Does society owe any debts to the descendants of people wronged?

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Re: Does society owe any debts to the descendants of people wronged?

#121  Postby Scarlett » May 20, 2013 4:58 pm

Fallible wrote:
Thommo wrote:I'm sceptical of both the language claim and that rebutting article.

From the article:-
Children mainly learn language from their playmates, not from parents or schoolteachers. In any case, anyone who has been in a black ghetto household knows full well there is plenty of talking going on.


Why then do I share an accent, inflection and vocabulary that is very similar to my father's and almost nothing like the kids I went to school with? Am I an exception? Perhaps I am, but I think these kind of claims need substantiation, particularly on points like what the definition of "mainly" is here.


No, you're not. We live in the Liverpool area, and yet my daughter clearly exhibits many characteristics of my accent which is a kind of mashup of south west twang, south east clippedness and the occasional Irish tweak despite her having only ever attended schools in the north west. Oddly her father is northern too and she still hasn't picked much of it up despite being exposed to it both at school and at home. The exception is that she says 'bAth' not 'baaahth'.


My children were born here in the north of Scotland and as you know I'm a Weegie (Glaswegian), even now the oldest children will use a lot of the language I use and have been 'accused' (yes accused) of being Weegies. Neither speaks broadly in the accents most of their peers do although there is obviously a northern accent there.

I don't know if the latter part was because they were around my accent all the time, or because I didn't allow them to speak with a broad northern accent. There were expected to pronounce their 't's' and were encouraged not to use too much slang. Probably both.
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Re: Does society owe any debts to the descendants of people wronged?

#122  Postby Macdoc » May 20, 2013 7:21 pm

May be other factors in this as mimicry is an important factor to social ease so there is osmosis at almost any age.
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Re: Does society owe any debts to the descendants of people wronged?

#123  Postby Thommo » May 20, 2013 10:06 pm

Mr.Samsa wrote:Looking at how it's used in the article, I think the author might be using "language" in a very specific way to refer to a particular aspect of language but doesn't clarify exactly what they mean. So the claim "Children mainly learn language from their playmates...", they might mean that they mainly learn new words, or grammatical structure, from their playmates rather than teachers or parents. Which would make more sense as if we mostly learnt those things from teachers then our language-use should be more accurate than it generally is (since we'd be following formal rules rather than social conventions) and it explains why youths speak radically differently than their parents.

As such, it wouldn't be referring to language acquisition, or dialect formation, or anything like that which would likely be predominantly a product of your interaction with parents and close family.

Just a guess though, they might be talking entirely out of their ass.


That's a reasonable suggestion, It could be, I'm not honestly sure what the claim is or how we'd measure it.

Thinking about it a bit more since last I posted there are situations which differ than mine - I know children of immigrants and they generally have English type accents as opposed to their parents who have characteristic accents related to their countries of origin. So in their cases I suppose it's substantially more true.

I suppose some accents will generate more social pressure than others, I can imagine that, for example, a black child getting picked on at school for looking and sounding different might have a rather greater motivation to acquire the accent of their peers than someone like me did.
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Re: Does society owe any debts to the descendants of people wronged?

#124  Postby Mr.Samsa » May 21, 2013 5:16 am

Thommo wrote:That's a reasonable suggestion, It could be, I'm not honestly sure what the claim is or how we'd measure it.


Well the claim would just be something like: Children's grammatical structures are shaped more by peers than by parents. To test it we'd take samples from the child, parents, and peers, and see where most of the similarities lie.

We really need to get Katja in this thread, as I'm sure she'd know of a few studies on the topic.

Thommo wrote:Thinking about it a bit more since last I posted there are situations which differ than mine - I know children of immigrants and they generally have English type accents as opposed to their parents who have characteristic accents related to their countries of origin. So in their cases I suppose it's substantially more true.


I imagine that would be an exceptional case, in that the majority of their English language learning will come from sources other than their parents, so we should expect them to adopt those patterns. I suppose it might make sense to broaden the "rule" that was proposed, so that it's not a case of children getting their basic language blocks (like phonemes etc) from their parents, but rather from the dominant source of that language during learning. For our first language this dominant source just happens to be our parents, but obviously in the case of second language learning we will tend to look more towards our peers (especially if our parents can't speak that language).

Thommo wrote:I suppose some accents will generate more social pressure than others, I can imagine that, for example, a black child getting picked on at school for looking and sounding different might have a rather greater motivation to acquire the accent of their peers than someone like me did.


Definitely true.
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Re: Does society owe any debts to the descendants of people wronged?

#125  Postby Imagination Theory » May 28, 2013 3:42 am

A good question is how to define black person.

I think we all can agree that these dead guys family should have compensation? Because black people were killed, were slaves and then treated as slaves, couldn't own property, etc., society does owe them money (and much more!) so things can be fair. It is like white people start out the race of life 20 miles ahead, this way (which doesn't look like will happen, sadly) is making things more fair, by a mile or two. So just 18, 19 more miles to equality. So I don't understand how people think it isn't about fairness and think it is "racist" or some shit like that.

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Я пью за разоренный дом,
За злую жизнь мою,
За одиночество вдвоем,
И за тебя я пью, -
За ложь меня предавших губ,
За мертвый холод глаз,
За то, что мир жесток и груб,
За то, что Бог не спас.


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Re: Does society owe any debts to the descendants of people wronged?

#126  Postby Agrippina » May 28, 2013 6:06 am

The accusation of "reverse racism" is a popular complaint here. Sometimes even people in my own family say that they were raised in an anti-Apartheid environment and that they, and their immediate family, never committed any crime against native Africans. Also we're accused of perpetuating the discrimination because we employ people in menial jobs. My feeling is that our government who is now mostly comprised of previously marginalised people are the ones doing the discriminating now. Twenty years after the end of Apartheid, we still have the vast majority of Africans living in extreme property, and the older, less-educated people are still working as domestic servants.

If you speak to people like the guy who does my garden, and who is very interested in discussing politics, they say that their lives were better under Apartheid, and that except for the passbooks, the enforced living in townships, and the poor education standards, they would rather have the "old bosses" back. It's sad but what Apartheid did was to create a mindset of dependency. Because they didn't have to do anything for themselves and because they were made to be beggars, and servants, they still want to be given stuff, and the people who are running the government, are reinforcing this. There are a few select families who get away with privilege, like the recent wedding scandal where a family of personal friends of the president were allowed to land wedding guests at a military airport, and bring them into the country without proper passport control.

I agree with Affirmative Action, even though my own kids are discriminated against when it comes to jobs, and they never did anything to support Apartheid, they nevertheless benefited from it because they were allowed to move about freely etc etc because they were "white." It's forced them to become creative about earning a living, which I think will make them tougher than getting jobs simply because they're the best qualified, and the qualifications were obtained on the backs of the people who didn't get the same opportunities. Affirmative Action has given people opportunities, because they were previously denied those and it's allowed them to rise above the horrible conditions that made their parents into "slaves."

However, because I've always felt guilty about how my fellow "whites" treated indigenous people, I've made them and their plight the focus of my charity. And yes, I do employ people to do work I can't do myself, not because it's cheap labour and because I'm exploiting their plight, but because without my money helping to support their families, the people who rely on their jobs would starve, and be forced into exploiting criminal opportunities to eat. Our political situation needs to change. We need to remove the fat cats who buy jets rather than build schools, and who erect statues to previous kings rather than houses, out of government and replace them with people who actually care more about reducing the numbers of under-educated and unemployed people.

If Affirmative Action helps someone to get a job they otherwise wouldn't get because they don't speak English, or because they don't understand that foreigners expect them to stand up when they speak to them, I'm happy about that. Foreigners, and even local people, who think that standing up for them is more important than someone trying to rise above their birth, should just suck it up.
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Re: Does society owe any debts to the descendants of people wronged?

#127  Postby surreptitious57 » May 28, 2013 7:43 am

Part of the reason whites do not understand this is because they assume a level playing field : This as you point out is not true because of the historical legacy of racism : That is why a black being racist to a white is not the same now as a white being racist to a black : Now all racism is of course wrong no matter where it originates from though we are referencing a sliding scale here : The same applies to women and gays who also have a historical legacy too : And is a very easy mistake
to make to deny this as Richard Dawkins demonstrated recently on twitter : But it is interesting never the less how that is more likely to be from those who historically never had to fight for justice than those who did

And expanding on this there was an excellent thread over at Atheism Plus about how history is taught : Over here we know about the Greeks and the Romans because they were European : Though know less about Asia or South America or Oceania
In our History O Level we did just one country in Africa : Which was Kenya : And you know why : Because it was once a part
of the Empire : I would bet my life now if I asked any European here to name five famous historical scientists you would say Galilieo : Copernicus : Newton : Darwin : Einstein : No problem : And would also bet my life that if I asked you to name five famous Asian scientists you could not : Nor could I off the top of my head though I do have the relevant information : Now there is nothing wrong in learning about the contribution of the aforementioned : For they are all giants in their own right

But Europe did not have a monopoly on scientific thought and it is a shame that we do not understand this more : Did you know for example that a theory of gravity was attempted over four centuries before Newton in Asia : Or that the Indians invented the zero and the very alpha bet you are using on that computer of yours : Or that the Babylonians came up with
base twelve because sixty has five multiples : And in spite of metric some imperial is still retained to this day : Now you
may be wondering what all this has to do with blacks being executed in America in the last century : The answer to that
is the sliding scale of racism : Admittedly two completely different ends of an infinite spectrum but the same spectrum
never the less : And that difference is the most important factor here because the contrast between the conscious and
the unconscious could not be greater : But it is connected : Do not be surprised if it is not obviousn : Most of us never
notice it as I certainly did not : And so congratulations to Atheism Plus now for highlighting this very important point
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Re: Does society owe any debts to the descendants of people wronged?

#128  Postby surreptitious57 » May 28, 2013 7:44 am

Part of the reason whites do not understand this is because they assume a level playing field : This as you point out is not true because of the historical legacy of racism : That is why a black being racist to a white is not the same now as a white being racist to a black : Now all racism is of course wrong no matter where it originates from though we are referencing a sliding scale here : The same applies to women and gays who also have a historical legacy too : And is a very easy mistake
to make to deny this as Richard Dawkins demonstrated recently on twitter : But it is interesting never the less how that is more likely to be from those who historically never had to fight for justice than those who did

And expanding on this there was an excellent thread over at Atheism Plus about how history is taught : Over here we know about the Greeks and the Romans because they were European : Though know less about Asia or South America or Oceania
In our History O Level we did just one country in Africa : Which was Kenya : And you know why : Because it was once a part
of the Empire : I would bet my life now if I asked any European here to name five famous historical scientists you would say Galilieo : Copernicus : Newton : Darwin : Einstein : No problem : And would also bet my life that if I asked you to name five famous Asian scientists you could not : Nor could I off the top of my head though I do have the relevant information : Now there is nothing wrong in learning about the contribution of the aforementioned : For they are all giants in their own right

But Europe did not have a monopoly on scientific thought and it is a shame that we do not understand this more : Did you know for example that a theory of gravity was attempted over four centuries before Newton in Asia : Or that the Indians invented the zero and the very alpha bet you are using on that computer of yours : Or that the Babylonians came up with
base twelve because sixty has five multiples : And in spite of metric some imperial is still retained to this day : Now you
may be wondering what all this has to do with blacks being executed in America in the last century : The answer to that
is the sliding scale of racism : Admittedly two completely different ends of an infinite spectrum but the same spectrum
never the less : And that difference is the most important factor here because the contrast between the conscious and
the unconscious could not be greater : But it is connected : Do not be surprised if it is not obviousn : Most of us never
notice it as I certainly did not : And so congratulations to Atheism Plus now for highlighting this very important point
A MIND IS LIKE A PARACHUTE : IT DOES NOT WORK UNLESS IT IS OPEN
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Re: Does society owe any debts to the descendants of people wronged?

#129  Postby Agrippina » May 28, 2013 8:10 am

True. Even here, "black" people are expected to regard European scientists and historical figures as being "more" than their own ancestors who achieved great things historically. We're starting to learn more about this in our schools, but even if we ask people who the people were that our streets are being named for, they'll say that they don't know. But they all know who the white ones were: Verwoerd, de Klerk, Botha, Jan Smuts and so on. We talk about money being "wasted" on renaming, but to a degree it will make us all aware that there were other people who we didn't know about, who achieved great things, despite being "second class citizens" during Apartheid. Renaming streets and airports and so on, has helped us become aware of them.
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Re: Does society owe any debts to the descendants of people wronged?

#130  Postby Imagination Theory » May 28, 2013 8:46 pm

Good points you too. I'm wondering what the OP has to say.
Я пью за разоренный дом,
За злую жизнь мою,
За одиночество вдвоем,
И за тебя я пью, -
За ложь меня предавших губ,
За мертвый холод глаз,
За то, что мир жесток и груб,
За то, что Бог не спас.


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Re: Does society owe any debts to the descendants of people wronged?

#131  Postby Panderos » May 28, 2013 9:12 pm

surreptitious57 wrote:Part of the reason whites do not understand this is because they assume a level playing field

Isn't this the type of casual generalisation we want to avoid? There is a significant difference between 'whites' and 'some whites'.

surreptitious57 wrote:And expanding on this there was an excellent thread over at Atheism Plus about how history is taught..

There is definitely a bias in history teaching sure. The Michael Goves of this world probably think not enough.

surreptitious57 wrote:I would bet my life now if I asked any European here to name five famous historical scientists you would say Galilieo : Copernicus : Newton : Darwin : Einstein : No problem : And would also bet my life that if I asked you to name five famous Asian scientists you could not

True no doubt, but slightly misleading as a measure of undue bias. The word scientist over here tends to refer to people that did their work around and since the Scientific Revolution. Most people would not refer to Euclid / Aristarchus / Hero as scientists. And most of the big name 'scientists' as we use the word, the more modern ones, were indeed western. So there is a natural bias there, as well as an us-not-them bias. Pre-scientific revolution though, I think you have a good argument. We know the Greeks but not the Muslims in the Islamic Golden Age or the Chinese etc. Is there a 20th century bias? Not sure, make the argument if you think so.
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Re: Does society owe any debts to the descendants of people wronged?

#132  Postby Imagination Theory » May 28, 2013 9:51 pm

"And most of the big name 'scientists' as we use the word, the more modern ones, were indeed western". Were they now?
Я пью за разоренный дом,
За злую жизнь мою,
За одиночество вдвоем,
И за тебя я пью, -
За ложь меня предавших губ,
За мертвый холод глаз,
За то, что мир жесток и груб,
За то, что Бог не спас.


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Re: Does society owe any debts to the descendants of people wronged?

#133  Postby Panderos » May 28, 2013 9:59 pm

Imagination Theory wrote:"And most of the big name 'scientists' as we use the word, the more modern ones, were indeed western". Were they now?

If you disagree, please say why. Maybe I do need to be educated here, but this statement 'were they now' isn't very helpful.
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Re: Does society owe any debts to the descendants of people wronged?

#134  Postby Imagination Theory » May 28, 2013 10:43 pm

I don't know. I'm asking you. Were they? Did you actually do a study or are you just assuming that? How do you know this?
You say "and most of the big name 'scientists' as we use the word, the more modern ones, were indeed western". Well, show us some evidence of your claim.

And of course we have to take everything into account.
Я пью за разоренный дом,
За злую жизнь мою,
За одиночество вдвоем,
И за тебя я пью, -
За ложь меня предавших губ,
За мертвый холод глаз,
За то, что мир жесток и груб,
За то, что Бог не спас.


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Re: Does society owe any debts to the descendants of people wronged?

#135  Postby willhud9 » May 29, 2013 4:51 am

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=32hgzIGBa6g[/youtube]

I love Penn and Teller. Yep, reparations are indeed...BULLSHIT. :shh:
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Re: Does society owe any debts to the descendants of people wronged?

#136  Postby Agrippina » May 29, 2013 6:07 am

I suppose from the US point of view, it would mean handing the entire continent to the native Americans, or wouldn't it?
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Re: Does society owe any debts to the descendants of people wronged?

#137  Postby Panderos » May 29, 2013 9:12 am

Imagination Theory wrote:I don't know. I'm asking you. Were they? Did you actually do a study or are you just assuming that? How do you know this?
You say "and most of the big name 'scientists' as we use the word, the more modern ones, were indeed western". Well, show us some evidence of your claim.

I'm not sure what evidence would suffice... no matter what list I give you, you can just say 'well maybe there's others you haven't heard of'. I'm no historian of science, but let's see..

Take physics for example, since that's what I'm most familiar with. Some of these names I could have reeled off, some are from a quick wikipedia search. I'm probably missing some, others can no doubt chime in.

Classical Mechanics - Newton was the big name here, followed by Lagrange and Hamilton
Astronomy - Kepler, Galileo, Tycho Brahe, Newton, Halley, Herschel, Laplace, Fraunhoffer, Hubble..
Electromagnetism - Orsted, Maxwell, Faraday, Ampere, Gauss, Hertz..
Thermodynamics - Guericke, Boyle, Hooke, Newcomen, Black, Watt, Carnot, Stirling, Boltzmann, Maxwell, Clausius, Planck, Gibbs..
General Relativity - Einstein, Lemaitre, Schwartzchild, Eddington, Friedmann..
Quantum Theory - Einstein, Bohr, Planck, Pauli, Rutherford, Heisenberg, Dirac, Fermi, de Broglie, Curie, Schrodinger..

Western to the last, unless I'm mistaken. After this it opens up a bit and we get a few more non-Western names like Chrandrasekhar and Tomonaga.

I expect the story is similar in chemistry and biology, and probably in the softer sciences too although I'd struggle to name any names from some disciplines there.
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Re: Does society owe any debts to the descendants of people wronged?

#138  Postby Imagination Theory » May 30, 2013 12:11 am

Yes, that is the problem. We wouldn't know of some non white/non Western/women scientists, would we? And there wouldn't be as many for various reasons, like them being slaves or considered "barbaric", their ideas stolen, burned away, them having little to no formal education because they weren't allowed any, etc. We should learn why there are less, or why it seems there are less non white/non Western/women scientists. Don't you think so?

I just find it odd, as you yourself said "I'm no historian of science", yet you made a claim that said "and most of the big name 'scientists' as we use the word, the more modern ones, were indeed western". I assume you said that because that is what it seems like to you and the reason it seems like that to you is because your history showed many/only the western scientists. Which is a problem we were discussing.

By the way, how are you defining "Western"?
Я пью за разоренный дом,
За злую жизнь мою,
За одиночество вдвоем,
И за тебя я пью, -
За ложь меня предавших губ,
За мертвый холод глаз,
За то, что мир жесток и груб,
За то, что Бог не спас.


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Re: Does society owe any debts to the descendants of people wronged?

#139  Postby Imagination Theory » May 30, 2013 12:12 am

@Will, is there text for that video?
Я пью за разоренный дом,
За злую жизнь мою,
За одиночество вдвоем,
И за тебя я пью, -
За ложь меня предавших губ,
За мертвый холод глаз,
За то, что мир жесток и груб,
За то, что Бог не спас.


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Re: Does society owe any debts to the descendants of people wronged?

#140  Postby Loren Michael » May 30, 2013 3:59 am

Imagination Theory wrote:Yes, that is the problem. We wouldn't know of some non white/non Western/women scientists, would we? And there wouldn't be as many for various reasons, like them being slaves or considered "barbaric", their ideas stolen, burned away, them having little to no formal education because they weren't allowed any, etc. We should learn why there are less, or why it seems there are less non white/non Western/women scientists. Don't you think so?

I just find it odd, as you yourself said "I'm no historian of science", yet you made a claim that said "and most of the big name 'scientists' as we use the word, the more modern ones, were indeed western". I assume you said that because that is what it seems like to you and the reason it seems like that to you is because your history showed many/only the western scientists. Which is a problem we were discussing.

By the way, how are you defining "Western"?


I think that the extremely rapid industrialization of Europe and America led to quite a bit of edge in having scientists of the European/American variety. Racism probably kept the science-promulgating institutions relatively regionally/racially/ethnically exclusive.

In the second half of the 20th century, it seems like more of the celebrity scientists were more and more of the popularizers-of-science sort rather than the kinds who had broad and apparently-to-my-layperson's-mind aspects of science named after them or their theories, and as such I think there's going to be a relatively strong skewage toward American and European (and largely white-ish) scientists whose names are going to be around in the annals of science history for a long time.

Pre-, I dunno, 1800 or 1750 or so, I think it's more likely that we tend to have ethnocentric histories that focus on scientists that were closer to where we are from, given that, in my understanding at least, there was less of an economic disparity in the large population centers of the world (China/Ottoman Empire/European Nations), or that the economic disparity was only beginning at around that time.

Given the shoulders-of-giants phenomenon, I don't think it's unreasonable to suggest that places with more advanced economies (and less agriculture-based economies) are probably going to produce more scientists and as such they're going to have a richer scientist-tradition.
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