Constructive dialogue about race and inclusivity and forum moderation

Thanks for the comments @Peter_C, appreciate the thoughtfulness and arguments respectfully made.

@tommo yes I will split this into a new topic, agree we’re indeed getting way off track from the OP.

@JonJon Troy above touched on the broader context of YouTube comments we get often on the Li-sa-X video that play into stereotypes. We do see lots of comments to the effect of “haha there’s always an Asian who can do it better” or similar ‘jokes’ that seem to come at the expense of reducing someone to their race. Again, not assuming ill intent with your initial comments, just some background on why we’d rather not even bring race into the picture if it’s not relevant, and why we may seem touchy on this.

I’ll add some comments from my own perspective…recognizing the can of worms has already been opened and hoping we can continue to learn from each other.

We (Americans) live in a culture with deep roots in both patriarchy and white supremacy. That’s historical fact and it extends to our present-day reality. Not particularly comfortable to confront that, but I think it’s important to do so. This does not mean you or I or any given individual white guy is evil. It doesn’t even mean men in general, or white people in general, are to blame for everything.

It does however mean being honest about the ugly parts of our society, e.g. a history of privileging white lives over black and brown ones, denying women rights, and so on, so that we can collectively work to improve things. As a white guy myself I don’t find it ‘anti-white’ or ‘anti-male’ to acknowledge that structures with white men at the top have been at the root of a lot of bad shit, historically speaking.

There’s a lot to learn about this kind of systemic injustice / power imbalance that we (white guys) aren’t necessarily aware of, whether because we didn’t learn about it in school, or it’s not a part of our lived experience, or both. From redlining to police brutality to the prison industrial complex.

Personally I am privileged in a lot of different ways. This includes white privilege, which all white people benefit from to a degree, plus various other things like being straight, able-bodied, etc. I recognize it’s also true that everyone’s experience is unique and that talking only in broadest demographic terms leaves out a lot of nuance.

There’s similar nuance with e.g. stereotypes about Asians; for example that of the ‘model minority’, where even seemingly positive stereotypes have sometimes been used harmfully, like in the context of comparing racial achievement gaps in this country. Anyway I think it’s important that we do our best to learn both from history and each other’s personal experiences…that can be hard to do on the internet but I’m glad we’re trying. I think there’s value in talking about this stuff and appreciate that we’re able to have the conversation.


Apologies for the misunderstanding :slight_smile: I was clear that discrimination is wrong on all accounts- but history, even recently didn’t really see eye to eye with us on that :slight_smile:

But it’s a little unfair to paraphrase my argument like that because the comparison is for inter-groups, not an individual vs. a certain subset of people. This distinction is important because you are right on principle that discrimination (disrespect) is discrimination no matter the time and place, with a big if and emphasis on “time and place.”

And most of human history has raised a big question on time and place. To put it in other words, the day we equate “white trash cracker” to “there once was a big black guy named N***** Jim” is the day I truly can say humanity has moved on, but that’s not objectively true even today. Both discrimination on some absolute scale but the historical weight behind the words is beyond comparison- that’s where this relative aspect comes from.

Yeah, i’ve never been black or “Asian” but neither have blacks or Asians ever been white.

And hence the relativity above prevents anyone with a knowledge of the ugly sides of history can never normalize. I cannot blame you thinking in such and such based on your anecdotes, but anecdotes in far greater scope and numbers and scale have occurred in history that for example, in america alone, black people would have gladly traded places for a good 100 years or more, a good 1000 years or more outside america, with extremely few white men willing to trade spots in that same exact time frame. That’s why the comparison matters. Your experience and views are completely valid and justified but likewise you cannot complain that a great majority thinks this way because these “anecdotes” were actually very representative of the status quo. The comparison breaks down because an anecdote does not revise, erase, nor contradict history, regardless of whose anecdote it is.

The “racism” or stereotyping that ive seen aimed at Asians is generally positive lol. People joke about how smart ya’ll are or how you are all doctors etc.

And this is only positive because one has chosen it to interpret it that way- in no way is this stereotyping warranted because it is associated with doctors or other high-paying jobs or dexterity in some particular activity. It’s not even a generally accurate view of Asians in Asia or Asians in America. That’s the whole point; that a stereotype is not excused because of how positive it is. One step further and the label becomes a soul-less unoriginal note-for-note nerd. That’s the other side of the coin.

I hope you can at least understand where I am coming from.

Also I don’t think you were guilty as soon as you were born, but oddly enough the religion you say you are part of has a big say in that :slight_smile: Again, just a humorous and light-hearted comment :slight_smile:

So it seems it would be a bit hard to hang the “racist” or “white supremacist” tag on me…

You’d be absolutely right and I’d be the last to say that about you :slight_smile:

If I feel victimized its “uncorroborated”.

This is what I struggle to understand- a person open-minded such as yourself would burden yourself to fixing something you yourself had no fault in; I say it’s largely uncorroborated simply because it is by precedent not because “you felt it.” Again, it is the lack of general evidence (to the extent it applies to other select groups for example) which is the indicator, not that the fact that it was said by you :slight_smile:

At over 50 years old with over 30 years of guitar struggles, ex military, one who has lived in a foreign country for several years (Greece), one who has dated interracially, one who has competed in probably 10 different activities, one who has (attempted to) run his own businesses, it would almost seem like i’d be seen as someone who’s opinions and perspectives would be welcomed

And you are anything but :slight_smile: You have my total respect for the person you are. For how different we may be ideologically somehow I find a lot in common in your life experiences- I find for myself it’s very easy to fall into a trap that I am somehow free from prejudice but the reality is that it’s still very much a WIP and everything I wrote in this thread is directed to you just as it applies to me.


Ok, I said I would back away but I keep feeling bad about how things turned out. In case that wasn’t clear enough from my behaviour on the forum I don’t enjoy conflict*

My post that opened the can of worms was probably poorly phrased (which interestingly is also my main problem when recording guitar). I did not want to label @acecrusher and @JonJon as “offensive”, if I ended up doing that I apologise, particularly if I made you feel frustrated and/or that you are not welcome in the forum.
That would achieve pretty much the opposite of what I was trying to do - i.e. say something useful about inclusivity with the aim of making the forum welcoming to everyone. Luckily I think @Peter_C has done a much better job at that.

To clarify once more, I don’t think any of the posts were malicious!

I hope it can be useful to share a bit of my background: I teach maths/physics at a UK university and have done quite a lot of training on inclusivity/diversity. These courses made me more sensitive to issues I never thought existed. For example, Physics is still widely perceived as a “mostly male thing”. If I start a lecture with something as innocent as “Hi guys”, I may make some women in the audience feel excluded / feel like my lecture is not aimed also at them and effectively I am giving a little reinforcement to the stereotype.
Even more subtle, if I start with the seemingly more inclusive “Hello Ladies and Gentlemen”, I may be excluding those members of the audience who don’t want to be identified as male or female.

If I start with “Hi everyone”, problem solved at no cost at all for me, everyone feels part of the lecture and they are a little more likely to pay attention/ do well on the course :slight_smile:
I know all these seem like tiny tiny details, but they accumulate over time.

At the same time, I don’t think my colleagues who start a lecture with “Hey guys” are offensive or bigots or whatever, they are simply not informed of the issue (In fact this is probably stuff I would have said before doing the above training).

So, this is where I was coming from, but clearly I haven’t yet learned to articulate these ideas well.

*This is perhaps why my judo and karate “careers” never took off. Maybe also because I was awful at them :smiley:


No, need to apologize Tommo, I believe your intent was good. It lead to conflict when there was no issue but I know that was unintended. Intent is what matters most to me. If see someone trying to do something good, and it works in a way that as unintended, I can’t be angry and you certainly don’t make me feel unwelcome in the forum.

What was frustrating was seeing an issue ensue when there was no issue to begin with. As Jon Jon succinctly put it:

I don’t think I even interpreted your post, Tommo, the way it was intended. The way I interpreted was, don’t say “Asian girls can play Eruption” because you thought then the forum would be inundated with angry posts from girls from other continents: We’d get European girls asking why we didn’t say they could play Eruption too and ask us if we thought they weren’t as good players as Asian players. Then North American girls writing in asking: “What about us” The Australian girls, and so on. That’s what I thought you wanted us to avoid happening.

I thought it was so unlikely to happen as to be a non-issue.

Then an even more bizarre thing happened. Troy posted to the effect that we shouldn’t mention the origin or ancestry of a guitar player. He said:

So, it’s best to not mention where someone is from or their heritage because it’s “irrelevant at best” and “adds nothing”? This coming from a guy who goes out of his way to do just that with Yngwie Malmsteen such as on:

" Cracking the Code Episode 2: “Rise of the Viking” — Yngwie Malmsteen"

" Chapter 2 - How Swede It Is"

Well what is the message here? That there is one protocol for how we treat men and another for how we treat women? Or is it something else? I don’t know. So, I asked Troy directly for an explanation and he refused to explain what looks like a double standard to me. It’s bizarre! What’s the secrecy about? Isn’t inclusivity about treating everyone the same and not having one set of rules for one group of people and another set of rules for another group?

Thanks @tommo, appreciate you prompting this dialogue on inclusivity, even if it got off to a bit of a rocky start, I do think this stuff is worth talking about :slight_smile:. Good points here and I think the “you guys” example is a helpful one.

I remember reading about this issue with ‘guys’ and inclusive language a while back in a book by Douglas Hofstadter and realizing it was something I hadn’t even consciously considered. But once you think about it, it’s a pretty simple change, and indeed while it may take some getting used to, it’s by no means burdensome.

@Acecrusher not sure exactly how to respond because this doesn’t really feel like a good faith question; you seem to be misconstruing / oversimplifying for the sake of argument… Troy mentioned the context right there in the quote you posted, and I expanded a bit in my above post as well:

But assuming your question here is genuine, to clarify further—

These comments we see on YouTube frequently play into a dismissive “of course Asians can do anything” stereotype, a common trope which as @Peter_C explained is not acceptable just by dint of a nominally positive framing. What’s more on YouTube, as you might expect, these comments are often not thoughtful or ‘positive’ at all. That’s the context of Troy’s above post.

I hope this all makes it pretty clear why these sorts of comments are a world apart from, say, a pun identifying Yngwie Malmsteen as being from Sweden.

I feel like we’ve pretty much exhausted the conversation here, I’m going to close this topic for now. Thanks all for the discussion and feel free to reach out if you feel like we have more we need to talk about on this.