Future Time Orientation

In case you missed it on various other blogs, the Seattle school district has a webpage up defining racism and its various subtypes. Most of the attention has been on how it defines "cultural racism":

Those aspects of society that overtly and covertly attribute value and normality to white people and Whiteness, and devalue, stereotype, and label people of color as “other”, different, less than, or render them invisible. Examples of these norms include defining white skin tones as nude or flesh colored, having a future time orientation, emphasizing individualism as opposed to a more collective ideology, defining one form of English as standard, and identifying only Whites as great writers or composers.

I'll point out that racism is itself a collective ideology.

"Future time orientation", as best as I can tell, means setting goals, planning for the future, delaying gratification, and making decisions along the way to reach those goals, i.e., having a low rate of time preference in economic terms. Though I disagree with "individualism" and standard English as being racist, those claims don't surprise me; they're par for the course with educrats. But what could possibly be wrong with "future time orientation"?

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One of the funniest things

One of the funniest things about this ridiculous definition of racism is that they are subtly implying that non-whites don't have a "future time orientation", i.e. they don't plan for the future. Which could be construed as pretty racist point to be making. Detention, fines, and cultural sensitivity training for all of them!

Someone commenting at

Someone commenting at another blog hypothesized that it may have to do with the lack of a clear future tense in some African languages.

How that's relevant to crafting race-neutral curricula in Seattle remains a mystery, however.:neutral:

I thought that the purpose

I thought that the purpose of the school system was to prepare, mould, train and acculturate the student so that he or she can succeed in American society. Now it seems that the Seattle School System’s job is to redress all of society’s ills by training and moulding the white kids into apologetic multiculturalists.

Since the minority kids don’t even have to be present for this, it is unnecessary for them to be concerned about irksome, racist future oriented concepts like waking up in time for class, getting homework in on time or preparing for future exams. Having attended several graduations lately, I can see that minority kids are rather proud when they do graduate from these old fashioned racist schools we have where I live.

I sent e-mail to ask them.

I sent e-mail to ask them. I'll report back if I hear anything.

I think I know what it

I think I know what it refers to, though it is even MORE wacky than the rest of it. I've heard it asserted before, several times in fact, that Science Fiction is racist, in specific the sci-fi of the 40's to 60's. It comes from people who haven't every really looked deeply at the genre, but they do have a point in that people of color of any sort aren't specifically referenced for the most part absent in sci-fi. Unfortunately in tv and film especially this fostered during that time a view that only the white middle-class American family was ever going to make it into the future, or space. Now you may laugh, but I've seen people argue at length at how the propaganda of the American dream, of the great American future, is a 'white only' future, and that it proves that all sci-fi is racist.

Now was there a lack of blacks in sci-fi during that time, yes. Was it because of any overt racism, no. It simply was that there weren't really all that many black authors, actors, etc... at that time in the first place. Was that because of racism at the time yes, but that I don't think tainted the genre on purpose. IMHO many, many of the stories are exceptionally color blind.

Being a Seattleite, I can

Being a Seattleite, I can assure you that our school district is completely wacko...in case that wasn't evident already.

I think that the primary

I think that the primary thing that the "definition" demonstrates is the kind of gibberish that you get out when you assign writing tasks to a committee.

Pham, blaming the lack of non-white characters on the lack of non-white authors doesn't really tip the scales at all. There's no reason why white authors can't be expected to write stories with sensitive and intelligent portrayals of non-white characters. If they can manage non-human races, they can surely manage to think up a non-white human if the existence of such people crosses their minds, and they put a good faith effort into it. If it doesn't cross their minds, or they don't put a good faith effort into it, then that's something to worry about in itself.

Also, while the invisibility of non-white characters is one of the worrying things about Golden Age sci-fi, as far as race goes, it's hardly the only thing. I can think of some pretty nasty cases of overtly racist stories from Golden Age heavies. To take a rather egregious example, Heinlein's Sixth Column is pretty embarassing more or less from start to finish. (To be fair, Heinlein later on said he was really dissatisfied with Sixth Column, and that the idea had really come from John W. Campbell. But then, that only relocates the problem.)

Anyway, I'm not at all sure that this is what the Seattle school officials were referring to. Then again, I'm not at all sure that they were referring to anything concrete or identifiable at all.

Now that we're all racists,

Now that we're all racists, do we get a free pass on the N word?

- Josh

How could science fiction as

How could science fiction as a genre be racist, when the only part of it that the majority of Americans saw was Star Trek -- which had explicit anti-racism themes? (See the "white on the left, black on the RIGHT" episode) Sure, some authors in the 40's were racist. This should lead you to think less of those authors, not of the genre.

Pham Nuwen's a name from that Vinge novel, right?

One of the funniest things

One of the funniest things about this ridiculous definition of racism is that they are subtly implying that non-whites don’t have a “future time orientation", i.e. they don’t plan for the future. Which could be construed as pretty racist point to be making. Detention, fines, and cultural sensitivity training for all of them!

I don't think it's funny, because that's the only interpretation I can make of it. They really are implying that.

Digamma, it's the reverse.

Digamma, it's the reverse. They know that statistically, "white" people (and east Asians) have a slightly higher "future time orientation". And they know that in our culture in general, this is seen as good. (At least it is in evil white culture!) If that is so, then it would mean blame falling upon those people with low future time orientation. Blame is bad, because it can make someone feel bad. It's discriminatory! Therefore, we must stop it. And to stop something, you had best tear it up by the root. All this "saving" and "planning" and "learning" and whatnot - it's all perfectly acceptable; no reason to feel bad if you happen to like those things, but also no reason whatsoever to denigrate those who don't. That's racist!

Ok, as far as I see it, the

Ok, as far as I see it, the Seatle Public Schools board is not saying that future time orientation (FTO) is racist perse, they are saying that when FTO is CONSIDERED THE NORM, it can be a problem. Why? Well, just imagine a career counsellor ( Mr C )speaks to a group of children. 50% are from affluent families (mostly white), 50% from ethnic families (mostly underpriveledge). Mr C notices that the majority of affluent kids have an idea of what they want to do, plans for their future careers, and how to get there whereas many of the underpriveledge kids don't really seem to have a clue, or at least haven't really thought about it and are not really sure about the future at all. There are two possible conclusions: 1) ethinic kids are lazy/stupid/uninterested in the future or 2) because of the nature of their lives kids from underpriveledge backgounds tend to live in the "now" and don't (can't) make plans for the future because of financial constraints etc. I suggest, that the Seatles Public Schools board is saying that the first conclusion is not only wrong, it is racist, i.e it asserts inferiority on the basis of race, when in actual fact it is the social conditions which are the determining factor. I think they have a point. Just my 2 cents.

"Ok, as far as I see it, the

"Ok, as far as I see it, the Seatle Public Schools board is not saying that future time orientation (FTO) is racist perse, they are saying that when FTO is CONSIDERED THE NORM, it can be a problem. Why? Well, just imagine a career counsellor ( Mr C )speaks to a group of children. 50% are from affluent families (mostly white), 50% from ethnic families (mostly underpriveledge). Mr C notices that the majority of affluent kids have an idea of what they want to do, plans for their future careers, and how to get there whereas many of the underpriveledge kids don’t really seem to have a clue, or at least haven’t really thought about it and are not really sure about the future at all. There are two possible conclusions: 1) ethinic kids are lazy/stupid/uninterested in the future or 2) because of the nature of their lives kids from underpriveledge backgounds tend to live in the “now” and don’t (can’t) make plans for the future because of financial constraints etc. I suggest, that the Seatles Public Schools board is saying that the first conclusion is not only wrong, it is racist, i.e it asserts inferiority on the basis of race, when in actual fact it is the social conditions which are the determining factor. I think they have a point. Just my 2 cents."

How in the world did you get all that from their statement?? :dizzy:

Rad, I don't see why fiction

Rad,

I don't see why fiction requires a "good faith effort" to depict members of various races. I don't find anything troubling about anyone writing about whatever they choose.

Yeah, Sixth Column was racist (though I seem to recall there was one oriental hero), but Heinlein never wrote like that again. Farnhan's Freehold demonstrates a very different treatment of race.

Josh, It seems "Normal" is

Josh,

It seems "Normal" is the new N word.

Josh, It seems “Normal”

Josh,

It seems “Normal” is the new N word.

Thank goodness neither of us truck in normalcy.

- Josh

All this “saving” and


All this “saving” and “planning” and “learning” and whatnot - it’s all perfectly acceptable; no reason to feel bad if you happen to like those things, but also no reason whatsoever to denigrate those who don’t. That’s racist!

However, economic outcomes for those with a future time orientation tend to be much better than for those without. Look at the latest median income figures broken out by race. East Asians tend to be on top, followed by Whites, Hispanics and Blacks.

I imagine that those on the bottom are still going to scream about those racist East Asians and Whites.

I think the problem is,

I think the problem is, judging by some of these comments that most people don't understand what racism actually is. Most people think that treating someone differently because of their race is all racism is, but it's much more than that. It goes right down to the core of society and the underlying assumtions of the dominant social group. I think people get hung up because the message has been "racists are evil racists are evil". Of course racism is bad, but there is a difference between deliberate racism and unintentional cultural racism. Both need to be addressed though. Maybe they should give racism a new name, so the issues could be discussed without people getting so hung up about being called "racist". People understandably don't like to feel they are being judged as "bad", but cultural racism is part of the social consciousness and would be very hard to not be affected by. That's why understanding it is so important.

Future Time Orientation is

Future Time Orientation is "research speak," that's what I think.

Sometimes when you're writing proposals for grants or setting up psychology experiments, you have to include phrases from other research papers that you're gonna cite.

Future Orientation is kind of a new field, and future oriented kids are thought to do better academically.

Surfing the Web I found references to papers titled "Future Orientation of African American Male High School students" ... Specifically AA males.. and like 3 or 4 papers on the topic... They seem to be aimed at improving academic performance for these kids.

So maybe they're just sticking in a buzzword that's going to play well to social workers and sociologists. They'll get the reference, while we scratch our heads and think it might be an insult.

I'm doing my best to improve my future orientation, by the way

Talk of bigotry mixed with

Talk of bigotry mixed with different rates of time preference sounds awfully familiar for some reason...