jsteinhardt

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EA Debate Championship & Lecture Series

I just don't think this is very relevant to whether outreach to debaters is good. A better metric would be to look at life outcomes of top debaters in high school. I don't have hard statistics on this but the two very successful debaters I know personally are both now researchers at the top of their respective fields, and certainly well above average in truth-seeking.

I also think the above arguments are common tropes in the "maths vs fuzzies" culture war, and given EA's current dispositions I suspect we're systematically more likely to hear and be receptive to anti-debate than to pro-debate talking points. (I say this as someone who loved to hate on debate in high school, especially as it was one of the main competitors with math team for recruiting smart students. But with hindsight from seeing my classmates' life outcomes I think most of the arguments I made were overrated.)

Please stand with the Asian diaspora

Thanks, and sorry for not responding to this earlier (was on vacation at the time). I really appreciated this and agree with willbradshaw's comment below :).

Please stand with the Asian diaspora

I think we just disagree about what a downvote means, but I'm not really that excited to argue about something that meta :).

As another data point, I appreciated Dicentra's comment elsewhere in the thread. I haven't decided whether I agree with it, but I thought it demonstrated empathy for all sides of a difficult issue even while disagreeing with the OP, and articulated an important perspective.

Please stand with the Asian diaspora

I think your characterization of my thought process is completely false for what it's worth. I went out of my way multiple times to say that I was not expressing disapproval of Dale's comment.

Edit: Maybe it's helpful for me to clarify that I think it's both good for Dale to write his comment, and for Khorton to write hers.

Please stand with the Asian diaspora

I didn't downvote Dale, nor do I wish to express social disapproval of his post (I worry that the length of this thread might lead Dale to feel otherwise, so I want to be explicit that I don't feel that way).

To your question, if I were writing a post similar to Dale, what I would do differently is be more careful to make sure I was responding to the actual content of the post. The OP asked people to support Asian community members who were upset, while at least the last paragraph of Dale's post seemed to assume that OP was arguing that we should be searching for ways to reduce violence against Asians. Whenever I engage on an emotionally charged topic I re-read the original post and my draft response to make sure that I actually understood the original post's argument, and I think this is good practice.

Another mistake I think Dale's post makes is assuming that whether the Atlanta attacks are racially motivated is a crux for most people's emotional response. I think Dale's claim may well be correct (I could see both arguments), but the larger context is a significant increase in violent incidents against Asians, at least some of which seem obviously racially motivated (the increase is also larger than other races). These have taken a constant emotional toll on Asians for a while now, and the particular Atlanta shootings are simply the first instance where it actually penetrated the broader public consciousness.

I can't think of an easy-to-implement rule that would avoid this mistake. The best would be "try harder to think from the perspective of the listener", but this is of course very difficult especially when there is a large gap in experience between the speaker and the listener. If I were trying super-hard I would run the post by an Asian friend to see if they felt like it engaged with the key arguments, but I think it would be unreasonable to expect, or expend, that level of effort for forum comments.

Again, I think people make communication mistakes like this all the time and do not find them particularly blameworthy and would normally not bother to comment on them. I am only pointing them out in detail because you asked me to.

Please stand with the Asian diaspora

I think it's good for people to point out ways that criticism can be phrased more sympathetically, and even aligned with your goal of encouraging more critical discussion (which I am also in favor of). As someone who often gives criticism, sometimes unpopular criticism, I both appreciate when people point out ways I could phrase it better but also strongly desire people to be forgiving when I fail to do so. If no one took the time to point these out to me, I would be less capable of offering effective criticism.

Along these lines, my guess is that you and Khorton are interpreting downvotes differently? I didn't take Khorton's downvote to be claiming "You should not be posting this on the forum" but instead "Next time you post something like this I wish you'd spend a bit more effort exercising empathy". And if Dale totally ignores this advice, the penalty is... mild social disapproval from Khorton and lots of upvotes from other people, as far as I can tell.

Please stand with the Asian diaspora

They being Laaunch? I agree they do a lot of different things. Hate is a Virus seemed to be doing even more scattered things, some of which didn't make sense to me. Everything Laaunch was doing seemed at least plausibly reasonable to me, and some, like the studies and movement-building, seemed pretty exciting.

 

My guess is that even within Asian advocacy, Laaunch is not going to look as mission-focused and impact-driven as say AMF. But my guess is no such organization exists--it's a niche cause compared to global poverty, so there's less professionalization--though I wouldn't be surprised if I found a better organization with more searching. I'm definitely in the market for that if you have ideas.

Please stand with the Asian diaspora

Thanks. I'm currently planning to donate to Laaunch as they seem the most disciplined and organized of the groups. I couldn't actually tell what Hate is a Virus wants to do from their website--for instance a lot of it seems to be about getting Asians to advocate for other racial minorities, but I'm specifically looking for something that will help Asians. Laaunch seems more focused on this while still trying to build alliances with other racial advocacy groups.

Please stand with the Asian diaspora

For me personally, it's symbolically important to make some sort of donation as a form of solidarity. It's not coming out of my EA budget, but I'd still rather spend the money as effectively as possible. It seems to me that practicing the virtue of effective spending in one domain will only help in other domains.

Please stand with the Asian diaspora

I think one concrete action people could take is to try to listen to the experiences of their Asian friends and colleagues. There is a lot of discrimination that isn't violence. Understanding and solidarity can go a long way, and can also prevent reduce discrimination.

For Chinese immigrants in particular there are also a lot of issues related to immigration and to U.S.-China tensions.

Neither of these is directly related to the Atlanta shootings, but I think it can be a good symbolic moment to better understand others, especially since discrimination against Asians is often ignored (indeed, my experience is that even when I bring it up with people it tends to get brushed aside).

Incidentally, I think we obsess too much over the particular question of whether the Atlanta shooting is a hate crime or was racially motivated. My personal views at least do not really hinge on this--I think we have much better evidence both on the increase in crime directed at Asians, and the ongoing discrimination faced by Asians, than this particular instance.

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