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It's unclear to me why you would make such an accusation without bringing any examples of what uninformed things about non-white non-Western ciswomen are supposedly said on LessWrong.


The phrase "I don't see people in terms of race" is such an example. 


I don't have any stats on this, but while I wouldn't be surprised that groups considered the default say this (e.g. white, western males in the west), this seems less asymmetrical in principle in some other situations (e.g. I could see in principle a non-western non-white person being the majority in their majority non-western non-white country saying something similar if they've only lived with people of one so-called "race", under popular definitions, in their life).

When you mentioned "uninformed things about non-white non-Western ciswomen", my imagination ran towards a group of homogenous (white, western male) people who sit around and bring up "hey, I heard group X (of non-white, non-western, ciswomen) have these (insert imagined bizarre rituals and habits), I heard from (source)" "Yeah, I heard that too (from other source)", "My mom told me (insert same stereotype) is true when I was 5" or something.

Then, a newcomer (or two, or three or a bunch) from group X joins in the conversation and say "no, I (or we all) have firsthand knowledge of growing up in X society, and that is totally unlike what you described. There is no bizarre ritual like that, or perhaps it's a garbled description of something real that's exaggerated." Had the newcomers not joined, the old-timers would not have been able to shed their misconception and update their knowledge (in the charitable case that it was a genuine example of misinformation and not malicious hatred of outgroup, though with conflict theory that's always possible still).

It's the premature transhumanist idea that "whether you are an  doesn't matter". A world without racism would be nice. But we live in a world with racism. Therefore pretending race doesn't matter exacerbates racial inequity and brings us further away from actually bringing about a transhumanist utopia.

To be charitable, in many types of human conversation, statements that sound like mere descriptions of people or society ("this is not who we are as a nation", "adults don't act like children", "in life, friends are more important than money") are frequently shorthand for normative ones ("I think our nation shouldn't act that way", "I think adults shouldn't act the way I perceive is childish", "people should value friendship in their lives much beyond mere economic transaction"), to the point where even people with the best of intentions don't realize they're conflating the usages. I think rationalists generally try to avoid this but even so it's still possible to slip up and intend a normative statement when you use a descriptive one.

I would distinguish between someone saying "x doesn't matter" as a sincere belief that  "x shouldn't matter" vs. "x doesn't matter" as a cop-out or denial, even cover-up of situations where x mattering is unsavory to them and they wish to pretend things are hunky-dory.

I feel like the latter tarnished the reputation of the former.

I don't know if this is the best analogy, but thinking on the fly, I can imagine someone saying "your personal happiness is more important than what people think" to justify being a jerk (after all, who cares what others think if I do something to piss them off) or "material things in life are overrated, the best things in life are free" as justification to not help the poor or solve inequality (after all, material things won't make them happier, look the poor can learn to be satisfied living with what they have already have) all the while benefitting from material prosperity itself. That doesn't mean the principles themselves don't have any (or some reasonable) amount of goodness, even if people use them for nasty justifications.

This seems pretty tough because humans easily form associations with negative events, relative to positive events (for instance, refusal to visit a place ever again that they were robbed in, or eat a food that made them terribly sick, even if later on they intellectually realize it was a chance thing). 

I wonder if more positive encounters would help gradually change the bias, also for your own well-being (for example, having experiences where you were helped by, or have friendly relations with people who happen to be black, and overall being further exposed to that variability in all traits good and bad existing across humanity regardless of race).

But then again, not having been through the same situation (and not knowing if I would develop the same response, or if most people in general would, of having feelings of a certain way towards a group because of a given number of negative encounters), I'll refrain from too much theoretical postulating.

The phrase keep your identity small is a good thing to tell yourself when your identity is trivial and superficial. It is a harmful, insensitive thing to tell a discriminated-against minority when you are a member of the majority.


I think the ideal would be the majority (or the powerful, capable of doing the discriminating) keeps their identity small AND the minority (or the less powerful, the target of the discriminating) keeps their identity small (without said discrimination, there then would be lowered need for defensive identity-forming). Thus, making people super individualistic.

After all in some sense, it's because the majority doesn't keep their identity small but enlarges it to be the normative "norm" that the minority suffers. It's those who don't realize they're not keeping their identity small at all (seeing oneself as default is not humility or keeping one's identity small). If the minority's traits were seen as just as neutral (neither more good or more bad than the majority's) just as the majority's traits were neutral, there wouldn't be a problem with either one's identity being kept small or large.

But absent that, it's riskier for groups targeted based on some identity to keep their identity small I agree. I think a lot of the problem with the whole identity discourse is people fail to distinguish between voluntary vs. involuntary identities (glossing over problems with wording like "self-identify as"). Voluntary identities you can keep large or small based on your own will. Involuntary ones forced upon you force you to be reactive.

but outside of these exceptional cases of misassignment, using these expressions gives the impression the assignation is incorrectly made way more often than it in fact is.


I see what you mean, but perhaps to be charitable (if not pedantic), I feel like the term "assigned" doesn't necessarily tell you about accuracy, reliability (or perhaps goodness) of an assignment. For example, if I hear someone say "the policy-maker assigned a high economic value to X" or "the scientist assigned a high probability to the chance of a drought", I wouldn't think absent more info, that it was likely correct or incorrect, just that someone was reporting someone else's judgement. 

I don't know about the majority, but I can say for at least a few, when they say "I don't see people in terms of race", they're being literal, not metaphoric. I was like this until my late teen years, when it changed, in a bad way -- which I can detail if there's interest. But the point is, until that moment I really couldn't see race, at all. I evidently noticed people had different skin colors, hair types, and eye shapes, but this didn't register with me as significant in any way, shape or form, concrete or abstract.


I can totally relate to this description and experience. I think the term "not seeing race/being colorblind" is a bit confusing in a literal sense, even if not disingenously used, because it sounds like its literally talking about not noticing the traits when it's often meant about not treating the traits as deep meaningful aspects of human being or having (insert stereotypes, associations, connotations) triggered by observing said traits, if used positively/non-pejoratively. Or if used negatively/pejoratively these days (when talking about "colorblindness" being covertly actually "racist"), it's about denial of having said (insert stereotypes, associations, connotations) triggered by observing said traits, but pretending otherwise. 

When I was young, I too noticed the physical variability of people but did not see the social categories that came bundled with it (I still remember as a kid literally describing people by skin tone or eye color, like "he's darker than me in skin" or "her hair's curlier than his" if asked, but not having learned the social stereotypes as in I would never have associated that curly-haired dark skinned people listen to one type of music that light-skinned, straight-haired ones don't). I also never really connected culture with physical appearance/ancestry in a way that people who care a lot about cultural authenticity/appropriation today do (for instance, my priors were that anyone could speak any language, learn any skill, eat any food etc. so I never picked up why people acted surprised for instance when say a black person spoke with a Scottish accent, or say a white person ate Chinese food more often than his Asian neighbor, until later in my life).

This also changed for me (in my early to mid teens, rather than late teens as you mentioned for your case). I would indeed be interested in your mention of this sort of thing having "changed in a bad way". I also don't recall the exact details, but the "loss of colorblindness/lack of racial consciousness" for me seemed to grow out of being gradually more and more aware and socially conscious about what others around me thought and judged/stereotyped about others. I learned to pick up said stereotypes, perhaps becoming more socially savvy and accultured to normal adult life (I also didn't like that and in hindsight would have liked the, perhaps, naively blissful "unaware of racial stereotypes" phase, but I realize it wouldn't last). 

I suppose that's why people disdain  teaching"colorblindness"... trying to make naivity about social categories extend for as long as possible isn't going to last if these social categories are treated as super significant all around you, better to learn them quickly and counter the ways these social categories impact people negatively (still, I feel some part of me longs for the idealized "not noticing race as significant" phase, and hope that even if "colorblindess" is negative in that solving race-related problems involve noticing social categories and putting super strong emphasis on them, I hope that's instrumental and in some ways, is meant to lead to a world where we do get into a closer-to "colorblind" end state in the previously thought of as positive way, rather than the "fake" colorblindness of not noticing racial problems). 

I only know of children and elderly people not eating the crust because it's harder to chew.


Interesting explanation, but does that hold for other foods -- do kids/adults that don't enjoy the crust because it's harder tend to also dislike other difficult-to-chew foods? Anything from jerky to raw vegetables? And those that do enjoy it, enjoy chewing other harder foods?

Clearly, there are lots of crunchy/chewy foods kids are willing to eat or at least are not stereotyped as off-putting the way bread crusts are for kids.

It'd be interesting to tease apart what is causing the dislike -- is it really texture, or taste or something else?

When I try to look up the question of why kids (often) don't like crusts, there is the occasional person that frames it as an "American" thing. Other disagree pointing out Brits, Europeans etc. also feel this way.

But is there any evidence that this varies by country, culture or nationality? If so why might this be -- differences in type of bread/baking styles?

I'm not sure if outside (ha!) the "rationalist sphere", other people have independently invented the phrase "outside view" or not but I feel there's some spillover of the term "outside view" with similarity to "outsiders' view" which I think is common enough in layperson speak.

An outsider's view (or third party view, attempt to be objective and look "outside" your current situation as an "other") as conceived of in daily life does have elements that are pointed at in this post for popular interpretations of outside view ("Bias correction, in others or in oneself", "Deference to wisdom of the many"). 

But it also could heavily involve the original meaning described and clarified in this post too of "Reference class forecasting" if outsiders can offer broader views by adding to the reference class

For example in an argument when two people are fighting over (thing) say a married couple bickering or two friends whose relations have soured due to some problem, the two parties with vested interests may think their struggle is unique and particular, but a neutral third party or outsider can often (though not necessarily) have a better, objective view because they've also seen enough different fights over (thing) that the two involved have not seen before. 

In particular, "boldness" and "daring" seem to me as if they have very little to do with nonconformity

So, for instance, you could be bold and risk-taking but doing so because you want to live up to a norm (or are heavily driven by chasing an ideal that's "conventional")? 

For instance, a manly warrior taking risks to show off his manliness or lack of cowardice, or desire to fill the warrior role in his tribe. Would that count? 

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