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[CW: sexual assault] When I was nineteen years old, Elie Wiesel grabbed my ass., Jenny Listman (2017-10-19). Kill your heroes.

The Unbearable Niceness of the Good Whites, by Andrew Ti ("Yo, Is This Racist?") (2017-10-23). On the toxicity of heterosexual white men expecting other people to assume they're always acting in good faith:
But what’s easy to forget when you’re in a position of power (with straight white guys at the apex of our current geo-political-historical org chart), is that we don’t all share the assumption that you’re a good person – even if you have a public history that places you on the “right” side of issues.

And that’s because people of color (and anyone vulnerable) don’t have the luxury of that assumption. On some level, conscious or not, we always have to be wary of people’s attacks, even unwitting, to our humanity, because we’ve all been disappointed or stabbed in the back enough times by people we like and trust (or want to like and trust) enough times that you’ll have to forgive us if we can’t always give you the benefit of the doubt. Sure, the dude yelling slurs might be joking, but the consequences for you and us differ greatly if he isn’t. And the fact that you don’t seem to know or care that that’s the case makes you immediately suspect.

Now, if it sounds like I’m singling out straight white dudes, in many ways that’s because I am. This behavior, this idea that “everyone agrees I’m a good person” comes directly from being the protagonists of our culture for so very long.

Nazism: what it is, why we fight it, and how, by Yonatan Zunger (2017-10-24). "These ideas make up Nazism. You don’t need to wear a swastika to believe in them."

Contingent No More, Maximillian Alvarez for The Baffler (2017-05-03). This is brilliant, and I want to quote it all; some excerpts:

  • 'Our professional aspirations are dominated by romanticized images of the lone, path-breaking researcher, of the superhumanly productive writer, of the attention grabbing and self-promoting (if politically useless) figure of the tenured “public intellectual.” Such images, in turn, mutate into gross and exploitable expectations about how “productive” successful academics need to be on a daily basis, about what their work should look like, about what they should know (or pretend to know), about what comes to them if they work hard enough, about what “success” means in academia, even about their mental health and personal relationships.'

    These myths spread like viruses throughout academic departments, conferences, and social media.'
  • 'By channeling the hopes and desires these myths stir up, contemporary academia has succeeded in creating what Theory A-lister Lauren Berlant calls “a relation of cruel optimism” for the vast majority of academics.'
  • 'Our grand academic myths and professional fictions keep all of us striving for the wrong things, pickling in a brine of cruel optimism about what our individual professional futures might bring while our academic community is splintered by doubt, insecurity, envy, and fatigue. That is, after all, the supreme draw, the sweet poison, of such myths: they prey on the most self-serving and hyper-individualized conceits of an already laissez-faire academic culture that idolizes individual thinkers while equating professional success with genuine intellectual worth.'
  • 'You’d be hard-pressed to find a group of subjects who adhere more faithfully to the myth of meritocracy than academics. Even if our research and personal politics rigorously argue for the opposite, even if study after study reminds us that faculty hiring follows steeply hierarchical, non-meritocratic structures that reproduce profound social inequalities, when it comes to our own careers we adhere to all the oldest clichés. In spite of the cold facts—that “contingent faculty” make up more than 70 percent of the academic labor force, that the gap between doctorates awarded and jobs available is wider than ever, that the overwhelming majority of academic workers live in a state of economic insecurity—we remain individually hypnotized by the poisonous conviction that hard work is all we need, that the “best” people in the best programs produce the best work, etc.'
  • 'We feel like it would diminish our life’s work to admit in public that, actually, the system is rigged, that many of our successes are due more to luck than anything else, that most of the “best work” is not being produced at all because the collective, variable talents of our community of thinkers and teachers and partners are being wasted in the competitive pursuit of individualistic success that our livelihoods depend on.'
  • 'The transformation of colleges and universities may not be the most pressing issue of our day, but if these institutions are the sacred bastions of knowledge and culture we say they are, then how we deal with this crisis will have serious consequences for the future of knowledge and culture themselves.'
  • '...we set the boundaries of academic inquiry via the research of a privileged minority. These select few are granted the desirable option to forget that their privileged position is made possible by the precariat’s exploitation; meanwhile, the rest are told in no uncertain terms to focus all their efforts on joining that small club.'
  • 'One of the most persistent and pernicious myths of the scholarly vocation that those of us who devote our careers to it have done so because we truly love the glorious pursuit and production of knowledge. The neoliberal university does many cruel things to perpetuate its system of neo-feudal labor relations, but perhaps its greatest cruelty is weaponizing this love against us.'

On Minimization as a Patriarchal Reflex, by Matthew Remski (2017-10-20). I write a lot about gaslighting and dehumanization from the perspective of the person who it's being done to, but it's refreshing to see someone write about it from the perspective of the person doing it. And the truth is, as a white trans man, I occupy both positions. "I don’t have to assault women to participate in the normalization of assault. My learned, default responses are participation enough. Without that participation, could assault really be so prevalent?"

How to Talk to Women if You Believe Feminism Has Made It Really Hard to Know What Counts as ‘Harassment’, Damon Young for The Root (2017-10-23). The answer will surprise you!

A Fair Accusation of Sexual Harassment or a Witch Hunt?, Lucy Huber for McSweeney's (2017-10-20). The answers may surprise you!

Yes, This Is a Witch Hunt. I’m a Witch and I’m Hunting You., Lindy West for the New York Times (2017-10-17). 'When Allen and other men warn of “a witch hunt atmosphere, a Salem atmosphere” what they mean is an atmosphere in which they’re expected to comport themselves with the care, consideration and fear of consequences that the rest of us call basic professionalism and respect for shared humanity. On some level, to some men — and you can call me a hysteric but I am done mincing words on this — there is no injustice quite so unnaturally, viscerally grotesque as a white man being fired.'

Hidden figures: How Silicon Valley keeps diversity data secret, Will Evans and Sinduja Rangarajan for Reveal (2017-10-19). Lots of quantitative analysis here of the misuse of diversity statistics in the tech industry. I hope to see more investigative reporting like this.

Gender Quotas and the Crisis of the Mediocre Man, Tim Besley, Olle Folke, Torsten Persson and Johanna Rickne for the London School of Economics and Political Science blog (2017-03-13). '.. in 1993, Sweden’s Social Democratic party voluntarily introduced a strict gender quota for its candidates. In internal discussions of the reform, the party’s Women’s branch observed that some men were more critical than others. The quota became known colloquially as the “Crisis of the Mediocre Man,” since the incompetent men had the most to fear from an influx of women into politics.'

A Twitter thread from [twitter.com profile] 3liza on gifted kid problems (a reflection on the "we fired our top talent" post).

'Science says "diversity of thought (not demographics)" is false. Folks pushing it are the intellectual equivalent of climate change deniers.' (a thread from [twitter.com profile] sarahmei)

Antifa History and Politics, Explained, by Abdullah Shihipar for Teen Vogue (2017-10-25). "The broader anti-fascist or anti-racist tradition has many different perspectives, and so in that sense it's bigger than antifa. So if people want to fight back against the far right, there are a million ways to do that. Whether or not people agree with everything anti-fascists do, one of the greatest lessons from the anti-fascist tradition is to focus on looking for ways people can stand in solidarity with each other across tactical and strategic differences of opinion. I think that we should all have an investment in fighting back against white supremacy and fascism, regardless of what our politics are."

Twitter QOTD:
"dudes are you aware how happy women would be if strangers & coworkers never 'flirted' with us again" -- Marian Call (context)
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tim: Tim with short hair, smiling, wearing a black jacket over a white T-shirt (Default)
Tim Chevalier

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