Culture, Humanity, Literature, Philosophy, Politics, Race, Social Justice, Society

Pass the Mic

How do we empower the people we call the voiceless?  Pass the mic.
 – Amani Al-Khatahtbeh, editor-in-chief of MuslimGirl.com, June 2016  panel at the White House’s United State of Women Summit


An editorial cultural-appropriationpiece by Lionel Shriver caught my eye in the Tampa Bay Times this morning.  Not familiar with Shriver’s work or immediately with the context of her situation as a keynote speaker at the Brisbane Writers Festival, the editorial puzzled me.

“Briefly, ” she wrote, “my address maintained that fiction writers should be allowed to write fiction — thus should not let concerns about “cultural appropriation” constrain our creation of characters from different backgrounds than our own. I defended fiction as a vital vehicle for empathy. If we have permission to write only about our own personal experience, there is no fiction, but only memoir. Honestly, my thesis seemed so self-evident that I’d worried the speech would be bland.”

As a writer and an avid reader, the topic interested me, and at first I couldn’t see what the issue was. Of course readers have to speak in other voices, and sometimes from the perspective of people different from themselves.  Without the ability to do that, we wouldn’t have Huckleberry Finn or To Kill a Mockingbird.   Right?

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Compassion, Culture, Humanity, Kindness, Politics, Reason, Social Justice, Society

Played for Fools

cognitive-bias-chartI’m well aware that we have a very human tendency to think we’re being open minded when we’re mostly supporting our own existing world views.  Buster Bensen did a great piece on the issue of cognitive bias over on Better Humans recently and even provided a handy “cheat sheet” for improved self-awareness.

But even with my bias chart at hand to help dt5me approach the current political landscape with a truly open mind, I don’t see any other way to view the current Republican candidate as anything but an immature, manipulative,  narcissistic bully unfit to shine the shoes of any American, let alone function as the leader of our democratic republic.

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Compassion, Culture, Humanity, Kindness, Philosophy, Reason, Social Justice, Society

Rising Above Naive Realism

Be wary of the roles you play and the acts you put on, because you tend to fulfill the labels you accept. Above all, remember the more harm you cause, the more hate you feel. The more kindness you express, the more you come to love those you help. – David McRaney, author of You are Now Less Dumb

Naive Realism” is a theory of knowledge that holds that we see the  world as it how we judgeactually is and our impression of it is an objective, accurate representation of “reality”.  Or put another way, it is “the conviction that one’s own views are objective and unbiased, whereas the other’s views are biased by ideology, self-interest and irrationality. ” (Naive Realism as a Barrier in Conflict Resolution)  It’s also a great obstacle to  self-awareness, civility and social justice.

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