Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Excuses Excuses

WASH: Well, I'm not sure now is the best time to bring a tiny little helpless person into our lives.

ZOE: That excuse is getting a little worn, honey.

WASH: It's not an excuse, dear. It's objective assessment. I can't help it if it stays relevant.

I think of this quote whenever I come across social scientists (not always conservatives) who are exasperated by critiques of their work that center around the continued presence of racism. From their perspective, it's easy to see why it'd get a little old. It's really hard to control for racism when the hypothesis is that it's an ingrained, structural part of our everyday existence. Sheer professional sanity makes one want to buy into the conservative mythos that racism can externalized to "times past", if only so that one can put together a viable control group.

From our perspective, of course, "racism" isn't an excuse, it's an objective assessment. And it's not our fault that the criticism remains relevant over time.

(This post is sparked by nothing but the desire to put a Firefly quote up on my blog).


Cycle Cyril said...

I'm impressed by the Firefly quote.

But don't you think that the overall political theme of the show is a little too libertarian for you?

David Schraub said...

It's really a little more too anarcho-communist for me, politically (shares the distaste for government, but I didn't realize armed robbery was suddenly a libertarian value).

Cycle Cyril said...

Robbery is not a political philosophy. (Though my father would have said that many a political system is nothing but organized robbery.) Neither is anarchy which degenerates into despotism.

But I viewed the show to be, on a political plane, a conflict between a statist system versus a more individualistic system.