Mansplaining and other forms of communication

There are lots of terms just alienate some people. Black Lives Matter. White privilege. Institutional racism.

mansplainer1Arthur, the executive producer of the vast AmeriNZ empire wonders:

How do you reconcile agreeing philosophically with people, yet being #@$%*! annoyed with them? I’m thinking of political activists, religious people, whatever. Generally speaking, do you tend to focus on the agreement and ignore what annoys you, or does your annoyance prevent you from acknowledging the agreement?

I used to have this brother-in-law. Back in 1977, my gypsy year, I crashed on his and my sister’s sofa during the summer. They lived in Queens, but he and I occasionally went into Manhattan on the subway. He was all into renewable energy, the kind of ideas President Jimmy Carter was talking about – and America largely rejected. But BIL was a sanctimonious pain, who would point out the foibles of other people – “No one is talking to each other” – while oblivious to his own.

I have found that period to be useful training in dealing with political activists this season, especially the Jill Stein for President people. Not that I can’t get a little irritable. I was asked if I really thought Clinton would do the litany of things she said, and I said yes, she’d make the effort, on the domestic front. Then I was told why I was wrong. Hey, do you want my opinion, which you asked for, or not? I got an apology out of that, shocking in the Facebook era.

Hey, I understand voting for the Green Party. I voted for Nader, twice, for President. I voted Green Party for governor at least thrice because New York State has this peculiar provision that, in order to have people registered in the party, the gubernatorial candidate has to get a certain threshold of votes. So don’t get all “you’re a sellout” on me.

I have a friend who’s aggravated by the imperfection of a certain religious institution in terms of inclusiveness, though it’s trying hard to meet that ideal. She’s frustrated; I’m of the opinion that it’s heading in the right direction, but the entity is made up of flawed, imperfect people – aren’t we all? – wanting to do the correct thing.

So it is situationally dependent. I’m fine with the Stein people – I don’t tell them they’re really voting for Trump. But they need to allow me the same courtesy. And religious people who, for reasons of goodwill, do the wrong thing, I sigh and say, “OK, did you know why someone might find that offensive?” But I don’t give up the ship, or the fight, or whatever analogy I’m going for.

We often hear about “mansplaining“, when a man, usually arrogantly, “explains” things to a woman. I recently also heard “whitesplaning” to describe white people “explaining” to black people what the nature of racism is, Black Lives Matter, etc. In your opinion, is there such a thing as “blacksplaining”?

[LAUGHS HEARTILY.] Oh, yeah, and I’ve heard it all my life, long before the term existed. And it comes from all political stripes, including people on the left who tell me X is racist when I just don’t see it.

Oh, and I don’t think “splaining” is always arrogant. Patronizing, sure.

And, are all these “splaining” names useful for understanding and exposing bias, or are they attempts to shut down debate? Are they used to intimidate people into silence, or are they merely a way to get people to see their own blind spots and arrogance?

Yes, it can be all of the above.

I got into some FB conversation with a guy I’ve known only online. Some woman accused him of mansplaining, and I thought she was correct. He did not, and went back and forth with the woman, and a bit from me.

By the end of the conversation, I was willing to concede, as he wanted, that maybe he wasn’t mansplaining, but he was just being, in his words, “an arrogant prick.” Hey, you win.

There are lots of terms that just alienate some people. Black Lives Matter. White privilege. Institutional racism. Racist, which, according to more than a few, only applies to people who wear white robes and hoods. So person T can’t be racist because he knows some black people, and some of them even endorse him for President.

Some days, I think calling someone a racist is unproductive, not because it’s untrue, but because it defines the totality of who they are, and they get their hackles up. (Random thought: What IS a hackle?)

Occasionally I find it easier to talk about racist acts because that’s more manageable. Of course, then they start quoting Avenue Q. They compare a verbal gaffe with excluding minorities from housing units, and shrug, “Well, everyone’s a little racist,” as though they were at all equivalent.


April rambling #2: Smartest place on earth

A World Awash in Purple


The 2016 Pulitzer Prize Winners, with links to many of the written pieces!

The Vlogbrothers — John and Hank Green — summarize the tax proposals of the folks who want to be your next President.

John Green: Here’s to civil discourse and David Kalish: Comparing Facebook to a pee-soaked lamp post.

Whose Heritage? Public Symbols of the Confederacy.

Mississippi Interracial Couple Evicted For Being In An Interracial Marriage. In 2016.

Michigan mechanic refuses to serve people from the ‘ghetto’ — but insists he’s not racist – he was a bit coarser than that. “But Jim S. insists he’s not racist — which is exactly what racists usually say. ‘Race has nothing to do with this, let me clarify,’ Jim S. told Mic. ‘What we’re trying to avoid is people who number one can’t afford service.'” In 2016.

Michael Rivest: Thoughts on White Privilege and Colorblindness.

Why You Should Care about Felon Voting Rights.

Jeff Sharlet: Airbnb’s Paris “Open”, during the Paris attacks.

This is what happens when you bury a mass murderer in a small town.

John Oliver: Credit reports and Lead poisoning and Hollywood Whitewashing.

1939 news clipping re: Jack Benny’s “valet”, Rochester.

New York Times: How to Explain Mansplaining.

“Leftover women”, those unmarried by 25, in China.

Greg’s daughter Mia turns 13.

Dustbury: The years take their toll on a body.

Neuroscientists Can Identify You by Your ‘Brainprint’ with 100% Accuracy, and related story.

Albany, New York: Smartest place on earth? Probably.

16 Things I Would Want If I Got Dementia.

Jaquandor has been posting poetry all month, of many varieties.

How to Insult Like Shakespeare.

Now I Know: How Brazil Got to the 1932 Olympics (Mostly) and “We Won’t Give Up Until You Bleed” and A Weighty Issue (about clipboards!)

There’s a Scientific Reason Why Indian Food Is So Delicious.


TWC Question Time #33: Part Two– Killing the King.

These Millennials!

Superman: tax evader.


BBC have broadcast TWICE as many obituaries in 2016 compared to last year at this point.

The Prince section

“Am I black or white, am I straight or gay?
“Do I believe in god, do I believe in me?”
“Controversy” – Prince

A World Awash in Purple.

Arthur addresses how the Internet Age didn’t create social mourning.

Prince on Arsenio Hall’s show.

Prince & Tamar Davis(Good Morning America 2006)/a>, which I watched in real time.

Former Warner Bros. CEO Mo Ostin Recalls His Long Relationship: ‘He Was a Fearless Artist’.

Weekly Sift.

Prince refused to be a commodity and took a protective stance on music copyrights.

Paul Westerberg: ‘I Can’t Think of Anyone Better’.

Is the water warm enough? Cartoonist Hazel Newlevant discusses Wendy & Lisa’s contribution to Prince’s legacy.

Times When He Showed Us His Great Sense of Humor.

Do It All Night: The Story of Prince ‘s Dirty Mind. An in-depth look back on the 1982 album that allowed Prince to cross over as a rock’n’roll star.

From Bat Dance to his Alter Ego comic.

A guy on Facebook noted: “‪‎Prince‬ was a huge fan of Bonnie Raitt and when he covered I Can’t Make You Love Me for his Emancipation album (1996), in the liner notes, he wrote: bonnieisanamericantreasure. When Bonnie was between labels, before signing to Capitol, Prince wanted her to sign with Paisley Park. They worked together a bit to see where it would go, but then he had to go to Europe to film Under The Cherry Moon. In the meantime, the stars aligned with Bonnie, Don Was and Capitol Records. What followed was Bonnie’s breakthrough success with ‘Nick Of Time’. Whatever they did together remains in Prince’s vaults.”

More music!

Lonnie Mack, RIP.

Amy Biancolli: Music to vote by.

Coverville 1122: Cover Stories for Roy Orbison and Paul Carrack. Roy would have been 80.

Harry Hipster Gibson – Who Put The Benzedrine In Mrs. Murphy’s Ovaltine (1944).

You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown (1967 Broadway Soundtrack).

Lawrence Welk Meets Velvet Underground.

Social media & sharing icons powered by UltimatelySocial