And to add this introduction:
I’ve been thinking a lot about cognitive dissonance lately.
And one of the things I’ve been thinking, with my non-academic mind, is that the expresson “cognitive dissonance” does not clearly communicate that ” … it is psychologically uncomfortable to hold contradictory cognitions.”
So I suggest “thought discomfort” as an alternative.
Thought discomfort can create information filters. If stuff doesn’t fit in with our existing ideas about ourselves and the world, it doesn’t reach our brains: “If I don’t know it, it doesn’t exist.”
And OUR discomfort, that WE are feeling, is transformed into crap that we splatter our surroundings with. Information filters can make us forget that people who are doing or being something that makes us uncomfortable also are fellow human beings, sisters and brothers under the skin.
Here is an example:
In the blog “Sociological Images”, I found this article:
Responses to UCLA Student’s Racist Rant
“Many of you have probably seen the recent anti-Asian rant released by UCLA student Alexandra Wallace. In it, she says that “hordes” of Asians who are admitted to UCLA inappropriately bring their parents along and obnoxiously speak foreign languages in the library (“Oooooooh! Ching chong, ling long, ting tong!? Ooooooh!”). And she compares them to herself, the “polite, nice, American girl that my momma raised me to be.”
Much of the response to this was decidedly sexist:
“I bet her grades match her cup size.”
“i have big tits and gave the dean a blowjob to get into UCLA is all I hear.”
“EXCUSE ME WHILE I WHIP MY DICK OUT AND JERK IT TO THOSE TITS.”
The article links to an article in the blog “What Tami Said”:
Stop being “shocked” by “isms”
Amongst other food for thought, she writes:
I submit that if you are truly shocked in the face of racism and sexism and homophobia and transphobia and other injustices, then you are as big a problem as the perpetrators of same.
And this brings me to another article in “Sociological images”:
Thoughtful Response to “Asians in the Library” Rant
Here we find a considerate video response by slam poet Beau Sia, who rewords the nice American girl’s reactions in a way that …
“stands out as a real examination of the white privilege and fear that underlies the racism that Alexandra Wallace displays,” rather than just trying to degrade or mock Alexandra in whatever way possible:
A transcript of what Beau Sia says:
Didn’t you hear me say that I’m not politically correct? I said that, but you’ve all been misinterpreting me so let me be clear. There are hordes of Asians at my school and it’s starting to freak me out. They act in a manner I wasn’t taught growing up and I don’t want to question who I am and how I was raised so they are starting to be a real problem for me. I don’t understand their language, their culture, the way they hold family sacred and shared and instead of consider whether or not that is threatening to me, I’d rather the things they do, the people they are be wrong.
It’s so hard maintaining fitting in when these Asian people clearly aren’t. They’re so not the TV I’ve seen, so not the stories I’ve read, so not my experience where I’m from, and I’m letting their existence jeopardize my idea of the world and I don’t like it.
And I’m not afraid to personally address those who’s behavior is affecting me so. I’m just choosing to find solidarity in my beliefs on the internet to prevent the course of questioning my statements would cause me. If someone directed similar comments towards whom I’ve had to represent in my life.
I don’t want to have to consider why I’ve based my observations on a number of Asians smaller than some Asian families. Or what exceptions I’d have to consider if I didn’t use blanket assumptions. Or if there’s a conflict about the world changing that I don’t want to face, because of the face I was born with. There are so many more important things in my life. I don’t want to have to explore my relationship to everything around me.
And there are many who think the way that I do. And, you know, from what I know of America, these Asian people are not supposed to be this way. And I’m not talking about the laws of this country. Requirements for citizenship or taxes paid in full. Nnn-nn!
I am talking about what I’ve been programmed to think family is. How manners prove native, who should decide how identity must conform, for whom identity must conform, and why identity must conform. If only these Asians would learn English! If only they understood. That I’m here too. That I share this place with them. That I belong here. That the hordes and swarms invading the system I’ve learned remember who I am as the world changes. I’m so afraid I’ll have to fend for myself. Without what I’ve been told was mine.
Fear. As I see it, that is lurking behind the discomfort. The discomfort is our protection against feeling this fear. And the only way I know to get rid of the fear and discomfort, is to face them.
It is said that “Paradox and Confusion are the two fierce guardians at the gateway to the truth of who You are.”
I say that
fear and discomfort
are the two fierce guardians at the gateway to the truth of who You are.