- The graphic is based on a principle of rightness. That is to say, the person(s) who created it had an idea that what they were suggesting was for the greater good of us all, given all knowledge and understanding available. (This is rather ambiguous, but we must assume this for Nicodemus’ claim to be true. It is certainly possible that the graphic grasps the point of worrying about racism and sexism, but wants all the niggers and bitches to die in a ditch. I think most would concede that, for all intents and purposes, the graphic was created with good intentions, and indeed wants African Americans, women, men, Caucasians, etcetera, to live happy lives.)
- The graphic is suggesting that we should stop worrying about whether something is racist or sexist and start worrying about whether or not it is unkind, regardless of motivation.
- The graphic could have easily suggested that we start worrying about whether an action is unkind without suggesting that we stop worrying about whether it is racist or sexist.
- By A-1, A-2 and A-3 we must conclude that the following is true about the beliefs implicit in the graphic: It wants to facilitate the creation of a better world, and by not worrying about racism/sexism AND worrying about whether something is unkind, we create a better world than we would by:
- Worrying about whether something is racist/sexist AND not worrying about whether something is unkind.
- Worrying about whether something is racist/sexist AND worrying about whether something is unkind.
(*Note – I think by #4 above it is pretty clear that the point of the graphic is simply that “we should stop worrying about racism and sexism," but my/this opinion isn’t important to this discussion/argument.)
From these we can explicitly state what I believe is Nicodemus’ argument:
- Worrying about whether something is racist/sexist creates a better world than not doing so, regardless of whether or not we worry about whether something is generally unkind.
- We take “missing the point” henceforth to be inclusive of “not understanding the net goodness of a thing.”
- If one misses the point about worrying about whether something is racist/sexist, it/she/he also misses the point about worrying about racism or sexism. (Yes, I went there) /INTP
- By A-4 and B-1 thru B-3, we must conclude that the graphic misses the point of worrying about racism and sexism.
Now, as I stated in A-1, you can walk away from this discussion by saying “well you can’t know the true intentions of the graphic, so you are assuming something for which you have no evidence.” Certainly we can never know for sure what the intention of any action is, even if we're told first hand by the actor. If this is the road you want to take, then you’re welcome to it. I think that while it is technically correct, it is not in the spirit of the discussion. Further, the same strategy could be used to negate almost any argument that doesn’t spell out every single implicit assumption that, by rhetorical convention, isn’t necessary. Moving on…
The crux of the issue is whether or not B-1 is true (and to a much lesser extent, whether or not B-3 is true). I think, given my knowledge of your ideologies (@Zarathustra @Nicodemus), this is the fundamental issue at play here; the motivating disparity, if you will. I’m not going to delve too deeply into details, since they aren’t necessary for the purposes of this post. However, I will say this: I do not believe Zarathustra’s claim about Nicodemus is the same as Nicodemus’ claim about the graphic for the following reasons:
- Conditional on B-1 being true (the major disputable issue here) it does appear that the graphic misses the point of worrying about racism and sexism. Thus, Nicodemus’ claim is based on an assumption, but not an assumption about the graphic or the point of the graphic. Rather, it is based on his own understanding of the goodness of worrying about racism/sexism.
- Implicit in your (@Zarathustra) statement, “by the same measure, [Nicodemus] failed to grasp the point it was making,” is the claim that Nicodemus could not have made his statement about the graphic if he did indeed “grasp the point” of it. However, as shown above, he certainly can. What you could have said to Nicodemus is: “By the same measure, you failed to grasp the point of worrying about racism and sexism too.”