Author Topic: Abstraction & Generalization Culture  (Read 667 times)

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Offline MH

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Abstraction & Generalization Culture
« on: October 07, 2021, 08:21:14 am »

When is it OK to generalize ?  What does politics have to do with it ?

"Black people commit more crime"

Objectively true ?  Acceptable ?

"White people are responsible for crimes through history"

Subjectively true ?  Acceptable ?

When do we/should we talk about the specific ?  How much should we expect "the" public to understand complex concepts ?  How much do we allow people to manipulate the complex in order to dupe the simpletons ?

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Offline Queefer Sutherland

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Re: Abstraction & Generalization Culture
« Reply #1 on: October 07, 2021, 09:16:07 am »
You can generalize while acknowledging there are plenty of exceptions to general statistical trends.

Young low income African American males commit crimes at a high rate compared to the average.  That doesn't mean all young African American males commit crimes.

Applying generalizations to all members of a group is illogical and therefore wrong, unless those generalizations do happen to apply to all members.
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Offline MH

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Re: Abstraction & Generalization Culture
« Reply #2 on: October 07, 2021, 09:59:58 am »
1. Young low income African American males commit crimes at a high rate compared to the average.  That doesn't mean all young African American males commit crimes.

2. Applying generalizations to all members of a group is illogical and therefore wrong, unless those generalizations do happen to apply to all members.

1. But can you SAY it ?  To an open audience ?  If not then how ?  Why ?

2. But generalizations don't have to mean they cover ALL right ?

Offline BC_cheque

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Re: Abstraction & Generalization Culture
« Reply #3 on: October 07, 2021, 10:44:56 am »
My personal opinion about when itís acceptable is intent. If youíre discussing crime in the black community because youíre working on solutions, acceptable.

If youíre doing it because you want to justify discrimination and/or defend police murderers (like an older poster here used to do) then itís not ok.
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Offline Dia

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Re: Abstraction & Generalization Culture
« Reply #4 on: October 07, 2021, 11:21:26 am »
Context matters.  Saying "Liberals are lazy and want handouts" should be unacceptable; saying "Liberal ideology encourages laziness and lack of motivation in citizens" is more acceptable, and gives a basis for arguing the ideology instead of how bad the people who subscribe to that ideology are.  "Islam is a religion that oppresses women and minorities" criticizes Islam; "Muslims are barbaric and backward" is a generalization that can be proven false with even one example of a non-barbaric and modern-thinking Muslim person. 

People who use generalizations often claim that even though they lump everyone together, they don't mean "all" of them, only the ones "who are".  But that's merely justification; the intent of the generalization is pretty clear, which is to demonize whichever group they're targeting.

The only time a generalization is even remotely appropriate, in my opinion, is when positive things are being said as in "Hawaiians are very hospitable".  Even then, some person might pipe up about their visit to Hawaii, in which they found the opposite.  "All the Hawaiians I met were very hospitable"* is a better statement and more accurate, imo.

*I've never been to Hawaii and cannot speak to their hospitality or lack thereof.
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Offline Queefer Sutherland

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Re: Abstraction & Generalization Culture
« Reply #5 on: October 07, 2021, 12:06:48 pm »
1. But can you SAY it ?  To an open audience ?  If not then how ?  Why ?

2. But generalizations don't have to mean they cover ALL right ?

1.  Political correctness means sometimes the truth offends people.  I think this is dangerous, burying our heads in the sand to facts, often to protect a minority group that has been exposed to discrimination based on over-generalizations and stereotypes.  So there's good intent with political correctness, but we need to deal with facts and not overreact either way.  The answer is not denying generalizions nor uee them to paint the whole where it doesn't apply.  Let's just deal with facts.

2.  Almost always there's exceptions.  But rarely a generalizion can apply to the whole group.
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Offline Queefer Sutherland

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Re: Abstraction & Generalization Culture
« Reply #6 on: October 07, 2021, 12:09:11 pm »
My personal opinion about when itís acceptable is intent. If youíre discussing crime in the black community because youíre working on solutions, acceptable.

If youíre doing it because you want to justify discrimination and/or defend police murderers (like an older poster here used to do) then itís not ok.

What if its factual? I would say that facts are always ok, but agendas using those facts are sometimes not ok and offensive.   So let's be offended by those offensive agendas and opinions rather than the facts themselves.
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Offline MH

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Re: Abstraction & Generalization Culture
« Reply #7 on: October 07, 2021, 12:31:15 pm »
1. My personal opinion about when itís acceptable is intent. If youíre discussing crime in the black community because youíre working on solutions, acceptable.

2. If youíre doing it because you want to justify discrimination and/or defend police murderers (like an older poster here used to do) then itís not ok.

1.  Say that's pretty good.  Intent & Trust.  Simple.  I like it.

2.  Sure but there's a grey area in between.  I guess that speaks to the trust question.

Offline MH

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Re: Abstraction & Generalization Culture
« Reply #8 on: October 07, 2021, 12:59:36 pm »
Context matters.  Saying "Liberals are lazy and want handouts" should be unacceptable; saying "Liberal ideology encourages laziness and lack of motivation in citizens" is more acceptable, and gives a basis for arguing the ideology instead of how bad the people who subscribe to that ideology are.  "Islam is a religion that oppresses women and minorities" criticizes Islam; "Muslims are barbaric and backward" is a generalization that can be proven false with even one example of a non-barbaric and modern-thinking Muslim person. 

Ok.  This makes sense. 

Quote
People who use generalizations often claim that even though they lump everyone together, they don't mean "all" of them, only the ones "who are".  But that's merely justification; the intent of the generalization is pretty clear, which is to demonize whichever group they're targeting.

The only time a generalization is even remotely appropriate, in my opinion, is when positive things are being said as in "Hawaiians are very hospitable".  Even then, some person might pipe up about their visit to Hawaii, in which they found the opposite.  "All the Hawaiians I met were very hospitable"* is a better statement and more accurate, imo.

*I've never been to Hawaii and cannot speak to their hospitality or lack thereof.

What about when you're not talking about people ?  What about organizations or groups like 'corporations' ?

Are we hamstrung to use empirical data in every observation we make ?

 

Offline MH

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Re: Abstraction & Generalization Culture
« Reply #9 on: October 07, 2021, 01:24:51 pm »
1.  Political correctness means sometimes the truth offends people.  I think this is dangerous, burying our heads in the sand to facts, often to protect a minority group that has been exposed to discrimination based on over-generalizations and stereotypes.  So there's good intent with political correctness, but we need to deal with facts and not overreact either way.  The answer is not denying generalizions nor uee them to paint the whole where it doesn't apply.  Let's just deal with facts.

2.  Almost always there's exceptions.  But rarely a generalizion can apply to the whole group.

3. What if its factual? I would say that facts are always ok, but agendas using those facts are sometimes not ok and offensive.   So let's be offended by those offensive agendas and opinions rather than the facts themselves.

1. What ?  Well... I think what you are getting at is PC people get offended... yes ok.  "Let's just deal with facts" isn't a great approach though.  "Let's all be green and reduce carbon emissions".  Doesn't work either.  We have to develop something new that can deal with things inclusively without offending.  It may be that academic things should stay in academia and the rest of us should learn to stay out of that arena.

2. Doesn't matter if it does or not.  People get offended.  And white MAGAs are the kings & queens of being offended from what I have seen ;)

3. "White people have unleashed genocide unlike anyone in history"  Try teaching that in a classroom in Montana.  Is it factual ?  Maybe it's an opinion but you can support it pretty easily.

See ... I think that a way of discussing things that is careful, inclusive but not afraid of facts is needed. 

Yeah, it sounds impossible, but it will happen at some time in the future so we should try to imagine how.

Offline Dia

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Re: Abstraction & Generalization Culture
« Reply #10 on: October 07, 2021, 02:03:50 pm »


What about when you're not talking about people ?  What about organizations or groups like 'corporations' ?

Are we hamstrung to use empirical data in every observation we make ?

I think the only true generalization that one might make is that they're out to make money.  But beyond that, they're probably diverse as to how they achieve that goal.  We only hear about the 'bad' ones, but there are millions (or maybe billions around the world) who we never hear about. 

How does using empirical data to support our statements hamstring us?  I think it would reduce the incidence of misinformation and teach people how to recognize truth from fiction. 

I don't mean everything one says in casual conversation has to come with a cite from authority,  if that's what you were thinking.  But if politicians, for example, had to 'prove' the benefit of their programs or the risk of the opposing party's programs, they ought to be able to do it using empirical evidence - not merely fear-mongering.    Ideally people would be able to hear that evidence and assess it with an open mind.  Yes, a pipe-dream, LOL.


Offline Queefer Sutherland

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Re: Abstraction & Generalization Culture
« Reply #11 on: October 07, 2021, 02:17:24 pm »
1. What ?  Well... I think what you are getting at is PC people get offended... yes ok.  "Let's just deal with facts" isn't a great approach though.  "Let's all be green and reduce carbon emissions".  Doesn't work either.  We have to develop something new that can deal with things inclusively without offending.  It may be that academic things should stay in academia and the rest of us should learn to stay out of that arena.

2. Doesn't matter if it does or not.  People get offended.  And white MAGAs are the kings & queens of being offended from what I have seen ;)

3. "White people have unleashed genocide unlike anyone in history"  Try teaching that in a classroom in Montana.  Is it factual ?  Maybe it's an opinion but you can support it pretty easily.

See ... I think that a way of discussing things that is careful, inclusive but not afraid of facts is needed. 

Yeah, it sounds impossible, but it will happen at some time in the future so we should try to imagine how.

Sounds like the answer is to be factual while being as specific as possible.  It's ok to generalize but not over-generalize.  Similar to what you've said, saying "Young black males from low income families have high rates of crime" is better than "black people commit high rates of crime" because it's more specific.

Saying "Muslims are misogynist homophobes" is not appropriate due to the many exceptions, while saying "most Muslim fundamentalists are misogynist homophobes" is more accurate.
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Offline Queefer Sutherland

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Re: Abstraction & Generalization Culture
« Reply #12 on: October 07, 2021, 02:27:15 pm »
I think the only true generalization that one might make is that they're out to make money.  But beyond that, they're probably diverse as to how they achieve that goal.  We only hear about the 'bad' ones, but there are millions (or maybe billions around the world) who we never hear about. 

How does using empirical data to support our statements hamstring us?  I think it would reduce the incidence of misinformation and teach people how to recognize truth from fiction. 

I don't mean everything one says in casual conversation has to come with a cite from authority,  if that's what you were thinking.  But if politicians, for example, had to 'prove' the benefit of their programs or the risk of the opposing party's programs, they ought to be able to do it using empirical evidence - not merely fear-mongering.    Ideally people would be able to hear that evidence and assess it with an open mind.  Yes, a pipe-dream, LOL.

I think humans have a natural and sometimes necessary need to over-simplify the world, because it's very complex.   Humans have difficulty processing this complexity, because it's hard and inconvenient and sometimes they may not even realize the nuance.  Humans want to make conclusions about things, but nuance is hard.  So we need to avoid oversimplifying.  Some people bash the rich, but not all rich are greedy or bad, even if a lot may be.  It's not good to over-simplify groups with inaccurate stereotypes. Humans also have egos, they want to have opinions and make conclusions even when they don't have enough information on a subject to do so properly.

So lets be humble and realize our ignorance where it may exist.  If you don't know a lot about a subject your opinions about it are probably inaccurate and you're just talking out of your rump.  I've had relatives who have made racist stereotypes about racial groups but they have never been friends with one, or worked closely with one.  It is really about laziness and/or ignorance.  Let's do our homework before having opinions.
« Last Edit: October 07, 2021, 02:29:11 pm by Coonlight Graham »
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Offline MH

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Re: Abstraction & Generalization Culture
« Reply #13 on: October 07, 2021, 02:42:53 pm »

1. How does using empirical data to support our statements hamstring us?  I think it would reduce the incidence of misinformation and teach people how to recognize truth from fiction. 

2. I don't mean everything one says in casual conversation has to come with a cite from authority,  if that's what you were thinking. 

3. But if politicians, for example, had to 'prove' the benefit of their programs or the risk of the opposing party's programs, they ought to be able to do it using empirical evidence - not merely fear-mongering.    Ideally people would be able to hear that evidence and assess it with an open mind.  Yes, a pipe-dream, LOL.

1. "Sure has been cold lately eh ?" "I would rather not answer until I have time to review vetted data.  Thank you for your inquiry."
2. See #1
3. IOW "People suck"

Offline MH

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Re: Abstraction & Generalization Culture
« Reply #14 on: October 07, 2021, 02:44:03 pm »
Sounds like the answer is to be factual while being as specific as possible.  It's ok to generalize but not over-generalize.  Similar to what you've said, saying "Young black males from low income families have high rates of crime" is better than "black people commit high rates of crime" because it's more specific.

Saying "Muslims are misogynist homophobes" is not appropriate due to the many exceptions, while saying "most Muslim fundamentalists are misogynist homophobes" is more accurate.

That *seems* fine but maybe not...