The Impossible Project of Radical Compassion
March 11, 2019 12:08 PM   Subscribe

Last month J. Nikol Jackson-Beckham, Ph.D. (or "Dr. J.") shared her "10 Commandments" on Twitter, or as one put it: "nailed her core values to the Twitter wall." Now read her essay "I am STILL not the Diversity Police". Dr. J. is a college professor, scholar, writer, and equity and inclusion strategist currently serving as the first-ever Diversity Ambassador for the Brewers Association.

Dr. J. in the New York Times (January 14, 2019): Craft Beer Looks Beyond ‘Young White Dudes With Beards’

For the Twitter-adverse, her 10 Commandments:
1) I cannot foster inclusion by being exclusive.
2) Finding solutions is infinitely more valuable than finding fault.
3) "It's complicated" is usually the best answer, even when I think it is not.
4) Context always matters...always.
5) Teaching thinking is better than teaching ideas.
6) What I do not say will define my character more than what I do say.
7) I am not defined by my circumstances, but rather how I deal with them.
8) My privilege is a responsibility to serve.
9) Everyone has a reason.
10) I will never, ever experience regret because I failed to try.

Via Stan Hieronymus.
posted by exogenous (8 comments total) 40 users marked this as a favorite
Wow, this is just amazing. She says a lot of things that I have been thinking; she clearly has given them must more thought, and much more rigorous thought, than I have.

I agree so strongly with "Finding solutions is infinitely more valuable than finding fault," and it's something I've thought a lot during some of the most contentious threads here at MeFi.

And I love this, from the "STILL not the Diversity Police" essay:
But I also have serious concerns that the cause of social justice is suffering from a lack of tactical and strategic diversity—that we prioritize criticism and blame-assignment over problem-solving, organizing, nurturing, coalition-building, self-reflection, creativity, consciousness-raising, strategic planning, recording history, performing analysis, educating, and more. I see the project of social justice as one of the most important organizational efforts of our time and, as such, take from the lessons of dozens of successful organizations. We cannot all be doing the same thing. We must use talent efficiently. We cannot waste time micromanaging each other.
Thank you for posting this, exogenous!

(And thank you for posting the 10 Commandments here - I am not exactly Twitter-averse, but I'm not a Twitter user and not a fan of the format, so it's really nice to have them right here in the thread.)
posted by kristi at 12:57 PM on March 11 [11 favorites]

Wow. In my field the beer scholars have become positioned as the antithesis of the scholars of race (really). I appreciate seeing that this does not have to be the case.
posted by Tesseractive at 2:39 PM on March 11

I think I may have a new hero. Certainly, renewed impetus to drink a diversity of non-mainstream ales and lagers and pilsners and stouts and barley wines and porters and bocks and weissbiers and ...
posted by philip-random at 3:28 PM on March 11

3) "It's complicated" is usually the best answer, even when I think it is not.

That's sure to make a lot of heads explode in political discussions, even on MetaFilter...
posted by Harvey Kilobit at 4:50 PM on March 11 [3 favorites]

this is really heavy, really great stuff. I am so angry about blame-finding culture and yet it is so very difficult to get past the aspect of "your actions have clearly harmed people."

It is a number of small small leaps to get from "promotes slavery" to "pronounces names wrong" and yet, I wonder if I spend more time worrying about offending or worrying about "offending."
posted by rebent at 5:01 PM on March 11 [4 favorites]

Her statement about how she used her own privilege sounds very personal but is frustrating for me to read because it's quite high level and vague. I wish she provided some specifics about the leveraging of privilege of which she speaks.
posted by Going To Maine at 3:26 AM on March 12

Coming from what is happening in YA Twitter to this is like a soothing balm. Many people want to make the world better in every possible way, but the internet often makes it easy to forget that.
posted by OnTheLastCastle at 9:23 AM on March 12 [1 favorite]

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