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May 11, 2016


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So, your point is that we should hear people out and not pre-judge their motives for making their statements? No matter what side of whatever issue they are on? And this was the whole point of the paper and the blog post? Everything I needed to know I DID learn in kindergarten.


As a racial minority, I see people “playing the race card” all the time in a manner I would characterize as “in bad faith.” But what exactly do I mean by this charge?

Do people who make this charge usually do so only thoughtlessly and reflexively and/or to accuse others of rank and knowing dishonesty and manipulation? No, not usually, (though that does seem to be what Trump meant in accusing Hillary of playing the woman card, and Trump was exactly right on that score, as much as I abhor the idea of him being president).

What is often meant by the implicit charge of bad faith is that the -ism alleger, based on circumstantial evidence (and we make conclusions about state of mind in courts all the time based on this type of evidence, and of course the person claiming an -ism is often doing precisely the same thing), is indulging an inclination to assume -ism for purposes of either personal benefit or to make a broader political point. Indulgence is the key idea; the reckless, heady pointing of fingers, given license by contemporary “social justice” methods of advocacy and activism, consequences for others be damned. It’s ironic that it is often those who allege -ism from subtle social and political dynamics (microaggressions and the like), the very situations where intent is least identifiable, who make conclusions about others’ states of mind based on little more than their intuition, allegedly made wise and incisive by their "lived experiences."

It’s rather clear to me, given recent events, that women and minorities know they can assert -ism to bully and coerce others. As a Hispanic person, I know I have this power; I feel it there, ready for the exploiting should I be losing an argument by fighting fair (though I never use it because doing so is almost never justified).

I don’t assume bad faith, but I do often *conclude* bad faith, and for reasons that I, after reading your post, think are perfectly reasonable and fair.

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