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Author Topic: The Importance of Prejudice  (Read 15318 times)

GoblinCookie

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Re: The Importance of Prejudice
« Reply #75 on: November 05, 2017, 02:21:01 pm »

I'll get the point, but I think have to make mine more clear tbh.

I was trying to paint out this kind of basic idea:
Fallacy resembles faulty information processing, specifically in context of psychological reasoning.
Fallacious thinking doesn't have to induce faulty behaviour in biological-survivalism context.

Example - lots of people are prone not to like spiders or snakes. It doesn't matter if they are harmless or not. Keeping them away is part of primal behavior that helps/helped to survive.

Now, when talking about rationality - we have to define the context of rationality.

Don't quote people and then erase what they wrote.

Yes, certain irrational/fallacious thinking can *work* in a limited practical context, but that does not make it sound and rational.  From the perspective of survival consider how we domesticated dogs; had the ancestral human operated according to the prejudice "things which have sharp teeth are bad", that would have served the immediate ends of survival quite fine.  But it is only the rational humans that were able to separate the wolves from the dogs as it were despite both being essentially identical, that are able to domesticate dogs.

Apart from misquoting me, your interpretation is pretty faulty. For example, the game as it stands definitely contains prejudices, so your last paragraph is based on a false premise. In general, you seem to imagine that "prejudice" means something other than it actually does. I'm not going to go through this on a point-by-point basis, but, by way of example, your "non-prejudiced dwarf entity" from your description actually is exhibiting prejudice. Essentially, your whole post misses the point.

I suspect that, in general, this disagreement comes from differing definitions of "prejudice"; that would certainly, at least, explain the people who keep coming in and assuming that "prejudice" means eg "racism exactly as exhibited by one particular small group of humans during one particular small span of history".

Given your definition of prejudice seems to simply mean any kind of inter-group hostility whatsoever in any context it is basically a redundant word, unlike my definition.  While there is hostility in the game between groups, there is no prejudice at all because there is no inferences drawn by either group from characteristics and used to well prejudge any other groups or individuals.
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Fleeting Frames

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Re: The Importance of Prejudice
« Reply #76 on: November 05, 2017, 04:58:20 pm »

Quote from: dictionary.com
noun
1.
an unfavorable opinion or feeling formed beforehand or without knowledge, thought, or reason.
2.
any preconceived opinion or feeling, either favorable or unfavorable.
3.
unreasonable feelings, opinions, or attitudes, especially of a hostile nature, regarding an ethnic, racial, social, or religious group.
4.
such attitudes considered collectively:
The war against prejudice is never-ending.
5.
damage or injury; detriment:
a law that operated to the prejudice of the majority.
verb (used with object), prejudiced, prejudicing.
6.
to affect with a prejudice, either favorable or unfavorable:
His honesty and sincerity prejudiced us in his favor.
Idioms
7.
without prejudice, Law. without dismissing, damaging, or otherwise affecting a legal interest or demand.

I agree with Spin - both your example dwarves are prejudiced against goblins coming from Dungeons of Menace, being that they distrust the goblin based not on anything that particular goblin has done but merely his/her birthplace.

Maximum Spin

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Re: The Importance of Prejudice
« Reply #77 on: November 05, 2017, 04:59:59 pm »

Exactly; inter-group hostility necessarily involves prejudice toward individual members of a group who haven't personally offended you yet on the basis of their group membership.

Also, this:
Don't quote people and then erase what they wrote.
is a pretty dickish thing to say. Your post is right there, you aren't being "erased" just by the common practice of shortening quotes of lengthy diatribes.
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GoblinCookie

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Re: The Importance of Prejudice
« Reply #78 on: November 07, 2017, 11:22:28 am »

I agree with Spin - both your example dwarves are prejudiced against goblins coming from Dungeons of Menace, being that they distrust the goblin based not on anything that particular goblin has done but merely his/her birthplace.

It is not their birthplace though we are talking about here, it is their present group membership.  :)

If I get on poorly with a group, this does not imply that I have any particular hostility towards any particular member of the group.  A group in this context is *not* a trait, as traits and groups are not the same thing.  Two things having a trait in common, does not imply they actually form any kind of larger whole; a common form of prejudice is to forget this principle, treating two things that merely share a trait as though they were automatically a group.

is a pretty dickish thing to say. Your post is right there, you aren't being "erased" just by the common practice of shortening quotes of lengthy diatribes.

If you can quote people and then delete what they wrote, then this allows you to hide any relevant information in the 'lengthy diatribe' that you are not responding to.  You can now freely cherry-pick points to respond to and nobody can see what you are doing.  If you take an extract out of a larger text then people can compare this to the original post to see specifically what you are not responding too there, but if you erase people's quotes then it is unclear as to the scope of your response.  People will have to carefully read through the original post and then guess what part of it you are responding too.
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Bortness

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Re: The Importance of Prejudice
« Reply #79 on: November 07, 2017, 01:37:25 pm »

If you can quote people and then delete what they wrote, then this allows you to hide any relevant information in the 'lengthy diatribe' that you are not responding to.  You can now freely cherry-pick points to respond to and nobody can see what you are doing.  If you take an extract out of a larger text then people can compare this to the original post to see specifically what you are not responding too there, but if you erase people's quotes then it is unclear as to the scope of your response.  People will have to carefully read through the original post and then guess what part of it you are responding too.

Welcome to life.
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Runaway_char

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Re: The Importance of Prejudice
« Reply #80 on: November 08, 2017, 09:53:23 am »

A discussion of prejudice devolving into insults and arguments over semantics is kinda fitting, unfortunately :/

I think we should leave this one up to toady, he seems to have a pretty good plan and its his game.

My last two cents is that I'd personally like to play in a world where dwarves don't discriminate based on skin color, sexual preference, or gender identity.  Some of us deal with that crap enough that we don't want it in our forts.  That being said, I'm not opposed to it existing in other worldgens, just that it shouldn't be a hard-coded in thing (which would be unrealistic anyway).  I think procedural (random cultural castes) or fantasy(dorfs vs greenskin) prejudice, if any, is the way to go, tbh.
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Bortness

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Re: The Importance of Prejudice
« Reply #81 on: November 08, 2017, 10:44:57 am »

At the end of the day, especially in a game like Dwarf Fortress, anything resembling prejudice should really be emergent within the system.  The mechanics of group and cultural identity are already in the game, and as some have mentioned are primarily responsible for already-existing wars and other conflicts.  Allowing the group identities to include physical characteristics is perfectly natural and is to a degree already implemented.  To add an identity modifier which allows a dwarf or other creature to choose any physical characteristic upon which to base personal feelings is realistic and can be implemented without any explicit focusing on skin color or any other specific item.

I frankly don't even understand why this is a discussion, aside from the modern cultural construct which causes people to become wildly emotional and illogical whenever skin color is mentioned.
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GoblinCookie

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Re: The Importance of Prejudice
« Reply #82 on: November 08, 2017, 12:34:17 pm »

A discussion of prejudice devolving into insults and arguments over semantics is kinda fitting, unfortunately :/

I think we should leave this one up to toady, he seems to have a pretty good plan and its his game.

My last two cents is that I'd personally like to play in a world where dwarves don't discriminate based on skin color, sexual preference, or gender identity.  Some of us deal with that crap enough that we don't want it in our forts.  That being said, I'm not opposed to it existing in other worldgens, just that it shouldn't be a hard-coded in thing (which would be unrealistic anyway).  I think procedural (random cultural castes) or fantasy(dorfs vs greenskin) prejudice, if any, is the way to go, tbh.

There is the option of having Toady go and add in a slider similar to what is planned for magic to determine whether prejudice exists at all and how prevalent it should end being, the trouble is that the programming in of the mechanics needed to do prejudice justice help will help consume the finite resource that is Toady One's life.  Unless there is a good reason why prejudice would even exist in the present DF world (not 20 years down the line maybe) then it seems a bad idea for time to be spent programming in a prejudice slider and it's associated mechanics. 

At the end of the day, especially in a game like Dwarf Fortress, anything resembling prejudice should really be emergent within the system.  The mechanics of group and cultural identity are already in the game, and as some have mentioned are primarily responsible for already-existing wars and other conflicts.  Allowing the group identities to include physical characteristics is perfectly natural and is to a degree already implemented.  To add an identity modifier which allows a dwarf or other creature to choose any physical characteristic upon which to base personal feelings is realistic and can be implemented without any explicit focusing on skin color or any other specific item.

I frankly don't even understand why this is a discussion, aside from the modern cultural construct which causes people to become wildly emotional and illogical whenever skin color is mentioned.

I do not think the group 'identities' should include physical characteristics, since the groups are presently too strongly bound together to have any reason to invent racism.  The groups should however be aware of their own demographics in terms of all the subgroups that they are made up off AND the demographics of all entities they are in frequent contact with.  If they see someone who bears an appearance or race that does not fit with anything they are used to they will conclude that the individual or group in question is foreign, so it will not be able to pass itself off very well as one of their group.  Also when there are multiple subgroups that are tied to different populations (you should be able to have more than one race in an entity, or define a separate population of the same race which will probably have a different appearance) folks will automatically assume that you belong to that subgroup, which will generally be bad thing for the player.

By default the entity will update it's own definition of the demographics of it's own group OR the other entities around the place, as soon as they learn contradictory information (and believe you).  So if you are dwarf and you turn up at a human town that has no dwarves in residence they will immediately recognize that you are a non-resident because you are a dwarf.  When you are actually accepted as a member of the town's ruling entity however they will immediately update the demographics of their own entity to include you.  Then when a second dwarf turns up he will be able to blend in far better since the townsfolk will not automatically assume he is foreign.

Now actual prejudice can be handled by having a specific token with a number, so for instance [PREJUDICE:50], the number defaults to 0 if the token is absent.  Prejudice is simply a factor that allows for a duplicate of the original information to be made when it due to be changed.  A highly prejudiced human entity in the above instance would have a high chance of clinging to the original inference as to the foreignness of dwarves even when a dwarf has moved in to their town. The personality value of [TOLERANCE] then determines how strongly the actual creatures cling to their entity's prejudices during actual play.  Highly tolerant creatures can easily be persuaded to abandon the prejudiced information and switch to using the correct information, while intolerant creatures will cling to those prejudices in the face of almost all contrary information. 

The clever thing here is a prejudice has a number attached to it that represents the % of the entity's population that believes in the prejudice.  Over time the prejudice will decline at a rate determined by the [TOLERANCE] of the average critter, provided that it remains incorrect.  But if it comes to pass that the actual information agrees with the prejudiced information again, the prejudice will instead increase as a rate determined by the critters lack of [TOLERANCE].  If it comes to pass that all the dwarves in the human town then emigrate or die off but there are still humans with the 'dwarves are foreign' prejudice around, their proportion will slowly increase until everyone is prejudiced.
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Paxiecrunchle

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Re: The Importance of Prejudice
« Reply #83 on: November 08, 2017, 02:16:23 pm »

I really like the above idea for a tolerance tag.

PlumpHelmetMan

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Re: The Importance of Prejudice
« Reply #84 on: November 08, 2017, 07:15:46 pm »

Honestly I think this discussion has been surprisingly civil thus far (I actually expected it to go downhill much faster than it did). It's been somewhat heated, true, but only a few posts resorted to using actual insults (and fairly mild ones, at that). Not defending it, just saying I've seen FAR worse.
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Fleeting Frames

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Re: The Importance of Prejudice
« Reply #85 on: November 09, 2017, 02:11:54 am »

I agree with Spin - both your example dwarves are prejudiced against goblins coming from Dungeons of Menace, being that they distrust the goblin based not on anything that particular goblin has done but merely his/her birthplace.

It is not their birthplace though we are talking about here, it is their present group membership.  :)

If I get on poorly with a group, this does not imply that I have any particular hostility towards any particular member of the group.  A group in this context is *not* a trait, as traits and groups are not the same thing.  Two things having a trait in common, does not imply they actually form any kind of larger whole; a common form of prejudice is to forget this principle, treating two things that merely share a trait as though they were automatically a group.
Being suspicious against a member of a group not for anything they have done is still being prejudiced against members of that group.

Besides, a goblin is automatically assigned to their birth group upon being born and doesn't have much of a chance to leave it unless they picked appropriate travelling profession when turning 12 AND there's recently-upgraded town that accepts immigrants. Outside of that few decades to century long period, birthplace strongly correlates with group membership. Not that the definition cares whether it is one or the other one is prejudiced against. *shrug*

I like the idea of using preexisting tolerance token - in fact, you don't need a prejudice slider and can just mod the propensities for this value in raws, similar to how some players mod their dwarves to be more likely to stress out due being bored of idyllic forts.

GoblinCookie

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Re: The Importance of Prejudice
« Reply #86 on: November 09, 2017, 12:50:09 pm »

Being suspicious against a member of a group not for anything they have done is still being prejudiced against members of that group.

Besides, a goblin is automatically assigned to their birth group upon being born and doesn't have much of a chance to leave it unless they picked appropriate travelling profession when turning 12 AND there's recently-upgraded town that accepts immigrants. Outside of that few decades to century long period, birthplace strongly correlates with group membership. Not that the definition cares whether it is one or the other one is prejudiced against. *shrug*

I like the idea of using preexisting tolerance token - in fact, you don't need a prejudice slider and can just mod the propensities for this value in raws, similar to how some players mod their dwarves to be more likely to stress out due being bored of idyllic forts.

Really, I though goblins tended to immigrate to dwarf fortresses in large number and peacefully take over the nobility, leading to immortal goblin kings ruling over dwarves.  ;) :) 8)

The thing here is that we are talking about the house and not the brick; it is not personal as it were.  The dwarves are not reaching any judgments about the nature of the individual goblin, they are simply guessing that he is a member of a hostile group based upon the fact that the hostile group is made up of goblins and their group does not have any goblins in it.  They might even think well of the said goblin as an individual, but it does matter because his individual traits do not matter to them in this context.

As I said, his individual traits do not matter; this is the opposite of a prejudiced situation where it is the individual traits that are used to determine the other's status irrespective of what is actually the case.  A prejudiced dwarf entity will automatically conclude that the Evil of Blinding is their enemy and Xuttot Sickchaos is their enemy, even if they know he is from there because the prejudiced entity has extrapolated from one of the traits of the Dungeon of Menace and automatically extrapolate hostile intent.  The non-prejudiced dwarf entity will care about the distinctions of what particular group the goblins come from and only assume they are from the Dungeon of Menace *if* they know they are not from the Evil of Blinding.  The prejudiced entity no longer cares about the details of group identity, all groups (and individuals) of goblins are automatically their enemy.

I say no longer cares because that is how I envision prejudice as developing.  In both parallel realities the dwarf entity starts off by getting into a conflict with the Dungeon of Menace, which leads them to use goblinness as a symbol that implies Dungeon of Menace origin.  The outcome diverges in the prejudiced entity ends up inverting the relationship between symbol and object, the symbol itself comes to symbolize hostility, but the non-prejudiced entity remembers that the symbol is not the thing that it means.  The actual behavior of the creatures however in both cases will depend upon the personal values of [TRUST] and [TOLERANCE] however and determine how they act upon the information they derive, whether on a rational or prejudiced basis.

The other side however is the situation where we could have more than one populations in the same entity but the citizen statuses of the populations are set (in the raws) to differ or they come to differ because they are slaves from another civilization; a good candidate for vanilla DF would be goblins&trolls.  Rather than simply being 'animals' that can learn to do human work but for some reason cannot learn to speak with sign language, trolls would be a secondary race defined directly in the goblin entity definition.  However being a troll would be the sole criteria to be added to the troll citizen status which is pretty downtrodden, for instance goblins do not bother to give trolls any items at all of their own, including clothing.  If you turn up in the goblin dark pits *as* a troll under a suitable false identity, the goblins will not easily spot that you are serving a foreign entity, but they will automatically understand you as one of their own trolls.  If you are wearing any clothing or carrying any items they goblins will automatically conclude you stole the items, take them off you and then march you off to the troll shearing pits where you belong (but they won't punish you since stealing is not wrong to goblins ;)). 
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Fleeting Frames

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Re: The Importance of Prejudice
« Reply #87 on: November 10, 2017, 12:54:55 am »

It's a hostile attitude towards ethnic/racial/social and probably not religious group (though otoh each civs has their own gods and the demon may be worshipped, so then again...). Ergo, it's prejudice. Pretty clear from "his individual traits do not matter". Though yeah, it's bit more distant. That it one might consider it reasonable or that one might be able to, say, choose to not worship a revered figure matters not; for many consider their prejudice reasonable - or as Runaway_char put it, semantics argument *shrug*

Goblin immigration to dwarf forts is relatively low. Even if a dwarf fort becomes entirely made of goblins, it's still just 200 of them, barring libraries (which tend to favour elves), while in a dark fortress there can be over ten thousand of them. With human towns though, if you take snapshots of 1 hamlet→town, 1 dark fort, ocean inbetween worldgen, you can actually see the population in dark fort substantially decreasing when town starts accepting mass immigration. Pretty cool, though still fairly short period in history. Once the town is full, I'd expect the new births to take priority over immigration.
« Last Edit: November 10, 2017, 12:57:53 am by Fleeting Frames »
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Chaosegg

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Re: The Importance of Prejudice
« Reply #88 on: November 11, 2017, 07:07:15 am »

I read page 1 and 6, and agree with the OP and others in defending prejudice within the game as an integral and important part.

DF is a social simulator based loosely on human + human-like societies where the exact same reason prejudice exists/works/is reasonable in real life,are true... in fact possibly more-so due to the even more extreme differences between the creatures of a fantasy world.
___Yes, there are exceptions always, and the extreme differences may even breed more extremely tolerant examples as well, but let's keep it realistic and avoid naive social-engineering politics.
_______I see no reason to change the default "hate", but adding adjustment options for those who wish to alter the parameters sounds good to me too
[as long as it isn't used as a tool for those with political agendas/bias on a large scale].
_____________It's a game; a fantasy simulation; fun; nobody is really getting their feelings hurt, and no one is encouraging real-life offense via in-game features (i think most people capable of playing DF are also capable of differentiating between high fantasy game and real life)

Spoiler (click to show/hide)
TL;DR
Prejudice/discrimination/racism evolved in social creatures for a reason. For much of our species' past it acted as a defense against parasites & infectious disease spread, as well as a sort of "social immune system".

Obviously the key issue is that survival [via natural selection etc] is more likely to breed examples of over-reaction rather than the reverse.
In other words, the default setting for our disgust sensitivity being highly discriminatory towards strangers & those categorized as "other" had minimal negative side-effects...
 when compared to the opposite setting which could potentially have side-effect of you and your entire tribe being killed by a plague or some such.
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GoblinCookie

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Re: The Importance of Prejudice
« Reply #89 on: November 11, 2017, 09:01:09 am »

It's a hostile attitude towards ethnic/racial/social and probably not religious group (though otoh each civs has their own gods and the demon may be worshipped, so then again...). Ergo, it's prejudice. Pretty clear from "his individual traits do not matter". Though yeah, it's bit more distant. That it one might consider it reasonable or that one might be able to, say, choose to not worship a revered figure matters not; for many consider their prejudice reasonable - or as Runaway_char put it, semantics argument *shrug*

Goblin immigration to dwarf forts is relatively low. Even if a dwarf fort becomes entirely made of goblins, it's still just 200 of them, barring libraries (which tend to favour elves), while in a dark fortress there can be over ten thousand of them. With human towns though, if you take snapshots of 1 hamlet→town, 1 dark fort, ocean inbetween worldgen, you can actually see the population in dark fort substantially decreasing when town starts accepting mass immigration. Pretty cool, though still fairly short period in history. Once the town is full, I'd expect the new births to take priority over immigration.

Hostility is not the same thing as prejudice, even you must understand this at the level of the individual. 

It is a not a matter of semantics at all, it is a simple matter of reasoning; your reasoning about this is incorrect and in the exact same fashion that prejudiced people's reasoning is incorrect it so happens, which gives me an opportunity to explain something that I have been wanting to explain for a while now even if you personally do not appreciate it.  A group of things is not a group of things based upon their individual traits that they happen to all have; a group is defined by the nature of the relationships of it's units which may be highly diverse as long as they can 'fit together' and not by what common traits the individual units have in common; this is what I mean when I say that individual traits do not matter.

The fact that there are a number of balls that are red does not in itself make all the red balls form a red ball group.  Hence if we have a group of balls that happen to be red, their redness is not the thing that makes them a group, it is their proximity and motion that makes them a group.  The balls could be of any color at all and they would still form a group, while a separated collection of red balls moving about randomly do not form any kind of group.  Here we start to see the actual purpose of prejudice, aside from any sociobiological delusions; if the existence of a group is profitable to the leaders but the group has largely become theoretical (aka the balls no longer move together), it makes sense for them to promote the above fallacy of all red balls automatically forming a group because they want all the individual red balls to think they still must do stuff for the leaders of the group of red balls which said leaders want (stretching the analogy at bit here ;)).

So that fact that all the members of the Dungeon of Menace happen to be born in a certain area is no more the thing that makes them *of* that group than the fact they are goblins, or they have orange hair or whatever.  By simply guessing that the individual Kax Torturedscour comes from the Dungeon of Menace because he is a goblin, the dwarves are not 'necessarily' being prejudiced against goblins provided neither their hostility towards the individual goblin nor towards the Dungeons of Menace is based upon their goblinness.  The thing is however if the dwarf entity is only held together by the "all red balls form a red ball group" fallacy, then they naturally infer that goblins are enemies inherently because the relationship between dwarf-entity and the Dungeons of Menace simply translates into dwarfVSgoblin in their heads, since they are members of dwarf-entity in their heads simply because they are dwarves.

This you see is the secret behind prejudice.  It does not come about in it's fully fledged form, nor does it initially even arise from relationships between actual groups at all.  It is actually rooted a fallacy which in itself does not directly express itself as prejudice, the prevalence of this fallacy is due to it's promotion of ethno-nationalism, which is a means by which the leaders of a historical group try to give some undead existence to their dying or extinct group and will hence defend this fallacy despite it's ridiculousness.  The group is dying or dead because of the increasing irrelevance of it's own institutions, if they still exist to the actual experience of people's lives, it is not a question of the group not appearing on a map as it were.

We all know that no matter what laws and Politically correct doctrines say, everyone is a bit discriminatory, racist, and prejudice.

Recent advances in brain-mapping and active brain scanning have confirmed many theories with biological proof.
Examination of disgust responses and the like, make it clear to me that making something everyone is/does illegal or encouraging people to deny that it exists through outright lies, or just avoiding the subject altogether, is a failure to understand human nature.

Everyone except me.  8)

Undefined and unstated scientific theories confirmed by unreferenced advances and studies.  Okay I will be magnanimous here and simply advise you to improve your argumentation style if you wish to convincingly appropriate science.   ;D

1. Political Correctness is a joke; you can't avoid offending everyone, and in trying to do so you end up with a dangerously authoritarian set of rules, and a tendency to slide into tyranny very quickly.
So I say don't bother trying to manipulate a complex system like the evolved social dynamic overnight (this kind of change takes generations, probably hundreds of years, unless one is willing to use violence & mass-death as a catalyst),
 when not one of our species yet understands that system, much less how our brains work altogether.

Everything ought to slide into tyranny, that is because tyranny is simply a name that means "effective government I don't personally happen to like".  A government that is not a tyranny to anyone is either completely ineffectual or has somehow managed the politically impossible; to make all the people happy all the time.   :)

Violence and mass death is also known as war; it is a big part of history you will find and unlike prejudice it is actually a big part of the game at the moment. 

We do not have to understand the system, we merely know how to operate the human system.  The inner workings of how our brains it is no more necessary for us to know than it is for us to know the exact inner workings of DF in order to play it.  We can simply the inner workings of the brain to God and the neuroscientists, if there any any genuine instances of either in existence that is and get on with what needs to be done. 

2. When all the emotion related to the subject is bottled up, hidden, and confused through ignorance & miss-information there could be dangerous repercussions later.
-Any law that is created but is not reasonably enforceable also does nothing but weaken the entire system of laws.
-And any doctrine that encourages ignorance & lies is going to create more bad than good usually.
-The same can be argued for freedom of speech; it is better that people are free to say stupid things publicly and be known/criticized rather than force people to hide, stew, brew, and plot until they explode.

If there are dangerous repercussions, we can simply deal with them and those responsible.  As above mentioned, nobody pleases everybody all the time and all governments end up having to deal the efforts of those who dissent to thwart the implementation of policy, one way or the other.

-All laws are reasonably enforceable if you have a total mobilization of society, all power holders and the will to back it up.  Since power holders are whoever the law says they are, then all power can be placed in the hands of those with the will.  The only limitations are society's own self-imposed restraints, which are really a question of morality; but actual comprehension of the enemy's evil will help to make the moral case to society will it not?

-True.

-Here is your criticism; part of me tells me that it is not the best of ideas to respond at all.

3. No matter what anyone wants to believe, modern science has proven that humans are not born equal, and given equal everything will not produce equal results.
History alone can show us the flaw in thinking that everyone was a blank slate and could be molded into anything. Equality was the rally cry of the communist revolutions throughout the Cold War, each and every one of which invariably ended in suffering on a massive scale and genocide-level losses of life.)

Yes Equality = Uniformity.  Very Newspeak of you.  The idea that the same word may have different meanings in different contexts is apparently beyond your comprehension. 

About Communism, that's just propoganda.  You take a bunch of wars which involve Communists somehow, count everybody that dies in them and then blame it on Communism.  Wars afterall frequently involve massive suffering and genocide-level losses of life; so if your aim is to blame Communism for that then it fits your bill.

TL;DR
Prejudice/discrimination/racism evolved in social creatures for a reason. For much of our species' past it acted as a defense against parasites & infectious disease spread, as well as a sort of "social immune system".

Obviously the key issue is that survival [via natural selection etc] is more likely to breed examples of over-reaction rather than the reverse.
In other words, the default setting for our disgust sensitivity being highly discriminatory towards strangers & those categorized as "other" had minimal negative side-effects...
 when compared to the opposite setting which could potentially have side-effect of you and your entire tribe being killed by a plague or some such.

Over-reaction and under-reaction are questions that depend upon the context.  Are you really trying to argue that natural selection favours an incorrect response over a correct one, if the sensible thing to do is to react very strongly then it isn't overeacting is it? 

It is a strange paranoid past your are imagining for our species though.  I think you will find that like everybody else you know nothing at all about the conditions in which our ancestors actually lived and of course there is no reason to think that they were even consistent over time.  This gives you and everybody else the wonderful ability to invent any kind of past your like to explain anything that you like.
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