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We Must Be Able to Understand a Human Being Unlike Us

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“You can’t understand me because you haven’t had my experience.”

“I’m _________, you’re not, so how can you know what being my group experiences?”
These words surely remind us that we should hesitate to speak for another and that no two
human beings have the exact same life stories. They should evoke humility when conversing with and responding to another human being.
They can be spoken from the depths of the systemic oppressions that are a part of the warp and woof of our culture. One of the characteristics of any of the privileged statuses that remain endemic to society is the feeling that the privileged group is the one that’s entitled to define those without that privilege and to interpret their experiences – what is and is not really privilege, oppression, offensive, normal, and significant enough is taken more seriously when described by the privileged group.
LGBT people know the feeling. People of color know it. Women know it. The physically challenged know it. The poor know …

Reminder About Our Reactions to the Religion Addicts Who Got Us Into This Mess

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Take right-wing religion’s teaching that people are basically so evil and lost that they deserve eternal, abusive punishment. Add its effectiveness at convincing people of their innate evil because they’re prepared for it through child-rearing methods that punish inherently bad children.
Enforce such messages with political leaders whose solution to problems is more punishment. The result: adults’ desperate need for a fix to provide relief from self-denigrating, self-abusive feelings.
That’s what makes the high of being righteous so addictive. And with the past (and present) political success of the right-wing and the enabling of FOX news, people who use religion as an addiction can’t give up their fix: the high of winning politically that to them proves they're righteousness.
The religion addicted can’t give it up even in the face of the blatant hypocrisy and con-like pandering of a president* who in his personal life embodies everything right-wingers have spent decades criticizi…

The Ubiquity of That Impostor Syndrome - And "It Doesn't Go Away"

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When Michelle Obama was asked on her recent tour for her new book, Becoming, how it felt to be seen as a "symbol of hope," she told a room of students: "I still have a little impostor syndrome….It doesn't go away, that feeling that you shouldn't take me that seriously. What do I know?”

By openly raising the issue in her book and on tour, she’s again unmasking the common, nagging, dogged sense of doubt felt by anyone who was raised as member of a non-dominant, victimized group in a stratified society that raises its ugly head when that member rises “above” the limits that a culture teaches are inherent in their group. Though they thereby should be an example of the fact that those limits are artificially constructed and down-right discriminatory, the culturally-taught role lingers within.
Two psychologists labeled this phenomenon “imposter syndrome” in a 1978 paper that identified it in women who are expected to take on a victim role in a male-dominant culture bu…

How to Help the Media Undo the Blue Wave - or Not

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There’s no doubt about it now: November 6th gave us a blue wave. And the more the votes are counted, the bluer it gets.
From local races to state legislatures, to gubernatorial and state-wide office flips, to unprecedented gains in the US House, to progressive ballot initiatives around the nation, the increased voter turnout reminds us again that what has been called “leftist” by an influential right-wing machine is actually centrist American with overwhelming popular support.
So much of mainstream corporate media prefers not to analyze it that way because it wants to play up some sort of viewer-attention-getting battle between extremes. The media has accepted as given what playwright Tony Kushner observed years ago:
"The terms of the national debate have subtly, insidiously shifted. What used to be called liberal is now called radical; what used to be called radical is now called insane. What used to be called reactionary is now called moderate, and what used to be called insane…

Thou Shalt Not Triangulate

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An old piece of relationship advice begins this way:
“If your brother sins, go and show him privately his fault. If he listens to you, you have won your brother over. But if he does not listen, take one or two others along, so that ‘every matter may be confirmed by the testimony of two or three witnesses.’”
Even though that’s from the eighteenth chapter of the Christian Gospel of Matthew, I’ve known Christian clergy who don’t follow that wise advice. Instead they practice what many do in a variety of human relationships – triangulate.
As a concept, triangulation originated in research and discussions about dysfunctional families. Parents might often complain to a child about their spouse, for example, bringing the child into the adults’ problem.
But it applies quite often within numerous friendly, romantic, social, and business relationships. And it has helped bring down some very good organizations from churches to non-profits.
Someone has something against someone that might even be …

Guilt Is Such an Effective Tool of Control that We'll Use It On Ourselves

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The Right-Wing Knows What Liberal Guilt Doesn't: Look Sincere or Lose

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