White People and Free Will

Debate and discussion on racism and related issues

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Purple Knight
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White People and Free Will

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Post by Purple Knight »

If there is not one exception, if every last white person is racist, as this poignant and beautiful article relays, on what basis can we say that white people have free will?

Link provided for reference.
First, learn what racism is, and what it’s not. I need White people to understand that all White people are racist.
Admit it, and let’s move onto the business of repairing and healing the country. We can’t do it without you.
Yes my dears, all White people are racists. All. Of. Them.


I don't believe anyone has free will, but this is yet another example of a mainstream position that ostensibly includes determinism, though if you asked almost anyone who supports the logic of this article, they would probably say they didn't believe in determinism. (Except me; I believe in determinism.)

You can't get rid of your racism. You were indoctrinated into it, you were born into it. That's the end of the story. With white people and racism (again, reference provided above) this is obviously true. So on what basis can it be said that other beliefs aren't simply the products of our environments?

No one can break free of a belief this deep-seeded. So, on what basis does a belief less dug in represent free will? If it withers and falls off, that is because it wasn't planted deeply enough; if it was, it wouldn't have fallen off. So where is the free will?

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Miles
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Re: White People and Free Will

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Post by Miles »

Purple Knight wrote: Mon Dec 21, 2020 10:59 pm If there is not one exception, if every last white person is racist, as this poignant and beautiful article relays, on what basis can we say that white people have free will?
None whatsoever.


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Last edited by Miles on Tue Dec 22, 2020 7:39 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: White People and Free Will

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Post by Dimmesdale »

Purple Knight wrote: Mon Dec 21, 2020 10:59 pm If there is not one exception, if every last white person is racist, as this poignant and beautiful article relays, on what basis can we say that white people have free will?
You can say that racism influences white people so strongly that it disturbs their free will's equillibrium to the point where they are just not strong enough to resist and return to the former balance, because of hyper-sensitivity or some other issue. Maybe you can use the analogy of oil on water. Let's say the oil has a little free will and endeavors to rise to the top, but because it is constantly shaken up, it just doesn't have a fighting chance.
Purple Knight wrote: Mon Dec 21, 2020 10:59 pmYou can't get rid of your racism. You were indoctrinated into it, you were born into it. That's the end of the story. With white people and racism (again, reference provided above) this is obviously true. So on what basis can it be said that other beliefs aren't simply the products of our environments?
Like I illustrated with the oil example, it's not a zero-sum game, necessarily. Unless the problem is constantly exacerbated, humans have potentially at least the capability of "striving." Too bad usually this progress is snuffed out by overpowering factors.
Purple Knight wrote: Mon Dec 21, 2020 10:59 pmNo one can break free of a belief this deep-seeded. So, on what basis does a belief less dug in represent free will? If it withers and falls off, that is because it wasn't planted deeply enough; if it was, it wouldn't have fallen off. So where is the free will?
I believe free will is a subtle flame that must be fanned with great care. Preferably at an early age.

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Re: White People and Free Will

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Post by Purple Knight »

Dimmesdale wrote: Tue Dec 22, 2020 6:34 pmI believe free will is a subtle flame that must be fanned with great care. Preferably at an early age.
That seems to indicate that you might think most people have had their free will snuffed out, and are thus become robots.

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Re: White People and Free Will

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Post by Dimmesdale »

Purple Knight wrote: Tue Dec 22, 2020 6:46 pm
Dimmesdale wrote: Tue Dec 22, 2020 6:34 pmI believe free will is a subtle flame that must be fanned with great care. Preferably at an early age.
That seems to indicate that you might think most people have had their free will snuffed out, and are thus become robots.
Yes and no. I think even the heaviest, most lead-headed person has a degree of free will. However, there are influences such as drugs, bad habits and so on which cloud the mind and heart to the point where the person makes poorer, less virtuous choices as a style of life.... However, I believe that through disciplining the mind and personality, people can be raised up to the point of making better and better choices which will then augment and further their freedom, rather than constrain it......

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Re: White People and Free Will

Post #6

Post by bjs1 »

[Replying to Purple Knight in post #1]

I find that saying, “All (blank) people are (blank)” is a somewhat silly position to hold. Even the author herself doesn’t stand by it, despite the fact that she repeats it many times in her article. But towards the end she writes, “Remember, being racist is not necessarily your fault. Choosing to stay racist is.” If all White people are racists then that statement can’t be true, since the statement would mean that some White people have chosen not to stay racists and therefore not all White people are racists. While I think that I understand the sentiment she is going for (I could be wrong), she undercuts here own goal of repairing the country. If all White people are racists then free will does not exist and the country cannot change. If the country can be healed then not all White people are racists.

To the general concept of free will: I cannot say with certainty that free will exists. It is possible that free will is an illusion. But that is unlikely. Appearances can be deceiving, but most of the time they are not. The fact that we experience free will is strong, if not incontrovertible, evidence that we have free will.
Ignorance more frequently begets confidence than does knowledge.
-Charles Darwin

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Re: White People and Free Will

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bjs1 wrote: Thu Feb 25, 2021 5:53 pmBut towards the end she writes, “Remember, being racist is not necessarily your fault. Choosing to stay racist is.” If all White people are racists then that statement can’t be true, since the statement would mean that some White people have chosen not to stay racists and therefore not all White people are racists.
It's a little bit of a roundabout way to say it, but what I think she's saying is, all white people have, at some level, chosen to stay racist, and are therefore morally accountable for their choice. On the day you were born, it wasn't a choice. It wasn't your choice how you were raised. It is your choice how you are now.

It's not her fault that nobody chooses to be good.

But it really strikes me as emblematic of the free will issue, and I think the only place it fails is where she believes in free will. I agree with her about everything but this. Are whites an evil race? Well, obviously. Every last white person is racist. That's pretty evil.

She, however, believes people can, in fact, if they choose to, violate their evil nature. This is where it starts to sound silly and contradictory. That belief happens to be a necessary component of living life, but it's also false. We can't just refuse to punish people for their evil actions just because they were predetermined to take them. And we also realise that if we punish a fish for swimming, that's not really justice. That's why we must act as if we believe in free will, even if free will is false, which this article pretty well proves.
bjs1 wrote: Thu Feb 25, 2021 5:53 pmWhile I think that I understand the sentiment she is going for (I could be wrong), she undercuts here own goal of repairing the country. If all White people are racists then free will does not exist and the country cannot change. If the country can be healed then not all White people are racists.
What she's doing is perfectly right. When there's evil, we have to reach out and try to get it to change before we destroy it. People must have the opportunity. We also have to act like we believe people have a choice, even if they don't. It's best if we actually believe this, but upon examination the belief in free will falls apart, because we all know that people can't act against their nature. If it's your nature to breathe, you can't just decide to stop. You can juke the process with a bag over your head, but your body - you - will still attempt to breathe. Breathing is your nature. You cannot voluntarily stop breathing and self-suffocate. It's just a matter of seeing all actions this way.

Are white people evil oppressors? Of course. But do white people deserve punishment for being evil oppressors? Well, this is going to sound controversial, but no, not really. It's their nature. They were born that way and if we're being honest, they couldn't be otherwise. The article's author is good. That's not in question either. But does she deserve accolades for being good? Again, not really. It may have felt like a bold and risky choice to write that scathing, but very true article, but it wasn't. She is good for the same reason whites are evil. She was born with the inclination to be. She was born with the good machinery. Without that basic machinery, she would never have written the article. She wouldn't have even thought to. Now, arguably that machinery can be crushed or nurtured, but there have been white children raised by black parents, and we know how they end up - they are still racist. The article wants us to believe in free will... but the more believable thing is that in some people, if there really are no exceptions, they were simply born without that machinery. The idea that white people could be good, could be non-racist, if only... strikes me as foolish, but necessary.

We can't have a society where everyone can just do whatever they want, so we pretend that evil deserves punishment and good deserves accolades. We pretend that people have choices because we have to.

It's unfortunate for the quite necessary pretence to free will that the problem of whiteness gets us uncomfortably close to the truth that free will does not exist.

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