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Culture War Roundup for the week of April 24, 2023

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What changed in Western societies during the last century that lead to wide scale acceptance of non-white people?

It was imposed by law. You haven't seen photos of 101st Airborne escorting blacks into a white school ?

The US constitution was replaced by the Civil Rights Act, and over the next fifty years, activists were busily using state power to browbeat anyone opposed into compliance.

The government decided people can't segregate themselves by law, so they're now doing it financially. Federal government is disappointed, and has now resorted to mandating better loan conditions for people with worse credit scores.

I think these changes have been very positive on the whole

You think these changes have been very positive.

Ask whites in London or Paris how happy they're about these 'changes'.

The 'elites' in Europe are so braindead and so feckless in face of 'human rights activists' the continent is no doubt going to be taking in expected Bantu immigration waves by tens of millions, and within thirty years, the benefits of black bodies is going to be felt in every city from Madrid to Moscow.

The Civil Rights Act was passed by democratically elected legislature, the 101st was deployed by a democratically elected president. People have had fifty years to organize a majority to overturn the civil rights act and it remains broadly popular. It was legally imposed by the majority of the country on the South for sure, but why did the rest of the country support it?

It's interesting we've switched from 'politics is downstream of culture' to 'culture is downstream of politics' and politics is just whatever elites decide.

People have had fifty years to organize a majority to overturn the civil rights act and it remains broadly popular.

People, including a lot of people in the south, genuinely wanted it to work and expended a great deal of effort to make that happen. It's a shame it failed so absolutely, by the objective standards and definitions of its proponents. The social cohesion that made such an effort possible was burned in the process, and such efforts have little chance of being repeated. Instead you get metastasizing cynicism, withdrawal, polarization and extremism... But hey, how'd one of the old-timers here put it recently: Blues don't get held accountable for being wrong, or for the harm their bullshit causes. Fifty years later, they've written all the histories, so few remember what actually happened. It's a brilliant strategy that works marvelously right up until it abruptly doesn't.

How is "failure" being defined here?

Put very simply and rather reductively, Black people wanted better outcomes and an end to discrimination and racism, and white people wanted an end to black dysfunction and rioting.

Black outcomes are measured relative to white outcomes, and by that standard, their outcomes have not improved much if at all. They still have much worse educational outcomes, economic outcomes, marriage outcomes, vastly higher crime rates, vastly higher rates of single-parenthood, and on and on.

We've engaged in heroic levels of social engineering to try to eliminate discrimination and racism. To the extent that such elimination is actually possible, I'd say we've done it. Approval of interracial marriage is probably a good proxy here, and we've gone from supermajority disapproval to lizardman-constant disapproval. It doesn't seem to have mattered; black outcomes didn't improve, and blacks and their allies don't appear to perceive a substantive improvement, don't perceive that their demands have been satisfied. Usually in discussions like this one, people focus on the changes made, and ignore the deeper outcomes those changes were attempting to secure.

Black dysfunction and racial conflict remain intractable problems. All plausible methods of improving the situation have long since been exhausted, with no evidence of any significant effect. People are now pushing highly implausible methods like explicitly racial systems of government. Bad outcomes for the black community are used to argue for the continued existence of racism, but by this standard, one is forced to conclude that there is no detectable racism gradient anywhere within our very large and quite heterogenous society. By the consensus standards we've adopted to measure it, racism appears to be just about exactly as bad in California and Seattle as it is in Mississippi or Atlanta. This means that the fifty years of intense social engineering has worked exactly as well in the most stereotypically progressive places as it has in the most stereotypically racist and reactionary areas. The simplest explanation for how this could be so is that the engineering hasn't actually worked, even a little bit.

And of course the riots are still happening, and for the same reasons.

More importantly, what else should the federal government have done in the face of de jure segregation in the south? Should the US have waited around for several more decades until the south decided to get its act together?

What does "the south getting its act together" even mean? Again, there is no objectively measurable racism gradient between the south and anywhere else. Ending Segregation didn't fix any of the bedrock problems it was supposed to fix. It didn't even fix Segregation itself, since people simply found workarounds to ensure that they didn't have to share space with underclass blacks, who remain awful to live among.

There's a story where the Civil Rights era was a crusade against intolerance that struck down the legal and social discriminations that had oppressed blacks for hundreds of years, giving us hope for a brighter future. There's another story where nothing fundamental has changed, black people are still oppressed, our society is still defined by systemic racism and oppression, and radical change is needed. These stories, due to the particulars of their narrative, can't both be true. You have to pick one or the other, and blacks and the progressives who speak for them have picked the later.

I think that, given the state of the evidence, honesty compels us to concede the point. Blacks are still doing about as badly as they were before the Civil Rights movement, relative to whites, and none of the consensus methods of changing this have worked. We either have to accept the current state of affairs, or try something radically different than the path we've followed to-date.

black outcomes didn't improve

I don’t think this is true. I’m pretty sure that black educational and economic outcomes may not have caught up to whites(and may not ever), but that they’re a lot better than in the fifties.

A lot of this is due to declining standards to help them 'do better'. Everyone else pays that price.

I don’t think this is true. I’m pretty sure that black educational and economic outcomes may not have caught up to whites(and may not ever), but that they’re a lot better than in the fifties.

They are not appreciably better relative to white outcomes, which is the standard the champions of the Civil Rights era applied then and the standards their descendants apply now when they declare our outcomes to be unacceptable. I would happily agree with you that this is not the standard we should be using, if there were a way to consistently enforce some other standard in consensus discussions. There isn't one.