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My favorite thing to do with racists, sexists, and homophobes is to play dumb. If they make a racist comment like "We all know what Black/Hispanic/Asian people are like..." I just give them a blank look and say "I have no idea what you mean." Then when they elaborate on their racism, I just keep saying them to say "I don't understand." This forces them to get more and more explicit in their racism, which usually makes them uncomfortable to state so blatantly, and forces them to hear how awful they sound. Finally, I say with a shocked voice, "Oh, is THAT what you mean? I disagree completely with views like that." And then I leave.

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Michael, what’s it gonna take to get you a news anchor job? I think you’re the interviewer America has been waiting for.

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I have no idea what you mean. Would you care to elaborate on that? LOL LOL.

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Jul 23, 2023Liked by Michael Estrin

Love this strategy, Michael I have an acquaintance who is always repeating one-line opinions he's gleaned from facebook and twitter. Stupid stuff. I always say," Really?? Tell me more about that!" He never can, he just knows the one line. When he says, " I heard that..." I ask with real interest, "Where did you hear it? Who said it? What is their background/" He never knows. Doesn't stop him, though! Not my job to fix people, but sometimes I don't mind allowing them to prove what fools they are.

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Exactly! And maybe one day they will realize how ignorant they sound.

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Little hope of that, I am afraid.

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I’m also still using hotmail myself, so this felt like watching It’s A Wonderful Life and realizing I wear the same hat as Mr. Potter.

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Haha! Hotmail forever!

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In my case, I can use that slogan without irony.

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You lost your job at PC Magazine because your ProtonMail inbox was hacked and your secret information about Trump’s plan to become a virus and infect all PCs and turn their owners anti-woke was released on Bing. You had to go underground and get a new identity as a Substack writer using a Mac. But you will always be dedicated to the cause: Make America great again. And those who know, know. Like your neighbor. That’s why he knew that you worked for PC Magazine.

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Good story! I can’t confirm or deny any of it, naturally, but it’s a good story, Claudia.

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When you’re ready to say more I’m sure the right people will get in contact. 😆

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1. I’m in South Brooklyn’s rightist capital. “Blue Lives Matter” marches started two blocks from my place during the George Floyd protests. I felt a strange urge to take an indoor day.

2. A couple my age likes arguing in front of my building. As far as I can tell, she should’ve left a year ago, but procrastinates. In the guy’s defense, he’s great at producing CO2.

3. Brand recognition and low overhead are pathways to abilities some would consider unnatural.

4. I’m guessing you called Edge “the Burger King of browsers” mid-Microsoft interview.

(Sidebar: He definitely thought “politically correct” magazine at some point, and got his wires crossed.)

5. Yup, drawn by the siren call of a free AI toy. I wasn’t very impressed. Of course, Bill’s always been about “second, worse, and cheaper,” so what do I know?

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Your part of Brooklyn sounds like my part of Los Angeles. Somehow we ended buying a house in the only city council district represented by a Republican. The minute all those police union yard signs popped up, I realized that the very sensible environmental scientist running against him was doomed.

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Jul 23, 2023Liked by Michael Estrin

👏🏻#5 because I’m old school and MS is still the template for being An Evil Empire!

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1. Not overtly, but since I live in the great city of Chicago I'm surrounded by the fruits of decades of structural racism. Typically, when confronted with bad neoliberalist takes and casual Reaganite racism I never it slide, and challenge every bad faith assertion.

2. A recent incident forced me to sign an NDA.

3. One of my best friends still uses it. #the_olds

4. They found out you were working for MacWorld as a spy.

5. Every day actually! On purpose! I have a Microsoft Surface, and I use Internet Explorer. If I didn't force myself to suffer daily I'd become soft and decadent.

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The thing about Hotmail being for the olds makes me feel old. I don’t have a hotmail account anymore, but I remember how excited I was to get a Hotmail account back in the day. At the time, I paid for AOL (signed up in high school) and my .edu account was “free” or 30k per year, depending on how you look at it. But the school account was going away after graduation and AOL already felt lame. But Hotmail? That was the vibe in 1999. Fun fact: I traveled for a year after college. In many parts of the world at that time, the best way to find an Internet cafe was to say Hotmail to a random person. It was the international word for “I need some internet.”

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Haha -- nice. I might have had an aol email address as my first, but I honestly can't remember. Definitely never had a hotmail, but some of my friends still do.

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I lived in Chicago from 2019-2021 and it was interesting to see a city that’s so diverse also be so segregated.

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You may have noticed the same thing in Los Angeles. Red-lining is very real. And before red-lining, restrictive covenants. My father was born in Boyle Heights. At the time it was a neighborhood with large Jewish and Mexican communities (you’re welcome for the pastrami burrito). When his parents made enough money to buy a house, they ended up in mid-Wiltshire, but just a few blocks away in Hancock Park, their money would’ve been no good because at the time it was deed-restricted (no Blacks, Jews, Asians, etc.). While the racist laws are long gone, the impact remains.

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Oh, absolutely. Two examples stuck out to me:

1) USC Campus. Wild how one of the wealthiest universities in America is surrounded by Crenshaw/West Adams, South Central LA, and East LA. Going a few blocks off campus in any of those directions was an immediate, let's say, vibe shift.

2) Looking at apartments in South Santa Monica. All the realtors said it was a sketchy neighborhood, and any time I've been through there, it was fine. By then I realized "sketchy neighborhood" was a euphemism for "predominately Mexican families."

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I’m very familiar with the USC-adjacent vibe shift. Ditto for Santa Monica. I went to high school in the so-called sketchy part of Santa Monica. Crime was higher in the 1990s in that area, but higher crime rates and a sketchy reputation didn’t stop people from buying tear-down houses for $1 million. After all, that bougie seaside community must expand, even if its service workers have to commute hours just to clean homes and make lattes.

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“If your idea of a 15-minute city doesn’t include people making $15/hour, you just want convenience.”--a bad paraphrase of a tweet I saw that is very poignant

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This is the most I've laughed all week. It also got me thinking about how some anti-racist content gets taken down on platforms because it quotes a Jim, and the trigger words automatically flag the piece. This is a shame because laughter is one way to deal with racists in everyday life... maybe.

Empirical evidence, academic research, and well-crafted arguments don't seem to persuade racist people in my life. Well, they don't feel racist; they just prefer all-white neighbourhoods and ultra-right-wing parties that promise to keep immigrants out.

Here are a few convos from the past year:

Convo 1:

Me: I've taught hundreds of Chinese students and noticed how racist some can be towards Indians.

Cousin: That doesn't make any sense. How can Chinese people be racist? They're also different.

Me: Different from what?

Cousin: Normal people.

Me: As in white people?

Cousin: Yes.

*Also, by Indians, I mean people from India, not how the word is misused in America.

Convo 2:

New Aunt: As a Latina, it's been incredibly difficult for me in Belgium. I came from the upper class, had maids, went to university, and when I came here, people started looking at me like I was below them.

Me: Like you weren't part of the upper class?

New Aunt: Even worse.

Me: Oh... that must be difficult.

New Aunt: They're so ignorant.

Me: It's a shame people get treated like secondhand citizens based on their appearance or where they're from.

New Aunt: Exactly.

Two days later...

New Aunt: If I could vote, I'd vote for Vlaams Belang

Nolan: But they hate immigrants.

New Aunt: Yes, well, we can't keep paying for these immigrants feasting off the tax from the money we make. Extreme solutions need an extreme party.

Convo 3:

Ukrainian acquaintance: I hate socialism. I mean, as a Ukrainian with a job, I rarely get any help, but those blacks from Africa come into France, and they get whatever they want.

Alright, this one didn't actually turn into a conversation. I stormed off, afraid of what I might scream. In the other two situations, I argued and showed stats about how immigrants help an economy, etc., but it got me nowhere. Yet, I've seen every one of the people I mentioned welcome those from different religions, backgrounds, and skin colours into their homes with respect, openness, curiosity, laughter, and an abundance of food. Maybe the best way to deal with racists (or who some call racist) is not to argue or belittle but to bring people together with a shared goal. Seeds of Peace: Building Peace at Summer Camp would is a good example of this.

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Hi Nolan, thanks for sharing these conversations! I’m not sure there’s an answer here, but I think you knew that. I talk to Jim because we’re neighbors and it’s good to know your neighbors, especially when there are emergencies like earthquakes and fires and such. But I have zero hope that I’ll change his mind. My best hope is that by talking with him and telling him where I’m coming from, he’ll see that his views our out of touch with his community. Maybe that doesn’t matter to Jim, but it matters to me.

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1. I rarely encounter "people" in my everyday life, apart from my husband and kids and they're decent. We do live in a neighborhood where a few people are very proud of their right to hang whatever divisive shit they want off the front of their houses. Like the couple (or it may have been a middle-aged woman and her dad) who hung the massive "FUCK BIDEN AND EVERYONE WHO VOTED FOR HIM" flag off their front porch, which happened to be about a foot off the sidewalk where parents and their kids walk every day to get to the elementary school. I used to say hi to them when I walked by their house until they hung up that flag that was blatantly giving me the finger. It's probably wrong for me to assume they were racist based on their political leaning. But I think it was safe for me to assume they were dicks.

2. The dingbats in 1) have since moved out of our neighborhood. I don't have a personal beef with anyone else ATM. There are actually a lot of solid citizens in our midst, and we like to count ourselves among them.

3. Never had hotmail. But I did use Yahoo for years. That account still lives as a dumping ground for spam and vendors I once had to set up accounts with but never wanted to deal with again. The account is probably becoming sentient in its dormant state.

4. You got two [sic] lose [sic] lipped about the boss' shady surveillance of employee hotmale [sic] accounts.

5. Yes. But only when I'm too lazy to open my Duck Duck Go browser. So... a fair amount. 😂 Also, I like to ignore Google's suggestions (like the one that tells me to switch to Chrome as my default browser) as much as possible. They own half my life already; I don't need to give them my search history too.

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Your explanation of why PC Magazine shit-canned me makes perfect sense. Damn those hot males!

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My wife still uses it. She swears its safe but she has little to no web presence and refuses to post anything on FB after she fell headfirst into an argument and got kicked out of a mom group! She's very Dutch...that is, very direct with her words.

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The Dutch are direct, aren’t they? Maybe that’s why I have fun conversations whenever I’m in Amsterdam.

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Lol the stringer bell rule. It’s funny how people think the Nazis were evil geniuses--have you seen todays fascists?

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As a former lawyer I absolutely reject the criminal mastermind concept.

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Jul 23, 2023Liked by Michael Estrin

I travel the US so, yes, I encounter racists everywhere. My strategy is to say “Really?”, then turn away while rolling my eyes and move on. It’s not my job to fix people

See my previous answer. I just move on when my neighbors annoy me. And if they delight me also.

Hotmail? I have several accounts. But my main account is a random mixture of letters and numbers hidden away behind a SneakEmail account. Hotmail IS free after all and not controlled by Google who has always been evil.

You lost your job at PC Magazine just like everyone else at PC Magazine lost their job, The Internet.

Bing was great until Microsoft started turning it into Google. Microsoft isn’t a Silicon Valley company. They were in Arizona then Washington state. But Bill is still a Tech Bro.

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I might have to switch to Bing to be honest. Google seems to be getting worse and I don’t think the AI stuff is helping.

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Obviously, there is no PC Magazine in the first place; it was all a front for Hunter Biden's criminal schemes to smuggle cocaine inside laptops into every computer store across the nation, and he had you loose [sic] your job so you couldn't expose the truth.

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Haha! Don’t worry, I’m still on the case. I’ll get to the bottom of those cocaine laptop scheme very soon.

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1. I live in North Carolina. My community is pleasant and inclusive, but drive ten minutes in any direction…

2. No complaints.

3. I know two people whose email address ends in aol.com.

4. You recommended some freeware that didn’t contain a virus?

5. I have. I swear, I was just experimenting! I’ll stop, I promise.

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I think you nailed it. I recommended virus-free freeware and the whole system almost collapsed.

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We live in Catalunya, which is famously nationalistic/xenophobic. After four years, we have a full evening's worth of stories about all the times we've been excoriated for not speaking Catalan rather than Spanish, and urged to go back where we came from (San Francisco.) Friends from various South American countries tell us "sudaca" (a pejorative for "South American") is on every other person's lips, as is the n-word ("It's OK, we're not American, we can say it" - No.) Jim would love it here, he could really cut loose.

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I spent a summer in Barcelona once. Loved it! But the nationalism / xenophobia are very real, and every time I tried to speak Spanish in my California accent, I was reminded of it.

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you are a hard ass 😉🤣

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1. Are you kidding? I grew up in Texas. My childhood best friend was angry that there was a Spanish mass at a Hispanic church nearby. She thinks everyone should speak English. She says she's descended from royalty in GB. Forgot that we freed ourselves from the British.

2. My neighbor is Russian and believes Putin was liberating Ukraine from Nazis. We walked our dogs for years before I knew this. I argue with her constantly. I suspect she is a spy and I'm her project to report back to Putin about American liberals.

3. Hotmail? No.

4. Google? Yes. That Fox thing is good too.

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Do you still walk your dog with your neighbor / spy? If so, maybe you can feed her some misinformation.

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😂 What a great idea. But.. like what? Yes we still walk. She has an unhealthy interest in me. She would just show up at my door with her huge dog at dinnertime day after day. At first I would drop everything and go bc my dog loves it. She says her dog pulls her to my house 😬 and I don't answer her texts. Usually there was no text. I finally asked her to call me first if I don't answer texts, so it's been peaceful for a few days. She does seem to bring up issues to get my reaction. After Ukraine, I stopped saying anything, but once at her house I had a conniption fit when she started talking about trans grooming in schools. I went off about guns in schools. She and her husband looked stunned. Interested to know what misinformation I could feed to Putin. 🤔

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Hmmm. This is tricky. You’ll want to avoid a lot of topics with her. I’d stick to the weather. It’s safe. Everyday it’s about the weather. Then one day, out of the clear blue sky, you blame the weather on Joe Biden’s weather machine. Then you don’t mention the weather machine or the weather for weeks. Weeks! Then one day, when it’s raining or snowing, you call her and say you can’t walk the dog. It’s that damn Joe Biden and his weather machine again. Putin will shit his pants.

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Jul 25, 2023·edited Jul 25, 2023Liked by Michael Estrin

“That’s an easy job,” Jim said. “Everyone knows how to write.”

be damned if these dolts don't occasionally come out with words of pure genius

i assume you comped him copy of NSFW im savin the bulk of it for my August fun-time (thats when i start REALLY needing stuff to get fire in circle goin'!! heeeeehee

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I didn't comp Jim a copy of NSFW. He's welcome to buy it at full price, though.

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