08 April 2012

I call BS

I've run into a consistently made argument that I'm having a harder and harder time taking the people making it seriously.

This is it: "group x doesn't care about problem y", eg Muslims don't care about Islamic extremism or black people don't care about black on black crime, or whatever the flavor of the month for use in talking about "strange other people" is. I think there are probably circumstances where this formulation might be true, but we'd be talking about extremely radical and small circles of people for whom it is, and not these broad sweeping generalisations.

People who make this argument probably care less about problem y than the group they suppose does not care, and certainly don't care as much about that problem than activists within that group, which in a large population carries enough diversity to have many such activists (along with other activists from other sectors of the populace). The reason I say this is that people who make this argument can not be bothered to find out who the activists and wonks and so on who are busy with a problem, and to note that they are often as not, drawn from among the very people they claim don't care. In other words, they are too lazy to notice that the statement is obviously false. This to me suggests definitely that they don't actually know or care very much about whatever the problem was in the first place, but also that they probably don't know or care very much about whatever that group was.

I think we should just put out a blanket "shut the fuck up, you don't know what you're talking about" hat or dunce cap on someone's head whenever they would presume to make this type of argument. Maybe there are cases where it might be accurate, but it would be better to just talk about whatever the problem was even then rather than to engage in a  mind-reading trick of projection (or to assume that there are not other equally valid issues concerning a given population for which you or I might not see as particularly valid. Or be aware of).
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