I guess this is pretty late in the game to comment, but I think these comments merit stating.
I am white and I am not a racist. Because like Dr. King said, I judge people on their integrity and character and not the color of their skin. I can disagree with a black person because I disagree with them, same as anyone else of any other color I might disagree with. Besides, Dr. King is one of my role models - now there was a man of character and integrity!
I completely agree that a life of daily struggle such as you describe can be fertile soil for developing resilience. There are also a lot of other possible outcomes that were not explored in these comments, and certainly was outside the scope of the talk. I am empathetic to the plight of those who are wrongfully oppressed and shamed and dehumanized. I denounce such things and I speak out about such things. Much as it might shock people, I can relate. It means that I (the white woman) am willing to listen to your story of what it is like to be a black woman in North America. It is your story - it is intensely personal. You are entitled to tell it and if I am going to have the honor of listening then it should be from a place of trying to understand where you are coming from, and to see the meaning and the feeling behind the words to catch the full picture.
But don't stomp all over Dr. Brown's personal story and professional work. But it is not okay to lash out at other people, particularly when they are being vulnerable, because their story plays on your own insecurities. In this case racial issues or the neglect of them seems to be the insecurity at play. I personally think that when we stop being offended about feeling excluded we have really made peace with ourselves and fully believe that 'we are enough'. Then we don't worry about what others think or say about us or neglect to say about us. And then we can bring our full authentic selves to the moment and we can stop and fully appreciate others for who they are and what they have to contribute. Just because you figured some of this stuff about vulnerability out long ago doesn't mean that someone else's story is any less powerful, any less authentic, any less daring. We each have our own story. We each have our own journey. We each learn different lessons at different times in our lives. And certainly she doesn't want your sympathy for her unfortunate privileged white upbringing - "o you poor white girl that everyone treated with kit gloves..." type commentary. She wants your empathy - your statements that you've been there, you get it, you know about vulnerability and all the pain and strength that it brings... type commentary. That's the whole point she is trying to make. That's the place she is inviting us to go to - it's a messy, out-of-control, sometimes painful place - but it is also where the real business of living happens and where real connection happens. It is where we discover that we are not as different as we thought, that on the inside we all look the same and we all have the same needs for love and belonging, and the same things that hurt your feelings also hurt mine. And that's when the magic happens, when I see you for who you are, and not as some stereotype of what "people like you" are like. When I really see you, and you really see me. And that's the whole point, that her work about shame, and vulnerability, and connection is universal - it doesn't matter if you are black or white or yellow or red - because it applies to all of us, as human beings.
I take issue with this "obvious" stuff. Do you have any idea of the research methodology of qualitative research? It is, after all, research, and one of the fundamentals of science is to get a representative sample. Do you not think that her sample would have included people of all races, socioeconomic backgrounds, etc. Sometimes these "microaggressions" are imagined slights.Have you considered that her research is pioneer work in the scientific community? Had you considered the incredible risk and cost to her personally to do this work? Had you considered that because of her willingness to dare and to be vulnerable in sharing on a wide forum, this important work now has the potential to influence everything from parenting to economics to education to racial dynamics to poverty? And that if this was put into practice we could raise a whole generation of kids who are resilient, creative and see people for who they really are? Had you considered that because there is scientific backing for these "obvious" concepts, in a culture where everything has to have proof that it works (oh we love certainty), that it gives the movers and shakers of our world the evidence they need to influence public policy and government decisions so that we will collectively put our money where our mouths are? If it was all so obvious, why didn't someone else put it in writing first? Do you know that you can't get your Ph.D. if your work is not 100% new and original and never been done before? Do you have any idea what coding her data by hand would mean? The hours and hours of work, the challenge of pulling patterns and themes coherently out of over a thousand stories you have collected? But that is the thing with good science and communicating it well - it is elegant and straightforward, but then to those who don't know how much sweat and tears and elbow grease it cost tosses it aside as 'obvious', 'logical', 'common sense'. You know what it sounds like to the person on the receiving end of these comments: "Why would you waste 12 years of your life studying that? Your work is not important enough for me to take seriously." And lastly, the information a scientist communicates to the public is often just the tip of the iceberg, because it makes it accessible and practical for people. But if you read their academic publications you are often astounded by the depth and complexity of their work.
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