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Thread: Gender and Race // Should they be viewed the same?

  1. #1

    Default Gender and Race // Should they be viewed the same?

    I'm actually curious as to how people view this. Aside from the tiny percentage of people who are trans - people cannot choose their race or their gender. Is it fair to be treated differently for that reason? And can we say that treating someone differently based on gender is the same as treating someone differently based on race? Let's look at some real world examples.

    Roommate listings. You will frequently find listings that discrimination based on gender. Should they be viewed the same as a roommate listing with racial requirement? The argument of course is safety/comfort of the individual, the simile reality is that men are more likely to assault a woman. But is it appropriate to discriminate against an individual based on something they had zero control over?

    Insurance. Men in many countries pay a premium for their auto insurance coverage. Is this fair? And if it is, would it be the same to add a racial component? And if we treat auto insurance that way should we also treat health insurance in a similar manner? (Let's not derail into health insurance discussion, this is just an example).

    Employment - when my wife has to get patted down at the airport it is always a woman who does it. That's just the policy and procedure in place from what I understand. This makes sense on a societal level but is it really different than a passenger not wanting a specific race doing the pat down? I absolutely see the difference but at its core it really isn't defensible.

    Now I do want to be clear. Racism in all its forms is pretty fucked up. The idea that someone should have group stereotypes thrust onto them as an individual is bull shit. People are not responsible or hold any culpability for the actions of other people of the same skin color and I would argue that applies to gender just as much. But I see some inherent hypocrisy in the idea of treating all men (or all women) differently based on the stereotypical behavior of the gender. I don't see how someone can be opposed to one form of discrimination of an inherent characteristic and turn around and say its OK to do it for another.

    As an aside things that people *choose* to do are different. Their profession, their religion, their political party. While its always dangerous to paint with too broad of a brush those factors at least are within someone's control.

  2. #2
    Treating men and woman differently isn't just about the stereotypical behaviour of men vs women. The women in my life who know me well enough to know that I would not assault them would still not be comfortable with me giving them a pat down or getting changed in front of me, and nor would I be comfortable with it since there is a sexual context in those actions which is a) not appropriate for the type of relationship we have, e.g friends or co-workers and b) not present when it is two people of the same gender.

    As for insurance companies, no it isn't fair and I would not put it past most insurance companies to sneak in some kind of racial factor in their calculations if they thought they could get away with it and it would make them money.
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  3. #3
    Quote Originally Posted by Steely Glint View Post
    Treating men and woman differently isn't just about the stereotypical behaviour of men vs women. The women in my life who know me well enough to know that I would not assault them would still not be comfortable with me giving them a pat down or getting changed in front of me, and nor would I be comfortable with it since there is a sexual context in those actions which is a) not appropriate for the type of relationship we have, e.g friends or co-workers and b) not present when it is two people of the same gender.
    Does this change at all with more openly gay people in society?

  4. #4
    Well, the topic is moot because you're using the wrong terms and I know you can't keep the concepts distinct enough to let that just be a replace and restate. Gender is a social and cultural construct. It is fluid and you can choose it, though you may be nonconformist in doing so. Genetic sexual identity (commonly referred to as just sex vis a vis gender) cannot be chosen, though its physical expressions can be hidden or subverted to an extent. What trans people are trying to do is bring their sex in line with their perceived or chosen gender identity within a heteronormative context.
    Last night as I lay in bed, looking up at the stars, I thought, “Where the hell is my ceiling?"

  5. #5
    Quote Originally Posted by LittleFuzzy View Post
    Well, the topic is moot because you're using the wrong terms and I know you can't keep the concepts distinct enough to let that just be a replace and restate. Gender is a social and cultural construct. It is fluid and you can choose it, though you may be nonconformist in doing so. Genetic sexual identity (commonly referred to as just sex vis a vis gender) cannot be chosen, though its physical expressions can be hidden or subverted to an extent. What trans people are trying to do is bring their sex in line with their perceived or chosen gender identity within a heteronormative context.
    "Aside from the tiny percentage of people who are trans - people cannot choose their race or their gender."

    Just making the discussion less complicated than it needs to be. The point is should you treat people differently due to factors they literally cannot control like race and gender. And if racism is wrong (and it is) because it is discrimination based on something outside of one's control should that same logic follow through with gender?

  6. #6
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    I noticed that too. Gender to me seems to have relatively little bearing on the questions you ask. What is much more relevant is the assumption of a sexual component being unavoidable in the interactions of people of the opposite sex.

    And yes, there is a difference between a straight man being padded down by a man or a gay man being padded down by a man. Not to mention the fact that the man doing the padding could be either straight or gay.

    I have had times at airports that I was tempted to say 'you could at least have offered me a beer before you did that'
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  7. #7
    Quote Originally Posted by Hazir View Post
    I noticed that too. Gender to me seems to have relatively little bearing on the questions you ask. What is much more relevant is the assumption of a sexual component being unavoidable in the interactions of people of the opposite sex.
    How is that a fair assumption? For example the roommate situation, plenty of people are roommates without any form of sexual component being in the mix.

  8. #8
    Quote Originally Posted by Lewkowski View Post
    "Aside from the tiny percentage of people who are trans - people cannot choose their race or their gender."

    Just making the discussion less complicated than it needs to be. The point is should you treat people differently due to factors they literally cannot control like race and gender. And if racism is wrong (and it is) because it is discrimination based on something outside of one's control should that same logic follow through with gender?
    But you're not talking about gender. You're talking about sex identity. Gender is more or less a fiction.
    Last night as I lay in bed, looking up at the stars, I thought, “Where the hell is my ceiling?"

  9. #9
    Quote Originally Posted by LittleFuzzy View Post
    But you're not talking about gender. You're talking about sex identity. Gender is more or less a fiction.
    Whatever you want to call it. Is discrimination based on sex identity about as bad as discrimination based on race?

  10. #10
    Quote Originally Posted by Lewkowski View Post
    Whatever you want to call it. Is discrimination based on sex identity about as bad as discrimination based on race?
    Yes. But sensible people (which you are not) recognize that when people talk about discrimination they are talking about iniquitious discrimination and not referring to literally every example of making a distinction between two groups based on a certain characteristic or set of characteristics. Discrimination on those characteristics even when they have little to no bearing on the matter at hand. Something which you clearly ignore in your sample scenarios.
    Last night as I lay in bed, looking up at the stars, I thought, “Where the hell is my ceiling?"

  11. #11
    Quote Originally Posted by LittleFuzzy View Post
    Yes. But sensible people (which you are not) recognize that when people talk about discrimination they are talking about iniquitious discrimination and not referring to literally every example of making a distinction between two groups based on a certain characteristic or set of characteristics. Discrimination on those characteristics even when they have little to no bearing on the matter at hand. Something which you clearly ignore in your sample scenarios.
    So do you feel an apartment roommate listing saying "women only" is something morally offensive like an apartment listing that says "Asians only" ? Let's get down to brass tacks what real world examples of gender discrimination are and are not acceptable to you?

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lewkowski View Post
    How is that a fair assumption? For example the roommate situation, plenty of people are roommates without any form of sexual component being in the mix.
    No, it is not fair. But the prejudices are ancient and strong because they imply sexuality. The question if a man and woman can be friends will despite your efforts not be equal to the question if a Black person and a South Asian person can be friends.

    To ignore that is believing science fiction is an accurate description of the world today.
    Greece shows us that there is a kind of politician worse than the ones that break their election promises; the ones that keep their election promises.

  13. #13
    Quote Originally Posted by Hazir View Post
    No, it is not fair. But the prejudices are ancient and strong because they imply sexuality. The question if a man and woman can be friends will despite your efforts not be equal to the question if a Black person and a South Asian person can be friends.

    To ignore that is believing science fiction is an accurate description of the world today.
    So is your argument then that if the prejudice is ancient and strong we shouldn't have legislation against it?

  14. #14
    Lewk, I'm never quite sure if you really want to discuss an issue or you're just trolling, and your mixed up terminology makes it that much harder.

    Some 'real world' examples of sex discrimination would be refusing to hire or promote in the workplace, or limit access to certain fields of education. Advertising for female-only roommates is not the same thing, as explained above, and it's definitely NOT the same as advertising for Asian-only roommates. However, if a landlord advertised for Asian-only tenants, that would be violating fair housing laws. And if a mortgage company gave Asian-only loans, that would violate fair lending laws.

    The reason insurers give for charging higher premiums for driving males (especially ages 16-25) is because statistics show they have higher rates of speeding and accidents. Is it 'fair' to group men that way, and presume they all pose the same risk? No. But it's also used as a deterrent to impulsive behavior and reckless driving, or so they say. Insurers also give lower rates to those who take certified driving courses, or spend a year as a student driver with an adult in the car. But then are they 'discriminating' in favor of people who can afford those things, and against the working 18 yr old male who needs to drive to work?

    Health insurance is an entirely different set of behaviors and stats, of course you know that. But it's not like higher premiums (based on sex) would actually work as a deterrent like car insurance does. In fact, it has the opposite effect of keeping (women) from seeking normal (reproductive) care, and leads to higher overall costs. It's a backward cost/benefit analysis.

    Not trying to 'derail' this, but the insurance industry has a long history of not just practicing racial and sexual discrimination, but encouraging it. They claim it's just using data and stats for their profit model (nothing nefarious since red-lining was outlawed, right?) And since you work in the insurance industry, it's no wonder you approach the world from that angle, and conflate so many things

  15. #15
    Quote Originally Posted by Lewkowski View Post
    snip
    As an aside things that people *choose* to do are different. Their profession, their religion, their political party. While its always dangerous to paint with too broad of a brush those factors at least are within someone's control.
    If those *choices* have constitutional protections, shouldn't sex and race have the same?

    Do you think it's acceptable (non-discriminatory) to ban transgender people from serving in the military?

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