Making Gumbo

Archive for January, 2018

Wednesday, January 24, 2018

Women’s Marches 2018: Whose Really Woke?

I am disheartened when I see “us versus them” rise up among those who say they care about social Justice.

Not “us versus them” between people who seek a just society for all versus those who are fighting to keep themselves in power. No not that…

“Us versus them” among people who say they want a just society, but just can’t put up with people who don’t think about the issues exactly the way they do.

“Women’s marches without intersectionality is just white supremacy.”

“Marched last year, but not marching today because I realized these people are marching against 45 (Trump), not against systematic racism, etc.”

If we keep objecting to the motives of people of goodwill who are trying to march for, work for Justice in some way, our fight for Justice will always be futile.

If we keep rejecting the idea of working with people who are learning to try to work for Justice, our fight for Justice will flounder.

If we reject the idea of working with people because they are not woke in the way you would like, there is no hope of achieving real social Justice.

If for you to march for Justice, everybody has to see everything from your perspective, you are not woke.

To work for Justice always means working with people you do not always agree with on focus, strategy, priorities or vision. Even Martin Luther King, Jr. had to be brought into a full understanding that the issues of oppression were more than racial. And that happened through his interactions and civil conversations with others who were working on racial/social Justice, but with different strategies and focus.

Even if they are trying, no one can see past their limited perspective without direct contact and (civil) confrontation with a different perspective. When you think someone is making a mistake of vision, talk to the person, not at the person. Educate, don’t berate.

Disagree, use your voice to raise issues, but do not withdraw your participation. In the 1960’s my father, a janitor and a bus driver, was also a grass-roots politician in the Jim-Crow South. He worked with all kinds of people, who had a mix of motivations, some with limited and mostly self-interested vision; but he worked with those people push the Justice agenda.

Yes, he was frustrated by those people sometimes; I heard him tell my mother so. But he went on using the small doorway into their frame of reference to get things done. My father, Mr. O-geese, showed solidarity and shared effort with those folks, using his calm but strong voice, making his case and teaching that sometimes helped people see that their vision was too narrow; sometimes not.

But the point was to keep people moving and working in the direction of true racial/social Justice, even if at the time those people were making mistakes of vision while still agitating for some kind of Justice. That’s what it takes. Yes, it can be irritating, frustrating and slow-going.

But that, of course, is why the late Reverend, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. always reminded us that social Justice work is hard by using this quote from an abolitionist:

“The arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends toward Justice.”

#WeShallOvercome

#TimesUp


posted by Rupert  |   9:59 PM  |   0 comments
Saturday, January 20, 2018

Why Should You Care About Bigotry Toward a Group You Are Not a Member Of?

America has a mission statement that any of us can use to stand up to bigotry in our social interactions

As a professor of social psychology, I do not teach abstract psychological principles. I teach social psychological concepts of social life that anybody can use to improve their social interactions.

One of the major things I teach in my “Interdependence and Race” course is what to do when someone you are interacting with engages in intolerant verbal behavior; bigotry.

All of us can stand up to bigotry in our social interactions by simply saying to the other person, “I am very uncomfortable with that kind of language. I find it offensive. It hurts me.” Speaking in the “I” is critical to avoid shaming the person.  But speaking “…it hurts me” hits the person’s interpersonal identity; suddenly they have to wonder, who was I to think this person would accept that way of talking.

Confronted in this quiet but firm way, published in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology in 2006, research by Czopp, A. M., Monteith, M.J. & Mark, A. Y.shows that the confronted person experiences a hot mix of anger at themselves, annoyance with themselves, regret, disgust with themselves.

With all that heating up in the person, yes that person will also feel anger at being confronted and be annoyed with you. No surprise that that mix of hot emotions motivates the person to lash out at the person who has quietly challenged their bigotry. Of late, and yes, this Fall-2017 semester too, with genuine concern a student will ask, “…but what if the other person ask you why do you even care?”

That question is, of course, the other person lashing out by pointing to your demographic group membership to say, “…look you’re not even one of them… you’re not transgender, you’re not Jewish, you’re not white…” Lashing out, that person is implying that all you can ever care about, all you can ever be is a representative of your own demographic group.

How does one answer that insulting attempt to trap you in a stereotype?  How?  With America’s mission statement, that’s how.

When, this past Fall 2017 semester, I was asked about people trying to use that strategy to push one of my students to be quiet, to push my student to tolerate intolerance, I said this: Tell that person, “I care because I am a true American who believes in America’s mission statement that ‘We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal…’”

My full essay about this is: https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/quiet-revolution/201712/america-s-mission-statement-is-our-light-against-bigotry


posted by Rupert  |   1:14 PM  |   0 comments
Sunday, January 14, 2018

Here’s the New Message for the Democratic Party: Embracing Neo-Diversity Social Change Will Move American’s Forward

 

 

 

People keep saying the Democrats no longer have a clear, concrete, coherent message for the American people. Well, if I were a political consultant, I would push candidates to use adapting to social change as their campaign platforms. I would write speeches with handling neo-diversity anxiety as the theme.

A speech that goes like this:

“We’ve got some difficult days ahead, my fellow Americans,

America is in the midst of a struggle with a force we cannot stop.  Social change.

Yes we have always been a country that is evolving and changing. But today’s social change has come to us with a new speed. Today’s social change is also not about one thing.

Today’s social change is not just about race-relations. It is not just about women’s rights. It is not just about immigration. It is not just about oil and gas. It’s not just about diversity. It is not just about the technology that is in and around all of our lives.

Today’s unstoppable social change is about the fact that because of all those changes happening at the same time, every day we all have to interact with, go to school with, work with, people not like us. Today, we Americans are struggling with anxiety about what that neo-diversity situation means about our future.

But we should not panic. We cannot afford to panic. We must be, and we are, stronger than that as Americans.

Lord knows, the question is not how do we go backwards to when everybody in the room looked the same?  Today’s question should not be and is not, how do we go back to when only people who had money, or who were Christian, or who were white or who were male, or who were heterosexual, were in the room and automatically in charge?

That can’t be the question because that social reality is gone. The social change of neo-diversity has already happened.  And, that neo-diversity social change is continuing to happen and is unstoppable.

To move forward together, to move forward with a new national strength, the real question is, how will we use that social change to improve the life situation for all Americans to keep America strong?

Fighting against the force of the neo-diversity social change will only disrupt our lives; will only push our lives into anger against other Americans.  Fighting the social change of diversity has already damaged the first goal of our American dream to create “…a more perfect union.”

How, instead, can and will we use the social change of neo-diversity to move America forward with new sources of strength?  How can and will we harness and focus the energy of the neo-diversity social change to make the lives of all Americans better?

For us to harness and focus the energy of the neo-diversity social change, there are some things we all have to learn to accept and embrace as part of our already changed America.

First, we must accept, embrace the fact that we live in a new America, where at our work sites we are no longer segregated from each other by race, sex-of-person, religion, sexual-orientation, and the like. We are all in the same room. We must accept and embrace the social fact that we are no longer separated from each other in this new, truer, version of the American dream.

Second, we must accept and embrace that technology is one of the unstoppable forces pushing us into close interaction with each other in our neighborhoods, at work, in school, in the mall, on Facebook, on Twitter.

Third, we must accept and embrace the social fact that people who do not look like, sound like, love like, worship like us, are Americans.

Fourth, we must accept and embrace the social fact that how you look, love or worship does not make anyone automatically the most qualified for a job or for admission to a training program, or a college or university.

Fifth, we must accept and embrace the truth that our neo-diversity means that our social lives, our work lives, our school lives, have and will continue to change in the mix of people involved, and we must respect those Americans.

Sixth, we must accept and embrace the truth of neo-diversity that says that each of us must work to adjust, adapt to respect this new America not just for ourselves today but for the sake of the future of America.”

As a political consultant that is the kind of message I would put together for a Democratic candidate. But I am not a political consultant. Even so, I hope somebody is listening.

Final note:

For a deep dive into the dynamics of neo-diversity social change, see my well reviewed book, Taking on Diversity: How we can move from anxiety to respect” (2015; Prometheus Books) (https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/22822943-taking-on-diversity). For multiple examples of how I use neo-diversity analyze contemporary events, go to my Psychology-Today Blog, “A Quiet Revolution”: https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/quiet-revolution

 


posted by Rupert  |   11:57 AM  |   3 comments