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defensiveness

Why Are White People So Bad At Talking About Race? – BRIGHT Magazine
Most white people consider a challenge to our racial world views as a challenge to our very identities as good, moral people. It doesn’t take much — the mere suggestion that being white has meaning often triggers defensive emotions such as anger, umbrage, and hurt feelings, and behaviors such as arguing, denying, explaining, minimizing, and withdrawing. These responses work to repel the challenge, return our racial comfort, and maintain our dominance within the racial hierarchy. They also work to punish people of color into not “going there” with us, into staying “in their place” and working to keep us comfortable lest we lash out and make things worse for them. In this way, white fragility is not weakness per se; it is a powerful means of racial control and the protection of our advantage.
white  racial  privilege  identity  fragility  race  defensiveness 
may 2019 by Michael.Massing
Why “I’m not racist” is only half the story | Robin DiAngelo - YouTube
"All systems of oppression are highly adaptive, and they can adapt to challenges and incorporate them. They can allow for exceptions. And I think the most powerful adaptation of the system of racism to the challenges of the civil rights movement was to reduce a racist to a very simple formula. A racist is an individual—always an individual, not a system—who consciously does not like people based on race—must be conscious—and who intentionally seeks to be mean to them. Individual, conscious, intent. And if that is MY definition of a racist, then your suggestion that anything I’ve said or done is racist or has a racist impact, I’m going to hear that as: you just said I was a bad person. You just put me over there in that category. And most of my bias anyway is unconscious. So I’m not intending, I’m not aware. So now I’m going to need to defend my moral character, and I will, and we’ve all seen it. It seems to be virtually impossible based on that definition for the average white person to look deeply at their socialization, to look at the inevitability of internalizing racist biases, developing racist patterns, and having investments in the system of racism—which is pretty comfortable for us and serves us really well. I think that definition of a racist, that either/or, what I call the good/bad binary is the root of virtually all white defensiveness on this topic because it makes it virtually impossible to talk to the average white person about the inevitable absorption of a racist world-view that we get by being literally swimming in racist water.

White fragility is meant to capture the defensiveness that so many white people display when our world views, our identities or our racial positions are challenged. And it’s a very familiar dynamic. I think there’s a reason that term resonated for so many people. I mean even if you yourself are to explain white fragility it’s fairly recognizable that in general white people are really defensive when the topic is racism and when they are challenged racially or cross racially.

So the fragility part is meant to capture how easy it is to trigger that defensiveness. For many white people the mere suggestion that being white has meaning will set us off. Another thing that will set us off is generalizing about white people. Right now I’m generalizing about white people, and that questions a very precious ideology, which is: most white people are raised to see ourselves as individuals. We don’t like being generalized about. And yet social life is patterned and observable and predictable in describable ways. And while we are, of course, all unique individuals, we are also members of social groups. And that membership is profound. That membership matters.

We can literally predict whether my mother and I were going to survive my birth and how long I’m going to live based on my race. We need to be willing to grapple with the collective experiences we have as a result of being members of a particular group that has profound meaning for our lives. We live in a society that is deeply separate and unequal by race. I think we all know that. How we would explain why that is might vary, but that it’s separate and unequal is very, very clear.

While we who are white tend to be fragile in that it doesn’t take much to upset us around race, the impact of our response is not fragile at all. It’s a kind of weaponized defensiveness, weaponized hurt feelings. And it functions really, really effectively to repel the challenge. As a white person I move through the world racially comfortable virtually 24/7. It is exceptional for me to be outside of my racial comfort zone, and most of my life I’ve been warned not to go outside my racial comfort zone.

And so on the rare occasion when I am uncomfortable racially it’s a kind of throwing off of my racial equilibrium, and I need to get back into that. And so I will do whatever it takes to repel the challenge and get back into it. And in that way I think white fragility functions as a kind of white racial bullying, to be frank. We make it so miserable for people of color to talk to us about our inevitable and often unaware racist patterns that we cannot help develop from being socialized into a culture in which racism is the bedrock and the foundation. We make it so miserable for them to talk to us about it that most of the time they don’t, right? We just have to understand that most people of color that are working or living in primarily white environments take home way more daily slights and hurts and insults than they bother talking to us about."
racism  oppression  robindiangelo  whitesupremacy  civilrights  race  2018  intent  consciousness  unconscious  morality  whiteness  socialization  society  bias  ideology  fragility  defensiveness  comfort  comfortzone 
november 2018 by robertogreco
Adulting | Step 324: If someone calls you out for saying something shitty ...
"Just own up to it. Seriously. Don’t freak out, don’t spend time trying to justify whatever you just said. And, HINT: the more of an urge you feel to justify what you just said, the greater the chance that it was indeed very shitty and this is your way of coping with your own shame.

Say, “Wow, you’re right. I’m really sorry, and thank you for letting me know that.” Then, don’t say that shitty thing again.
socialjustice  defensiveness  advice 
july 2014 by Felicity
DEFENSIVE COMMUNICATION
Defense arousal prevents the listener from concentrating upon the message. Not only do defensive communicators send off multiple value, motive and affect cues, but also defensive recipients distort what they receive. As a person becomes more and more defensive, he or she becomes less and less able to perceive accurately the motives, the values and the emotions of the sender.
communication  defensiveness 
february 2014 by mournjargon
Cathy O’Neil: Why Nate Silver is Not Just Wrong, but Maliciously Wrong « naked capitalism
Okay, so Nate Silver is wrong, or incomplete in his analysis, on some stuff. Wherefore the "malicious" in the title of the blog-post?
defensiveness  data-science-as-snake-oil  nate-silver  prediction  weird 
december 2012 by arthegall
The Tree of Life: Great ideas in this #PLoSOne paper; except we published same idea 12 fu$*# years ago
Mmmmfff. (It would appear that he's removed the 'stealing' tag that was originally one of the three on this post.)
defensiveness  jonathan-eisen  biology  sequencing  publishing  science 
december 2012 by arthegall
Twelve Things You Were Not Taught in School About Creative Thinking | Psychology Today
"1. You are creative.
2. Creative thinking is work.
3. You must go through the motions of being creative.
4. Your brain is not a computer.
5. There is no one right answer.
6. Never stop with your first good idea.
7. Expect the experts to be negative.
8. Trust your instincts.
9. There is no such thing as failure.
10. You do not see things as they are; you see them as you are.
11. Always approach a problem on its own terms.
12. Learn to think unconventionally."
creativity  psychology  innovation  art  designthinking  2011  michaelmichalko  cv  conformity  failure  tcsnmy  toshare  openminded  negativity  defensiveness  specialists  creativegeneralists  generalists  knowledge  instinct  problemsolving  brain  thinking  experts  paradox  biases  bias  mindset  closedmindedness  specialization 
december 2011 by robertogreco
Boston Review — Richard Nash and Matt Runkle: Revaluing the Book [Bit about preferences, maligning, and extrapolations applies broadly]
"It has been a fascinating phenomenon in the discussion around publishing how adversarial people get around other people’s choices. So if someone says “I like an ebook,” a person will respond “Ohhh, I can’t believe—how can you do that?” It’s like that obnoxious person who you don’t want to go out to dinner with anymore because they can’t just order what they want, they have to comment on what you’re eating as well. What’s been epidemic in this discussion is that when both camps talk about their own preferences, they have to malign other people’s preferences too, and make grandiose extrapolations about the consequences of other people’s preferences for their own. If they like printed books, they should be buying the damn things instead of whining about other people’s preferred mode of reading. So I’m tremendously optimistic about the future of the book as an object. I think the worst years of the book as an object have been the last 50 years."
future  books  literature  publishing  vision  perspective  via:frankchimero  richardnash  mattrunkle  via:ayjay  preferences  defensiveness  offense  attack  discussion  politics  2011  from delicious
september 2011 by robertogreco
When the Powerful Feel Incompetent, the Rest of Us Feel Their Wrath
Your boss calls and says he wants to see you in his office. You’re not sure why – nothing in particular comes to mind that would put you in his crosshairs. In fact, you’ve actually been doing a great job lately. Even your boss’s boss said so in a staff meeting the other day, right in front of everyone, including your boss. What could be the problem?
Primary Topic: 


Work


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Cognition  Stress  Work  aggression  boss  caravan  crosshairs  defensiveness  desk  ego_defenses  gun_powder  Job  lifetime  match  personality  phone_rings  praises  psyche  psychol  surprise  from google
july 2011 by wilfriedmulder
Confessions of a home-schooler | Salon Life
"For reasons I can about halfway understand, other parents often seem to feel attacked by our eccentric choices. ... Some people seem genuinely disturbed by our decision, on philosophical or political grounds, as if by keeping a couple of 5-year-olds out of kindergarten we have violated the social contract. Specifically, we have rejected the mainstream consensus that since education is a good thing, more of it -- more formal, more "academic," reaching ever deeper into early childhood and filling up more of the day and more of the year -- is better for society and better for all children. This is almost an article of faith in contemporary America, but it's also one that's debatable at best and remains largely unsupported by research data...some people suspect we have a hidden ideological or religious agenda we're not telling them about."

[One page: http://www.salon.com/mwt/feature/2009/09/28/confessions_homeschooler/print.html ]
homeschool  unschooling  education  parenting  glvo  cv  schools  society  defensiveness  nonconformism  anarchism  summerhill 
october 2009 by robertogreco
The Lazy Way to Stay in Love
Waiting for a concert to begin at our local county fair, my husband and I checked out a reptile exhibit that included an animal trainer with a live alligator resting calmly on his lap. As we stroked the gator, I asked the trainer why it was so tame. "I pet it daily. If I didn't, it would quickly be wild again, and wouldn't allow this," he explained.

I was surprised. Only months earlier I had begun to grasp the power of bonding behaviors (skin-to-skin contact, gentle stroking and so forth) to evoke the desire to bond without our having to do anything more. I didn't realize reptiles ever responded similarly.

Bonding behaviors, or attachment cues, are subconscious signals that can make emotional ties surprisingly effortless, once any initial defensiveness dissolves. Bonding behaviors are also good medicine for easing defensiveness. Here's a dramatic example: Adoptive parents had been struggling for years with a Romanian orphan with reactive attachment disorder. Violent, he put over 1000 holes in his bedroom walls, and as he grew bigger his mother had to hire a body guard. Finally, in his teens, the parents tried daily attachment cues. After three weeks, he finally bonded with his parents and began to form healthy peer relationships as well. Listen to his ‘thank you' speech for an award.

Bonding behaviors are effective because they are the way mammal infants attach to their caregivers. To survive, infants need regular contact with Mom's mammaries until they are ready to be weaned. Bonding behaviors work by encouraging the release of neurochemicals (including oxytocin), which lower innate defensiveness, making a bond possible.

In short, these generous behaviors are the way we humans fall in love with our parents and children. Caregiver-infant signals include affectionate touch, grooming, soothing sounds, nurturing, eye contact, and so forth.

In rare pair-bonding mammals like us, bonding cues serve a secondary function as well (known as an exaptation). They're part of the reason we stay in love (on average) for long enough for both parents to attach to any kids. Honeymoon neurochemistry also plays a role, but it's somewhat like a booster shot that wears off. In contrast, bonding behaviors can sustain bonds indefinitely.

In lovers, bonding behaviors look a bit different than they do between caregiver and infant, yet the parallels are evident. These potent signals include:

· smiling, with eye contact· skin-to-skin contact· providing a service or treat without being asked · giving unsolicited approval, via smiles or compliments· gazing into each other's eyes · listening intently, and restating what you hear · forgiving or overlooking an error or thoughtless remark, past or present· preparing your partner something to eat· synchronized breathing · kissing with lips and tongues· cradling, or gently rocking, your partner's head and torso (works well on a couch, or with lots of pillows)· holding, or spooning, each other in stillness · wordless sounds of contentment and pleasure · stroking with intent to comfort· massaging with intent to comfort, especially feet, shoulders and head· hugging with intent to comfort· lying with your ear over your partner's heart and listening to the heart beat· touching and sucking of nipples/breasts · gently placing your palm over your lover's genitals with intent to comfort rather than arouse· making time together at bedtime a priority · gentle intercourse

There are some curious aspects to bonding behaviors. First, in order to sustain the sparkle in a relationship these behaviors need to occur daily, or almost daily—just as the alligator trainer observed. Second, they need not occur for long, or be particularly effortful, but they must be genuinely selfless. Even holding each other in stillness at the end of a long, busy day can be enough to exchange the subconscious signals that your relationship is rewarding. Third, there's evidence that the more you use bonding behaviors, the more sensitive your brain becomes to the neurochemicals that help you feel relaxed and loving. (In contrast, intense stimulation sometimes causes tolerance to build up.)

Fourth, some items on the list above may sound like foreplay, but in one important sense they are not. Foreplay is geared toward building sexual tension and climax—which sets off a subtle cycle of neurochemical changes (and sometimes unwelcome perception shifts) before the brain returns to equilibrium. In contrast, bonding behaviors are geared toward relaxation. They work best when they soothe an old part of the primitive brain known as the amygdala.

The amygdala's job is to keep our guard up, unless it is reassured regularly with these subconscious signals. To be sure, it also relaxes temporarily during and immediately after a passionate encounter. After all, fertilization is our genes' top priority. However, regular, non-goal oriented contact seems to be more effective as a bonding behavior. This suggests that loving foreplay preceding a wonderful orgasm is great...but can send mixed messages. Perhaps these contradictory subconscious signals account for the "attraction-repulsion" phenomenon lovers often notice after their initial honeymoon high wanes.

In any case, nurturing touch not only creates a space of comfort and safety. It can also be surprisingly ecstatic, as a friend shared:

Though it was after 11 PM, we cuddled. For about two hours. Ecstatic cuddling. I had experiences last night that I do not have immediate words for. Rich, deep, full. Subtle. Powerful. Moving. Meaningful. Pointing to greater connection with all life. We were in connection. In the same wave, as she put it, like a flock of birds wheeling in the sky as if with one mind.

Whether or not you experience ecstasy, bonding behaviors are a practical means of restoring and sustaining the harmonious sparkle in a relationship...even with a partner who is snapping like an alligator. Combine them with gentle lovemaking with lots of periods of relaxation (and a minimum of sexual satiety signals via orgasm), and you may find that you can sustain the harmony in your relationship with surprising ease.

Maybe those rare "swans" (couples who effortlessly stay together harmoniously) are largely made, not born. Certainly, I now carefully ponder news stories like this one about a couple married happily for over 80 years. The journalist reported that, "The couple never went to bed without a kiss and cuddle."

Hmmm...cause or effect? 

A husband's insights about bonding behaviors:

My wife and I just had guests for three weeks, and kissing, cuddling, complimenting each other, making love, etc, took a back seat. Now, it's like we're partial strangers (again), and it has been something of an eye-opener for me to recognise what is cause and what is effect. If I hadn't been aware of the theoretical importance of bonding behaviours, and their likely result, I would have tended to think, as I have in the past, that our cuddling had dried up because we'd temporarily 'gone off' each other, rather than the other way around. This wouldn't have been particularly worrying. We've been married for ages, and we've had loads of ups and downs. In fact, I used to believe ups and downs were inevitable in marriage; and that the only way round them was to wait for the bottom to occur, and enjoy the passage to the top again. Now, I'm not so sure, since it's become clear to me that 'going off' one another is the result, rather than the cause, of a dearth of cuddling.

Lack of cuddling eventually leads to lack of desire to cuddle, whether through laziness, habit, resentment or indifference. Cuddling (all bonding behaviours included) causes the desire for more cuddles. It is a beneficent biofeedback machine, just as the absence of bonding behaviours seems to be the opposite. Everyone will be familiar with young lovers not seeming able to get near enough to each other. Well, we've experienced the same, repeatedly, as a result of initially scheduling bonding behaviour and watching it snowball.

If serial cuddling doesn't come naturally (i.e., a couple isn't an inseparable pair of young lovers) it seems absolutely critical to schedule bonding behaviours. It's as critical as an exercise regime, should a person have decided they like the outcome of exercise. In this case, assuming a couple likes the idea of feeling as close and as in love as parent and child or star crossed teenagers, time and effort have to be employed.

Actually, it's hardly any effort at all. The effort is in remembering to do it, and in overcoming any underlying resentment that might make that 'remembering' more difficult. Initially, the bonding behaviour need only be one activity a day; and that activity needn't last longer than a minute, though it could, of course, last a lot longer. I think it needs to last at least as long as a minute, as, in our experience, that's enough to start the snowballing effect. Bonding behaviours then become automatic and seem to replicate themselves in abundance. It's not so much that they become a habit, like brushing teeth; they are more like a drink that we develop a liking, and then a recurring thirst, for, not because of the obvious beneficial effect, both short and long term, but because the taste becomes inherently irresistible.

Primary WebMD XPG: 


4094: brain


Secondary WebMD XPG: 


1687: orgasm
Relationships  adoptive_parents  alligator  animal_trainer  attachment_cues  attachment_disorder  bedroom_walls  bonding_behaviors  cues  defensiveness  dramatic_example  emotional_ties  exaptation  eye_contact  good_medicine  local_county  mammal  oxytocin  parents_and_children  peer_relationships  rare_pair  sexual_satiety  skin_to_skin  soothing_sounds  from google
september 2009 by samuva

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