Link Roundup 3: Conversations About Communication Across Power Gradients

There have been a lot of conversations lately about communication between people with privilege and people without. This link roundup is going to be largely (though not entirely) centered around those, as I think it’s a very important thing to talk about and a lot of good things have been said. Anyone know other good posts in a similar vein?

The Distress of the Privileged: Maybe the best piece I’ve read about understanding both sides of a power dynamic. Complete with a brilliant analogy from the movie Pleasantville:

“So I think it’s worthwhile to spend a minute or two looking at the world from George Parker’s point of view: He’s a good 1950s TV father. He never set out to be the bad guy. He never meant to stifle his wife’s humanity or enforce a dull conformity on his kids. Nobody ever asked him whether the world should be black-and-white; it just was.

George never demanded a privileged role, he just uncritically accepted the role society assigned him and played it to the best of his ability. And now suddenly that society isn’t working for the people he loves, and they’re blaming him.

It seems so unfair. He doesn’t want anybody to be unhappy. He just wants dinner.

George deserves compassion, but his until-recently-ideal housewife Betty Parker (and the other characters assigned subservient roles) deserves justice. George and Betty’s claims are not equivalent, and if we treat them the same way, we do Betty an injustice.”

Aesop to the Right: Why I Believe Bristol Palin: Cited in the Distress of the Privileged piece, and also containing a brilliant analogy that explains why not including the underprivileged is so hurtful and damaging:

“I don’t think you hate me. I certainly don’t think you’re afraid of me. Neither is Bristol Palin. She probably even has LGBT people she calls friends. She just disagrees with them about whether they should be invited to the party (the party, in this case, being marriage). But here’s the problem: the basis of that disagreement is her belief that her relationships are intrinsically better than ours.”

Certain Propositions Regarding Callout Culture (in two parts):

“Not silencing people is not an option. Not silencing people is a great plan; I am totally okay with everyone being able to speak out. But not silencing anyone is not going to work. If you say “no, you have to stop yelling and insulting people,” you silence some of the people who are angry! about! INJUSTICE! On the other hand, if you let people yell insults whenever they like, you are silencing the people who are afraid that if they speak up they’ll be yelled at. And the second group is not going to loudly spew insults about how they’re being oppressed; they’re just going to be quiet and stop talking and censor themselves and eventually leave the movement altogether.”

How to Argue: Call Harm, Not Foul: The brilliant piece that spawned this post.

“The last generation of social justice warriors, anti-racists, feminists, outspoken atheists and activists of all stripes made the -isms and intolerances so abominable, that everyone has successfully convinced themselves they’re not it. Now, being called those things (racist, sexist, bigoted, etc) is so terrible that we end up arguing only about whether or not the label applies . And that’s a damn shame, because I have a lot of other things I want to talk about.”

Three Tips to Handle 500 Comments Landing in Your Inbox: An excellent piece by The Ferrett on dealing with shitty commenters. Required reading for any blogger.

“Once you get to a sufficient level of popularity, there is literally no avoiding people hating you.  Go on, seriously.  Name a celebrity.  Then Google up some haters.  Sure enough, someone fucking abhors them.  Why do you think you’re going to avoid this?”

Just Shut Up: A piece about the value of feminist media criticism, with Beauty and the Beast as an example.

“Gaston loses but stabs the Beast anyway before being thrown to his doom, the Beast more or less dies, but Belle loves him, which breaks the spell keeping him trapped as the Beast and saves his life. They, in theory, live happily ever after.

The film ended, and my professor flicked the light on. She passed out a handout we’d already received, a list of warning signs for domestic abusers. This list included things like, “Isolates partner from support systems—tries to keep them from family, friends, outside activities.” It included things like, “Attempts to control what partner wears, does, or sees.”…The Beast meets almost every criterion on the list, and those he doesn’t meet (“Was abused by a parent,” “Grew up in an abusive home,”) are only unmet in the sense that we have no way to know, from the narrative given to us, whether he meets them or not.”

Can Versus Must: a piece on confirmation bias and ways to manipulate your brain. Including the best one-sentence summary of how confirmation bias works I think I’ve ever seen: 

“It is, he says, as though we ask ourselves “CAN I believe this?” when we want to believe something and “MUST I believe this?” when we don’t want to believe it.”

How to Make Your Social Spaces Welcoming to Shy People: What it sounds like, a very good list, and something a lot of event organizers could take a lot from.

A picture of one of the best protest signs ever. Though it should be noted there could’ve been better word choices than “stupid”.