Thursday, January 10, 2013

A demonstration of chauvinism

Just yesterday I was thinking about how hard it is to talk about our biases because so often they are invisible to us. When someone tries to point them out - we can't see them and so we get defensive. How to over come that was the question I was struggling with.

And then along comes this exchange between Joe Scarborough and Mika Brzezinski (esp starting at 5:30).

I know Joe couldn't see what he was doing. But can any honest observer NOT see how he wouldn't allow Mika a moment for a dissenting opinion? Even when she managed to get a word or two out - he belittled and mocked her. Of course, in his world, anyone who disagrees with him is only doing so out of some misguided (ie, childish) loyalty to President Obama...not because Mika happens to see the situation from a different (ie, adult) perspective.

There was not one shred of curiosity about how - as a woman - she might see the situation differently than he does. Instead he did everything he could to shut her up and shame her.

I'll give Mika some credit, she tried to do what Jay Smooth suggests when it comes to calling out racism. Instead of calling Joe "a chauvinist," she said that how he was handling himself in that situation was chauvinistic. Notice how Joe keeps trying to bring it back to "How DARE you call me a chauvinist!" As long he can defend that territory, he assumes that he doesn't have to deal with his particular behavior in this incident.

In the end, Mika wasn't successful in helping Joe see what he was doing. But what I'm hoping is that people who watch this will recognize what's happening. The next time someone says you did something chauvinist or racist or homophobic, think about NOT responding the way Joe did.

6 comments:

  1. It's so frustrating to be in this situation with a person I really care about (like my husband), because the defensiveness becomes such a difficult barrier to gaining rapport and intimacy. When I've been in similar situations, the only thing I can come up with is a frustrated plea: "Please, just for a few moments, put down your defenses and just *listen*!" It's not always very effective.

    On the upside, having experienced this kind of frustration has made me more conscientious about avoiding becoming defensively impenetrable myself, when I'm confronted by someone who is less socially privileged than I am. I've realized that being defensive can prevent me from learning more about the people around me.

    --Beulahmo

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  2. Anyone that was delusional enough to believe in Romney's chances aren't really going to see one's own biases. I figured being wrong like that would humble him towards Mika. Joe isn't interested in growing. He has his beliefs and that is who he is. I would be surprised if he isn't as dogmatic 10 years from now. I would call Joe and his people cultural dead weight. They are bigoted troglodytes and are satisfied with themselves.

    As far as beating my own biases, that was something I had to do on my own. It's difficult. What makes things worse is finding out where those biases come from. You're then obligated to do something about the situation while dealing with your own issues.

    Vic78

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  3. "There was not one shred of curiosity about how - as a woman - she might see the situation differently than he does."

    You're kidding, right? Joe Scarborough is Republican. Why would you expect him to be curious? Especially about a woman's perspective. And why do you think Mika is on the show? Because he Joe can mock and belittle her. She lets him. She feigns outrage, shuffles her papers, squinches up her face I imagine the way she does when her overbearing a** of a father (Zbignew) scolds her, looks at the other guests and giggles. It's part of the schtick. For chrissake, they have Mike Barnicle as a regular on that show. You're expecting too much.

    Nancy

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    1. I'm not sure where you get that I'm expecting anything from Joe.

      As I said, my purpose in posting this was that its a perfect example FOR OTHERS to watch in how to NOT respond when someone suggests you've said/done something that is chauvinist, racist, homophobic.

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  4. Please re-read your opening paragraph.

    Nancy

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    1. My opening paragraph is designed to introduce the reader to learning something from how Joe handled this situation.

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