Benjamin Studebaker

Yet Another Attempt to Make the World a Better Place by Writing Things

Tag: Sexism

To Stop Sexual Misconduct, We Must Put An End to “Bros Before Hoes”

I’ve been thinking about the Harvey Weinstein sex scandal for a while. It just keeps getting worse. Apparently former Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak helped Weinstein cover his tracks by putting him in touch with ex-Mossad agents. Those agents manipulated, intimidated, and lied to Weinstein’s victims in a bid to shut them up or discredit them. In the meantime, more famous people are facing multiple accusations. Some of them are people I liked–I enjoyed Kevin Spacey. I enjoyed Louis CK. But when there’s this much smoke, there’s fire.

I haven’t written on this yet, because it’s so hard to deal with politically. We can’t just lower the standards of evidence for these cases. We can’t presume guilt in the absence of evidence. And yet, when it comes to most forms of sexual misconduct, there can never be enough physical evidence for a conviction. We just have the things that people say. When lots of people are saying the same things, we can be pretty sure something bad happened. But it’s not enough to put people in prison. Usually when I write about a social issue, I have some positive proposal. It feels wasteful to write when I don’t. But today I finally had a thought I think is worth sharing. Here goes. Read the rest of this entry »

How to Reframe Anti-Discrimination Politics to Overcome Division

A few readers asked a good question about yesterday’s post. The question boils down to something like this:

How can we talk about discrimination–about racism, sexism, homophobia, and xenophobia–if we have to show conspicuous respect for the white working class? Some of them are racist, sexist, homophobic, and xenophobic. How can we deal with them in a way that isn’t appeasement?

The people asking this question believe that we can’t fight discrimination while concurrently respecting the people who practice it. But this isn’t true–we can do both at once. Indeed, by respecting these people we can make our anti-discrimination advocacy more effective. Here’s how.

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How to Fight Fascism Intelligently

President Trump was inaugurated Friday, and a lot of people are understandably upset. Many want to do something about this. This is a good and noble impulse, but I fear in our efforts to fight right nationalism we will instead end up its handmaidens. Let me show you what I mean. Read the rest of this entry »

Samantha Bee Doesn’t Understand the Left’s Objection to Identity Politics

I ran across a Samantha Bee clip in which Bee attacks Bernie Sanders and others members of the left who believe the Democratic Party needs to get away from “identity politics”:

In the clip, Bee explains left-wing opposition to identity politics by having a right-wing Fox news presenter misexplain the term. She then asserts that identity politics is synonymous with civil rights, claims that “white men” are an identity, and accuses the left of abandoning its principles. This is a reductive straw man argument. It collapses important distinctions in the way the left and the right criticize identity politics.

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Is Trump Being Racist About Judge Curiel?

Over the past week, Donald Trump has been repeatedly attacking Judge Gonzalo Curiel, claiming he is unfit to handle the Trump University case because he is a “Trump hater” and that he is a Trump hater because he is Mexican. This looks straightforwardly racist, and many people from both parties have accused Trump of racism. But two days ago Trump did not appear ready to back down, instead instructing his people to intensify their criticism of the judge and members of the media who go after Trump on the issue. Then yesterday his campaign seemed to do a U-turn–it issued a statement alleging that Curiel is biased because of his professional associations rather than because he is Mexican, and announced that Trump does not intend to comment on the case any further. This implies that Trump really did think there was a way to make some sort of political gain here, but now at the very least has determined that he has nothing further to gain by talking about it. What did Trump think he was going to get out of this? For the past couple days I’ve been trying to figure this out, and I have a theory of what has been going on in his head.

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