Andrey (azangru) wrote,

Listened to Sam Harris’s conversation with Andrew Marantz. The summary of that episode mentioned that his guest had written a book, Antisocial: Online Extremists, Techno-Utopians, and the Hijacking of the American Conversation; so I thought they were going to talk about social media, and maybe the chans, and maybe I’ll learn something...

But they didn't. Instead, for a large part of the episode, they talked about racism.

Marantz views this sentence, said by Laura Ingraham on Fox, as racist:

Democrats mostly want to replace those old white yahoo conservatives with a new group who might be a little more amenable to big government

Why racist? Because, he says, it builds upon what he calls the Great Replacement theory (first time I heard of it). Which, he says, is white supremacist. Ergo, racism.

Further on into the episode, they talk of their operational definitions of racism. Here’s Harris: "Someone is racist, of a sort that we should care about, if their political aims in some way entail living in a society where people of different races don’t have the same political freedoms". To which Marantz responds: "How about living in a majority white society? Wouldn't it make you a kind of white nationalist if you wanted to live in a more white nation?"

This is what struck me. In tech-related conversations, now infused with identity politics, it is commonly assumed that like wants to associate with the like. This is the basis of the whole argument about the poor struggling underrepresented minorities — they do not see people like themselves, and therefore can’t hone in on a role model (which of course they need, they are so malleable, so impressionable), somehow assume that there is no place for them (they are so quick to despair), and do not stay (which is tragic, for some reason or other). Hence, it’s a common practice to have courses or conferences exclusively for women or ethnic or sexual minorities.

So somehow, wanting to function in a less white environment is fine, but wanting to live in a whiter nation is racist. Wanting to study/work in an all-female environment is fine; but wanting to do the same in a predominantly male environment is all sorts of bad ('bro culture', 'male chauvinism', 'patriarchy', 'sexism', 'misogyny', etc.).

I am not even saying that I agree with the premise that like want to stick with the like. Or at least that the most important aspects of the likeness are skin color and gender, and not, say, class, socioeconomic status, or cultural background.

Harris is quick to agree with Marantz on that point, but I am really curious what’s wrong with wanting to live in a whiter (or darker) nation? Or, closer to home, wanting to live among people of a certain linguocultural heritage.

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