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Everything is a Generalization

March 6, 2012

Generalizations are innocent. “Dogs have four legs” is only a generalization—after all, there are some amputee dogs. And so what? But when generalizations begin “women…” or “Asians…” then people will say “oh, that’s such a generalization” like it’s some kind of criticism. But nobody could possesses knowledge only of particulars. When people complain about generalizations (or stereotypes or whatever), they are simply announcing their unwillingness to learn about the subject at hand.

Again, When you say “it’s wrong to hit women,” people don’t say, “what if she habitually inflicts emotional abuse on her child and that’s the only way her husband can get her to stop?” But if you say “divorce is wrong, people say, “what if a woman’s husband beats her and is going to kill her?” Which generalizations a person fusses over tells you something about their values.

As a rule, there are always exceptions.

3 Comments leave one →
  1. March 6, 2012 4:44 pm

    Yeah, while people may find generalizations obnoxious, they find it so because the generalization offends their ideology, not because they actually have a problem with generalization.

    It is indeed an attempt to prevent learning – everything is problematized into a meaningless sludge about which nothing can be said. That is to say,

    But it’s worse than that, because it’s used as a weapon against certain ideas, ie. civilization, history, science, etc. – basically the things that give westerners confidence in their own society. But do you think they’ll ever problematize away concepts like racism, white privilege, etc? And their opponents, not sharing their pendantry, are unlikely to do it.

  2. March 8, 2012 3:54 pm

    When a comic makes generalizations about his people, they laugh and aren’t offended. When another race makes the same generalizations, its racism. Really?

  3. April 23, 2012 10:13 am

    Spot on.

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