? I am looking at lots of data on IQ, crime, community, levels of trust and you dismiss my ideas and compare them to Hitler. I have been talking about this stuff for twenty years and liberals always do the same thing: dismiss my data as rhetoric and present their rhetoric as fact. You have done a bit better with your arguments but they still often lapse into idealism. Shoe on the other foot, you married a Japanese woman and now are projecting your values and decisions (interracial marriage) onto the rest of humanity. Or, you want the whole nation of Japan to accomodate you and make sure you are happy. Buddy, ain't happening.

User avatar
senseiman
9 miles of bad road
9 miles of bad road
Posts: 1870
Joined: Fri Oct 03, 2003 1:51 pm
Location: Japan again

Re: The Assorted Fruits and Nuts Thread

Unread post by senseiman » Thu Feb 19, 2015 3:34 pm

Perhaps I should rewind my critique a bit.

I start by noting that merely having spent twenty years thinking/reading about something doesn`t in and of itself make the intellectual product of that effort good. The ideas should stand on their own merits. If you want to be taken seriously, you have to credibly demonstrate the validity of your views.

This observation leads me to the central problem I have with what you have expressed here. It is a very simple one, though it requires a bit of elaboration. All intellectual inquiries, and this is a universally accepted rule, begin with a question which the person embarking on them is seeking to answer. Ideally this question should relate to finding out some objective truth about the world around them. These often, though not necessarily always, take the form of a hypothesis whose validity is to be tested (ie "Does increased immigration reduce wages?").

The purpose of setting, and clearly defining, the question in part is to allow others to determine whether or not the conclusions reached by the individual provide an adequate answer to that question. If we don't know the question to which you are providing an answer, then we can't effectively judge whether your ideas/conclusions have any merit. Related to this is the importance of clearly defining your terms (ie what is the definition of "culture", etc). Setting a question that is too vague or unclear will inevitably lead to useless conclusions.

Having set the question to be answered the researcher must then seek actual evidence in the world with which to test their ideas and formulate an answer. The evidence should not be subjective, but capable of objective verification. The evidence should be as compreshensive as possible, involving all data which are relevant to the question. Cherry picking data that support one conclusion while ignoring data that contradict that conclusion is to be avoided at all costs. Needless to say the data must be reliable as well.

The purpose of subjecting oneself to these requirements is simply to ensure that your ideas are capable of rigorous examination and to modify or reject ideas which, on careful scrutiny, do not accurately reflect reality. If you want to be taken seriously, this is a necessary first step.

Now, the reason I bring this up is in relation to the post in which you set out your view that cultures are ecosystems. This post sets out an answer to a question, but doesn't tell us what that question was. My reply to that post was a rather flippant Hitler comparison. This wasn't because I hadn't carefully read what you wrote, I did. My flippancy was spurred by the fact that reading through your post carefully I had a lot of trouble trying to figure out what question it was that led you to that answer (that cultures are ecosystems and that white people fit easily into the cultural ecosystems of other white people, with their race being the determinative factor). I tried to think of objective questions which, on full examination of all the relevant evidence, would lead someone to that conclusion. I found that no matter what question I started with in order to reach that conclusion I would have to basically ignore most of the objective evidence available and just rely on an extremely narrow set of evidence, most of it readily contradictable by the totality,cherry picked to reach that conclusion.

The only question which I could come up with which really seemed to justify the conclusions you set out is "How does an angry white man rationalize his dislike of, and desire to keep a distance from, people of other races?"

In addition to being highly subjective, this question is of course not one to which any useful benefit can be had - it reveals no useful information about the world in which we live.

This is of course, just my interpretation, if you have a specific question on which you feel your intellectual efforts are being used to enlighten us I would be very curious to know what it was. Then we could subject it to the type of actual scrutiny that ideas worthy of being taken even remotely seriously must be put through.

I have to say though that I am not confident that they would pass such a test given what you have said here. Throughout this exchange every one of your posts is just dripping with axe-grinding bitterness against minorities, and the facts that you have presented are ludicrously unreliable and representative of someone who is cherry-picking whatever facts he can pick up to support a predetermined conclusion rather than engaging in an open and rigorous attempt to discover the actual truth.
steki47 wrote: You have done a bit better with your arguments but they still often lapse into idealism. Shoe on the other foot, you married a Japanese woman and now are projecting your values and decisions (interracial marriage) onto the rest of humanity. Or, you want the whole nation of Japan to accomodate you and make sure you are happy. Buddy, ain't happening.
I should note, in response to this, that I haven't at any point purported to offer up any broad theories of cultural/racial relations like you have. I have satisfied myself mostly with poking holes in your ideas and whining about stuff I don't like (ie racism). The latter is just a subjective viewpoint and, if I were trying to advance it as a general principle would be subject to the same process of testing I outlined above. Since opposition to racism is generally an uncontroversial position to take I felt no specific need to do so. With respect to the former I was mainly prodding you to see if there was any substance in what you were saying that I might have overlooked. Generally you just revert to political talking points when so prodded, so I assume not. I note that despite using the term "right wing paranoia" and "Hitler" my critique of your views is more grounded in how little value they seem to have in explaining actual reality rather than on any political ideology per se. I don't self identify as either conservative or liberal, though I suppose that being opposed to racism marks one as "liberal" which I find surprising given, again, how uncontroversial such a position is normally viewed across the political spectrum.

So I guess my main questions to you would be:

1) What is the question that you feel your theory of cultural ecosystems provides an answer to?
2) What evidence do you rely on to reach that conclusion? Is that evidence complete, unbiased and accurate?

steki47

Re: The Assorted Fruits and Nuts Thread

Unread post by steki47 » Thu Feb 19, 2015 5:05 pm

senseiman wrote: These often, though not necessarily always, take the form of a hypothesis whose validity is to be tested (ie "Does increased immigration reduce wages?").
Sure, let's get all academic here. If I were to form my ideas into a hypothesis or research question, I would probably ask if human cultures (beliefs, customs, etc) are transferable or able to be learned and acquired by others? As in, given a more concrete definition of what it means to be French or Korean, it is possible for people outside that given society to become functioning members of that society and also be accepted by the ingroup?

Simple example: Taking off my shoes in Japan does mean the Japanese people will view me as one of them. There is of course a lot more to it. Deference to seniors, songs from childhood, temple rituals, styles of conversation and so on.

Further questions: As people are moving around more than ever in human history, does the introduction of outsiders lower levels of trust in that society? Is it possible for those considered to be outsiders to become part of the ingroup?

Simple answer: Unless you are marrying your sister, then, yes, it possible for an outsider to enter a new family. Does this work on a mass scale with tens or even hundred of thousands of "outsiders"? Invoking the Linear Fallacy, not necessarily.

Good point about citations. Neither of us have given many up to this point.

I'll throw out a few:
http://www.pri.org/stories/2011-08-10/x ... nary-roots
Primatologist talking about our long history of fear and distrust towards strangers.
http://www.boston.com/news/globe/ideas/ ... ?page=full
Harvard scholar studied the decline of civic life and trust in heterogeneous neighboorhoods. Conversely, the rise in civic life and neighborly interactions in more homogeneous areas.

I would also recommend Fukuyama's work on high-trust versus low-trust societies. I'll have to dig around for a link or two, but it strikes that these two categories of societies may not be continuous variabls and subject to a compromise but rather as distinct, categorical variables that may be largely incompatible.
senseiman wrote: The only question which I could come up with which really seemed to justify the conclusions you set out is "How does an angry white man rationalize his dislike of, and desire to keep a distance from, people of other races?"

Throughout this exchange every one of your posts is just dripping with axe-grinding bitterness against minorities
I take offense at these comments. Indeed, your use of the word racism strikes me as inaccurate. That word was designed for exonymic use or attacking opponents. Trotsky used it a lot, but I don't think he created the word. In any case, much of what I am talking about is tribalism and even assortative mating, which may be less adaptive in the modern world but still seems to be rather frequently expressed. Not only race, but also educational status, religious beliefs and political affiliations are common sorting mechanism in marriage patterns in the US, for example. Interestingly, crossracial marriages often have the couple with higher levels of similarity on every other factor.

The negative attitudes towards the label of racist seem to be at odds with the reality of where people live and who they marry and befriend. Not many people in the US would say, "Yes, I am a racist" but then they typically marry intraracially and often live in rather homogeneous neighborhoods. Church congreations in the US are incredibly monocultural. It strikes me as an American form of the Japanese concept of honne/tatemae, in which we say one thing and then do another.

I don't dislike minorities/other races as such (and certainly not an individual level) and, as far as immigration goes, I would point the finger at our business and political leaders who allow these conditions even with high levels of opposition from the citizens. (Some Pew polls show strong negative attitudes towards immigration-for cultural and economic reasons-in many Western nations.) I understand why a poor Mexican would try to improve themselves. That makes perfect sense to me.

More personal info: I have been to about thirty countries and really enjoying experiencing new cultures and meeting new peoples. I am a bit of an awe junkie. On the other hand, many people prefer not to seek out new experiences and people and prefer the comfortable and familar. Are they to be stigmatized? I don't think so.

More personal info: Having been verbally and even physically attacked for being white in "their" neighborhood (in the US, mind you), it would be foolish of me not to notice that some other people are extremely territorial and view outgroup members as a danger and a threat.

In fact, shoe on the other foot, I find many who share your arguments to be projecting deeply and fail to understand how the "other half" thinks. Haidt (2013) documented how many liberals saw conservatives as evil and failed to understand the motivations for their positions. A form of bigotry, if you ask me.

Again, I am not sure I am promoting racism or hatred but rather noting strong tendencies towards tribalism and expressing concern about diverse societies. I like living in Japan, but a quick look at the gripes section here would indicate that a lot of Japanese people are shockingingly ignorant and insensitive towards us gaijin. Does me complaining about it solve anything? Not at all. As my exGF repeatedly said to me: "This is Japan. If you don't like it, leave." I left her, not Japan, but I see her point.

PS-Thanks for poking me a bit. Pushes me to clarify things.

User avatar
senseiman
9 miles of bad road
9 miles of bad road
Posts: 1870
Joined: Fri Oct 03, 2003 1:51 pm
Location: Japan again

Re: The Assorted Fruits and Nuts Thread

Unread post by senseiman » Thu Feb 19, 2015 7:18 pm

steki47 wrote:
Sure, let's get all academic here. If I were to form my ideas into a hypothesis or research question, I would probably ask if human cultures (beliefs, customs, etc) are transferable or able to be learned and acquired by others? As in, given a more concrete definition of what it means to be French or Korean, it is possible for people outside that given society to become functioning members of that society and also be accepted by the ingroup?
OK here is something to work with. On an intuitive level it strikes me that the answer is clearly `yes` to this question - there are plenty of examples of people succesfully doing that. On the other hand it also suggests that the question is too broadly phrased . Certainly some cultures are easier to break into than others, depending on how they define the rules for entry into the group. In some merely agreeing to abide by the formal rules lay down by the group is sufficient (ie anybody can become Catholic so long as they go through the formalities (baptism) and abide by the rules) while in others it may be next to impossible (a foreigner being considered fully `Japanese` by Japanese society itself is almost unheard of). Its not really clear what level you are defining culture on here either. National cultures with a strong ethnic identity (like Japan) are obviously more difficult to break into that others. Plus as I noted earlier, culture is not exclusively a national or ethnic concept but rather the product of human interaction at a variety of levels -
steki47 wrote:Further questions: As people are moving around more than ever in human history, does the introduction of outsiders lower levels of trust in that society? Is it possible for those considered to be outsiders to become part of the ingroup?
Depends on where you are putting the emphasis in the question - on greater movement of people or on lower levels of trust.

As to the former, I`m not sure that it is accurate to say people are moving around more than ever in history. Mass migration has been a constant feature of human behavior throughout our history. While we can certainly fly around much easier than we used to, I wouldn`t be surprised if the opposite was actually true. If you look, for example, at the history of ancient Greece it is essentially nothing but a story of constant mass migration of peoples, oftentimes in conflict with each other. This holds true for most periods of history, it was really only with the development of feudal tenure that we started to actively tie people to a given place and only in the 17th century that we started to specifically define national borders as a means of defining who lived under which sovereign. Today, with the exception of freedom of movement within the EU, we live in a world in which there are extremely strict rules governing the movement of people across borders. Even in the US I doubt that the level of immigration today is much different than it was in the 19th century (well, proportional to the size of the population anyway. The US had about 3 million people in 1800 and more than 300 million today so the absolute numbers are probably bigger).

I think the most convincing argument is that trust is something which has been affected less through the movement of people and more through the growing complexity (and distance) involved in economic transactions. In centuries past most economic transactions were local - people trading with people in their village who they knew. Trust was facilitated by this intimacy and could be backed up by effective compliance mechanisms (ostracism) which prevented cheating. THis led to a form of local tribalism/ family centric social structure since ostracism was a mechanism for enforcing trust which could only effectively be used against insiders (travellers passing by wouldn`t care if they were ostracized so they could more or less cheat with impunity). As the benefits of long distance trade became more apparent, new mechanisms had to be developed to overcome the fact that the family/tribe-centric model based on ostracism could not be used to facilitate trust in trade between communities. In most of the developed world this was achieved through the creation of neutral legal systems which would enforce contractual and property rights.

This is one reason tribalism/ family centric social structures largely disappeared (or at least became much less important) in the West quite some time ago. The same process is being advanced in other parts of the world through their increased integration into the global economy.

I note the importance of this economic element (since we`re providing citations, I didn`t actually ask for them, but see the work of Douglass North and Avner Grief) because it is something which seems completely missing from your analysis. That is to say - the rules that define our culture (not just defining membership but in general) are not innate attributes, they develop over time and are highly succeptable to economic influences which can be completely unrelated to questions of ethnicity, race, etc. Just look at the US Civil War for example. The North and South were both populated by Europeans who spoke English, practiced Christianity and generally ascribed to the shared set of ideals forged in the American Revolution (the Confederacy copied the US constitution verbatim with a few modifications). Yet owing to a structural difference in their economies (labor intensive cotton dominated in the South but not the North) they developed violently divergent cultural norms with respect to slavery. While this is an oversimplification of a complex process, it is I think safe to say that the most violent and destructive conflict in American history was fought between a largely homogenous group of people who more or less by accident (ie the coincidence that cotton was easier to grow in the south than the north) developed radically divergent cultural beliefs on a single issue.
steki47 wrote:I take offense at these comments. Indeed, your use of the word racism strikes me as inaccurate. That word was designed for exonymic use or attacking opponents. Trotsky used it a lot, but I don't think he created the word. In any case, much of what I am talking about is tribalism and even assortative mating, which may be less adaptive in the modern world but still seems to be rather frequently expressed. Not only race, but also educational status, religious beliefs and political affiliations are common sorting mechanism in marriage patterns in the US, for example. Interestingly, crossracial marriages often have the couple with higher levels of similarity on every other factor.
If I misunderstand I apologize, but you have used language that overly generalizes and scapegoats entire groups of people in your previous posts.
steki47 wrote:Again, I am not sure I am promoting racism or hatred but rather noting strong tendencies towards tribalism and expressing concern about diverse societies. I like living in Japan, but a quick look at the gripes section here would indicate that a lot of Japanese people are shockingingly ignorant and insensitive towards us gaijin. Does me complaining about it solve anything? Not at all. As my exGF repeatedly said to me: "This is Japan. If you don't like it, leave." I left her, not Japan, but I see her point.
Smart move!

steki47

Re: The Assorted Fruits and Nuts Thread

Unread post by steki47 » Thu Feb 19, 2015 8:47 pm

senseiman wrote: there are plenty of examples of people succesfully doing that. On the other hand it also suggests that the question is too broadly phrased . Certainly some cultures are easier to break into than others, depending on how they define the rules for entry into the group. In some merely agreeing to abide by the formal rules lay down by the group is sufficient (ie anybody can become Catholic so long as they go through the formalities (baptism) and abide by the rules) while in others it may be next to impossible (a foreigner being considered fully `Japanese` by Japanese society itself is almost unheard of). Its not really clear what level you are defining culture on here either. National cultures with a strong ethnic identity (like Japan) are obviously more difficult to break into that others. Plus as I noted earlier, culture is not exclusively a national or ethnic concept but rather the product of human interaction at a variety of levels -
Agree on this one. National identities or nationalisms vary greatly around the world. Thailand had a national identity that was more fluid and Chinese could learn the lingo, take on a Thai name, wear the clothes and became Thai. They intermarried and for all intents and purposes were considered Thai. There was some anti-Chinese here and there (a former king of Siam wrote a pamphlet in English warning of the "Jews of the Orient"), but they were generally allowed to assimilate.

In Indonesia, this was not the case. Chinese, even those born in Indonesia, were viewed as outsiders. And dangerous and, later, potential Communists.

The difference reminded me of French and German nationalisms that followed the jus solis and jus sanguis, respectively. Law of the residence allowed French-speaking Arabs and Africans to come and live in France, whereas the German policy of law of blood required that both of your parents were German to be considered German. Guess which country produced the Nazis?

senseiman wrote:This is one reason tribalism/ family centric social structures largely disappeared (or at least became much less important) in the West quite some time ago. The same process is being advanced in other parts of the world through their increased integration into the global economy.
True as well. Europeans began to practice exogamous marriage patterns that helped to increase trust among strangers (or at least not close relatives as with first cousin marriage in much of the Middle East. My concern is how compatible contemporary European societies are with Muslim (shorthand for ME and South Asian) populations. I am aware that the majority of Muslims coming into Europe are not murdering cartoonists, raping Swedish girls or knifing rabbis, but the fact that we (the West, not us)are even having this conversations frightens me.

Back to identity. Yes, cultures are not set in stone and they can certainly change. It seems to me that the majority of the change has been in the West, which is in a constant state of flux, politically and geographically. Many of the larger non-Western civilizations are still what I would call traditional and have a rather fixed location. This is neither good or bad, but I wonder how well the West and non-West (bad grouping, my bad) will mix.

Japan does not seem too keen to change, in case you haven't noticed.

Some of this talk of cultures and identity reminds of one of the core differences betweens liberals and conservatives:namely, that liberals often seek to change (improve as they see it) society whereas conservatives generally try to, um, conserve or preserve the status quo. Liberals often win because nothing is permanent. Doesn't stop conservatives nor, IMHO, invalidate their claims and desires. The US specfically is large enough for both.

I would rather see some sort of compromise between these two but I am not sure how we can achieve that.

Post Reply

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 4 guests