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Found 5 results

  1. I picked up the movie Shot Caller at Redbox last night and was a little surprised to find that its subject matter relates to my current personal research interests: white nationalism and the indoctrination of normal white folk. You wouldn't know this from just the tagline "Some criminals are made in prison" or the brief synopsis: The synopsis failed to mention that the gang the protagonist gets caught up in is a white supremacist group, and the focus of the story is the gang's attempt to indoctrinate him and his attempt to resist while doing what he has to do to stay alive in prison and keep his family from harm outside. The movie doesn't deal too deeply with the intellectual side of indoctrination, though there is a little of that. For example, during a brutal gang initiation scene, the voiceover explains the prison philosophy: "The fact is we all started out as someone's little angel, and then a place like this forces us to become warriors or victims. Nothing in between can exist here. And you've chosen to be a warrior. Now it's up to you to remain one." Mostly the film shows how violence and threats are used to control gang members and break their will to be good and moral. It depicts high-security prison life where violent criminals are caged together and form tribes based on skin color. This, of course, they do for their own protection from being gang raped or killed as a lone wolf. Eventually the gang gains so much power through violence that it assumes a level of control even over some prison guards, who fear being harmed for not doing as the gang demands. The movie is cleverly shot in an actual prison using former gang members as extras. It is well-executed thematically. The main actor is amazing to watch as he goes through a terrible transition. The plot is darkly thoughtful and tragic, in a naturalistic Shakespearean sense. While the protagonist is no great moral hero, he does seek a sort of responsibility and redemption for his crimes. We get the sense that it's about an otherwise decent man trying to survive in absolute hell on Earth. Unfortunately the action seems philosophically driven more by emotion and determinism rather than reason and volition. But that's not really the focus, and might be irrelevant considering the context of prison life. Though there is one memorable line about a warrior's best weapon being his mind. Clearly the creator of this film, Ric Roman Waugh, wants us thinking more about prison reform. His main point is that our jails are designed to break men even more than they already are. Prison doesn't help them become better individuals. It forces them to become hardened tribal animals. It offers an environment where otherwise good men have no choice but to form or join a racial gang to survive.
  2. (Some background: http://blairrockefellerpoll.uark.edu/6107.php ) A side-topic, and perhaps a foundational one, for the Ferguson situation is the issue of racism in the USA. When I look at the national conversation about Ferguson, I detect a conversation that's often two sides talking past each other. I think the root of this problem is a decidedly different view of racism in the USA, and the practical effects of racism, based on, well, one's race. To put the problem in the simplest--and perhaps oversimplified--terms, the majority of white people think there's not very much racism, and it's no big deal when it does exist, and the majority of black people think pretty much the opposite. Regardless of what "the masses" think, however, I was wondering what people here thought...
  3. Dear reader, I used to think like you at one point, and I have to say it takes maturity, putting yourself in another person's shoes and actually being willing to own up to the privilege that you have for you to be able to acknowledge what they're saying is correct. Until that point, nothing I say will ever make a difference, and you will remain wrapped up in your childish haughtiness and scoffing, condescending remarks. You're too focused on yourself - you feel victimised, you feel targeted, you are offended, you aren't being catered to. You're not even considering anyone else, you're focusing on your own feelings of discomfort. (The same discomfort PoC have to face their entire lives.) The funny thing is, though you mock it, white men are privileged above everyone else. You hold the power. You have the say. You are the voice that is listened to. You always have been. The world caters specifically to you. You are the ones in control. I, too, have privilege as a white person over PoC. (And I believe the "white person killing a black person vs. vice versa" comment is likely referring to the highly controversial George Zimmerman case, which actually proves the point the OP in that post is making.) Why would I want to justify racism towards whites? I am white. You - and millions like you - are operating under the fundamental misunderstanding that things are equal. They are not. PoC experience racism and discrimination on a regular basis in a way they we don't see or experience, because society benefits us as white people. Our experiences cannot compare. We are not victims of racial profiling. We are not turned down jobs or opportunities or homes because of the color of our skin. We are not victims of ludicrous stereotypes that cause people to judge us wrongly or mock our culture. We haven't been victims of hate crimes. We are not subject to words and terms that dehumanise us. We do not have centuries of systematic oppression and abuse behind us. It was not us who less than a 100 years ago were seen as less than secondary citizens. We are never made to feel "not good enough" because of our skin. The media, fashion, marketing and what is considered beautiful, caters to us - white women, white men. We are the ones represented in films, music, books. We see ourselves everywhere. We never feel like we aren't included or do not belong anywhere (this is also why "white people" societies at university are ridiculous ideas at best.) We do not get to decide what no longer matters in racism, what is irrelevant and what is and is not racist. When we're insulted, it is not a throwback to decades of abuse and discrimination. It is at best a personal attack that briefly offends us and highlights, for a moment, our race - something that happens to PoC most days - and we feel it constitutes "racism" the same as what PoC suffer from. That is wrong. Other cultures do not have our history of invasion, of dominating other cultures and appropriating them, of slavery and imperialism. It is white people behind most of the damage done to other parts of the world, and it was primarily white men who did the damage - obviously due to women's roles in society at the time - hence why they say "white men." It is the truth, and no one is going to apologise if that makes you feel uncomfortable. They are not going to be polite and hospitable to someone who talks to them so patronizingly and ignores hundreds of years of oppression and racism to make themselves feel better, and preaches their ignorant perception of "equality" when we're not even there yet.
  4. Racism: a social disease I am worried after reading the "Stop Syjionizmowi," published in one of the Polish websites, not in English: http://stopsyjonizmowi.wordpress.com/poznaj-zyda/ I did not read the well-known forgery: "Protocol of Elders of Zion," fabricated over a hundred years ago in Tsarist Russia. But this Polish post is probably more nonsensical and more poisonous. The author writes, for instance, "the greatest criminals, murderers and traitors in history were mostly Jews (Lenin, Stalin, Hitler, Dzerzhinsky)." This statement is false: none of them was a Jew. Also false is the claim that "The Jewish religion is not ... based on the Old Testament." The article is full of such nonsense; I think that the author knows this very well. But I have no desire to argue with him. This kind of propaganda is very dangerous; it may lead, under some conditions, to a new wave of massive tragedies. Who should criticize and expose authors of such articles? I do not think that this should be done by Jews. Our (Jewish) participation in the fight against potential murderers should be reduced to criticism of anti-Polish statements made by some Jews. And our day-to-day behavior should demonstrate that we are not liars, thieves and murderers, as claimed in the slanderous article. At the forefront of the struggle with Polish anti-Semitism should be Poles - right wing, left wing, theists, atheists, scientists, and ordinary people. Why do I think so? Because I know that such struggle can be very effective. Passivity in the face of racism makes us morally responsible for what may take place in the future. Such passivity is also an insult to our national honors. I often think about this when I read our common Golden Rule: "Do to others as you would have them do to you." Ludwik
  5. Underground Railroad and Incest

    I basically have two questions. Often when asking theoretical situations, opponents of Objectivism concoct some absurd hypothetical and impossible situation and the altruist connotation of selfishness to somehow prove it's a bad thing. I have a question today, and I'll be citing a legend that could have actually happened and would like to get your take on it. You're a slave escaping through the Underground Railroad and you're in a group. Unfortunately, a baby is crying and will not stop crying and you fear the people nearby will hear and wonder what is going on. The only way to keep the baby from crying is to kill it. What do you do? Approaching this from what I know of Objectivism, I can see both angles to this. 1: Killing the baby. While the baby is not using force, or even the broader negation of the mind, (lying, fraud are two examples I can think of that don't precisely fit under force) it does fundamentally attack one's highest value: life. Life simply would not be worth living as a slave, which is why Ayn Rand obviously escaped to the United States. Since this baby threatens one's value life and because to keep the baby alive you must sacrifice yourself, it is perfectly moral to kill the baby. Questions arose from this: If you accept this, doesn't it mean that if one stands in the way of your values, you may treat them as simply an obstacle in your way to be hurdled over? Isn't this an example of "sacrificing the individual for the greater good"? How could an Objectivist support this? Objectivism is founded upon the value of life. How can it be appropriate to kill? 2: Not killing the baby. Basically the questions from before. You're using initiating the use of force against the baby, while the baby has done nothing to harm you. Oism also protects individual rights, therefore it's completely inappropriate to kill the baby. Obviously I'm wrong in my thinking on either one of these, so if someone could clear it up for me it'd be appreciated. QUESTION NUMBER 2: How does Objectivism rationally come to the conclusion that polygamy or incest are immoral, while being gay or lesbian is moral?
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