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Politics, Communication, and Circularity
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1/30/2016 4:16:37 PM
Posted: 8 months ago
What happens when a white man says something, but a black woman says the same thing, to the same audience? Are there differences in reception? On that basis alone, it's unlikely unless you're on Stormfront. But, if there is a different reception, there might be reasons for that. Could race be the difference? Maybe, but it's not likely. Other, more subtle, nuanced factors are probably in play.
In order to understand why people respond to messages in the way that they do, you've got to account for a whole bunch of things that, for example, regression models are incompetent to account for. (Read: the "research" which postulates that white men receive better receptions from audiences than black women on the basis of their disparate races and genders is total bullsh!t, because isolating causality in that regard is scientifically and therefore methodologically impossible.) Yet, there are some questions that can be critically considered, the answers of which might shed light onto the issue.
Those questions include:
1. Who was the speaker?
2. Who was in the audience?
3. What are their backgrounds; both speaker and audience?
4. What was the message?
5. How was the message presented? (accounting for tone, body language, etc.)
6. To what extent does the message parallel, or conflict with, the audience's values?
7. What is the prior relationship, if any, between both speakers, and the audience? (i.e. has any speaker spoken before that particular audience before?)
These seven questions are just the beginning, but the number of questions that can be asked to understand the multivariate dynamics in play with respect to the speaker-audience relationship, as anyone can deduce for themselves, goes far beyond race and gender.
Very subtle things, like cadence, inflection, eye contact, and other aspects of delivery can totally change the way that a message is perceived by an audience; and, as anyone with *any* experience with public speaking knows, it's nearly impossible to get two people to deliver the same speech, even if the words themselves are identical, the same way.
The problem is that those people who would embrace reductionist, myopic ideas like "they disregarded what I was saying because I was black" are going to get themselves caught up in a dangerous cycle.
This is the point I want to emphasize: If you walk into a room, with an audience of any size, on the assumption that your message is not going to be well-received by that audience, you have laid the foundation for a self-fulfilling prophecy. Hence, the dangerous cycle.
People pick up on things like a speaker's hostility towards them, and they resent it on a subconscious level, and perhaps even a conscious level. A black race feminist's hostility towards an audience, for example, of white or mostly white college students, is likely to translate into a hostile interplay between the speaker and audience for the simple reason that the speaker's resentment will be sensed by the audience.
Why might a speaker of that kind resent the college students? Maybe he or she (there are male race feminists, btw.) was taught by an incompetent professor who doesn't understand the limits of what social research can do, that white students on the basis of their being white are going to disregard race-feminism. So, the speaker walks into the room assuming they're going to be disliked, and their fate is sealed by their own actions.
This stuff is not complicated, either. It's common sense, really. It's also a repudiation of the absurdism that I see coming out of many universities in their race and gender focused journals that nobody reads. The reason no one reads them is because they're (1) delusional, (2) out of touch with reality, and (3) not worth paying attention to.
But, I say these things because the subject's gotten some attention here, and there are people who have made allegations that, for example, the DDO community discriminates against certain members because of their race or gender. It's total bullsh!t. DDO is not a community of racists. The problem is the speaker, not the audience.
This does not apply to any particular person, as there are multiple people who fall into this category of individuals.