“being told you’re wrong is taken as proof you’re right”
August 16, 2019 1:18 PM   Subscribe

Fragile Minds [audio only] is a PEN lecture by Australian journalist Erik Jensen about the state of journalism, how it handles criticism, and often fails readers who aren’t white men. His focus is Australia but his points are widely applicable. The lecture is introduced by the president of PEN Melbourne, Arnold Zable. The two speak afterwards and take questions from the audience. If you don’t have time to listen to the whole hour, Jensen goes over much of what he has to say in a 13 minute interview with Philip Adams.
posted by Kattullus (5 comments total) 24 users marked this as a favorite
Thank you for this FPP. I found this an excellent take on the issue and evidence that those with privilege can educate each other and not only rely on people of color or other non privileged to do the teaching.
posted by drossdragon at 3:07 PM on August 16, 2019 [1 favorite]

Yes. Nice post. Yes. My ex-wife family member taught African studies and diversity. It's not so much the look on people's faces anymore.

I listened to the short version and sped up to 1.314 because the man's voice was woozy.
So, 1919 dude posits ' white privilege' coined, mainly an economic thing. Then add 100 years, through in the media and you have a practicum that has barely evolved.
So, going from my own stuff.... Start in 1867. (I'm privileged to be to family historian) Letters between my gggrand parents. They were reformed Quakers and used the word "blessed" when ever economic, health, or family were discussed. They wrote not once of other 'races' most likely because their parents were involved in the underground railroad. They were severe on drinking, bars, and Catholics. But not even a horn toot on race.
So, when aspects or rural religiosity began to, oh, change. The Ones "blessed" become privileged or worse, both.

Two experiences from non journalist, but from history class itself.
1.my Asian studies prof was lecturing on the Meiji period and a student asks on off the wall question on architecture..."well, your from Japan, what is like"
For which teacher replies, D'oh no, man. I'm from Hawaii. I liked to surf "

The second was when I took ' Diversity' I was privileged to attend because I took ' People of Color' at community college thus by-passing the teacher's prerequisites.
So, a student was told to write a paper, it didn't fly, the second didnt, student became lippy, teacher asked the class what student did wrong. ( This is the white privilege part)

Silence. Houston, there's problem silence.
I reply
"She is using the same criteria with a different thesis."
Precisely was the response.

I dropped the class a week later.
posted by clavdivs at 5:39 PM on August 16, 2019 [1 favorite]

For the international audience I feel I have to explain that Philip Adams is an Australian National Treasure. He was like an anti-mad men advertiser in the 70s and 80s, with campaigns like Slip Slop Slap (skin cancer), Life, be in it! (public health), anti-smoking, drinking driving and for the RSPCA. All very successful, he refused to do any advertising work he didn't consider ethical, which was an extraordinarily radical position to take at the time. All Australians of a certain age will be familiar with his work.

He's been doing radio forever and has interviewed everyone, check out his show in the link above!

I award this post the prestigious Koala Stamp.
posted by adept256 at 8:41 PM on August 16, 2019 [14 favorites]

Thank you for posting this.
posted by BigHeartedGuy at 10:58 PM on August 16, 2019 [1 favorite]

Thanks for posting the link to Jensen's Wheeler Centre lecture. I had already heard the thought-provoking Philip Adams interview and read an excerpt of the Quarterly Essay by Jensen that Adam's interview references. But the longer presentation at the Wheeler Centre includes an introduction by the educator, novelist and human rights activist Arnold Zable and covers more ground. Along the way, both mention Behrouz Boochani, the Kurdish/Iranian refugee activist and writer imprisoned on Manus Island in Papua New Guinea. Boochani's book, No Friend But the Mountain (written on whats app) recently won a number of Australia's richest book prizes. It is considered one of the world's geat pieces of prison literature and well worth reading for both its own work, and the translators'. An extraordinary book.
posted by Thella at 6:38 PM on August 17, 2019 [3 favorites]

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