Is white supremacy normal in the USA?

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Greta
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Re: Is white supremacy normal in the USA?

Post by Greta » January 8th, 2018, 10:13 pm

Maldon007 wrote:
January 8th, 2018, 7:17 pm
The marriage one... It's beyond me to understand, maybe people construing the question to mean, SHOULD people of different races marry, that I could believe.
Yes, that was a weird result and what you say seems intuitively about right.

I'm not sure people parse "should" and "should be a law" so much in this time of ever-growing populations and regulations.

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Re: Is white supremacy normal in the USA?

Post by Maldon007 » January 8th, 2018, 11:34 pm

That one, to me, seems the most skewed result, just given my admittedly anecdotal experience.

Oh!
http://www.pewsocialtrends.org/2017/05/ ... rmarriage/

This poll and it's precedent versions, all point to a closer result to what I would think, and seem more comprehensive. Showing 9% of responders thought intermarriage was a bad thing for society, while the rest of respondents thought it was neutral or positive.

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Re: Is white supremacy normal in the USA?

Post by GE Morton » January 15th, 2018, 11:55 am

Steve3007 wrote:
December 7th, 2017, 7:38 am

If this really is the definition of "relativism" then I am certainly no relativist myself. I find the idea that there is such a thing as objective truth extremely useful. I couldn't possibly live without it. I've argued that point several times with posters on this website. RJG is particular example of a poster who springs to mind.

However, if "relativism" means "the idea that morals are created within human minds and do not exist objectively as a property of the universe" then, in that sense, I am a relativist. I find it useful to believe that such things as matter, energy and gravity exist independently of any human's subjective perception of them. I find it useful to believe that these things existed before humans existed and will continue to exist after we are gone. I don't find it useful to believe that of concepts like right and wrong or love and hate.
You seem to be confusing two concepts here --- you're equating objectivity with universal laws. "Objective" (and "subjective"), like truth and falsity, are properties of propositions, not features of the universe. They have nothing to do with universal laws. A proposition is objectively true if its truth conditions are public, i.e., verifiable by any suitably situated observer, e.g., "Paris is the capital of France,;" "Donald Trump is President of the United States." A proposition is subjective if it's truth conditions are available only to the utterer: "Chocolate ice cream is better than vanilla;" "I have a headache."
The only way to convince people with differing moral codes to change their views is to seek underlying common goals. Very very frequently, arguments which appear to be about values turn out to be arguments about facts. Arguments about facts can, at least theoretically, be settled with appeals to empirical evidence.
Excellent. But now suppose we find some such common goal. Suppose also that a particular set of moral rules (propositions asserting "oughts" and "ought nots") can be shown, logically or empirically, to better advance that goal than any known alternative set. Clearly those propositions will be objectively true. They will not be universal, however, since they may not be true given a different goal.

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Re: Is white supremacy normal in the USA?

Post by GE Morton » January 15th, 2018, 12:31 pm

Steve3007 wrote:
December 5th, 2017, 4:32 pm
Opinion polls cited in this article:

http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/entry/r ... a0e141b3c8

suggest that although a large majority of the US population reject the concept of "white supremacy" when described by those two words, very large numbers of people seem to agree with some of the aims of white supremacist groups.
That presumed inconsistency is due to the ambiguity of the term "white supremacy." The actual questions asked in the poll (according to the HP report) were: Do you agree or disagree that 1) all races are equal, and 2) all races should be treated equally? Large majorities answered both questions affirmatively.

Most people will take those questions to mean, "Should everyone be treated equally by the law?, i.e., everyone has the same legal status and rights. That does not imply, however, that those who so answered do not consider their own ethnic group or subculture superior in various ways to other ethnic groups or subcultures. Virtually all members of all groups believe their own group is superior, as evidenced by the fact that they associate primarily with members of their own group and largely share its dogmas and follow its customs. Identifying with or demonstrating a preference for a particular group are de facto expressions of its superiority.

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Re: Is white supremacy normal in the USA?

Post by Fooloso4 » January 15th, 2018, 3:03 pm

That white supremacy could become the new normal in the USA seems far more likely today than it has at any time since the civil rights movement. I remain hopeful that there are still enough people with enough sense and human decency that it will remain an aberration.

After reading through the posts I would like to comment on a few issues:

First, with regard to the question of objective truth and relativism, neither is a well defined or monolithic concept. Relativism is not a modern invention. It can be found in the writings of the pre-socratics and well as ancient China. In the absence of absolute knowledge some form of relativism is the necessary fallback condition. Plato discusses Protagoras’ “man is the measure of all things” and a superficial reading seems to point to a rejection of it, but he does not reject it, he simply emphasizes how deeply problematic it is, which is to say, how deeply problematic philosophical inquiry is. Socrates was relentless in his efforts to show that those who claim to know do not know.

Revealed religion is a contender for objective truth, especially an objective moral truth, but what God says and how man interprets it are two different things. We cannot get around the problem of interpretation, of how we are to understand what allegedly comes directly from God.

Cultural relativism in its modern form can be traced to Margaret Mead and was was intended to be an instrument of scientific objectivity. The anthropologist's task was to describe cultural differences, not to judge them. There are some today who hold to a form of cultural relativism that claims that no cultural values are better than any other, but this is a naive and philosophically weak form of cultural relativism. Philosophically sophisticated forms of cultural relativism simply reject the idea of an established absolute, universal, eternal, unchanging moral order that can be appealed to in order to determine what is right and wrong, good or bad. At best what we are able to do is identify and argue in defense of values that we hold to be the best available alternatives.

Second, with regard to intellectual history, Western culture did not emerge in a vacuum, it owes a great deal to other cultures. Two post Greek influences are Judaism and the Islamic philosophers and mathematicians. Jesus and Paul were not Westerners. They were of the “people of the book” and that book was foreign to Western culture. Not only did the Islamic world preserve Greek philosophical texts that were lost to the West but the introduction of algebra was of inestimable importance.

Third, with regard to culture, jazz and blues are not forms of Western music. Subsequently, rock and roll, although originally largely an American form of music, owes more to black culture than it does to Western classical music. Music is not simply entertainment, it if fundamental to the politics of the soul and the city or state.

Fourth, we cannot understand the modern Islamic state without knowing the history of modern Western imperialism that created it. A knowledge of Western history should dispel the idea that the West is peaceful because Christianity is a religion of peace. The West because peaceful, to the extent it is peaceful, largely because the philosophical values of reason, tolerance, and liberalism prevailed over those of religious sectarianism. The fact that Christianity is fundamentally a messianic religion should not be overlooked. It is not man but God who brings peace. It is to this extent an abdication of responsibility. But the Right Wing Christian Fundamentalists believe that man will usher in the end of days with the fulfillment of John’s apocalyptic prophecy. And this is why they are so keen on Jerusalem being the capital of Israel - it sets the stage for the beginning of the end.

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Re: Is white supremacy normal in the USA?

Post by Steve3007 » January 16th, 2018, 6:10 am

In reply to my proposition that physical things like matter are usefully regarded as existing objectively but morality is more usefully regarded as existing in the minds of human subjects:
GE Morton wrote:You seem to be confusing two concepts here --- you're equating objectivity with universal laws. "Objective" (and "subjective"), like truth and falsity, are properties of propositions, not features of the universe. They have nothing to do with universal laws. A proposition is objectively true if its truth conditions are public, i.e., verifiable by any suitably situated observer, e.g., "Paris is the capital of France,;" "Donald Trump is President of the United States." A proposition is subjective if it's truth conditions are available only to the utterer: "Chocolate ice cream is better than vanilla;" "I have a headache."
I don't think the concept of universality is relevant to what I'm trying to say, but I probably incorrectly gave the impression that it is by using this wording:

"...if 'relativism' means 'the idea that morals are created within human minds and do not exist objectively as a property of the universe' then..."

Perhaps I should have said something like "...exist as a property of things that we propose to exist outside of human minds, often referred to as 'objects'".

I wasn't seeking to draw a distinction between local laws and universal laws, per se. I was seeking to draw a distinction between propositions that purport to be about phenomena that exist outside of and independant from human minds (often referred to as objects) and propositions that do not do that.

The examples you give of subjective propositions are examples of expressions of personal taste. It is argued by some that utterances about morality are all equivalent to expressions of personal taste and nothing more. Obviously a "moral absolutist" would disagree and would claim that they are expressions of truths that are independent of individual tastes.

As I've said (and as briefly discussed below), I think that they can often appear to be merely expressions of personal taste but actually are expressions of what ought to be done if a particular goal is to be achieved and that, on closer examination, the underlying goals can be shared.


In reply to my proposistion that the discovery of common goals renders moral/value arguments into disputes about empirical facts:
GE Morton wrote:Excellent. But now suppose we find some such common goal. Suppose also that a particular set of moral rules (propositions asserting "oughts" and "ought nots") can be shown, logically or empirically, to better advance that goal than any known alternative set. Clearly those propositions will be objectively true. They will not be universal, however, since they may not be true given a different goal.
Yes, I agree. In this case we can turn an "ought" into an "is" (as they say) if the "ought" is part of a sentence of this form: "in order to achieve this goal one ought to do this..."

The objective truth or falsehood of this kind of proposition is empirically testable and it is therefore essentially the same as propositions that we normally consider to be morally neutral. As I've said, the question of whether it is universal is, I think, not really relevant. My original wording was just misleading.

I also note that in practice it seems to be rare that the debating parties all agree that they have found a common goal and that they are therefore arguing only about the practicalities of reaching it.

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Re: Is white supremacy normal in the USA?

Post by Steve3007 » January 16th, 2018, 7:16 am

GE Morton wrote:That presumed inconsistency is due to the ambiguity of the term "white supremacy." The actual questions asked in the poll (according to the HP report) were: Do you agree or disagree that 1) all races are equal, and 2) all races should be treated equally? Large majorities answered both questions affirmatively.
I certainly agree that inconsistencies are often caused largely by widely different interpretations of words in the English language; particularly "value judgement" words, or words that some people interpret as value judgements and some don't. And assumptions about what people mean by words are often made as a result of labelling people - assuming them to hold a whole series of views that are thought to come together as a package.

As you go on to say, one such word is "equal". Another such word is "white" (or "black" or any other word that is ostensibly about skin colour but often isn't.) Talking about such things as "white culture" or "black rights" without precisely defining what is being referred to by those colour words often seems to cause anger and outrage, obscuring the point of arguments.
GE Morton wrote:Most people will take those questions to mean, "Should everyone be treated equally by the law?, i.e., everyone has the same legal status and rights.
Yes, but unfortunately some people, some of the time, take the word "equal" to mean equal in their physical and/or mental properties as opposed to equal in the rights that are conferred on them as citizens. This mistake seems to be particularly common when discussing gender equality. That's one example of confusion over the word "equal".
GE Morton wrote:That does not imply, however, that those who so answered do not consider their own ethnic group or subculture superior in various ways to other ethnic groups or subcultures. Virtually all members of all groups believe their own group is superior, as evidenced by the fact that they associate primarily with members of their own group and largely share its dogmas and follow its customs. Identifying with or demonstrating a preference for a particular group are de facto expressions of its superiority.
I don't think the fact that people choose to associate with and identify with their own group/tribe/family necessarily means that they think that group/tribe/family is superior to others. I wouldn't tend to use that word.

I associate with, empathise with and trust members of my own family more than I do strangers. I don't think that means I think my family is superior to other families. I think it boils down to selfish genes. It is my theory (unconsciously and instinctively held) that those who are genetically closer to me will "have my back" (as they say) more than those who are more distantly related. A similar thing follows for larger groups. Whether the theory is true or not is a different matter. But I wouldn't characterise it using the word "superior". Probably just semantics though.

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Re: Is white supremacy normal in the USA?

Post by Steve3007 » January 16th, 2018, 2:53 pm

@Fooloso4: It's good to see you back again. I think you made several interesting points in your recent post, but I'd like to pick up on this particular one:
Fooloso4 wrote:Philosophically sophisticated forms of cultural relativism simply reject the idea of an established absolute, universal, eternal, unchanging moral order that can be appealed to in order to determine what is right and wrong, good or bad. At best what we are able to do is identify and argue in defense of values that we hold to be the best available alternatives.
I think one of the questions of moral philosophy is: What methods and devices do we actually use to do to that (the part I've highlighted in bold)? What do we mean by "values" and how do we distinguish them from questions of fact or cause and effect?

It seems to me that if it really is one value against another value then there's no arguing in defense of one or another, any more than we can argue in defense of tastes. As far as I can see, the only way that argument can take place is if we actually discover that, if we dig deep enough, we share values with the other person or group but we disagree about the cause/effect questions of methods. We can then create arguments and cite evidence to support our view as to the best way to achieve the goals implied by those shared values.

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Re: Is white supremacy normal in the USA?

Post by Fooloso4 » January 16th, 2018, 4:02 pm

Steve3007:
@Fooloso4: It's good to see you back again.
Thanks Steve. I needed a break. I got too caught up arguing with some here and on another philosophy discussion board who mistake the relentless expounding and defense of their non-self reflexive beliefs for philosophy. It is not entirely an exercise in futility though since with some satisfaction, even though they may not acknowledge it, or even admit it to themselves, over time some become more philosophically informed and begin to defend positions they previously attacked. In some cases it may just be a matter of taking a position contrary to those they are arguing against, but in others they have been forced to retreat to more reasonable and informed positions, even if they believe that they are just holding their ground all along.

In any case …
I think one of the questions of moral philosophy is: What methods and devices do we actually use to do to that (the part I've highlighted in bold [At best what we are able to do is identify and argue in defense of values that we hold to be the best available alternatives.] )?What do we mean by "values" and how do we distinguish them from questions of fact or cause and effect?
Good questions. I think we use a combination of reasoned argument, casuistry, self-examination, open mindedness, and good will. We need to recognize that not all moral problems yield good or even satisfactory answers. I think the most promising approach is Aristotle’s: to be guided by the question of what the good life is and what we can do in order to have a good life, to be happy, to achieve personal excellence, and flourish. It is not simply a personal question, it is social or political, the good life not just for me but for everyone. It involves phronesis, or practical wisdom and deliberation. And, it is not a way of reconciling differences, of resolving all moral disagreement.

As to values, I follow Nietzsche. They are what we esteem, what we hold to be most worthy of possessing and protecting. It is best understood in the form of a question rather than some object or principle that has already been identified. It begins with the question of what we do value, why we value it, and the value of this value. We live in a time where Nietzsche’s revaluation of values is necessary. We should not treat them abstractly in isolation from facts or cause and effect. In order to evaluate we must examine values in terms of facts and consequences. We must begin with people and institutions as they are, not some idealistic vision.
It seems to me that if it really is one value against another value then there's no arguing in defense of one or another, any more than we can argue in defense of tastes.
Well, one major difference is a matter of consequence. We can educate our tastes, but some people are not interested in doing so, and even if they do it is still possible that they prefer McDonald's or pop music to the alternatives. In the end it does not make a whole lot of difference. Values and particularly moral values are of much greater consequence. We might try to find common ground and build from there - we may agree on such things as peaceful coexistence and the right of self-determination and in examining one value against another reflect on how they relate to our common values. But there may still be differences that we cannot reconcile. And in such cases the best reconciliation is to allow our differences to stand. I may be in favor of a woman’s right to abortion and you may be opposed. In such cases we are morally at an impasse. The push and pull takes place on the legal and not simply moral front. How and if such differences will ever be reconciled is unknown.

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Re: Is white supremacy normal in the USA?

Post by GE Morton » January 16th, 2018, 8:11 pm

Steve3007 wrote:
January 16th, 2018, 6:10 am

I wasn't seeking to draw a distinction between local laws and universal laws, per se. I was seeking to draw a distinction between propositions that purport to be about phenomena that exist outside of and independant from human minds (often referred to as objects) and propositions that do not do that.
Ok. That still doesn't quite reach the meaning of "objective" and "subjective" as many philosophers understand it, however. A proposition asserting a paranoid delusion, for example ("Aliens are plotting to kidnap me") purports to be about an external phenomenon, but no evidence for its truth is available to anyone except the proposer. The key is whether the evidence which would confirm or falsify the proposition is publicly accessible.
The examples you give of subjective propositions are examples of expressions of personal taste. It is argued by some that utterances about morality are all equivalent to expressions of personal taste and nothing more. Obviously a "moral absolutist" would disagree and would claim that they are expressions of truths that are independent of individual tastes.

As I've said (and as briefly discussed below), I think that they can often appear to be merely expressions of personal taste but actually are expressions of what ought to be done if a particular goal is to be achieved and that, on closer examination, the underlying goals can be shared.
I agree. Moral "oughts" become instrumental "oughts" when a particular goal is specified and agreed upon, in the same sense as, "If one wishes to drive a nail, one ought to get a hammer." Such "oughts" merely mean that a certain means is a necessary or at least effective means of attaining a given end. Those are empirical questions, and thus objective. So the starting point of any moral theory must be: What is the purpose of a moral theory, of moral principles and rules? What are we trying to accomplish with them? A major problem with moral philosophy historically has been that it has tried to cover way too much ground; disparate goals are conflated and confused. The inquiry needs to be narrowed and focused.

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Re: Is white supremacy normal in the USA?

Post by GE Morton » January 16th, 2018, 8:37 pm

Steve3007 wrote:
January 16th, 2018, 7:16 am
GE Morton wrote:Most people will take those questions to mean, "Should everyone be treated equally by the law?, i.e., everyone has the same legal status and rights.
Yes, but unfortunately some people, some of the time, take the word "equal" to mean equal in their physical and/or mental properties as opposed to equal in the rights that are conferred on them as citizens. This mistake seems to be particularly common when discussing gender equality. That's one example of confusion over the word "equal".
Yes. Most Americans agree with the precept of equality of moral status, which is what the responses to those poll questions indicates. That view does not, however, entail or demand material equality (physical, intellectual, social, or economic equality), and people who hold the former view do not necessarily perceive all groups as equals in those latter respects.
I don't think the fact that people choose to associate with and identify with their own group/tribe/family necessarily means that they think that group/tribe/family is superior to others. I wouldn't tend to use that word.
I'd suggest you wouldn't use that word because of the ambiguity mentioned of the word "equal." But any expression of a preference of A over B is per force a declaration that A is superior to B in some sense.

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Re: Is white supremacy normal in the USA?

Post by Burning ghost » January 17th, 2018, 12:22 am

Here are some interesting statistics and they are considered from some different angles in this vid:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dc3p9G47VJ4

What I was saying previously was the pointed difference in violent crime by males in areas where economic equality is most drastically different. I am not quite sure how this would play into the race discussion though. We'd have to take into account the income of the offenders to make a good comparison. The reason for so much violence in black communities may be nothing whatsoever to do with race (or it may be a small portion of the problem.)

What I have been trying to emphasis from the start is the disparity between income being the driving factor for violence. In regards to the attitudes in the US I do wonder about the effect of the media on people's perceptions too. I still think the sea is too choppy after the global information storm to discern where things will be when it settles down a little and people take considered account of the data and how to cautiously interpret it ... I'm an optimist in this respect. I think in time enough people will post stats and show misrepresentations, and that enough people will experience their own words being twisted and turned on social media, so as to get to the point where they don't so readily believe any piece of data and inform themselves a little more before speaking.

I would also suggest that once the next few generations take the place of the older ones more consideration will be given because they've grown up fully engaged with social media. I think a lot of the effects of this factor (information/communications explosion) has led to a global political shift and the exposure of more radical ideas. By this I am referring to webs of lies being thrown around more readily than before and making people more cautious about how to vie wthis or that piece of data; how to dig down to the facts and analysis them ... and even if I am, or you are not willing to do so there are plenty of people out there smart and articulate enough to cut to the core facts and then present them with enough caution and consideration so as not to suggest any sweeping statements about any socio-political topic.
AKA badgerjelly

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Re: Is white supremacy normal in the USA?

Post by Steve3007 » January 25th, 2018, 5:57 am

GE Morton wrote:Ok. That still doesn't quite reach the meaning of "objective" and "subjective" as many philosophers understand it, however. A proposition asserting a paranoid delusion, for example ("Aliens are plotting to kidnap me") purports to be about an external phenomenon, but no evidence for its truth is available to anyone except the proposer. The key is whether the evidence which would confirm or falsify the proposition is publicly accessible.
I'd say that any proposition which references things that it proposes to exist outside of the mind of the utterer counts as an objective proposition, regardless of whether we think they actually do exist outside the mind of the utterer. So the example you gave counts as such, just as much as, for example "The police are trying to kill me." does. It's then up to the listener to test the proposition for truth or falsehood. Of course, the example you gave is implicitly two separate objective propositions:

1. There exist such things as aliens.
2. Those aliens are plotting to kidnap me.

A bit like Russell's "The present king of France is bald" example.

So I disagree that the key is whether the evidence which would confirm or falsify the proposition is publicly accessible. I think all that matters is whether it is claimed (either implicitly or explicitly) to be publicly accessible in the proposition. The test of whether it actually is publicly accesible is then up to the person testing the proposition.
GE Morton wrote:I agree. Moral "oughts" become instrumental "oughts" when a particular goal is specified and agreed upon, in the same sense as, "If one wishes to drive a nail, one ought to get a hammer." Such "oughts" merely mean that a certain means is a necessary or at least effective means of attaining a given end. Those are empirical questions, and thus objective. So the starting point of any moral theory must be: What is the purpose of a moral theory, of moral principles and rules? What are we trying to accomplish with them? A major problem with moral philosophy historically has been that it has tried to cover way too much ground; disparate goals are conflated and confused. The inquiry needs to be narrowed and focused.
I think it helps to consider specific examples of propositions that appear to deal with morality. How about this from recent global politics:

"If the goal is to promote peace between the Palestinians and the Israelis then the Trump administration ought/ought not to relocate the US Embassy to Jerusalem."

I think that's an illustration of a proposition that it's difficult to test for truth or falsehood because it contains a huge number of implicit propositions and questions whose empirical evidence is extremely difficult to unambiguously find.
GE Morton wrote:Yes. Most Americans agree with the precept of equality of moral status, which is what the responses to those poll questions indicates. That view does not, however, entail or demand material equality (physical, intellectual, social, or economic equality), and people who hold the former view do not necessarily perceive all groups as equals in those latter respects.
Yes, and in the OP I wasn't particularly concerned by the question about equality. I was more interested in the large numbers of people who agreed that "white people are currently under attack in this country". It just seems like a curious thing to believe.
GE Morton wrote:I'd suggest you wouldn't use that word because of the ambiguity mentioned of the word "equal." But any expression of a preference of A over B is per force a declaration that A is superior to B in some sense.
Yes, to an extent I think you're right. The reason why I wouldn't say something like "I think my family is superior to other families" is because of the obvious way that a sentence like that, at least in isolation, would generally be misinterpreted. I think very few people would take the word "superior" in that sentence to be a factual comment on my genetic pre-disposition to trust those who are, or who visually appear to be, genetically closer to me. I think they would make a value judgement about me based on that sentence. I think the value judgement would be that I am arrogant.

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Re: Is white supremacy normal in the USA?

Post by Frost » January 25th, 2018, 11:47 am

Steve3007 wrote:
December 5th, 2017, 4:32 pm
Opinion polls cited in this article:

http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/entry/r ... a0e141b3c8

suggest that although a large majority of the US population reject the concept of "white supremacy" when described by those two words, very large numbers of people seem to agree with some of the aims of white supremacist groups.

For example, nearly a third of people polled agreed that “America must protect and preserve its White European heritage". Astonishingly (to me) 39% agreed that “white people are currently under attack in this country”. Perhaps even more astonishingly, 16% agreed that “marriage should only be allowed between people of the same race”. Only 2/3 of the people polled disagreed with this. So 1/3 of the US population (according to this poll) appear to believe that marriage should be allowed or disallowed based on the social construct of race, as manifested by skin pigmentation.

Am I just being politically correct to find this shocking and worrying? Or am I simply being taken in by the fake-news peddling, liberal mainstream media?

I'd be interested to hear the views of any people reading this who agree with any of the statements I've quoted above and, if so, why they agree with them.
Just saw this thread. Considering all that I have been seeing over the last year especially, I agree that “white people are currently under attack in this country." I guess that makes me a white supremacist? Even assuming the poll is accurate---and I must say the WA Post is not exactly reputable---I don't see how agreeing with this statement makes anyone a white supremacist.

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Re: Is white supremacy normal in the USA?

Post by Steve3007 » January 25th, 2018, 12:50 pm

Hi Frost,

As I said, the survey seems to suggest that a large number of people seems to agree with some of the aims of white supremacist groups. Whether that mean they are white supremacists - who knows? I guess it depends on how much you think one has to agree with a given group before being equated with that group.

So, can you give any more details about the reasons why you agree with the statement “white people are currently under attack in this country [USA]."? How would you define "being under attack" in this context?

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