Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Racists love it when upset and helpless people use "last resort leverage"

Apologies to the experts: There is probably a succinct specialist term in psychology or some wonderful philosophical concept that describes what the blogster calls "last resort leverage".
Feel free to comment.

What the blogster means with the term is behavior that uses membership in a "protected" group as needed to get a desired result in an interaction. We can debate forever whether such behavior is unethical, sometimes justified, smart, or dumb, etc., within a specific set of circumstances, but this is not the point of the post.

The problem is that such behavior tends to be seized upon by racists and xenophobes with a gleeful "I told you so" or with some rant about evils of political correctness, or worse. But those instances the blogster personally knows had one thing in common: resorting to arguing with membership in a protected group always occurred when someone had maneuvered himself into a corner or was treated badly.

Such as when a young black man accused a white woman who had lent him money and been very patient with repayment delay after repayment delay: "You hate blacks!"

"No, I hate assholes."

At which point another black male who had overheard the exchange intervened: "Man, you know she's right, pay back that money, I know you have it."

Or the story of the second generation Turkish young man with a German girlfriend. The two had been together for some six months, the young man had helped his girlfriend's father to assemble furniture, had moved some heavy items in the yard because the father couldn't lift heavy stuff anymore, had stayed for dinner multiple times. One day, the young woman's dad found him smoking a joint and told him he could not do it at the house. The young man tried to argue that what he was doing was harmless but became upset when told that there was no arguing, and smoking pot would not be tolerated. At this point, he launched into "You just hate Turks."

The final example for the post is the story of a friend from northern Germany who asked if she could stay over night because she needed to apply with the ministry of education of the state to get her Eastern European medical degree recognized and to be allowed to do an additional one year intern training to be able to practice in Germany. That evening, she told the blogster how unfriendly people at the agency had been, rifling through every single class, trying to find fault, and eventually questioning the motive of this German citizen for applying in this state instead of her home state up north. At this point, the friend was exasperated and said: "The reason for coming to this city is that there is a vibrant Jewish community here."

"It worked?"

"Yes, that lady became very friendly."

So, the blogster has not witnessed a single instance in which a member of a "protected" group argued on the basis of this identity at the outset of a dispute or altercation. This is not to say that every single one of the billions of humans out there will always wait until all other arguments are exhausted.

When you hear that someone is accused of using "the race card" or any other "card", try to understand the event better -- and ask yourself what you would have done.

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