Victim Culture

B62 suggested on the Antisemitism thread
Barnabas62 wrote: »
I thought there might actually be scope for a separate Purg thread on victim culture and victimisation

having previously taken issue with my use of the term "victim culture".

A quick Google search finds no good clear definition. "The Dictatorship of the Offended" is catchy, but hardly neutral, and possibly not particularly accurate.

So let's see if we can address this philosophically and generate some light rather than heat on the topic.

As a first attempt at a definition - please feel free to improve on this - it seems to me that "victim culture" describes a mindset in which

- the important thing about a person is whether they're a member of a recognised victim-group (rather than their individual life-circumstances).

- victim-groups get to define their own oppression - the beliefs that victimize them - and the rest of the world is morally obliged to avoid expressing such beliefs.

- victim-groups are above criticism (because to do so might be seen as siding with the oppressor, or "victim-blaming")


So for example, the Antisemitism thread was about groups of Jewish people claiming the right to define antisemitism, and doing so in a way that includes in that definition morally-legitimate political views critical of Israel.

It perhaps shouldn't need saying, but for avoidance of doubt, compassion is an entirely appropriate response to individuals who have been subjected to assaults (and other crimes and misdemeanours) motivated by hatred of their Jewishness. Nobody is saying that such assaults never happen or are anything other than a crime.

But the fact of a wrong being committed against someone does not give them any moral right to define some other non-wrong action as a wrong.

Genuine sympathy for someone who has suffered in some particular way does not take away any of the moral rights of anybody else. There's a distasteful element of political posturing in pandering to someone's victim-status.

So let's call out victim culture when we see it - name it for what it is.

But to do that we need a clearer understanding of what it is - the twisting of a good impulse into an unhealthy culture that replaces people's sense of right and wrong with a sense of "whose side are you on ?"







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Comments

  • mousethiefmousethief Shipmate
    edited September 2018
    Which presupposes there is a problem with people saying, "Stop doing that to me." A perfectly understandable position for oppressors.
  • DafydDafyd Shipmate
    edited September 2018
    I would have referred to Russ' beliefs as libertarianism. But if Russ thinks that his view that rich white men are 'victims' of 'social-progressives' is sufficiently central to his position, and that it is this self-ascription of victimhood that entitles you to define non-wrong actions (such as redistributive taxation or anti-discrimination measures) as wrong, that Russ would rather describe his position in that way, then ok. We should agree to call Russ' position "victim culture" from now on.
  • RussRuss Shipmate
    And if I reply "Stop disagreeing with me, mousethief" ?

    The distinction between things that I may not particularly like you doing but you have a perfect right to do, and things that it is morally wrong for you to do, is one that you'd normally be perfectly able to appreciate...


  • DafydDafyd Shipmate
    edited September 2018
    mousethief wrote: »
    Which presupposes there is a problem with people saying, "Stop doing that to me." A perfectly understandable position for oppressors.
    But contrary to Russ' assertion, rich white religious conservatives are not being oppressed, no matter how much they whinge that they are. Forcing Manchester City to play on a level playing field is not contrary to Russ' assertion unfair or a violation of rights.
  • Libertarianism is the freedom to decide which road to die beside. For the rest of us, we see checks and balances in people's behaviour as necessary in order to have a functioning society. You can choose to see that as an infringement of your rights - and you'd be absolutely correct because it is, but the reciprocal means that everyone else has their rights infringed by exactly the same extent.

    Some people find this intolerable - that they are no longer free to discriminate commercially against defined groups of people, for example - and begin to complain that these people are taking advantage of their oppression by invoking 'victim culture'.

    I call that horse shit.
  • Doc Tor wrote: »
    Libertarianism is the freedom to decide which road to die beside.
    Only if the roads aren't under private ownership, which in the libertarian utopia they would be.

  • Dafyd wrote: »
    Doc Tor wrote: »
    Libertarianism is the freedom to decide which road to die beside.
    Only if the roads aren't under private ownership, which in the libertarian utopia they would be.

    Hence beside, rather than actually on ;)
  • Libertarianism is the belief that people with power have the right to exercise it, however detrimental it may be to people without power, as long as the laws fairly proscribe the same behaviors of both groups. Classic example: Neither the rich man nor the poor man is allowed to sleep in the park, therefore the law is just.
  • How is this thread going to be any different from the last one?
  • Dave W wrote: »
    How is this thread going to be any different from the last one?

    It's not. I've said my piece, and am now going to ignore the thread.
  • Doc Tor wrote: »
    Dave W wrote: »
    How is this thread going to be any different from the last one?

    It's not. I've said my piece, and am now going to ignore the thread.
    In a sane and balance world, the OP would have end at the OP. If I'd known who started it, I wouldn't have clicked. Still, worth it for that quote on libertarianism.
  • I think Myanmar's president Win Myint summarized Russ' position pretty concisely:
    Allegations consisting of charged narratives of harrowing personal tragedies which have nothing to do with the legal arguments in question were permitted, thereby putting emotional pressure on the Court.

    There is, according to Mr. Myint, no systematic oppression of the Rohingya (a group he denies even exists). There may be a series of unfortunate "personal tragedies" but no larger picture can be derived from these. These are all just a collection of totally unrelated individual stories. Any attempts to form a larger narrative is simply an attempt to exert "emotional pressure", or as Russ puts it "the twisting of a good impulse into an unhealthy culture".
  • Barnabas62Barnabas62 Purgatory Host, Epiphanies Host
    Dave W wrote: »
    How is this thread going to be any different from the last one?

    That was the other thing that was bothering me!

    I thought it might be possible to focus relatively narrowly on the concept of victim culture without widening out. But I wasn't convinced!

    Anyway, Russ has set up the thread. My advice is to scroll past if you're finding it too repetitive.

    As a Host, I'm going to give it some air to see what other Shipmates make of it.

    Barnabas62
    Purgatory Host
  • If your understanding of "victim culture" is rooted, of course your experience as a white, educated, man living comfortably among others like you. And you find your coworkers, friends, neighbours and fellow parishioners resemble you and hold similar views, well from that vantage point, I guess, saying “we’re one in Christ” pretty much solves it all. No victims here. No one oppressed here.

    It's okay to refocus ourselves on social justice, which is what this more focused terminology of victim culture raises. We've had several decades of backtracking on issues like poverty and racism, the role of economic disparity in perpetuating them. With the reactionary people telling us age old thing about individuals and that thinking groups is socialistic. I say grab them by the bible and show that helping disadvantaged people, the victims, is far more often referenced than all of their other pet ideas.

  • Interestingly, I came to the ship this evening to see if anyone had posted a thread on the Statement on Social Justice (and whether it was in Purg or Dead Horses)*. I've not found a thread on it, but it strikes me that this one comes from a similar place to the authors of that statement which includes in Denial 12:
    While we are to weep with those who weep, we deny that a person’s feelings of offense or oppression necessarily prove that someone else is guilty of sinful behaviors, oppression, or prejudice.

    The thing which struck me about the statement was that there were so many assumptions behind it which need to be unpicked further for a meaningful conversation to occur. The statement does some of that, but because it is framed as this is only way to see the Gospel, the debate cannot be had equally.

    I am also reminded of a series of Lenny Henry sketches from the 90s, where his character is turned down for something and then asks "is it 'cos I am black?" and so he is included even though it is patently obvious that he is unsuitable for some other reason - the one I most clearly remember is about auditioning babies to advertise something. But Lenny Henry could send it up because he himself is black and it doesn't mean that there isn't a real problem to be tackled.

    Carys

    *As some of the affirmations/denials are on Dead horses but others are not.
  • Barnabas62Barnabas62 Purgatory Host, Epiphanies Host
    Carys

    Forgive my stupidity, but which organisation issued that statement?
  • I’m trying to wrap my head around this definition and failing:
    Russ wrote: »
    As a first attempt at a definition - please feel free to improve on this - it seems to me that "victim culture" describes a mindset in which
    - the important thing about a person is whether they're a member of a recognised victim-group (rather than their individual life-circumstances).
    - victim-groups get to define their own oppression - the beliefs that victimize them - and the rest of the world is morally obliged to avoid expressing such beliefs.
    - victim-groups are above criticism (because to do so might be seen as siding with the oppressor, or "victim-blaming")

    Here are my problems:

    1. First, I don’t quite grasp the distinction between “individual life circumstances” vs. membership in a “recognized victim-group.” Surely if a young woman is, say, an inner-city Latina facing violence en route to high school every day, causing her to drop out (with all that implies for her socio-economic future), then individual life circumstances are precisely what place her in a (actually more than one) recognized victim-group.

    2. Second, most of us are members of several different groups. Suppose our Latina is at the top of her civics and math classes – possible sources of pride and esteem – but at her wit’s end as to how to evade the violence she faces getting back and forth to school. Which of these is “the important thing” about her, and who exactly is determining that?

    3. What do you mean by “victim-groups get to define their own oppression?” This phrase seems chock full of assumptions. How does one “get” to do this, as opposed to simply doing it? There's some sort of implied permission or opposition here; what is it? If victims don't do this,who will, and what does that suggest about treatment or justice or reform?

    Further, I don’t think that’s accurate. Definitions of domestic violence and sexual assault were being produced and codified into statutes well before there was any public recognition that these crimes affected substantial numbers of women, and there were “victim-groups” for these people to belong to.

    4. I do not understand what you mean by “the beliefs that victimize them.” Surely you can't be suggesting that the suffering of a domestic violence victim is due to her belief that she’s a victim, and not due to her having, say, three cracked ribs, a black eye and a split lip?

    There’s more, but it’s late. I’ll leave this there for now.
  • RussRuss Shipmate
    Barnabas62 wrote: »
    I thought it might be possible to focus relatively narrowly on the concept of victim culture without widening out. But I wasn't convinced!

    Noted - I'll try to stay on topic.
    Carys wrote: »
    it strikes me that this one comes from a similar place to the authors of that statement which includes in Denial 12:
    While we are to weep with those who weep, we deny that a person’s feelings of offense or oppression necessarily prove that someone else is guilty of sinful behaviors, oppression, or prejudice.

    The thing which struck me about the statement was that there were so many assumptions behind it which need to be unpicked further for a meaningful conversation to occur.

    I'm hoping we can do some meaningful unpicking on this thread of this one small part of that Statement.

    If we were to reverse the quote so that it affirms instead of denying, we would get

    the view that a person’s feelings of offense or oppression necessarily prove that someone else is guilty of sinful behaviors, oppression, or prejudice.

    Seems to me that's one half of the story. The victim culture I see applies that view only to recognised victim-groups.
    Dafyd wrote: »
    rich white religious conservatives are not being oppressed, no matter how much they whinge that they are

    In other words feelings of injustice expressed by those who are not members of recognised victim-groups constitutes "whingeing".

    So victim culture involves a moral code of two parts - one part being universal and general (such as prohibitions against murder) and one part which victim-groups are free to write for themselves (such as prohibitions against criticising Israel, or against using particular words) according to their feelings of offense or oppression.

    And any attempt to take a moral precept from the second part and apply it universally as if it were of the first part, is "whingeing" or "claiming reverse discrimination"
    If your understanding of "victim culture" is rooted, of course your experience as a white, educated, man living comfortably among others like you. And you find your coworkers, friends, neighbours and fellow parishioners resemble you and hold similar views

    Everyone's understanding is influenced by their experience, yes. The experience of being able to identify with one's immediate neighbours seems to me the norm, the condition of the majority of people through human history. One exception being unassimilated migrants, who tend to live in cities, which thus develop a more multicultural ethos than their rural hinterland.
    It's okay to refocus ourselves on social justice

    It is OK to have that focus to your politics. And pursue your political aims within a moral framework that respects other people's rights. Including the right to choose their own focus.
    Ohher wrote: »
    I don’t quite grasp the distinction between “individual life circumstances” vs. membership in a “recognized victim-group.”

    Sorry - I'm not being clear enough. By "victim-group" I mean something like a minority race or religion which has victim status within the way of thinking we're discussing.

    Not something like a support group for people who are as individuals victims of a disease, a crime, etc.


  • Let's just get this straight.

    People who have experienced discrimination or crime are victims.

    But, according to Russ' thesis, groups cannot be victims. So black people in the USA are part of a fake victim culture. Jews presumably are lining up to be considered victims and share in the benefits of being considered part of victim groups. Sexual minorities are imagining being disadvantaged because of their sexuality. Women should shut up about equality in the workplace.

    I mean, what are statistics and experiences and life histories compared to the wishes of a middle aged and privileged white person from rural Ireland?
  • @Carys - I probably shouldn't have, but I started a separate thread on the Social Justice Statement so that discussion didn't get lost in this thread.
  • DafydDafyd Shipmate
    edited September 2018
    Russ wrote: »
    Dafyd wrote: »
    rich white religious conservatives are not being oppressed, no matter how much they whinge that they are

    In other words feelings of injustice expressed by those who are not members of recognised victim-groups constitutes "whingeing".
    Rich white religious conservatives fit the criteria:
    By "victim-group" I mean something like a minority race or religion which has victim status within the way of thinking we're discussing.
    You're claiming victim-status for them in your way of thinking which is what we're discussing.
    Or are you stressing the word 'minority' so that if you're not a member of a minority race you get an exemption from your criticisms?
    So here:
    It is OK to have that focus to your politics. And pursue your political aims within a moral framework that respects other people's rights. Including the right to choose their own focus.
    It's ok according to you for rich white conservatives to claim that their group preferences are in fact universal rights, that social justice policies are obliged to 'respect'?
  • Russ wrote: »
    Sorry - I'm not being clear enough. By "victim-group" I mean something like a minority race or religion which has victim status within the way of thinking we're discussing.
    Not something like a support group for people who are as individuals victims of a disease, a crime, etc.
    Sorry, this still doesn’t work for me. I understand the distinction you’re making between, say, a group one has been born into (race, for example) and a group one joins voluntarily (a support group). But a person who is born black (i.e., by your definition [if I understand it], into a recognized victim-group) is also – inescapably -- born into “individual life circumstances” which will affect him to greater or lesser degrees, depending on a complicated array of factors s/he also has varying degrees of control over. You seem to be separating “membership in a recognized victim-group” from “individual life circumstances.” Since it’s one’s individual life circumstances which have the greatest potential for placing one in a “recognized victim-group,” how can these two factors be disentangled and separated?

  • mr cheesymr cheesy Shipmate
    edited September 2018
    I suppose the logic must be that because some black people do very well in our society, it is a mistake to say that they are also members of a generally deprived "victim" community. And therefore it is a mistake to have affirmative action and so on.

    And then one can undercut any efforts to - for example - promote women by saying that "well some women are doing very well so why the hell should men be disadvantaged by having to give them time off work" and so on.

    It's utter bullshit spread by people with power and privilege to undermine the claims of historic discrimination in order to protect themselves.
  • Thanks, mr cheesy; I understand that. I'm still interested to hear how Russ navigates this distinction, if indeed he does. Or can.
  • RussRuss Shipmate
    At this point I'm just trying to describe how this particular mindset works, to define the phenomenon.

    And I'm suggesting that whatever additional rights someone with this mindset thinks "victims" should have, they tend to advocate these rights applying to all Jews (not just those who lost family in the Holocaust), to all black people (not just those have been badly treated by the police), to all women (not just those who have been sexually assaulted) etc. That the victimhood they're talking about is collective not individual.

    That this is how it works should be uncontroversial; the extent to which this is justifiable is where the disagreement lies, or so it seems to me.
  • Russ wrote: »
    At this point I'm just trying to describe how this particular mindset works, to define the phenomenon.

    And I'm suggesting that whatever additional rights someone with this mindset thinks "victims" should have, they tend to advocate these rights applying to all Jews (not just those who lost family in the Holocaust), to all black people (not just those have been badly treated by the police), to all women (not just those who have been sexually assaulted) etc. That the victimhood they're talking about is collective not individual.

    That this is how it works should be uncontroversial; the extent to which this is justifiable is where the disagreement lies, or so it seems to me.

    If I understand this (do I?), you are claiming that people who have been subjected to discrimination acquire rights as one result of being discriminated against? I’m not sure I buy this. Suppose I’m a black person who tries to rent an apartment from a landlord who doesn’t rent to black people, and such refusal is illegal in this situation. What rights does the landlord’s refusal give me which I did not already have?
  • Russ: And I'm suggesting that whatever additional rights someone with this mindset thinks "victims" should have, they tend to advocate these rights applying to all Jews (not just those who lost family in the Holocaust), to all black people (not just those have been badly treated by the police), to all women (not just those who have been sexually assaulted) etc. That the victimhood they're talking about is collective not individual.

    To my mind the concept of Additional Rights in this discussion is misleading because the argument of a group that sees itself as collectively disadvantaged is not that it is seeking additional rights but the realisation of rights that are formally granted to all citizens living in a particular society. For example, the various US Voting Rights Acts and associated court rulings were designed to realise for black and hispanic Americans and others constitutional rights that had been denied to them. The same could be argued for other desegregation measures. That these various legislative and judicial actions frequently involved measures identifying blacks was not to introduce additional rights but, to repeat, to extend to them what all US citizens were supposed to enjoy. Blacks already in possession of those rights were not granted additional rights.

    Quite why actions to make citizenship rights available in equal measure to all should be seen as the product of a questionable "victim mindset" rather than a laudable aim of the liberal-democratic impulse I fail to understand, at least in terms of a recognisable morality.



  • RuthRuth Admin Emeritus
    Russ wrote: »
    At this point I'm just trying to describe how this particular mindset works, to define the phenomenon.

    Are you at all willing to entertain the idea that there is no such phenomenon?
  • mousethief wrote: »
    Which presupposes there is a problem with people saying, "Stop doing that to me." A perfectly understandable position for oppressors.

    There are certainly people that unjustly claim victimhood. I have a child who is of the opinion that any game that he doesn't win is manifestly unfair, and causes massive drama in the hope that the rest of us will "fix" this unfairness. No, it doesn't work....

    Now if anyone wanted to draw a parallel between his whinging and the whinging of some other groups of people when they discover that they can't have absolutely everything exactly their way...
  • Learning Cniht: There are certainly people that unjustly claim victimhood.

    I agree, which is why the mere assertion of being oppressed, whether expressed by the 'victim' or a third party, is insufficient for it to be generally recognised as such. Whereas most people would recognise that the Rohingya are being egregiously persecuted they might be considerably more sceptical of similar claims made by and for the Catalans.

  • RussRuss Shipmate
    Ruth wrote: »
    Russ wrote: »
    At this point I'm just trying to describe how this particular mindset works, to define the phenomenon.

    Are you at all willing to entertain the idea that there is no such phenomenon?

    If you doubt that it happens, I refer you to the anti-Semitism thread for an example.

    If you mean that you can't consider it as a phenomenon because it's so normal, so much part of your culture, that you have no point of reference from which to consider it as a phenomenon, then all I can suggest is more historical reading.

    But it might be just that I'm describing it badly...
  • mousethief wrote: »
    Which presupposes there is a problem with people saying, "Stop doing that to me." A perfectly understandable position for oppressors.

    There are certainly people that unjustly claim victimhood. I have a child who is of the opinion that any game that he doesn't win is manifestly unfair, and causes massive drama in the hope that the rest of us will "fix" this unfairness. No, it doesn't work....

    Ok but we are not talking about petulant children.

    Black people as a group suffer and have suffered long-term disadvantage in the USA.

    Jews as a group experience abuse.

    Palestinians as a group suffer disadvantaged lives due to the military occupation.

    And so on.

    None of the groups are "making it up".
    Now if anyone wanted to draw a parallel between his whinging and the whinging of some other groups of people when they discover that they can't have absolutely everything exactly their way...

    The only group I can see who this applies to is advantaged white middle class people. And they are only moaning because others want a fair go.

  • Barnabas62Barnabas62 Purgatory Host, Epiphanies Host
    So far as historical reading is concerned, do you have a recommended reading list?
  • mr cheesy: Black people as a group suffer and have suffered long-term disadvantage in the USA.
    Jews as a group experience abuse.
    Palestinians as a group suffer disadvantaged lives due to the military occupation.
    And so on.
    None of the groups are "making it up".

    I fail to see any problem. Isn't it that some groups are 'making it up' and some aren't?
  • I am still wondering about those "additional rights." What rights does a black person, illegitimately refused an apartment, acquire as a result of the refusal? How does that work?
  • Russ wrote: »
    If you doubt that it happens, I refer you to the anti-Semitism thread for an example.
    Nobody on the anti-semitism thread has expressed or referred to an expression of an opinion either that the important thing about any Jewish person is that they're a member of Jews-considered-as-a-victim-group, or that Jews are therefore above criticism.
    Even your second point is I think a caricature of what is being said. Considered as a wider phenomenon, I think your whole position is a caricature of anything that is actually widely held.
  • EliabEliab Shipmate, Purgatory Host
    Russ wrote: »
    But it might be just that I'm describing it badly...

    The problem is that you're trying to discuss a position (which you reject) based on your own description of it, which in the terms that you describe it is one that few people hold, and those that do (if there are any), would not express in the terms that you use.

    You'd get a better discussion if rather than try to discuss the "mind-set" of people who disagree with you in terms that they wouldn't endorse, you instead tried set out the contrary position that you believe.

    Something like:

    "Arguing that anti-Semitism (or another form of prejudice) is morally wrong presupposes some standard of fairness or justice which is objectively defined (or at the very least, generally accepted) which standard anti-Semitism must be supposed to violate. And if that is the case, then it follows that anyone who shares that standard of fairness or justice ought to be able to see why something alleged to be anti-Semitic does, or does not, offend against that standard, and the tools that they will use to reach that conclusion will be the same sort of reasoning and moral discernment that we apply to any other ethical question. Therefore it is a mistake to suppose that Jewish people are especially well-placed to say what is or is not anti-Semitic, because ethnicity is not a good predictor of reasoning and discernment. Jewish opinions on what is anti-Semitic are no more (or less) valuable or worthy of consideration than non-Jewish opinions."

    There - that's a cogent argument for the converse of part of what you seem to be attacking. If you'd started with something like that, you'd stand a much better chance of getting people to explain what they disagree with about it and why.

    Starting by saying "this is a wrong thing that other people believe - can we talk about why they would fall for it" is not a promising way to begin a serious discussion or improve anyone's understanding.


  • RussRuss Shipmate
    Barnabas62 wrote: »
    So far as historical reading is concerned, do you have a recommended reading list?

    I don't believe you need one. I don't believe Ruth needs one. I think you're both intelligent well-educated people who are perfectly capable of seeing the streak of victim-idolatry in modern culture as an aberration.

    And if I knew what books to recommend that would be effective in giving others, less well-read than you are, that same historical perspective, that baseline against which all that is pathological in modern culture stands out, then I'd be out there promoting such books as part of every curriculum.
  • RussRuss Shipmate
    Eliab wrote: »
    Something like:

    "Arguing that anti-Semitism (or another form of prejudice) is morally wrong presupposes some standard of fairness or justice which is objectively defined (or at the very least, generally accepted) which standard anti-Semitism must be supposed to violate. And if that is the case, then it follows that anyone who shares that standard of fairness or justice ought to be able to see why something alleged to be anti-Semitic does, or does not, offend against that standard, and the tools that they will use to reach that conclusion will be the same sort of reasoning and moral discernment that we apply to any other ethical question. Therefore it is a mistake to suppose that Jewish people are especially well-placed to say what is or is not anti-Semitic, because ethnicity is not a good predictor of reasoning and discernment. Jewish opinions on what is anti-Semitic are no more (or less) valuable or worthy of consideration than non-Jewish opinions."

    Assuming that you're right, and that something like this is what a wiser Russ would be posting on the Antisemitism thread, why is nobody there saying this ?

    Clearly I'm not saying it because I'm not a wiser Russ, but why is this notion not occurring to others ?
  • EliabEliab Shipmate, Purgatory Host
    Russ wrote: »
    Assuming that you're right, and that something like this is what a wiser Russ would be posting on the Antisemitism thread, why is nobody there saying this ?

    I guess that's because they either disagree with it for some reason, or because they realise that someone posting it as their serious position might be misinterpreted as saying we are justified in ignoring anything that Jews have to say on the subject of anti-Semitism, and they want to avoid that argument.

    And because even if you hold something like that as a philosophical position, you could still also believe that it is a polite and reasonable thing to allow the victims of a prejudice to share their views about it and be listened to in priority to others. Not necessarily listened to uncritically, but listened to as if their experiences mattered.


  • Barnabas62Barnabas62 Purgatory Host, Epiphanies Host
    Russ wrote: »
    Barnabas62 wrote: »
    So far as historical reading is concerned, do you have a recommended reading list?

    I don't believe you need one. I don't believe Ruth needs one. I think you're both intelligent well-educated people who are perfectly capable of seeing the streak of victim-idolatry in modern culture as an aberration.

    Our intelligence and levels of education are beside the point. I'm asking you to put up historical sources that victim culture has been identified as a real social phenomenon, rather than just a term invented to discuss some aspects of modern behaviour.

    Recent history will do. You must have some reasons for your beliefs and they must have been stimulated by things you have read or seen, It's hardly rocket science to ask you what sources have produced your current understanding.

  • Nor is it rocket science to ask you about the additional rights" you posited earlier. You still haven't named these or explained how they come about.
  • Barnabas62: I'm asking you to put up historical sources that victim culture has been identified as a real social phenomenon, rather than just a term invented to discuss some aspects of modern behaviour.

    I share your scepticism, too, Barnabas62. ISTM that the concept identified by Russ as 'victim mindset' is bogus: a ploy to suggest what to most of us are examples of individuals and groups being victimised is no more than an ideological construct.
  • Kwesi wrote: »
    Whereas most people would recognise that the Rohingya are being egregiously persecuted . . .

    But not Russ. According to the standards he's laid out they're part of what he calls "Victim Culture".
    Russ wrote: »
    - the important thing about a person is whether they're a member of a recognised victim-group (rather than their individual life-circumstances).

    Check. Identifying a group as "the Rohingya" rather than as individuals.
    Russ wrote: »
    - victim-groups get to define their own oppression - the beliefs that victimize them - and the rest of the world is morally obliged to avoid expressing such beliefs.

    Again check. The Rohingya define their own oppression in the form of the genocide being perpetrated against them by the government of Myanmar. They also seem to be really touchy about people expressing a pro-genocide position or, as the Myanmar government and Russ maintain, that there are no such people as "the Rohingya", only a collection of individuals.
    Russ wrote: »
    - victim-groups are above criticism (because to do so might be seen as siding with the oppressor, or "victim-blaming")

    Checkedy check check check. It's considered a faux pas to suggest the Roningya had it coming.
  • RussRuss Shipmate
    Ohher wrote: »
    What rights does a black person, illegitimately refused an apartment, acquire as a result of the refusal? How does that work?

    It doesn't.

    Victim Culture isn't about what happens to him as an individual, about whether he's the victim of wrongdoing in this instance.

    It's about whether his dark skin places him in a Victim-Group which gives him more rights than a non-Victim-Group member would have upon suffering the same refusal.

    If you consider that disappointed would-be renters have the moral right to an explanation (or redress, or anything else) if they're black but not if they're not, then you are applying a double standard in favour of a particular Victim Group.

    If your reasoning about whether such a moral right applies - to someone who's Muslim, or Buddhist, or Methodist, who's from Ireland, or Wales, or Grimsby - depends on how victimised you happen to think people in that category are in general, then you're part of the Victim Culture.


  • Russ: It's about whether his dark skin places him in a Victim-Group which gives him more rights than a non-Victim-Group member would have upon suffering the same refusal.

    Russ, as I tried to point out earlier, the object of legislation of the kind you allude to is not concerned with conferring additional rights but to help ensure the realisation of common citizenship rights that have been denied.

    In the case of states which have anti-racial discrimination laws an owner can still refuse to rent to members of ethnic minorities, but cannot do so on grounds of race. Thus, both WASPS and other ethnic groups have the same rights when it comes to renting. A black person wishing to challenge the refusal of a landlord to rent to him/her would need to demonstrate in court that the reason was racial in order to get the decision overturned. To present measures to promote equality before the law as the product of a "victim culture or mindset" seems to me utterly bizarre.
  • Barnabas62Barnabas62 Purgatory Host, Epiphanies Host
    In an episode of The West Wing, an argument for compensation was advanced on behalf of the descendants of slaves. The cumulative value of the slave labour, for which of course they were not paid, was estimated at about $1.7 trillion.

    It's a startling argument, but it seemed to me to be just to argue that compensation was due. That of course is more than just changing the law to give equal rights of citizenship. It is a recognition of the need for restitution. The need to redress the balance.

    It isn't going to happen. But I wondered if Russ thought it was a victim culture argument.

    Personally, I think the moral argument for positive discrimination can be made, has force, is about redressing the balance as compensation for past injustices. I get the sense from Russ's assertions that he sees such arguments as a sign of victim culture. Am I right?



  • See Previous Post

    I don''t think "compensation for past injustices" is an example of "positive discrimination". Rather it would be a belated payment for services received through forced labour and deprivation of liberty in the same way a tribunal can require an employer to compensate an employee for ill treatment and non-payment of wages. (Of course, there are all sorts of practical problems in the case under discussion, apart from questions over the moral legitimacy of retrospective legislation).

    It might also be instructive to point out in relation to our debate that in the British Empire slave owners were heavily compensated for the loss of their human property- an example of "victim culture", perhaps! Come to think of it, the bankers responsible for the 2008 crash have been similarly treated, poor things!
  • Barnabas62Barnabas62 Purgatory Host, Epiphanies Host
    Fair enough. My point was that the introduction of equal rights goes some way towards making amends, but it is not in itself full restitution.

  • mr cheesymr cheesy Shipmate
    edited September 2018
    It's a pernicious lie, of course, which says that "minorities" have more rights than white people - particularly middle-class straight people - despite plenty of evidence of the reverse.

    Put most starkly - the white middle classes have had the best of things for decades (centuries) and are squealing when their pips are squeezed.
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