"Malaysia Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad and the Sultan of Johor are seen in a blue Proton Saga... "When asked whether there is any tension with the sultan, Dr Mahathir said: “No, I don’t see anything because I went to see him and he drove me to the airport. I don’t want to comment on the sultans because if I say anything that is not good then it’s not nice because he is the sultan”"

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Monday, March 08, 2010

"People demand freedom of speech as a compensation for the freedom of thought which they seldom use." - Soren Kierkegaard


For some reason, it seems that I've interacted with more people who think a single counter-example is enough to prove a generalisation or stereotype wrong (in other words, those who confuse the concepts of range and mean [or, perhaps, confidence intervals]) than people who think that stereotypes always hold.

Given how much people talk about the importance of combating stereotypes, perhaps this reveals that the oft-mentioned person who cannot think beyond stereotypes is a classic bogeyman, in the vein of the proverbial "Ah Pu Neh Neh".

Perhaps this is because the people I interact with on such issues are those who have a higher level of education, but then this would be proof that "education is a method whereby one acquires a higher grade of prejudices".

In any case, at the root of both attitudes is a poverty of statistical reasoning.

Or perhaps just prejudices interfering with what one should already know; it is revealing that the same logic does not apply in reverse - for example, that a Black Man can become the President of the United States means that you can't say that White Privilege exists in the US.

B: I dont classify this issue [of hiring women for sales jobs] under discrimination. If not, I can also say that hiring pretty girls for front line services is not only discrimination towards males BUT towards ugly girls too! =)

If you are selling feminine products, it is wiser to hire hot guys.
Likewise, if you are selling gadgets and cars, it is only natural to hire sexy young girls.

Never will car companies dare hire old ladies or overweight, unfit girls to promote their latest vehicles during a car show right?
Unless if the car show is supposed to be a public joke!

A: Maybe it is discrimination but that we are simply ignoring it? After all no one likes to look upon themselves in a bad light. When blacks were still slaves in America, no one wanted to think it was discrimination because majority felt it was right to enslave the blacks. Majority has always ruled society after all. Might and safety in numbers.

Noelle-Nueman's Spiral of Silence theory could apply not just to minorities but maybe in this scenario as well don't you think? It seems fine to portray beautiful people on the front line and indirectly discriminate against less appealing people and no one wants to speak out against it.

B: But I think a lot more people will speak out if the front line is largely dominated by fat, ugly or even toothless people! LOL!

The reason, why nobody speaks out when portraying beautiful people on the front line indirectly discriminates against less appealing people, is not because of spiral of silence but because people like it.

A: You misunderstand me. I was refering to the "fat, ugly or even toothless" people who don't speak out. In this case, they constitute the "minority" section of the the Spiral's theory.

Me: We discriminate against the lazy and the stupid all the time

A: You uncharacteristic lack of support is disturbing. In addition to that, you make assumptous, sweeping statements that does not hold as much water as you seem to believe they do.

Me: I thought it would be obvious that we discriminate against the lazy and the stupid all the time.

There's something to be said about universal skepticism as a method for finding truth, but if you apply it in everyday life we'll never get anything done.

Do you want me to support the assertion that Singapore is hot and humid as well, or will you again accuse me of making assumptous (sic), sweeping statements that does (sic) not hold as much water as I seem to believe they do?

A: It is clear and undeniable that Singapore is hot and humid, it is however, not clear that everyone discriminates against the lazy and stupid. Just because you don't know anyone who does not discriminate against them, doesn't mean everyone is the same.

Me: *facepalm*

Next you'll be saying that the US Declaration of Independence is invalid, because not everyone in the Thirteen Colonies held it to be "self-evident" that "all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness".

B: Hi there [A],

When you are using Noelle-Nueman's Spiral of Silence effect as an explanation, you must understand that the "minorities", that is mentioned in Noelle-Nueman's Spiral of Silence, refers to the smaller population who holds the controversial opinion. The "minorities" does not necessarily mean the "victims" in the topic, that is being discussed. The "fat, ugly or even toothless" people are just the objects (and also victims in this case) of this discussion. They do not necessarily have to be the "minorities". =)

In fact,  the "fat, ugly or even toothless" people in this society should be the MAJORITY because not every girl is borned a sexy car-show model!

When you want to use Noelle-Nueman's Spiral of Silence effect in here, you must understand that the "minorities" can be any random person (the sexy, ugly, pretty, beautiful, thin, fat, etc.) who is out to advocate that "Car-show can hire FAT chicks".

So, do your research properly. LOL
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