This week's Anthropology discussion board was about social status -- we were given a list of 11 qualities, and asked to rank them in the order that we would personally evaluate other people by. Then, we were supposed to explain. The list, re-organized to my chosen hierarchy, and my explanations, are below.
1. PERSONALITY (fill in your description of type of personality) 2. GENDER 3. ETHNIC OR COMMUNITY ORIGIN 4. RELIGION 5. PERSONAL POSSESSIONS (clothes, car, etc.) 6. PHYSICAL APPEARANCE 7. FAMILY BACKGROUND 8. AGE 9. INTELLIGENCE (as indicated in school performance) 10. ATHLETIC ABILITY 11. MONETARY INCOME
1. Personality -- Positives: low competitiveness, high compassion, enthusiasm about interests. Negatives: aggressiveness, jingoistic patriotism, high sense of loyalty without regard for ethical context, condescention towards people who are enthusiastic about their interests. Racism, misogyny, homo/bi/transphobia & etc. are all serious, hardcore negatives. "I'm just joking" is never, under any circumstances, a legitimate defense for those negatives. (And, in fact, shifts from "extreme suspicion" to "automatic fail.") Political conservativeness is not an automatic fail, but tolerance is contingent on the content of our first several arguments about the topic.
2. Gender -- Cishet dudes are gross, and will be met with high suspicion. Nonbinary people get +50 points free.
3. Ethnic or community origin -- mainly, are their chosen or de-facto communities the kinds I want to spend time in or associate with? Tumblr people: +25 points. 4Chan: -50. For ethnic origin: if they're white, are they conscious of the privilege that whiteness entails?
4. Religion -- I tend not to get along with metaphysical idealists, or just generally people who have strong feelings about what is metaphysically true. And I'm distrustful of people who believe that the world is naturally intelligible, rather than our minds being very good at constructing convenient lies about it.
5. Personal posessions -- Cool stuff is cool. And I'm very pro cool and experimental fashion. People's choice of stuff, I think, says a fair amount about them, and while it shouldn't be taken in isolation from the rest of their life and circumstances, it's worth noting.
6. Physical appearance -- I'm not going to pretend I'm not biased in favor of people I find attractive. I make an effort to deconstruct this, but that doesn't make it not there, or not significant.
7. Family background -- I kind of distrust people who are really, really into being a part of their family, for two reasons: one, I expect them to be less critical of the worldview they inhereted from their parents, and two, people with awesome family relationships are pretty consistently dismissive about the legitimacy of my anger with my own family, and I don't need that kind of gaslighting in any more places in my life than I already get it.
8. Age -- I like hanging out with people closer to my age better than people further away from it, I guess. And barring significant achievements or demonstrated competence, I'm distrustful of Baby Boomers for fucking up the economy then blaming us for it.
9. Intelligence -- intelligence as defined in terms of academic performance is an extremely, EXTREMELY problematic way of evaluating a person's mental ability, but it also happens to be an area in which I excel, and I get along better with people who are also good at it than people who aren't.
10. Athletic ability -- This choice is kind of ablist and gross. (So is the intelligence one, actually.) This one is basically irrelevant.
11. Monetary income -- We're all forced to sell our labor in order to survive in a hostile economic system that allocates wages based on (a.) what the capitalists can get away with, and (b.) what is most useful to them. I can in good faith neither judge someone for choosing a high-paying job (or happening to have a talent in a high-paying field) nor for having talents that are not convenient in service to those who control the means of production, nor for being very lucky or unlucky in birth, social connections, or chance.