Featured Post

Time for a RAISE?

I am one of the nearly 35 million foreign-born legal immigrants in the U.S. and during the more than two decades that I have been a resident of the U.S., my legal status has progressed through a series of stages, from initially being an international student from India here on a student visa, then on an H1-B visa while I worked after graduation, finally transitioning to lawful permanent residency (aka “Green Card”) and subsequently becoming a naturalized citizen of this great nation.

Recently, the Trump Administration’s attempts to reform and simplify the byzantine US legal immigration system has come under blistering attack by its foes. One particularly cynical example of this genre is an Op-Ed by Noah Smith that was published in Bloomberg. Noah Smith’s clever innovation was to offer up Indian-Americans, an exceptionally successful immigrant group, as a poster child for skilled immigrants who would be hurt by these reform initiatives. Noah Smith writes:

Trump’s moves will fall hardest on Asian immigrants, who tend to be of the high-skilled variety, and who now represent the largest group of new immigrants entering the U.S. The curbs on H-1B visas, the possible end of the OPT program, the ominous RAISE Act, and the administration’s general anti-immigrant attitude have many Indian-Americans rethinking whether they want to stay in the country, and many Indians reconsidering whether it’s worth it to come in the first place.

As an Indian-American, I feel compelled to respond to this flagrantly misleading argument, which reflects a fundamental misunderstanding or intentional misrepresentation of the current U.S. legal immigration system, its sustainability, and its significant harmful impacts on would-be Indian-American immigrants, as well as skilled immigrants from other populous Asian countries such as China.

The reality of the current American legal immigration system is that of the roughly 1 million applicants granted Green Cards every year, nearly 90%1 are approved based on criteria that are unrelated to skill and employment, with family ties to existing U.S. citizens being the predominant preference criteria (65%), followed by refugee or asylum status (15%), diversity lottery programs (5%) and other special admission categories (3%). Only 13.7% of the total Green Cards approved in Fiscal Year 2015 were in the Employment-based preference category according to the Department of Homeland Security.

The status quo in the US legal immigration system discriminates against skills-based immigration and would-be immigrants from those countries which are the largest source of skilled immigrants, while favoring those immigrants who by accident of history and geography have family ties to current citizens.

A vivid snapshot of this is provided by a comparison of the family vs. employment based waitlists for Green Cards. There are currently 4.4 million persons whose applications for Green Cards based on family ties are pending, with the largest portion being from Mexico at 30%. In contrast, there are only 234,000 Green Card applications pending based on employer sponsorships, of which India at 32% and China at 19% dominate the waiting list, with Mexico representing only 2% of employer sponsored immigration applications234.

Noah Smith’s defense of the H1-B program is short-sighted, as the H1-B program is a road to nowhere for Indian-American immigrants who want to use it as a pathway to an employer-sponsored Green Card. In reality, the absence of per country limits in the H1-B program, where Indian-Americans have gained over 50% of the visas granted, has put would be Indian-American immigrants on a collision course with the discriminatory 7% per country limits for issuing Green Cards. The majority of Indian Americans currently receiving Green Cards on the basis of skilled employment had to wait for a decade to receive them, and the upsurge in demand for H1-B visas over the past decade has created a massive pool of potential Indian-American Green Card applicants who are likely to see wait times spanning several decades to receive their Green Cards5, unless political action is taken to reform the current legal immigration system.

Silicon Valley CEOs have been very vocal and visible about supporting a pathway to legal immigrant status and highly mobile, portable employment authorizations for unauthorized immigrants such as DACA recipients who occupy a miniscule portion of their workforce. However, when was the last time you saw a Silicon Valley CEO tweet in support of immigration reform for highly skilled workers on H1-B visas stuck in a bureaucratic Green Card twilight zone nightmare? That’s right, no Silicon Valley CEO’s are supporting such a political intervention because the status quo of the H1-B visa program and its interaction with per-country Green Card limits serves them just fine. In an industry with high turnover where talent is hard to find, they get a pool of compliant workers with restricted job mobility and reduced bargaining power when it comes to compensation and raises.

In the face of this grim backdrop for many skilled Asian-Americans applying for Green Cards, it is laughable to find Noah Smith characterizing the passage of the RAISE Act as being the “biggest blow against skilled immigration”. The RAISE Act would instantly transform the immigration landscape for Indian-Americans as well as other large Asian countries such as China, which dominate the supply of the skilled immigrant pool. The RAISE Act would liberate them from the shackles of discriminatory country quotas, and greatly accelerate their timelines to receive Green Cards under a streamlined, transparent skills-based immigration system. Under the RAISE Act, the level of Green Cards allotted on the basis of skill would be maintained at 140,000, and the complex bureaucratic process for employer-sponsored Green Cards would be replaced with a streamlined, points-based system used by many developed Western nations such as the UK, Canada and Australia. Despite Noah Smith’s claim that the points system would be so restrictive that few immigrants would qualify, it is highly likely that many Green Card applicants from India would qualify: the points system rewards STEM education, English language proficiency, and highly compensated employment.

It is true that the RAISE Act would cut immigration based on family ties in half. Although Noah Smith attempts to present family-based immigration as a key source of skilled legal immigration, the current system simply does not take education or professional background into account, only family ties. Merely citing the increasing prevalence of an undergraduate degree among new immigrants does not account for the difference between an English or History degree and a degree in a STEM field. It also ignores the fact that those choosing the family-based route to immigration, despite in many cases longer wait times than they would face under employment-based routes, are presumably doing so because they lack the educational and professional backgrounds to gain skilled employment with a firm that would sponsor their Green Card applications.

While the Trump administration might have many faults, seeking to reform the legal immigration system to remove bureaucratic barriers faced by the most meritorious skilled immigrants is not one of them.

  1. Only 13.7% of the total Green Cards approved in Fiscal Year 2015 were in the Employment-based preference category according to the Department of Homeland Security, see “U.S. Lawful Permanent Residents: 2015”, Annual Flow Report, March 2017, URL []
  2. Based on combined analysis of U.S. government statistics on pending applications from persons already in US {employment-based I-485 inventory} as well as those seeking to immigrate from outside the US {consular waiting list for employment-based preference immigrants} []
  3. I-485 Employment-Based Inventory Statistics as of October 2017, URL []
  4. Consular Waiting List of 107,459 applicants based on “Annual Immigrant Visa Waiting List Report as of November 1, 2016”, Immigrant Visa Statistics, U.S. Department of State, URL []
  5. Applicants who have started employer-sponsored petitions are not even counted in the official waitlist statistics even if their petitions have been approved since the U.S. government does not allow them to apply for a Green Card till visas become available to issue for their respective countries []

Guest Author
Twitter 

Sanjay Kumar is the pseudonym of an Indian-American Finance professional who has resided in the United States since arriving here for Graduate School in the 1990s. He has lived and worked in the Upper Midwest as well as the Northeast. Despite his current occupation, he began his working life as a Software Developer, a profession that remains close to his heart and one that he deeply enjoyed. He is a strong believer in American exceptionalism and believes that freedom is the most important virtue a society can bestow upon its individuals. He is married with two young daughters.

Please do be so kind as to share this post.
Share

195 thoughts on “Time for a RAISE?

  1. I support anything that decouples fixed employment from immigration regs, a latter day form of indenture.

    Edit- though philosophically, I’m sort of against the whole H-x series construct, and other ‘temp worker’ programs, as the Mid East Gulf states illustrate how they can get out of hand.

      Quote  Link

    Report

    • Hi Kolohe,

      I completely agree with you that the H-series visa laws and regulations are written to favor business lobbies and not from a point of view of general social welfare for the US. Right now the H1-B is working as a de-facto path to skills-based immigration even though it is technically a non-immigrant visa. I am not convinced that it is really needed as there are existing Business visa categories. For those employers who are really hiring permanent workers through this process, it would be better to decouple the immigrant worker from the employer. This will eliminate any incentive to indulge in labor price arbitrage as well. Technically once an employer has filed for a Green Card for a worker and the worker has received an EAD (Employment Authorization Document), they can switch to “similar” jobs with another employer even though their application has not been adjudicated. However it introduces an element of risk, and given inertia and unpredictability of bureaucracies most workers prefer to exercise that higher mobility related to a H1-B visa only as a last ditch alternative.

        Quote  Link

      Report

  2. This is an interesting post.

    As a family-based immigrant myself (fiance visa, permanent resident, not yet naturalized nor wanting particularly to be… yet at least, but it’s been nearly 20 years), I’m curious if you have any further breakdown of the family-based statistics.

    I think there are reasonable humanitarian grounds for importing beloveds (for whom the country’s choice is basically “gain a resident or lose a resident”), aged parents, etc, that aren’t as applicable to second cousins or even most first cousins. I don’t know how they would manage it (and I would rather see immigration much more open than it is anyway), but I feel like there should be distinctions made between even “I’m having a great time and my sibling would too” and “If this younger sibling doesn’t move here there will be no one at home to look after them properly.” I realize this is not the current basis for decision making (and i think the system itself is incredibly corrupt at this point); I’m more spitballing out loud.

      Quote  Link

    Report

  3. I think that our author here wound up getting a low comment count because this article published on a day when news of the Supreme Court sort of exploded everywhere. I found his article thoughtful, persuasive, and well-researched and I hope that we see more of this author.

    I say “persuasive” because as much as I want to presume that anything the Trump Administration offers, particularly in the arena of immigration, the basic argument “If Indian emigrees have tons of skills and education to bring the table, and they want to contribute those to the U.S. economy, and there are willing employers here, we should welcome that” is pretty damn appealing to me.

    “Because we decided a generation ago to heterogenize immigration demographics” isn’t an appealing rejoinder to that argument, from where I sit. There’s no requirement that we return to the Bad Old Days notwithstanding some offensive but idle remarks by the President himself — and this is for Congress to decide, not the President.

      Quote  Link

    Report

    • Hi Burt,

      Thanks for your kind comments.

      It is true that if we reformed the US legal immigration system to favor skills-based immigration, the biggest beneficiaries would be Asians, particularly Chinese and Indians. However, the reality is that the status quo does not particular ensure diversity anyway. It mostly favors immigrants from Mexico and Central America who have family ties to US permanent residents and citizens. Given that US is an outlier in the developed world in having birth-right citizenship, these ties often originate from an act of illegal immigration. If there was a transparent skills-based immigration system it may or may not result in diversity of immigrants – I actually suspect it will because it will bring in skilled immigrants from African and Latin American countries who did not have a chance before – but it will change the kinds of immigrants we currently get, especially from Mexico and Central America. It makes little sense to me to pit unskilled Americans in the labor force against unskilled immigrants from a handful of countries in a capitalist system like the US, where if they have negotiating leverage employers will exploit the vulnerability of new, illegal immigrants.

        Quote  Link

      Report

  4. Nice article.

    “…the Trump Administration’s attempts to reform and simplify the byzantine US legal immigration system has come under blistering attack by its foes…”

    The Trump Administration’s immigration policy seems to be focused on separating families and keeping out Hispanics.

    “The status quo in the US legal immigration system discriminates against skills-based immigration and would-be immigrants from those countries which are the largest source of skilled immigrants, while favoring those immigrants who by accident of history and geography have family ties to current citizens.”

    Let’s not kid ourselves. The US legal immigration system discriminates against immigrants. All immigration systems have done so since the British Empire decided it didn’t like it’s subjugated peoples of South Asia trying to relocate to the Motherland. The basis of immigration restriction is feckless, unadulterated racism.

    “In an industry with high turnover where talent is hard to find, they get a pool of compliant workers with restricted job mobility and reduced bargaining power when it comes to compensation and raises.”

    Yes, like every other law, immigration law is written so those in positions of influence can legally take advantage of those who are marginalized.

    “While the Trump administration might have many faults, seeking to reform the legal immigration system to remove bureaucratic barriers faced by the most meritorious skilled immigrants is not one of them.”

    Both the author of the OP and Noah Smith appear to accept the zero sum fallacy. Skilled immigration and family-based immigration should not compete with each other. Such a stance is self-defeating.

      Quote  Link

    Report

    • Hi Christopher,

      Thanks for your compliment to my first post.

      You raise an interesting criticism about accepting a zero sum fallacy that pits skills-based and family immigration against each other. Until I started researching the issue I assumed that family members of the immigrant applying for a Green Card based on employment/work would be counted against the family-based quotas. But they are actually counted against the skills-based quota. So to a certain extent increasing skills-based Green Cards would benefit family members as well.

      I think if we accept that 1 million Green Cards is a de-facto capacity constraint in immigration (and I think it is a reasonable figure for a country of America’s size) there is definitely a zero-sum dynamic at play because currently 65% of those Green Cards are allocated to family-based immigrants and only 14% for skills-based immigration (employment-based preference category).

        Quote  Link

      Report

  5. This was a good article, Sanjay.

    I went through the immigration thing before I got married when I brought my wife-to-be here back in the late 90’s. The process was horrible. I had no idea what to do or even where to start. I finally lucked out and called my congressman and talked to his INS Liaison and with the liaison’s help, we got through it.

    My wife and I were both college educated fluent English-speakers and we found the process to be absolutely Byzantine (and this was *BEFORE* 9/11). We needed help from my congressman’s office to navigate the maze of the Immigration Process.

    I have no idea how to fix it because it seems to me that the best fix is to loosen restrictions but that has a lot more people opposed to it than for it (and, let’s face it, the only fixes that will likely work are a lot closer to “open borders” than it is to whatever it is we have now and I’m pretty sure that calls for anything close to open borders won’t resonate with important chunks of the electorate in important swing states in the electoral college).

    The problem with not fixing it is that the attempts at fixes that do manage to get past congress will likely involve making the process have more paperwork overseen by more bureaucrats making it more onerous for people to immigrate here legally while, at the same time, making “just walking here” more attractive.

      Quote  Link

    Report

    • Hi Jaybird,

      The US immigration system is indeed very complex. I haven’t gone through an experience of family-based immigration but I imagine it is very bureaucratic. When I applied for a Green Card my employer paid for a very good immigration law firm and they pretty much handled the whole process of applying for me. If I had paid out of pocket it would probably have cost $5,000 at least and I am talking about nearly 20 years ago.

      I don’t think streamlining the system would be “Open Borders”. The first step is to reduce the categories under which people can apply for family-based immigration and prevent them from bogging down the system. The second would be to break the link between employment and skills based immigration and eliminate 7% country quota limits.

      The transparent points based skilled immigration system the RAISE Act proposed was inline with what many English speaking nations such as UK, Australia, Canada have had in place for decades. It would hurt the unintended beneficiaries of the current system which are employers and immigration lawyers.

        Quote  Link

      Report

      • Oh, I’m not arguing for Open Borders. (From what I understand, nobody is arguing for Open Borders.)

        It’s just that whatever compromise exists between where we are now and where Open Borders is, the place where the compromise actually results in things getting better is a lot closer to Open Borders than where we are now.

        And I don’t think that that will play at all.

        As for the points system, I dig it. But then I took the test and I saw that I wouldn’t qualify to immigrate. (And I cheated by assuming that I’m in the 10th decile for English proficiency.)

        For a handful of reasons, this makes me less enthusiastic over the act itself. Then again, it’s a club that wouldn’t accept me as a member and that’s my favorite kind of club to be in…

          Quote  Link

        Report

    • First, great article.

      I went through the immigration thing before I got married when I brought my wife-to-be here back in the late 90’s.

      Your timeline matches my own, but we got married here. She was in the country legally but not on a marriage visa. I can’t remember if I’ve posted this before so I’ll just do so.

      The process was… high stakes (make a mistake and she gets deported for 5 years minimum if they admit it was an innocent mistake), detailed, the rules made no sense and were arbitrary. I’m very good with rules and details, but one of the things which stood out is when I talked to people none of them had good experiences with the bureaucrats who run the system.

      That seemed to be the key right there. Before we started I thought for a while about who I could talk to who would make the process easier, and then I called the local Congressman’s office. I asked them the easiest question I could imagine someone calling about, and amazingly they got it wrong.

      I already knew the answer. I thanked them profusely and told them they’d done a great job! And since they’d done a good job, they sent me a thank you note on his office stationery.

      The extreme ideal would have been something mentioning my wife’s name, her immigration status, and pledging support. More realistically I’d hoped for something mentioning her name and status in impenetrable legal-speak that would take a few minutes of reading to realize there was nothing there.

      What I got was something short and too the point, not pledging support but saying we’d talked about her. Far from perfect… but you go with what you have. I included it in her application.

      I had great experiences with Immigration Services. Guy who interviewed us was friendly, competent, intelligent, smoothed over a mistake we’d made in the paperwork, and walked us to the front of a line or two.

      I’m the ONLY person I’ve ever talked to who has had great experiences (and my wife and I know a lot of immigrants).

      Later I thought about it and it’s likely he didn’t bother reading it, because who really cares what it says? What that letter means is I’m comfortable pulling in a Congressman as the first stick out of the bag.

      ———————-
      As for fixing the system… I know what I want. The US benefits, a LOT, from immigrants. Brain Drain works heavily in our favor, I’m strongly in favor of it. If it were up to me I’d staple a Green Card to every degree from an accredited college.

      Politically maybe there’s an argument to “I’d rather have them creating jobs over here than over seas”.

      In terms of the various quotas, I’d exclude spouses from them (if they aren’t already).

      It seems to me that wives and very talented people (yes, BS+) should be excluded from quotas. We want them all.

        Quote  Link

      Report

  6. Hi, I’m an immigration lawyer. The reason why many immigrants and immigration lawyers are really skeptical about the RAISE Act is because of the Republican Party demagoguery and outright racist statements against certain groups of immigrants and hatred of the asylum process coupled with their bad faith behavior in other realms. They aren’t exactly what you would call trust worthy to many people, especially on big comprehensive changes like totally re-doing the Immigration system. When you combine their malicious behavior, children in cages, with their incompetence than you have suspicion the results would not be executed well.

    Liberals tend to like the family-asylum based system of the United States over more employment or skill based systems because it represents a chance for the down trodden to immigrate to the United States. We see it as being more fair this way. There should be away to increase the number of visas for the skilled and educated without screwing over family and asylum based immigrants.

      Quote  Link

    Report

    • Skepticism runs deep also for the reason that immigration regulations are driven by an entirely different goal than any other.

      Almost all other regulations are designed to control the flow of things we otherwise welcome; Building permits control the creation of new buildings, health permits regulate the opening of restaurants, and so on.

      Immigration rules are, from their very first incarnation, designed with the goal of limiting and restricting, of not outright blocking, the flow of people into the country.

      When developers that building permits are complex and burdensome, we assume the system is malfunctioning. When immigrants complain about it being burdensome, it is understood to be working as designed.

        Quote  Link

      Report

        • The biggest mistake that anti-immigrant activists have made is focusing their appeals on reactionaries worried about “demographic change” instead of suburbanites worried about traffic.

          “They’re coming over the border to steal… our parking spaces!”

            Quote  Link

          Report

          • There are NIMBYs who act just in that fashion. My brother and his girlfriend were at winery event where they saw a bunch of very old NIMBYs argue just that. A lot of NIMBY rhetoric is nearly indistinguishable from anti-immigrant rhetoric but is aimed at fellow citizens. There will be demographic change, stretched resources, mixed use residential-commerical neighborhoods, etc.

              Quote  Link

            Report

              • If racism didn’t enjoy benefit from majority support politically and practically there wouldn’t be any racism.

                Edited to include strike thru. Even tho that initial framing seems accurate to me – that a preponderance of USAmericans *enjoy* being racist – the more sober, objective analysis is merely that policies based on racism are electorally supported…

                  Quote  Link

                Report

                • And Dark, don’t for a second think I’m suggesting some sort of equivalence between the two “sides” on this issue. Conservatives are primarily interested in *punishing* minorities. Liberals and Dems, for all their faults, aren’t.

                    Quote  Link

                  Report

                    • Pillsy, Liberal Dems – as a consticuency – are *incredibly* racist. The more open racism of the GOP provides them cover.

                      I mean, let’s not kid ourselves about this. The fact that the most egregious anti-minority policing practices occur in Liberal/Dem controlled cities isn’t an accident dude.

                        Quote  Link

                      Report

                      • Provides them cover which they need, though.

                        And yes, the problem of racist abuse by police is at its worst in big cities with large minority populations, and those cities have liberal power structures which have a lot of racist elements, or need to pander to racist elements to maintain power.

                        But the activism to fight against those abuses is highly concentrated on the Left, and the Right tends to view the activist movement aimed at battling the abuses as anathema.

                        Which is, based on the dynamic you note, actually a bit weird. Usually when Team Blue is fucking up, Team Red is right there to point fingers and assign blame [1] but not so much in this case.

                        Of course, racism isn’t the only explanation for the discrepancy. For such a dippy theory, it’s amazing how much partisan positioning seems to be explained by the assumption that partisans will stick up for government institutions and agencies that (partisans believe) are staffed by members of their ingroup.

                        [1] Which is Good, Actually! Partisan point scoring can create some very useful incentives. It’s one of the great things about democracy.

                          Quote  Link

                        Report

                        • I think libs, as a political identification, have to do a whole lotta sould searching on this issue. Trump’s appeal is that he exposed the lies and bullshit undergirding liberal politicos’ claims about being pro-minority. I mean, we all agree that in substance what they’re saying is bullshit (Gillibrand comes to mind here, as does Rahm E in f***ing Chicago).*

                          *The great con of our time is liberals championing minority rights – in particular black folks’ rights – while actively attempting to keep their voting block as held captives.

                            Quote  Link

                          Report

                          • Trump’s appeal is that he exposed the lies and bullshit undergirding liberal politicos’ claims about being pro-minority.

                            Um, what the heck? Who did he expose the lies and bullshit to?

                            *The great con of our time is liberals championing minority rights – in particular black folks’ rights – while actively attempting to keep their voting block as held captives.

                            I think you have to do a lot of work to substantiate this point.

                              Quote  Link

                            Report

                            • Um, what the heck? Who did he expose the lies and bullshit to?

                              Are you serious? Trump called out all the bullshit on every level.

                              Trump even called out liberal policies on inner city black communties. Liberals control those policing practices dude. Thats just a fact. And liberals failed in policy*.

                              *Not that trump’s policies are practically better, just that he’s right that liberal’s have been playing a cynical fucked up game.

                                Quote  Link

                              Report

                              • Are you serious?

                                Absolutely. For a couple reasons: one is that I don’t recall Trump mentioning police abuses as a bad thing. On one or two occasions he’s said how good it is when they beat up suspects, and he’s been consistently, extraordinarily hostile to people who protest the police.

                                Nor did he do better noticeably better than other Republicans with minority voters.

                                So I don’t think your general argument aligns with the data here.

                                  Quote  Link

                                Report

                                • We’ll see. It may not align with the data but it aligns with people’s sentiments. I’m convinded that a major reason Democrat’s are losing electorally is the hyper focus on where the devil is. Details. In aggregate no one cares about the details.

                                  Except end-tail nerds.

                                    Quote  Link

                                  Report

                                  • It may not align with the data but it aligns with people’s sentiments.

                                    Which people’s sentiments?

                                    This is precisely that “cult of savvy” sort of argument that is impossible to address because it refers to an ambient, disembodied archetypal voter, in a way that’s ultimately unfalsifiable. If you can’t tie it back to any sort of data (either electoral or opinion-polling), or associate the purported message with the words Trump has actually said over and over again, I’m not sure why I’d believe it.

                                    I’m not sure why you’d believe it.

                                      Quote  Link

                                    Report

                                    • I tie it back to the conservative base which is driving GOP politics, and the electoral base which is driving national politics. Not sure why I have to name names given that Trump is president and the GOP congress is his handmaiden.

                                        Quote  Link

                                      Report

                                      • Because you were arguing that Trump was making a set of specific argument which as far as I know he’s never made, directed at an audience that is particularly ill-inclined to vote for him, and stated that’s part of his appeal.

                                          Quote  Link

                                        Report

                                        • He hasn’t made specific arguments, but he has made specific claims which lots of people – including Dem voting liberals – agree with, including his signature issues (border security, international commitments, tariffs and trade, etc). A lot of what he attacks is part of the electorate’s baseline conception of politics. But that’s the thing here: Trump’s attacks on various institutions resonate with the electorate (in particular his base) because he’s often saying what most of us already believe. Take the FBI ferinstance: his attacks on the impartiality of the Bureau work because NONE of us think that institution is incorruptibly pristine. We all know, and the older you are the more this is part of your base conception of governance, that the FBI does lots and lots of hideous shit. Dems have a hard time countering the attack precisely because Trump’s cornered them into making outlandish claims which none of us really believe. So it’s not that he flips the narrative, it’s that what he turns it on is widely believed even by those who oppose him. He’s good at that stuff.

                                            Quote  Link

                                          Report

                                          • Trump cornered us by wha…huh??? Nonsense. Trump throws up dozens of often incoherent, mutually contradictory tweets and supporters pick and choose the least crazy pattern. That doesn’t make it all less silly but it is a testament to the human ability to create meaning and patterns out of chaos.

                                            The only narrative in his stuff is what agrees with/supports him is Good and what is against him is Bad. Everything else is irrelevant details.

                                              Quote  Link

                                            Report

                                              • He’s…winning the immigration debate? Was that when he went with a horrendously unpopular policy, was forced to run away from it after trying to double down, and is now headed for a repeat of it?

                                                And then when his own party tried to craft a bill to handle it, and failed utterly due to a total schism in the party and a total absence of leadership, causing even Republicans to complain he President was doing nothing than throwing bombs?

                                                Wow, so much….winning.

                                                  Quote  Link

                                                Report

                                                • Which party looks better tho? The Dems have two issues they can campaign on: DACA and family separation. We already know that most GOPers are willing to trade a path to citizenship for their other policy desires, so the Dems are behind the political 8-ball on that one. Family separation is a different issue, and even on that one the Trump admin has snookered the Dems by requiring legislation to change existing law.

                                                  Dems are losing this argument, dude.

                                                    Quote  Link

                                                  Report

                                                  • We already know that most GOPers are willing to trade a path to citizenship for their other policy desires

                                                    I don’t even know what to say to that. That’s literally the exact opposite of the GOP position.

                                                    I mean, they just tried to have a vote on immigration and couldn’t even muster a majority among themselves on what to do. That literally just happened, a few days ago.

                                                    And here you are claiming there’s some GOP consensus on immigration? Is this 2003? Did I travel backwards in time?

                                                      Quote  Link

                                                    Report

                                                      • A majority of GOPers doesn’t constitute a majority of the House. Pretty simple, really. Same for the Senate.

                                                        You realize that a mere glance at the votes just last week shows you’re wrong, right?

                                                        193 GOP votes (a majority of the GOP) for the hardline, no path to citizenship vote.

                                                        121 GOP votes (a bare majority, by about 5 votes) for the compromise bill, that afforded a path to citizenship technically but not really actually. (The didn’t get a single Democratic vote).

                                                        They didn’t vote at all on the “path to citizenship” bill because, well, you can do the math. If 193 liked the hardline bill, that leaves about 50 votes for the path-to-citizenship bill.

                                                        So why are we making up fake GOP positions? A path to citizenship for DACA polls well, even among Republicans, but trying to pretend that’s how their politicians are voting is asinine.

                                                        They literally voted last week. On record. They got a full third more votes on their hard-line bill than they did on the other. Just GOP votes.

                                                          Quote  Link

                                                        Report

                                                          • 193/235 Republicans voted for a bill without a path to citizenship. That’s 82%.

                                                            Which makes it hard to believe “We already know that most GOPers are willing to trade a path to citizenship for their other policy desires” as you stated, because 82% of them just voted against that.

                                                            Like five days ago. Literally the opposite of what you said.

                                                            if you look at the math of that and the compromise bill, you end up with roughly 40 Republican House members (or 18%) who actually find a path to citizenship a requirement for an immigration bill. The other 82% don’t want it, because they literally voted on that.

                                                              Quote  Link

                                                            Report

                                                              • And 82% voted for the bill without it. Therefore, it’s really clear the GOP doesn’t like a path to citizenship.

                                                                And as I noted, 51% voted for a path to citizenship that was so restricted that it might not even exist, and they only made that vote after knowing it would fail.

                                                                And more importantly, they only got 51 percent of their own caucus when compromising with themselves. Not compromising with Democrats, compromising with their own hard liners.

                                                                Your assertion that there’s some majority of GOP Congressmen willing to trade a path to citizenship for “other things” is clearly false. They can’t even make that deal with their own people.

                                                                  Quote  Link

                                                                Report

                                                                • Morat, all these GOP House votes are conducted knowing that they’ll fail. The senate won’t pass any of their nonsense.

                                                                  As for your emphasis on 81% voting for no path to citizenship, the telling stat is the percentage willing to vote for it. And given the way Ryan has hijacked the process it’s not at all clear how well these bills represent the spectrum of views in the caucus.

                                                                  Look, I agree that the GOP has lost it’s mind. I’ve been saying that for almost a decade now. But the politics of power are a different thing than the politics of policy-argument, and right now the GOP’s congressional leadership is all about the exclusive use of power to achieve their ends.

                                                                    Quote  Link

                                                                  Report

                                                                  • Yeah, you’re still making up a GOP position and claiming Democrats are behind the ball because they haven’t engaged in your purely theoretical GOP position.

                                                                    A position directly contradicted by their recent voting, requiring you to stand here and say “Just because they voted that way doesn’t mean they mean it“.

                                                                    Sorry, man, there’s nothing compelling about an argument that starts basically making up a position.

                                                                      Quote  Link

                                                                    Report

                                                                    • The Dems are behind the ball in a bunch of ways, Morat. They don’t have any power in Congress; they’re whimpy in articulating the principles they stand for; the electorate is largely behind a tougher border policy including Dems who’ve made this a wedge issue with the GOP over the years, an issue which Trump flipped. Unless Dems up their game on this issue, they’re toast.

                                                                        Quote  Link

                                                                      Report

                                                                      • So just to be clear, the Dems are getting totally crushed on immigration by the GOP, which was absolutely unable to pass a bill or articulate a clear policy of any sort other than frothing, screaming xenophobia?

                                                                        Of the kind that turned California solid blue?

                                                                        That’s the hill you’re standing on?

                                                                          Quote  Link

                                                                        Report

                                                                        • The hill I’m standing on is that Dems are getting crushed electorally. I think it’s a pretty defensible position, Morat, given the evidence.

                                                                          The Only Hope for Dems is new folks – women in particular – entering races who aren’t part of the establishment. They’re winning.

                                                                            Quote  Link

                                                                          Report

                                                                          • The hill I’m standing on is that Dems are getting crushed electorally. I think it’s a pretty defensible position, Morat, given the evidence.

                                                                            You mean the +10 to +15 swing seen in every special election since 2016?

                                                                            I mean hey, you might be right, but I’m not going to give you credit on a position you literally made up for the GOP that they don’t even know about. You need to actually tie your prediction to something they’re doing, and right now it’s “hard-line anti-immigration” not “path to citizenship:”

                                                                              Quote  Link

                                                                            Report

                                                                        • So just to be clear, the Dems are getting totally crushed on immigration by the GOP…

                                                                          My standard comment — note where this may or may not be true. McCain and Flake and Heller treading very carefully. Rep. Coffman in Colorado working to become fluent enough that he will run a couple of his town hall meetings this fall in Spanish — ask the question in Spanish, he’ll answer in Spanish, translations later. At some point, though, they reach “talk is cheap” territory and have to defend themselves against the South/Midwest portion of their party.

                                                                            Quote  Link

                                                                          Report

                                                                          • Well, the conclusion of the Republican Autopsy report still remains in effect, despite Trump’s victory in ’16. As one GOP strategist put it (paraphrase): “there is a limited number of uneducated white males in the country.”

                                                                              Quote  Link

                                                                            Report

                                                • He is winning the immigration debate because claiming otherwise means saying that liberal voters are doing something right. There are a lot of people in the United States that can’t do this cognitively. Their brains might explode if they do. Or it is like the SF movies where the protagonists trick the evil AI into shutting down via some kind of riddle. “Liberals are doing something right. This cannot be! This does not compute! Breakdown! Breakdown!”

                                                  There were massive protests against Trump’s immigration policies across the US on Saturday. There is polling showing support for more immigration is up because of Trump.

                                                  The only reason Trump is “winning” the immigration debate is because he is an authoritarian bigot who doesn’t care for political norms or optics. Same with the rest of his gang of corrupt bullies. I think you are letting your anti-Democratic Party views get the best of you.

                                                    Quote  Link

                                                  Report

                                              • I guess by the same measure he is winning the tariff debate but he and his peeps are lying about all the record harvests and dozens of new factories opening up that coincidently nobody has heard of or don’t exist. But he said it.

                                                The only thing he is “winning” are the things he has power to do on his own like have ICE be cruel to people. Like Morat said, R bills have flamed out quickly, nothing is being changed in the laws that he wants, there is no magic wall being paid for by Mexico.

                                                It’s not like D’s are that much more coherent on the border but it’s also not like coherent policy is the big issue now. All the D prez candidates will have all the white papers and policies that are coherent.

                                                  Quote  Link

                                                Report

                                                • I guess by the same measure he is winning the tariff debate

                                                  In the sense I mean, he is. It wasn’t too long ago that Dems were the party of tariffs. Dems *liked* them. Lots of Dems still do, despite all the econ-splainin they’re subject to.

                                                    Quote  Link

                                                  Report

                                                  • I mean, what’s risible is the idea that anyone is being persuaded.
                                                    Those who feared and hated immigrants still do, those who don’t still don’t.

                                                    The only change is in the level of intensity, not the underlying divide.

                                                    Trump has essentially the same base of support he gained in the summer of 2016.

                                                      Quote  Link

                                                    Report

                                                    • Ahh. Got it now.

                                                      Look, it’s not so much that people are being persauded to adopt Trump’s policies as much as that Trump’s aggressive attack on institutions and Dems strike at a level which lots of people *already* agree with. For example, his attacks on Dem immigration policy mirror my own complaints about Dem immigration policy. Namely, that they don’t really have one anymore. So when he says “Dems are for open borders” you get a bunch of wonkish “well actually” navel gazing rather than something clearly stated.

                                                        Quote  Link

                                                      Report

                                                      • Maybe we are just hearing different things.

                                                        “Stop Putting Children In Cages” and “Treat Immigrants With Human Decency” seem like pretty clear statements.

                                                        I mean, what would you consider to be an effective rebuttal to the Trump argument that immigrants are violent rapists and murderers?

                                                          Quote  Link

                                                        Report

                                                        • I agree that those are clear statements, but they’re not policy. If Dems candidates run on #abolishICE they will most likely lose. Even ignorant American’s realize that that institution isn’t to blame for a policy decision made by Trump. Abolishing ICE isn’t a policy prescription, it’s just cathartic bitching.

                                                            Quote  Link

                                                          Report

                                                          • Abolishing ICE isn’t a policy prescription, it’s just cathartic bitching.

                                                            It’s not a policy prescription because it’s underdetermined.[1]

                                                            But it seems pretty weird to argue that cathartic bitching is ineffective while extolling the effectiveness of Donald Trump’s political rhetoric.

                                                            [1] I think we should abolish ICE because deporting people because they haven’t done anything worse than enter or remain in the country illegally is pretty obviously a waste of money, brains, and time, and one which has huge costs for civil liberties. I admit my position is a bit fringe even for people who want to abolish ICE.

                                                              Quote  Link

                                                            Report

                                                            • I’m good with getting rid of ICE because it’s part of my desired alternative (spray out green cards until the problems go away)…

                                                              …but I suspect most people aren’t good with my alternative.

                                                              ICE is the result of bad policy, but that bad policy is popular, and I don’t hear many politicians willing to confront that badness.

                                                              If the alternative to putting children in cages is mass welcoming of immigrants, then I suspect lots of people will be fine with putting children in cages. At the moment we’re looking for a way to avoid cages but also prevent immigration.

                                                                Quote  Link

                                                              Report

                                                              • Yeah I have many policy preferences that are politically challenging, and this is one of them.

                                                                Still, I think people overestimate the number of people who want to just move here to the US instead of work here for some years to make some money before going home (relatively) rich, and also overestimate the downsides for us of such an arrangement.

                                                                Paradoxically, making it hard to cross the border also means it’s more likely for people who come here to work to stay.

                                                                  Quote  Link

                                                                Report

                                                                • Still, I think people overestimate the number of people who want to just move here to the US instead of work here for some years to make some money before going home (relatively) rich, and also overestimate the downsides for us of such an arrangement.

                                                                  Correct. That’s why the Bush 43 Immigration proposal with its increased guest workers program was such a great plan.

                                                                  And the GOP killed it

                                                                    Quote  Link

                                                                  Report

                                                              • ICE is the result of bad policy, but that bad policy is popular, and I don’t hear many politicians willing to confront that badness.

                                                                This is my complaint with Dems. If you oppose the policy, then oppose the policy. Don’t skip past it with pandering #abolishICE sloganeering.

                                                                  Quote  Link

                                                                Report

                                          • He hasn’t made specific arguments, but he has made specific claims which lots of people – including Dem voting liberals – agree with, including his signature issues (border security, international commitments, tariffs and trade, etc)

                                            Trump is currently getting destroyed on border security, not because of the unpopularity of his ground position but because of his thuggishly incompetent implementation. Which has happened a few times.

                                            But on law enforcement in particular, his message has been the exact opposite of the one you were attributing to him, and it hasn’t been a little bit subtle. There are definitely internal contradictions within the Dem coalition about “law and order” issues, and police departments have gotten away with a ton of racist bullshit under city governments run by liberal Democrats…

                                            …but when it comes to racist cops brutalizing people of color, there’s no question that Trump’s for it, or that his base loves that about him.

                                              Quote  Link

                                            Report

                                            • Trump is currently getting destroyed on border security,

                                              No, he’s getting ripped for ripping kids from their parents. The only way to determine if he’s getting “destroyed” comes later this year at the polls. But part of that requires Dems to express a better picture than the Trumpist GOP is right now. I’m skeptical that they will. Strikes me as about an even money proposition.

                                                Quote  Link

                                              Report

                                              • Right. Which has been his signature issue on it.

                                                And polling has generally been trending towards more pro-immigration stances as Trump has raised the salience of the issue for more and more people in a way that makes the anti-immigration side of the debate incredibly terrible. Indeed, the general ICE fuckery and now family separations have done a ton to invert the (previously useful) association of “anti-immigration” with “border enforcement”.

                                                And no, the Dems don’t have a coherent alternative. Rs didn’t have a coherent alternative in 2010 to the ACA. Prediction is difficult, but the opposition doesn’t need a coherent position to win a midterm.

                                                But all that is irrelevant to the issue of racist police abuse in cities. You still haven’t presented anything to support the contention that Trump’s appeal has anything to do with attributing those abuses to Dem-run city governments.

                                                  Quote  Link

                                                Report

                                                • Pillsy, I’m not going to defend the political impact of everything Trump’s said along the way. Lots of stuff fell flat, and he’s also prone to flipping when it’s politically expedient. However “law and order” is a cornerstone of the traditional GOP and of conservativism. The point I’d make about Trump’s claim re: inner city crime is that he’s descriptively correct: the worst inner city crime rates exist in traditionally Democratically controlled cities. When he points that out he’s not trying to persuade you to accept his own policies so much as trying to undermine Dem support and resolve by exposing Dems as hypocrites, or weak on crime, or whatever.

                                                    Quote  Link

                                                  Report


                                              • Trump is definitely not getting ripped on immigration, or, frankly, anything regarding the border right now. Have you looked at the latest Harvard Harris poll?

                                                Although American voters are sympathetic to immigrant families being separated at the border, they demand stronger border security and immigration enforcement. Voters do not believe that families ought to be separated when they cross illegally (88%), and they support the Trump administration’s late policy reversal, allowing families to stay together (71%), even if it was done unilaterally through an executive order.

                                                A majority of voters want immigration reform (73%) and secure borders (76%). Voters also want stricter enforcement of immigration laws (70%). Voters support prosecuting immigrants who cross the border illegally (53%) and sending these immigrants home (64%). A majority (55%) also stand against so-called “catch and release” policies.

                                                This was also in the poll:

                                                At 47%, Donald Trump’s approval is the highest it’s been in over a year, and has been trending up steadily since March of 2018. The President’s approval on specific issues has also seen a bump – approval numbers on stimulating jobs (58%), his handling of the economy (57%), fighting terrorism (57%), foreign affairs (47%), and administering the government (45%) are at the highest recorded by this poll. Only his handling of immigration (46%) failed to reach a new high.

                                                  Quote  Link

                                                Report

                                                • Aaron,

                                                  Trump’s getting *totally* ripped right now. Not on immigration, but on a specific issue: family separation. If he wasn’t getting ripped he wouldn’t have written that bullshit executive order overturning his own policy decision.

                                                  To your larger point, yes I agree that Trump’s “tough on border” policies are resonating with the public. Border security and immigration control is actually (now!) a bipartisan issue. Dem politicians and pundits are having a hard time adjusting to that fact.

                                                    Quote  Link

                                                  Report

                                                  • 538’s tracker has Trump trending back down the last two weeks, having almost reached 43% before he started caging kids.

                                                    I’m not sure how much I trust the Harris poll, given it’s both an outlier (with only Rasmussen showing anything like it — it’s 20% outside everyone else), and has a rather poor reputation. Mostly because it’s an online-only poll.

                                                      Quote  Link

                                                    Report

                                                  • “and they support the Trump administration’s late policy reversal, allowing families to stay together (71%), even if it was done unilaterally through an executive order.”

                                                    From the same piece.

                                                      Quote  Link

                                                    Report

                                                      • He was getting ripped.

                                                        He is no longer getting ripped.

                                                        Follow that with the rest of his numbers, and he is coming out of this looking pretty good. If the D’s don’t take back the house they are done for a while. And I don’t think that is good for the country. They need to get their shit together.

                                                          Quote  Link

                                                        Report

                                                          • If you cherry pick a C- pollster who does only online polls, they look merely “alarming” (sub-50).

                                                            Although it does show how unpopular Trump is that merely being only slightly underwater is a good sign for him.

                                                            As noted, the aggregates show a different story.

                                                              Quote  Link

                                                            Report

                          • It is noteworthy that the only people who use the “Democrat plantation” argument are white people.

                            It’s supposedly the sekrit double ninja backflip Kryptonite of arguments, right up there with the “Democrats are the party of the KKK”.

                            Can you feel yourself trapped in the implacable jaw of logic? Quick, Robin, to the Safe Space!

                              Quote  Link

                            Report

                            • I think it’s a terrible argument but it’s factually untrue that only white people use it, something I ascertained with about 3 seconds of googling.

                              And no, I’m not just talking about Kanye.

                              Please dial yourself down a little, both in terms of claims like this and your condescending explanations to Dark Matter, below. If you can’t engage him with civility and accuracy, you may need to take a break from doing so for a while.

                                Quote  Link

                              Report

                  • Not letting people in the country isn’t normally what we’d call “punishment”.

                    Trump’s immigration politics and policies are out of a 1980’s Democrat playbook, filtered through a really vulgar, blunt, fowl old man.

                    Were the Dems really this racist then and we didn’t call it that (because only the GOP can be racist), or is NIMBY-ism a better view of all this?

                      Quote  Link

                    Report

                    • Not letting people in the country isn’t normally what we’d call “punishment”.

                      Well sure. Except that you’re intelligent enough to know that under the pretense of “not letting people into the country” the Trump policy is to sete up road blocks in Maine and Michigan to pro-actively check people’s papers. Which isn’t the same thing.

                      Another thing you’re intelligent to know the difference of: people showing up at the border seeking legitimate claims of asylum and being detained as if they were criminals. Kids too.

                      What you’re supporting here is morally depraved. You know it, too. A rich country will *always* have people desiring entry. It’s a sign of a successful country. How we deal with that is a moral indicator of who we are.

                        Quote  Link

                      Report

                      • What we’re staring at is the failure of prohibition. The standard “statist” response to bad laws failing to do what is desired is to double down and increase punishment.

                        So, just like the drug war, we end up using the State’s machinery to create criminals and then punish them because they are criminals. And also like the drug war, we end up with law enforcement being directed at classes of people that just don’t make sense in the abstract.

                        And then those who see the world via the lens of “racism explains everything” look at the outcomes and announce the motives of the policy must be racism.

                        However my expectation is when HRC and Bill (who before Obama was called “America’s First Black President”) ramped up the drug war, they didn’t view themselves as racists for doing so. Ditto when they were the ones advocating this kind of immigration control/restriction.

                          Quote  Link

                        Report

                        • What we’re staring at is the failure of prohibition. The standard “statist” response to bad laws failing to do what is desired is to double down and increase punishment.

                          Disagree. If a country is a place individuals want to emigrate to (ie., go thru the legal process) then citizenshp in that country is in demand. If that’s the case, then the nation ought to impose restrictions on who gets to enter. Even if the criteria are bullshit, criteria are essential. IF,, that is, people want to enter.

                          If the US weren’t a rich country, of course, the dynamic and accompanying analysis would be different…

                            Quote  Link

                          Report

                        • However my expectation is when HRC and Bill (who before Obama was called “America’s First Black President”) ramped up the drug war, they didn’t view themselves as racists for doing so.

                          By saying this you’re implying that conservative voters in the electorate and in politics were *less* racist than the Clintons, which strikes me as absolutely fucking absurd.

                            Quote  Link

                          Report

                          • By saying this you’re implying that conservative voters in the electorate and in politics were *less* racist than the Clintons, which strikes me as absolutely fucking absurd.

                            I’m pointing out that behavior you use as proof of racism for the GOP gets a total handwave for the Dems.

                            It wasn’t racist for them before, and if they start doing it again, it still won’t be racist.

                            I’m also wondering how useful it would have been to tell them they were racists back when they were doing their thing.

                              Quote  Link

                            Report

                            • You know, black people existed back then. They wrote books, magazine articles, even got on the tee vee and spoke their minds.
                              They really don’t need white people 30 years on to explain racism to them. They understand it just fine.

                              And they can tell you, if you ask, which party makes them feel most comfortable and respected.

                                Quote  Link

                              Report

                            • It may not have been useful, but people did say that racism was the root of opposition to the civil rights act, and that racism was the root of Nixon’s southern strategy, and that racism was a fundamental part of Reagan’s anti-wlfare/anti-bussing campaign. Those criticisms occurred contemporaneously with those events. The policies were racist at their core and nothing changed by calling them out as such. So if your point is that lots of Americans are racist then I don’t disagree.

                                Quote  Link

                              Report

                              • It just occurred to me that conservatives view the label of “racism” as something that *requires*, in response, a change in attitude, and that’s where liberal’s overplay their hand. But from their point of view, if a person is committed to not changing their attitude or behavior, then they can’t – at least according to the liberal definition – be racist. They’re not gonna change goddamit and fuck you for thinking they will.

                                  Quote  Link

                                Report

                                • Just the opposite. Liberals have so used and misused the label “racism” that it means “anyone/thing in the way of whatever we Libs want right now”.

                                  I remember Mayor Young of Detroit claiming voting for his (Black) opponent was racist because… well just because.

                                    Quote  Link

                                  Report

                                  • Nonsense.Jut because other people use the word in ways you disgree with doesn’t mean the it’s not appropriate in ways you do agree with.

                                    That’s the crisis of our time: that people only view things in terms of how a faceless “other people” will view them.

                                      Quote  Link

                                    Report

                                  • Again…if you are confused as to the meaning of racism, if you believe it to be used wrongly, wouldn’t it make sense to read and listen to those who have personally experienced it?

                                    Are you sharing with us the ideas of black writers like Ta Nehisi Coates, Toni Morrison or Maya Angelou, or black politicians like Barack Obama, John Lewis or Kamala Harris?

                                    Are you giving us the insights of black filmmakers like Spike Lee, John Singleton or Idris Elba, or black artists like Kara Walker?

                                    Where does it come from, this idea that racism is overblown and exaggerated, or used solely as a convenient political trope?

                                      Quote  Link

                                    Report

                                    • I cannot speak for Dark Matter, but I have encountered “just using accusations of racism for political points” in the wild on a few occasions, and I’ve found that there seem to be two main camps.

                                      In the first, you have people who have something like a failure of experience, coupled perhaps with a lack of imagination or empathy or perhaps an unwillingness to accept certain flaws in life. They’ve never been in a car when someone was pulled over for driving while black, they’ve never experienced racism first-hand, and when they see stories or videos of it happening, their first instinct is to justify it. Not because they’re racist, but either because they simply refuse to believe racism is more than a tiny, outlier problem restricted to the white hood folks — or more often because they think “What would it take for the police to do that to me” and thus conclude “We’re clearing missing part of the story, he must have done something else bad because that is not how cops act in my entire lived experience.” So basically a sort of white privilege. But you can see how, to the casual observer, it can really color perceptions — after all, lived experience is a pretty powerful thing.

                                      The second large grouping is, of course, outright racists. Not white hood wearing racists, but the surprising amount of quiet “Of course I believe my skin color is better” ones who keep it to themselves, irritated that speaking the truth gets people pissy. They’re the ones who will occasionally just randomly drop racist as hell statements into conversations, because as you clearly share their skin color, you also must believe it.

                                      They think cries of “racism” are political point scoring, because they don’t believe their fellow whites really mean it. It’s the “silent majority” issue, for race. If the people crying about racism don’t mean it, then they must be using complaints about it for some ulterior motive. This gets all tangled up in “PC culture” which is used to excuse why people seem to get offended, but only because they don’t want the “thought police” to punish them. (yeah, its’ a real weird mess where somehow most people agree with them, but can’t do so openly, because then some angry powerful minority will punish them for thought-crimes. Rather than, say, their views being a distinct minority, and the majority just thinking you’re kind of a racist dick.)

                                      I’m sure there’s other groupings, but by and large it’s all the same thing — the believe that people aren’t really upset about racism (either because it doesn’t exist or because everyone does it) and so it’s just a convenient attack card.

                                      Which, by and large, is why you get such awful, weird, nonsensical attempts to play the racism or PC cards back at times. It’s people trying to use a conceptual weapon they don’t understand, and so they are generally only effective at using it to rile up the similarly confused.

                                        Quote  Link

                                      Report

                                      • Both of your camps assume accusations of racism aren’t used for political points, even when it should be obvious to everyone involved that’s exactly what’s going on. Nor is there any push back from the SJW community when the term is misused… which implies that it’s not being misused.

                                        Nor is there any acknowledgement of the progress society has made in the last 50 years. Is racism still such a massive impediment that it should be the first thing the SJW community needs to focus on? At what point are there more SJWs than there are racists?

                                          Quote  Link

                                        Report

                                        • Ah, whataboutism.

                                          Yes, clearly the SJW’s are the real problem. Constantly pulling over the white man for driving too nice a car, shooting the white man for not obeying contradictory instructions, creating so many problems for the white man from their powerful perch on Tumblr.

                                          Nor is there any acknowledgement of the progress society has made in the last 50 years.

                                          *golf clap*. Congratulations for no longer making black people sit at the back of the bus. The pride is overwhelming.

                                          It’ll certainly take the sting off the next dead black man who got shot for being unable to not move AND show his hands simultaneously.

                                            Quote  Link

                                          Report

                                          • Yes, clearly the SJW’s are the real problem.

                                            Actually I’d say the “real problems” are things like single parent households, poverty, the war on the drugs, crappy schools, a lack of law and order (which makes businesses unwilling to create jobs), children shooting each other over shoes and the like.

                                            Racism is still a thing, but I expect it’s role in keeping the black man down has diminished to the point where it’s not dominate, it might even be a bit player. Wave a magic wand and give everyone the Asians’ culture and I’d expect we’d see the same results.

                                            It’ll certainly take the sting off the next dead black man who got shot for being unable to not move AND show his hands simultaneously.

                                            Doesn’t the best stats on this show that, adjusted for situation, it’s whites who are over represented? BTW that implies it’s the “adjusted for situation” which is doing the lion’s share of badness here.

                                              Quote  Link

                                            Report

                                            • Racism is still a thing, but I expect it’s role in keeping the black man down has diminished to the point where it’s not dominate.

                                              You should tell the black community. They’ve apparently not worked it out yet.

                                              Thank God they’ve got you to help them out.

                                                Quote  Link

                                              Report

                                              • You should tell the black community. They’ve apparently not worked it out yet.

                                                While I’m at it I’ll tell the nativists that their own emotional scapegoats are just that, scapegoats.

                                                Thank God they’ve got you to help them out.

                                                Oh I have no idea how to emotionally connect with people and get them to face their demons.

                                                I suspect we’re multiple generations from resolving this and/or it will take some vast cultural shift driven by technology.

                                                  Quote  Link

                                                Report

                                                • Oh I have no idea how to emotionally connect with people and get them to face their demons.

                                                  I am agog at how you’ve gone from saying racism is barely a problem, to complaining SJW’s are worse, to stating that the real problem minorities face is their own demons. No matter what they actually think.

                                                  Whitesplaining doesn’t really sum up the grandeur of that hat trick. I am literally in awe.

                                                    Quote  Link

                                                  Report

                                            • Doesn’t the best stats on this show that…

                                              No, it doesn’t show anything of the sort. You are presenting what appears to be an sociological argument based on objective data and logical deduction yet you are ignoring the vast amounts of data that actual sociologists use.

                                                Quote  Link

                                              Report

                                              • yet you are ignoring the vast amounts of data that actual sociologists use

                                                It’s certainly possible the field has moved on and overruled that Harvard Econ prof’s work with better data. But typically what’s reported is “as a percentage of the population” as though that’s what is expected.

                                                It’s been a while, so lets do a one minute internet search.

                                                We have: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shooting_bias

                                                Which takes us to: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4634878/

                                                Which suggests a 3.5x shooting bias… except it doesn’t seem attempt to adjust for situation. Adjusted for population, blacks were arrested for murder at rates 7x times whites. I assume other violent crimes are similar.

                                                Which brings us back to the whole “adjusted for situation” thing, which maybe we’re supposed to not do if we want to get the “correct” answer.

                                                  Quote  Link

                                                Report

                                                • You are attempting to explain the relationship between black and white Americans, a sociological problem, using numerical data, and ignoring the actual testimony and life experiences of white and black people.

                                                  Why?

                                                    Quote  Link

                                                  Report

                                                  • You are attempting to explain the relationship between black and white Americans, a sociological problem, using numerical data, and ignoring the actual testimony and life experiences of white and black people. Why?

                                                    Because the plural of anecdote is not “data”.

                                                      Quote  Link

                                                    Report

                                                    • Yes, it absolutely is.

                                                      One or two stories is anecdote, but millions of people, telling the same story over decades, over centuries, is called “history”.

                                                      This is how actual anthropology and sociology work. Plucking statistics is not science, and not logical.

                                                        Quote  Link

                                                      Report

                                                      • One or two stories is anecdote, but millions of people, telling the same story over decades, over centuries, is called “history”.

                                                        No, it’s “Folklore”, i.e. “the traditional beliefs, customs, and stories of a community, passed through the generations by word of mouth.” (google). Those kinds of stories should be investigated, but they’re also the source of things like elves and dragons.

                                                        Modern Anecdote stories would tell you that the Ferguson police shooting and Pulse Nightclub were hate crimes (the bulk of the people, even if limited to the people there, were wrong).

                                                        Plucking statistics is not science, and not logical.

                                                        Statistics show how reasonable and common something is. The opposite of science is searching for stories which match a narrative. For example the Right to Life showcases that female doctor who had an unplanned teenage pregnancy. Clearly they’re cherry picking data and trying to present that outcome as “typical” while in reality having/raising a kid as a teen isn’t associated statistically with climbing the socioeconomic ladder.

                                                        An unchanging narrative over centuries does not and should not impress. If you’re seriously trying to claim racism hasn’t gone down in “centuries”, then you should be able to show stats of large numbers of people still in chains with no possibility of socio-economic advancement.

                                                          Quote  Link

                                                        Report

                                                        • Come the revolution, practicing sociology without a license will be punishable by law.

                                                          Seriously, this is how science and history is actually conducted, by interviews with people and reliance on memoirs, letters, and recorded testimony.
                                                          Physical data is good and helpful, but incomplete without eyewitness testimony.

                                                          Relying solely on physical metrics is the very essence of nonscientific crankery, because what we are talking about isn’t a metric.

                                                          Black people are saying they are treated with disrespect daily and for centuries. You are hunting for physical metrics to refute that but of course they are irrelevant to begin with.
                                                          What metric records “how I was treated by the shopkeeper/ cop/ landlord”?

                                                            Quote  Link

                                                          Report

                                                          • “Seriously, this is how science and history is[sic] actually conducted, by interviews with people and reliance on memoirs, letters, and recorded testimony.
                                                            Physical data is good and helpful, but incomplete without eyewitness testimony.”

                                                            No.

                                                            Science is not conducted this way. History (and many other things) can be, but not science. No way, no how.

                                                            Science is empirical as it is a method, not a thing. Everything you list above, while important, is at bottom a feeling, a matter of opinion. Unfalsifiable. And as such, untestable.

                                                              Quote  Link

                                                            Report

                                                              • Someone feeling that they have been acted against due to their race is unfalsifiable. Therefore not science. You could use statistics to prove this, or for that matter disprove. But that is data and the interpretation of data is arguable. As is the methodology to gather said data.

                                                                Why might people apply empirical data? To refute feelings. It won’t work though, as feelings are unfalsifiable.

                                                                  Quote  Link

                                                                Report

                                                          • What metric records “how I was treated by the shopkeeper/ cop/ landlord”?

                                                            We’re interested in the amount of socioeconomic damage being done, so “money” is probably the answer.

                                                            And you’re lowering the bar really far. You’ve gone from “centuries” ago, when the typical racist outcome was slavery (every dollar “earned” is instantly stolen so economic damage done is total), to being disrespected by shopkeepers.

                                                            Worse, you’re apparently claiming there’s no difference. That racism should be the top priority even if the amount of economic damage is less than other problems.

                                                              Quote  Link

                                                            Report

                                                            • We’re interested in the amount of socioeconomic damage being done

                                                              Where in the world did this get decided, and by whom?

                                                              See, I know you are selecting a metric that makes sense in your own head, but this is incomprehensible to the people who are actually affected.
                                                              But that’s what happens when you take it upon yourself to solve a sociological problem in a vacuum, without being engaged with actual people.

                                                                Quote  Link

                                                              Report

                                                              • See, I know you are selecting a metric that makes sense in your own head, but this is incomprehensible to the people who are actually affected.

                                                                Of course it is. The results might be really REALLY ugly.

                                                                Like “more damage is done by the black community by teen pregnancy and single parenting than racism” ugly. Like, “the bulk of our problems aren’t inflicted by others anymore” ugly.

                                                                As long as we’re just dealing with feelings and not facts, they can pretend problems are other people’s fault and it’s not possible or reasonable to expect Blacks to advance.

                                                                Thing is, I’m dubious about how helpful that is in terms of actually advancing. It seems like a way to avoid facing problems and facts than actually fixing them. It’s basically the opposite of what I teach my girls.

                                                                  Quote  Link

                                                                Report

                                                                • “they can pretend problems are other people’s fault and it’s not possible or reasonable to expect Blacks to advance.”

                                                                  Dude. This is pretty weird as a claim, to the point where it’s hard not to think it only makes sense to you because of unexamined stuff in your own head / with your own cultural experiences that you’re projecting onto them.

                                                                  None, like *none* of the black people I know believe that. If you look at what the scholars, activists, and others are saying, and that’s what you hear, that’s a problem with your hearing / reading comprehension, not with their self-expression.

                                                                  My students get called the n-word *at their fancy private college*. They get harassed by campus-wide flash-trolling emails using phrases I won’t repeat that were last popular during the 30s and are *clearly* racial slurs. Almost all of them have been physically attacked by racists at some point during their lives.

                                                                  Yes, they are far better off than their ancestors were during slavery.

                                                                  That doesn’t make what’s happening to them now okay, that doesn’t mean it doesn’t have deleterious effects. Whether or not you can figure out how to measure those deleterious effects is far secondary to me compared to how the slander and sometimes outright physical violence they experience as a result of their skin color affects them.

                                                                  And what they say about how it affects them *is* the most relevant information about how it affects them.

                                                                    Quote  Link

                                                                  Report

                                                                  • None, like *none* of the black people I know believe that.

                                                                    Excluding me, no one openly admits we grade Trump’s scandals on the curve but we still act like we do (for some values of “we”).

                                                                    Even on this board, look at how controversial it is for me to suggest there are bigger problems… and look at how the pushback avoids engaging on what I’m pointing out. We can’t measure racism or compare it to anything because it’s this pinnacle of Evil.

                                                                    There’s efforts to talk up racism, feelings, bring in centuries of history, but no one seriously tries to claim single parent families aren’t amazingly connected to various bad effects. Ditto the WoD, ditto etc. Because of racism, everything else shouldn’t even be measured as to the amount of damage it’s inflicting. Racism is the safe target people want to talk about and oppose.

                                                                    So education gap? Time to talk about racism, centuries of slavery, segregation, etc. First generation immigrants from Africa having profoundly different educational results? Time for crickets chirping. Ditto other repressed minorities doing well economically. America still has to be this amazingly racist place because if it’s not then we end up in places we dare not think about.

                                                                    And what they say about how it affects them *is* the most relevant information about how it affects them.

                                                                    Two binary questions then.

                                                                    Do you think racism is the leading cause of socioeconomic damage? (Over things like single parent families, the war on drugs, etc).

                                                                    Do you think racism outweighs everything else combined?

                                                                      Quote  Link

                                                                    Report

                                                                    • I think I don’t know the answers to either of those questions – I honestly doubt the way you’ve formed them, because these questions seem inappropriate to the issues at hand, given that I see racism as something that is *woven through* everything else (much like classism and sexism are) rather than merely existing as a separate evil on its own (which it also does) — but even if I grant you their premises, and try to answer the questions as framed – I don’t know the answers.

                                                                      And I also know that I am very tired of you bringing them up, along with your associated concerns, as part of every conversation we have that touches on race in any way, and throwing in comments like the one I objected to above, along the way. You might not mean it to be dismissive, but it feels – rather than some kind of resistance to some kind of theory that racism is the pinnacle of Evil – it feels like you don’t want to listen to racism being a serious problem at all, that you think of “black people” as a lump of problem rather than as people who are experiencing things. I’m not saying that’s true, I rather doubt that it is – but you communicate about race in a way that is often hard to distinguish from those people who *do* believe those things. Which really makes me wonder why I bother to engage with you about it.

                                                                      That’s the most honest answer I can give you.

                                                                      I realize it’s basically a non-answer by your methods of discerning truth, but to answer differently would be to lie.

                                                                        Quote  Link

                                                                      Report

                                                                      • Also,
                                                                        “Racism is the safe target people want to talk about and oppose.” implying indifference to other targets is just *wrong*.

                                                                        Anti-racists are among those *most engaged* in ending the WoD and in fighting over-incarceration / the brutality of prisons. Just to name *two* examples. There are tons more.

                                                                        More often than not, when you see people engaged in actions to work on the things you are putting forward as bigger problems, those people are also engaged in the struggle against racism. And vice versa.

                                                                        So it makes little sense to me to pit them against each other.

                                                                          Quote  Link

                                                                        Report


                                                                      • There are issues where my emotions get in the way, but most (including this one) are just numbers to me.

                                                                        Big picture is we’re leaving lots of human capital rotting in the field. Millions of people aren’t reaching their potential and are thus not contributing as much to the economy as possible. A Black Steve Jobs is in the inner city somewhere and he’ll never have the opportunity to change history (and the economy). The scale of all this is breathtaking.

                                                                        This should instantly take us to questions about efficiency of current efforts to uplift everyone, and the details on where the damage is created and the mechanism of the same. Society has limited resources, this includes reform efforts and protestors. In some ways we’re spinning our wheels in darkness, but refusing to ask/answer questions is unlikely to provide illumination.

                                                                        But this is such an emotional topic that it’s also triggering for lots of people.

                                                                        That vast economic damage is a measurement of human suffering. For me, the importance (and scale) suggests being more analytical and data driven, not less. I get this is jarring, and I’m sorry, but it’s unlikely I’ll change.

                                                                          Quote  Link

                                                                        Report

                                                                    • You are trying to solve problems of human relationships, while strenuously avoiding engaging with actual humans.

                                                                      So the question you raise can never be answered.

                                                                      Any statistic can be explained by any number of different causes, and even causation versus correlation can never be resolved, and without any other viewpoints, it is just tail-chasing in search of validating our preconceptions.

                                                                        Quote  Link

                                                                      Report

                                                                      • So the question you raise can never be answered.

                                                                        It’s not my field, but the way I’d answer it is I’d see what the expected outcomes (i.e. median incomes) are for the white community with these various issues. One assumes it’s possible to compare White median incomes of single and duo parent households.

                                                                        So get a handle on how much SE damage is inflicted by each issue where presumably there is no racism and even get a handle on how much SE damage is inflicted when these issues combine.

                                                                        Then I’d adjust those percentages and see what the expected economic outcomes would be if the percentages matched other communities.

                                                                        Presumably the difference would be the economic impact of race and racism.

                                                                        Black household median income is $39,490.
                                                                        White household median income is $65,041 link

                                                                        So there’s $25,551 of difference for which to account. If we assume education, marital status, etc have no impact on household income (laughable bad assumptions) then the impact of racism is all of that.

                                                                          Quote  Link

                                                                        Report

                                                                        • Here’s the thing though. You’re wanting to treat racism as this free-floating factor separate from “education, marital status, etc” when in reality all those other factors are deeply affected by systemic racism.

                                                                            Quote  Link

                                                                          Report

                                                                          • Here’s the thing though. You’re wanting to treat racism as this free-floating factor separate from “education, marital status, etc” when in reality all those other factors are deeply affected by systemic racism.

                                                                            Few problem solving efforts benefit from less data as opposed to more. Teasing out how much damage is being done by different parts of the system seems preferable over an “emotion prevents inquiring” approach.

                                                                            I think we don’t understand what we’re doing, what’s causing damage and how much, much less how to go about solving these various problems. Multiple causes/effects suggests, STRONGLY, that the 80/20 rule applies, i.e. roughly 80% of the effects come from 20% of the causes.

                                                                            Unless we’re planning on fixing everything all at once, 80/20 says we should be focusing our efforts. The bad news about 80/20 is it’s easy to focus on something which, even if totally fixed, won’t improve the overall situation much.

                                                                              Quote  Link

                                                                            Report

                                                                            • “Few problem solving efforts benefit from less data as opposed to more. ”

                                                                              That depends enormously on the quality (in the technical sense, ie precision and relevance and accuracy and etc; not in the people-were-trying-their-best-to-understand) of the data.

                                                                              More bad data is not more useful than less bad data.

                                                                              More bad data is not more useful than less, higher quality data.

                                                                              When I look at analytical and data driven information around this topic, most of the “big picture” stuff is *crap* as far as data collection goes. There are a few exceptions (eg the pioneering work on stereotype threat) but most of it is not good. Particularly most of the stuff on black culture by white people is not good. The people doing the analysis literally did not see what was actually happening.

                                                                              Because of the high levels of emotion involved on all sides (or at least most sides!), the data is *bad*.

                                                                              Why should I trust bad data instead of letting young people of color have a go?

                                                                              Lots of bad data does not a solution make.

                                                                              And we’ve never actually *tried* letting black people decide how to solve the problem, frankly. As far as I can tell so far, preferentially seeking out their perspectives has led me to more *reliable*, methodologically sound data than not doing so. (The big exception IMO is implicit bias, but that’s only one among a multitude of ways of looking at things, despite it getting a lot more airplay?). So why not give them 50 or 100 years to have a go, and just support their efforts? It’s not like what we’re doing now has fixed it. (I have my theories as to why that doesn’t happen, I’m sure you can guess what they are.)

                                                                              Modified trial and error might be a blunt hammer but from a scientific, rather than statistical, perspective, it does have its uses. Particularly when the existing data is currently pretty muddied at the collection end.

                                                                              Plus when you say stuff like ” they can pretend problems are other people’s fault and it’s not possible or reasonable to expect Blacks to advance.” where “they” refers to “black people”, which you did – that *is not coming from data*. So you aren’t getting more data driven as the argument advances, you’re getting less.

                                                                                Quote  Link

                                                                              Report

                                                                              • So why not give them 50 or 100 years to have a go, and just support their efforts?

                                                                                What does this mean in practice?

                                                                                (And I think I’ll think about and respond to the rest of that separately).

                                                                                  Quote  Link

                                                                                Report

                                                                                • In practice, for somebody like you or I?

                                                                                  It means getting out of the way and letting the black people and other scholars of color who’ve been working on this lead. Listening to them. Uplifting their work. You don’t have to support anything you think is wrongheaded, find the people whose research seems sound and read them and share their work. (Again, I recommend to you, in particular, the work of Claude M. Steele on stereotype threat. As psychology work goes, it’s exceptionally sound.)

                                                                                  As a society, it means, again, letting black people and other people of color lead on these issues. Letting them make the decisions and being willing to put our chips on their markers. Again, it’s ok to use your own judgment / discernment about who to listen to. No one should be feeling stupid or like they’re being asked to be stupid to fit in to some agenda. There are plenty of brilliant black leaders to go around, across several different approaches to most of these problems, listening to different theorists and researchers, advocating different conclusions. But once you/we start putting our chips on their markers, the thing to do is, when we have some difference of judgment/analysis/data/etc — have the grace to accept that they are just as likely to be right as anyone else, and *let them decide what to do*.

                                                                                  (And in case it wasn’t clear, and if not, I apologize, when I said “I have my theories,” above, I was talking societally.)

                                                                                    Quote  Link

                                                                                  Report

                                                                                  • PS when I say “let,” I don’t mean “allow” in some condescending fashion. I just mean “don’t dominate”. Cede, hold space, promote, etc.

                                                                                    PPS When I say “read them and share their work,” I mean *read them*. Closely and with nuance. Not “cherrypick their work to prove points they wouldn’t agree with if they read your claims”.

                                                                                      Quote  Link

                                                                                    Report

                                                                                  • (Again, I recommend to you, in particular, the work of Claude M. Steele.)

                                                                                    (Quoting from wiki) Steele first began to explore the issues surrounding stereotype threat at the University of Michigan, when his membership on a university committee called for him to tackle the problem of academic underachievement of minority students at the university.[9] He discovered that the dropout rate for black students was much higher than for their white peers even though they were good students and had received excellent SAT scores.

                                                                                    This was in the late 80’s. Affirmative Action at Michigan in that time period worked by adding a HUGE number “points” to a Black students “score”, equiv to two full grade ranks. So all other things being equal, a Black “D+” student was admitted as though they were a White “B+”.

                                                                                    The obvious question is whether the dropout rate was consistent with unmodified entrance scores. I see no evidence this idea was even considered.

                                                                                    Instead he found the “Stereotype threat” to explain this phenomenon. The criticism of Stereotype is its effects are either very small or doesn’t exist after we subtract publication bias.

                                                                                      Quote  Link

                                                                                    Report

                                                                              • RE: Bad data.
                                                                                Yes and no. I agree there’s a lot of bad data, and there’s a lot of “I want to believe X therefore I’ll perform ‘studies’ which confirm my beliefs”.

                                                                                There’s also data which is objectionable because of what it says, not because it’s bad. The Moynihan report in ’65 predicted the rise of the single parent family, the problems which would come from that, and that gov policy was making this worse… and he got all kinds of “blaming the victim” criticism from the left. So we paid people to not get married.

                                                                                Why should I trust bad data instead of letting young people of color have a go?

                                                                                “Wisdom” isn’t a defining quality of the young. Energy and enthusiasm should dominate where the narrative is correct and the obvious solutions which come from it are workable. Thus “Occupy Wall Street” didn’t end inequality and I doubt Stoneman Douglas High School will end gun violence.

                                                                                And we’ve never actually *tried* letting black people decide how to solve the problem, frankly.

                                                                                MLK Jr. The NAACP. BLM. Probably Obama’s Justice department under Holder counts.

                                                                                So why not give them 50 or 100 years to have a go… Modified trial and error might be a blunt hammer but from a scientific, rather than statistical, perspective, it does have its uses.

                                                                                The amount of economic (i.e. human) pain is very large. I think they’re not vectoring in a positive direction. That’s a really bad combination.

                                                                                I don’t want it to take a century to admit a second parent is important, we should already know that.

                                                                                As a society, it means, again, letting black people and other people of color lead on these issues. Letting them make the decisions and being willing to put our chips on their markers.

                                                                                (Merging Posts except for Steele)

                                                                                There’s a LOT to be said for letting people control their own destiny and letting the people in the trenches do their thing. I’m good with that, everyone should make the bed they have to live in and so forth. (Thus gay rights are imho a good thing but that’s a different subject).

                                                                                But a big part of that is they need to own the results and accept responsibility for the outcomes.

                                                                                Maybe on a side note, it goes against my grain to check someone’s skin color as a needed part of evaluating the worth of their ideas. A Black Einstein or White MLK Jr would still have had the Right of it.

                                                                                  Quote  Link

                                                                                Report

                                                                                  • A data point. Or i guess depending how you count it 300k+ data points or 3.4 million data points. But very much on topic. It is also very similar to claims and data from other cities.

                                                                                    To put this into perspective, that settlement is claiming there’s $11 of economic damage (in lost time?) per person, or whatever multiple of that if you’ve gone through it multiple times.

                                                                                      Quote  Link

                                                                                    Report

                                                                                • “MLK Jr. The NAACP. BLM. Probably Obama’s Justice department under Holder counts.”

                                                                                  Even the latter only barely counts, and that was 8 years. All the other people you name have *never* held any kind of governmental power beyond the advisory. Get back to me when there’s a majority of NAACP-stamp-of-approval-ed senators, or a state enacts BLM’s platform (or even 5-6 points of any BLM platform, since there are several).

                                                                                    Quote  Link

                                                                                  Report

                                                                                  • Maribou: And we’ve never actually *tried* letting black people decide how to solve the problem, frankly.

                                                                                    Dark Matter: “MLK Jr. The NAACP. BLM. Probably Obama’s Justice department under Holder counts.”

                                                                                    Even the latter only barely counts, and that was 8 years. All the other people you name have *never* held any kind of governmental power beyond the advisory. Get back to me when there’s a majority of NAACP-stamp-of-approval-ed senators, or a state enacts BLM’s platform (or even 5-6 points of any BLM platform, since there are several).

                                                                                    I’m confused. What are victory conditions here?

                                                                                    Please define “letting black people decide how to solve the problem” if no one from MLK up to Obama+Holder counts (I assume they had NAACP support) as showing leadership on this issue.

                                                                                      Quote  Link

                                                                                    Report

                                                                                    • I gave you my victory conditions in the very part you quoted (albeit the 50-100 years was in the previous comment). And if you think, say, the Democratic Convention of 1964 and its aftermath demonstrates the white people in charge at the time letting black people, including MLK Jr, *decide* anything, as opposed to those people in charge realizing that the black people in the civil rights movement were leading so well one had better make concessions if one wanted to keep one’s place above them in the hierarchy, you need to study up on it some more, in my quite irritated opinion.

                                                                                      If you’re not going to read what you’re quoting, I think I’m done with this conversation for now.

                                                                                        Quote  Link

                                                                                      Report

                                                                                      • I think MLK had significant input into the civil rights movement and era. He certainly wasn’t a dictator, but I don’t see how (or why) we should avoid giving him a huge share of credit in the progress that was made at the time.

                                                                                        I think Obama had the top leadership spot in the country for 8 years, and that included putting his people in charge of the Justice Department, which includes dealing with overt racism. So he had huge powers of enforcement and could (and did) set the agenda.

                                                                                        If there was a lack of progress during that time, then maybe the current lion’s share of damage in the 80/20 isn’t in those areas.

                                                                                        I also think if the bar is set so high that Obama+Holder just barely pass it (or worse, don’t), then it’s unrealistic to expect that standard to be met for 50-100 years.

                                                                                          Quote  Link

                                                                                        Report

                                                                                        • When the response to Obama+Holder for 8 years is to put Trump+Sessions in charge, one questions how much people really were accepting their leadership in the first place. That’s the only reason for the “barely”.

                                                                                          Regardless, it was only 8 years.

                                                                                          MLK gets a huge share of credit for progress, but in part *because* he made so much contribution to progress (as did many others eg Fannie Lou Hamer) *without* national-level or other governmental decision-making power. It’s amazing how much they got done considering who the actual deciders were that they had to work with (eg the leadership of the Democratic party at the time, LBJ, etc.)

                                                                                            Quote  Link

                                                                                          Report

                                                                                          • That’s the only reason for the “barely”.

                                                                                            Ah. Thanks for the clarification.

                                                                                            It’s amazing how much they got done considering who the actual deciders were that they had to work

                                                                                            Different levels/bases of power have different abilities and limitations. Speaking of which…

                                                                                            RE: Obama+Holder vs Trump+Sessions
                                                                                            I think it’s fair to say they’re at opposite polar extremes as far as Black civil rights go (I’m excluding Trump’s views of immigrants).

                                                                                            Problem is, I’m not sure what that actually means in terms of real world effects. I’ve been paying attention and I haven’t noticed much (although with the Russia probe, various other issues Justice is involved in, etc it may just be that it’s not high enough in the news feeds to make it to my attention).

                                                                                            The only thing that comes to mind as for “did Holder make a difference” is possibly Ferguson’s using the police as a taxing service… but if that’s a widespread practice I both don’t know of it and I don’t know what the Feds did to stop it, and if it’s limited to Ferguson then Ferg is a tiny community.

                                                                                            Thoughts?

                                                                                              Quote  Link

                                                                                            Report

                                                                                • “Maybe on a side note, it goes against my grain to check someone’s skin color as a needed part of evaluating the worth of their ideas. A Black Einstein or White MLK Jr would still have had the Right of it.”

                                                                                  Besides my objection below, which I still think is also valid, it’s not so much that you need to check their skin color to evaluate the worth of their ideas. It’s that the (white, Western) *world* is checking their skin color to evaluate how loudly to promote their ideas, and that results in white authors being far more prominent than anyone else, more networked, more promoted, more talked about, etc etc etc (this is what I was saying before about racism being woven into everything).

                                                                                  So seeking out authors of color – before even *starting* to evaluate the worth of the ideas they’re expressing, but seeking them out at the “find stuff to read / study / ponder” stage – counterbalances against the existing racist vector that makes them harder to notice (to borrow your “vector” speak). You’ll note I said *in my original answer* that if you read someone and think they’re wrongheaded, I’m not suggesting you check your evaluative powers at the door and promulgate their ideas anyway – that’s a dumb caricature of the position I’m doing my best to espouse here.

                                                                                  I said go find lots of authors of color, particularly the ones who write and analyze and gather data in the fields / methods that you find noteworthy, and pick the ones *you think are sound* to share and echo and bring into arguments. And do so with respect for the full nuance of the information they’re bringing forward (ie don’t cite/refer to that Harvard study on per capita police deaths after being stopped without acknowledging the role that differential stopping based on race was playing in the results).

                                                                                  You’re already doing that with predominantly white authors, due to all the structural racism I already was talking about. It’s about balancing out a bad vector that’s being imposed on you, not about checking the right box on the ID card.

                                                                                  I’m not even suggesting you read *mostly* authors of color. I mean, you could. But I’m not that invested in swimming upstream – I probably achieve proportionality in my reading, but I don’t check and it’s certainly not any better than proportionality – so it’d be pretty cheap of me to advocate that other people should be doing so. And you don’t have to make a huge commitment, IMO, to get pretty significant results in terms of broadening your information streams and increasing the quality thereof.

                                                                                    Quote  Link

                                                                                  Report

                                                • “Adjusted for population, blacks were arrested for murder at rates 7x times whites. I assume other violent crimes are similar.”

                                                  Dude, you and I have gone around about this before, you were willing (very eventually) to cede that real racism was a contributor to this and other similar statistics.

                                                  Did you *unlearn* things since then?

                                                  I’m not trying to be a jerk to you, I’m just disheartened that after putting in months of work on the topic, you seem to have forgotten what I got you to know.

                                                    Quote  Link

                                                  Report

                                                  • real racism [is] a contributor to this and other similar statistics.

                                                    Yeah, I’d wondered if I was going to get called out on that. It was a quick-and-dirty imperfect data thing and I’m going to lose internet access for a while real soon so my research/post time is something to min/max.

                                                      Quote  Link

                                                    Report

                                            • Dark Matter: Racism is still a thing, but I expect it’s role in keeping the black man down has diminished to the point where it’s not dominate, it might even be a bit player. Wave a magic wand and give everyone the Asians’ culture and I’d expect we’d see the same results.

                                              You “expect”? Based on what? How do you frame your expectations and from what base of knowledge and experience do you draw your expectations?

                                              Hell, I’m a 45-year old white man that spent years relatively detached from these debates, still believed that racism and problems in the black community were systemic issues and confirmed that it was worse than what I thought after spending a half day or so reading black writers, politicians, activists and feminists, etc.

                                              A minute of Google searching makes that go away?

                                              There are systemic issues at play that will never go away unless there are active efforts to make them go away. “Naturally” occurring phenomena like cultural shifts or technology will work. If anything, it will exacerbate the problem.

                                              “Nature” didn’t cause this problem and it’s not going to fix it.

                                              As far as the social justice activists, despite my disdain towards the more militant activists, those feeling pale in comparison to my disdain towards the real problems.

                                                Quote  Link

                                              Report

                                              • Dark Matter: Racism is still a thing, but I expect it’s role in keeping the black man down has diminished to the point where it’s not dominate, it might even be a bit player. Wave a magic wand and give everyone the Asians’ culture and I’d expect we’d see the same results.

                                                You “expect”? Based on what? How do you frame your expectations and from what base of knowledge and experience do you draw your expectations?

                                                1) The existence of a Black upper and middle class suggests things have gotten better since previously these would have been impossible.

                                                2) Dark Matter: Wave a magic wand and give everyone the Asians’ culture and I’d expect we’d see the same results.

                                                Immigrants are nature’s way of running culture experiments and a good approximation of my magic wand. It should also be noted that the category of African immigrant population (excluding Haitians and other foreign-born blacks born outside of Africa) has the highest educational attainment of any group in the United States. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Achievement_gap_in_the_United_States

                                                3) SJW stand or run many of society’s choke points. HR of Fortune 500 companies, AA programs at colleges.

                                                4) The political class views overt discrimination as something to avoid, witness the unanimous re-authorizing the voter rights act even though it had obvious problems like stripping people of their rights based on their grandfathers’ behavior, i.e. it made the assumption that the grandson of a racist is a racist.

                                                5) Laws make most discrimination illegal.

                                                6) maribou convinced me that I and my class are a big part of the problem, i.e. a combo of voting with my feet and refusing to accept substandard outcomes for my kid’s education has the nasty side effect of concentrating poverty.

                                                7) Various cultural problems. The Black family single parent rate is 67%. Single parent families (and dysfunctional parent(s) which are often the same) are strongly associated with multiple social problems.

                                                Single American mothers live in poverty 5 times more often than married parents. Mental health is an issue. There are lots of others.

                                                8) Dojo/Leadership training. For years, every time I went to the Dojo, the Master went over his basic principles which included controlling your own actions. All of the leadership training I’ve had over the years has had the same thing. There are things you can control (mostly yourself), and there are things you can’t (like gravity and society at large).

                                                Blaming your outcome on something you can’t control flies in the face of what I know of functional behavior. The big question after a failure should be “what could I have done which would have changed the outcome?” Large groups blaming their outcome on gravity seems strikingly dysfunctional absent strong evidence.

                                                Conclusion:
                                                What I see is pointing to different outcomes without any effort to adjust for massive social trends/changes/problems. Issues #6 and #7 are large in terms of socioeconomic impact. Claiming society’s remaining racism’s effects are larger than both of those together seems hard.

                                                I don’t think we need hidden massive reservoirs of racism to explain why single parent families living in concentrated poverty with terrible schools tend to not have highly educated, problem-free, children who effortlessly climb the SE ladder.

                                                Given that we know we have all of those issues, and also given that people free from those issues tend to do well, my expectation is that those issues are the big problem.

                                                  Quote  Link

                                                Report

                                        • At what point are there more SJWs than there are racists?

                                          This possibility is so far in the future it’s really not worth considering. I mean, if institutional and other types of racism became non-existent I’m sure some SJW groups, fueled by sweet donor cash, would persist. But it’s not gonna happen tomorrow. Or next year. Or next decade.

                                            Quote  Link

                                          Report

                              • I’m just not sure how useful it is to claim nativism is racism. Back in the 70’s and 80’s we were still dealing with the aftermath of civil rights outbreak in the 60’s.

                                So racism is a big deal, the Black voters are voting for their interests in the Democratic party, the white racists who lost that segment of the culture war moved to the GOP…

                                …and the Dems are openly and convincingly the party of nativism.

                                Further, if we look at our history of nativism, I recall it being directed to Whites a fair bit of the time. “No Irish need apply.” for one example of many.

                                  Quote  Link

                                Report

                                • Maybe nativism and racism aren’t a complete 1 to 1 match. But the Venn Diagram of them is pretty close to a single circle.

                                  If we move back just a bit to say bigotry instead of just racism then we got just one circle in our diagram.

                                    Quote  Link

                                  Report

                                      • I have a theory that, in the USA, white is [probably unconsciously] defined as “not black”.

                                        Every “other” that arrives is analyzed by the “white” culture as “is he/she black, or not-black?). After some decades, those ruled not-black are deemed white, because our national (un)consciousness and society has incorporated, since colonial times, this white or black dichotomy (*). Being either white or black defined who you were and where you stood. This system does not easily accommodate three, four, or seventeen different categories.

                                        (*) Native Americans are sort of an exception, being neither black nor not-black. But unlike the Irish, the Catholics, the Hispanics, or now the Asians, Native Americans are not, nor have ever been, integrated into general society, living mostly on separate, distinct, communities.

                                          Quote  Link

                                        Report

                                        • I have a theory that, in the USA, white is [probably unconsciously] defined as “not black”.

                                          Nativism seems to exist everywhere, it’s probably a pretty deep instinct. I won’t be shocked if it’s related to racism.

                                          …and a binary “my group” and “not my group” might describe it pretty well.

                                            Quote  Link

                                          Report

                                          • Nativism seems to exist everywhere, it’s probably a pretty deep instinct. I won’t be shocked if it’s related to racism.

                                            …and a binary “my group” and “not my group” might describe it pretty well.

                                            But if it was nativism, Protestant Anglo Saxon whites would have identified with centuries old African Americans against the more recent Catholics, Irish, Jews, Chinese, Hispanic.

                                            But as Senators Rafael Cruz and Marco Rubio demonstrate, all of the above are (mostly) white, and the blacks are still not white

                                              Quote  Link

                                            Report

                                        • (*) Native Americans are sort of an exception, being neither black nor not-black. But unlike the Irish, the Catholics, the Hispanics, or now the Asians, Native Americans are not, nor have ever been, integrated into general society, living mostly on separate, distinct, communities.

                                          Just as a comment: I know a few Native Americans. They amount of crap they get is awful. Driving while Native American is an actual thing, and a contractor I know (IT guy, makes freaking insane money) hates driving across big chunks of the midwest because he can’t go 60 miles without getting pulled over for driving too nice a truck while Native American.

                                          I wish I could remember what state he literally refuses to enter and just drives around. I think Ohio.

                                          In your rubric, they’re basically “black” for a huge chunk of America.

                                            Quote  Link

                                          Report

                                          • I don’t disagree at all with your description. The point I was trying to make re Native Americans is that, by design, they were kept out of the American polis from the beginning (unlike in Spanish America). They were not helots, or an underclass. They were not supposed to be there at all, and if they tried to be there, they were quickly reminded of their non existence (*)

                                            (*). Exceptions to be frequently found, yet exceptions nevertheless. There’s no Native American community in Houston, while there’s almost any other community you can think of.

                                              Quote  Link

                                            Report

                                            • “There’s no Native American community in Houston”

                                              I … don’t think that is true? I suspect were you to show up at the international powwow being held there in November, you’d meet folks who would strongly disagree with you.

                                              It might be small by comparison to other minorities, but from what I’ve heard there are Native American communities in almost every large southwestern city. Texans included.

                                                Quote  Link

                                              Report

                                              • I was a little flabbergasted by that too. The Native American community isn’t huge, but it exists, and you can’t throw a rock around here without someone claiming NA heritage.

                                                The local NA community is fairly well integrated, so they are — to a large extent — rather invisible if you’re not looking for them.

                                                  Quote  Link

                                                Report

                                                  • Not your fault, when I say “well integrated” I mean it. The reason you don’t see a big Native American part of town, or some other clear clumping, is the simple fact that the tribe that lived along the coast (from down near Padre up to the Mississippi) got wiped out back in the 1800s, before Houston was founded.

                                                    Like most tribes, they weren’t exactly looked on fondly be colonists, and they got embroiled in the Texas-Mexican war. Between their losses then (I think they fought for Mexico, who didn’t really like them, so you can imagine how they were used in combat), and the immediate aftermath, they were wiped out.

                                                    There was no “nucleus” of a local tribe to coalesce around, so the NA community in Houston is pretty much built of people who moved into the area over the last 150 years. They integrated into Houston life pretty solidly, rather than forming their own community, because other than a very vague heritage (many tribes had very little in common, and that’s leaving out their own rivalries), there wasn’t much of a reason to do so.

                                                    Honestly, Houston’s a good meeting place for a variety of Texas and Louisiana tribes,and fairly close to one of the larger reservations in this part of the South, and so the local NA community pretty much reflects that.

                                                      Quote  Link

                                                    Report

                                    • I always though I was white (like, the glare off my bare legs could blind) but apparently no longer.

                                      The greatest disconnect is religious and cultural: the Republican Party is overwhelmingly Caucasian and Christian and traditional on social issues, while its pundits skew Jewish and agnostic and libertarian. Krauthammer wanted to have it both ways, which is not unlike the hedging that Brooks and Goldberg have displayed.

                                        Quote  Link

                                      Report

                              • You’re pointing to a period of time when the GOP was clearly the party of racism and the Dems were the party of nativism.

                                This brings us back to the issue of whether it’s useful to mix those two things… they seem to be seperate political movements.

                                  Quote  Link

                                Report

                                • I don’t think racism is, in and of itself, a political movement.

                                  You go back through US history, and even US present [1] and you find racism all over the place, left, right, and center. There are racists who are super-authoritarian and racists who want to smash the state. The original Progressive movement was pretty much racist as hell, even if there were definitely anti-racists among its number.

                                  I think that’s got a lot to do with both historical and contemporary nativist movements. And a lot of the non-racist arguments for nativism are quite bad: how many of them just boil down to the lump of labor fallacy?

                                  But racism? Racism makes a hell of a good justification for nativism, even if it’s not the only one.

                                  [1] I’ve been sparring a bit with in this thread but he’s dead right about this part.

                                    Quote  Link

                                  Report

                        • When Clinton was called the first black president it wasn’t’ touting something great. It was more about how he was treated like black people are treated. It wasn’t’ a compliment. He was from Arkansas remember. He was treated like and called trailer trash. The old school patrician elite were not down with that.

                            Quote  Link

                          Report

    • We can still have family immigration, but it would be nice to have more skills based immigration. There are an awful lot of well educated but downtrodden people in the world today.

        Quote  Link

      Report

      • There are a lot of downtrodden uneducated people too. In fact, there are a lot of jobs American’s aren’t willing to do for the going rate. At least that’s what I’m led to believe by economists, businessmen and politicians.

          Quote  Link

        Report

    • LeeEsq,

      1 million Green Cards a year has to be seen as a de facto capacity constraint, going above this is not really going to garner public support, or politicians would already be talking about increasing the number off Green Cards issued, and even no liberal politician is advocating for that.

      If you like the Family based immigration system because it favors the “downtrodden” then why do the downtrodden mostly appear to reside in Mexico and to a lesser extent in Central America? Many Asian and African countries are significantly poorer. Objectively, the current system in not sourcing the most deserving down-trodden of Africa and Asia.

        Quote  Link

      Report

      • The assumption that political rhetoric aligns well with the constraints of public opinion, especially when the opinion in question is simultaneously tends to be both leftish and libertarainish…. doesn’t seem to hold up very well.

        In this case it might be right, except we’re just now starting to see the vague public consensus that there’s either just enough immigration, or too much, break down.

        Besides, the whole idea that we should be selecting the mix of immigrants based on the interests of people who are here already really cuts both ways, and is a strong argument in favor of focusing immigration on family reunification.

          Quote  Link

        Report

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *