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Old 08-07-2016, 04:19 AM   #11 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by stratwill View Post
Partial trancript of the original KATG episode:
Michael: ... You know that by standing by the door the implication is: I'm not going to let you leave or you're going to have to confront me to leave.
Elsa: Sure, whatever. But that doesn't hurt anybody.[/I]
Some people might feel like I was harping on an issue but this was a big part of my point. Blocking the door and making people feel intimidated is counterproductive. People are not receptive to new information when they're being scared.

This is constantly denied during the early part of the show, which is why I felt like I was taking crazy pills. Chemda and Elsa were pretending that I was being scared of Elsa simply holding a sign when Elsa knows that the act of blocking the door is a big part of what makes the situation intimidating.

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Michael asked at the end of this episode what people thought his point of view was.

1st: Blocking the door is counter-productive because it implies a threat.
2nd: Black Brunch is an ineffective circle jerk for the benefit of the participants feeling good about themselves. Voting and changing laws is what matters.
Thanks. I would add that voting matters beyond just laws. It matters because we need people in office who will enforce those laws. It doesn't help to have laws on the books that the police commissioner and district attorney won't enforce.

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Then he was drawn into arguing about whether direct action or working within the system was best. The discussion became "either or" rather than either side acknowledging that both could be useful. (Chemda tried to make this point several times without much success. Elsa did as well at the beginning, but then argued against Michael so strenuously about working in the system that her earlier discussion about some people not being suited for direct action seems minimized).
I think direct action is working within the system. Even though some direction action tactics are technically illegal, it doesn't mean it's not within our societal system. I just disagree with the tactics and focus of certain actions.

Rally people behind your cause and take the fight to those in power.

Elsa believes that Black Brunch rallies people to the cause (or at least educates them about it). I believe it does not.

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While I have some sympathy for Michael wanting to keep the argument narrowly on the implied threat of the door standing, it would probably have been a boring hour if that had been all that was discussed.
No doubt! I just had to harp on it because it was previously admitted to by Elsa and it was a core reason why I felt Black Brunch was ineffective. To say that there was not intent to be intimidating was maddening.

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Random observations:
Elsa and Chemda repeatedly threw up straw men, exaggerating or misconstruing Michael's argument and then arguing against the exaggeration.
Seriously.

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Elsa seemed to take a lot Michael's criticism of her activism tactics as a personal attack. Sometimes Michael did the same.
I think that happened when one of us painted the other with a broad brush.

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Elsa seemed to react in a dismissive manner rather than engaging in the argument as time went on. Michael interrupted a lot. (I am a straight white male interrupter. I struggle with this. I can imagine that a queer black female who has undoubtedly experienced being interrupted repeatedly her entire life by straights, whites, and men might become somewhat dismissive in an argument.)
You know, I'm Middle Eastern, right? I watched my parents and family face bigotry. I have also had to deal with bigotry myself. No question that a black person in America faces more bigotry but it's not like I'm "straight white male".

However, I understand your point about it possibly being Elsa's point of view. I wonder what she'd have to say about that.

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The biggest issue I take with Michael's argument is the lack of empathy. He was arguing big picture abstractions of working within the system while Elsa was talking about the immediate effect of the current system on the individuals who are coerced and oppressed by the system. He may have had some valid points about how technology is improving the system slowly. For someone in Michael's position, (affluent, educated, not black or hispanic) it may be fast enough. But he is ignoring what it might feel like if you're poor and black.
My argument is that Elsa thinks she's having an immediate effect on the current system when she is not. I think Black Brunch has no effect and might even be counter productive.

I'm not ignoring what it might feel like if you're poor and black. I get why Elsa is frustrated. I just don't think her tactics are effective.

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Additionally, one of the big complaints I've heard from female activists is how often men come and tell them how they are doing their activism wrong. Elsa might have a stronger reaction in light of how often this sort of thing happens.
I can understand how anyone saying "you're doing it wrong" can be upsetting, regardless of the gender/race. Especially when you're out in the field doing what you can and feel like someone is criticizing you from the sidelines.

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Chemda seemed to willfully ignore the difference between slowing traffic on an ordinary bridge or highway versus the airport on Christmas Eve. There's an enormous difference between thousands of people losing thousands of dollars and disrupting their holidays and thousands of people getting home late from work on an average Wednesday in June. You may think both are justified, but to suggest that there is no real difference is ridiculous.
Thanks! =D

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Michael did a good job of trying to pin down Elsa and Chemda on specifics regarding how to replace or fix "the system". Elsa had some good responses specific to police violence, but neither her or Chemda presented any real big picture ideas that Michael was asking them for.
I think this is a key difference between Elsa and me. I believe the system is worth saving and changing. Elsa thinks there are too many issues within the system and it's best to start over.

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I totally had a great recent example of direct action working recently, but I have forgotten it.
I hope you remember what it was. I bet it had something to do with changing laws or political leaders by taking the complaint directly to them with a group that was rallied behind your cause.

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A question for Michael relating to the original narrow scope of the argument: If a Black Brunch happened with no one at the door, would you call it counter-productive, merely ineffective, or beneficial?
I believe it would still be counter productive but less so. I think people are fearful when a group takes over a restaurant and are not receptive to the message. I think that fear ends up reinforcing stereotypes and misconceptions which would be counter productive.

Take the fight to those in power. Make them fearful of being thrown out of office and losing their jobs if they don't respect our civil rights.
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Old 08-07-2016, 04:49 AM   #12 (permalink)
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Regarding Martin Luther King Jr.'s protests. On the show, I couldn't explain why I would be OK with protests like the March on Selma and not blocking the highway, since King's marches blocked the road as well. Unfortunately, I wasn't educated enough on the topic to explain the difference, so I researched it after the show.

Here are clear differences between the two
  • The protest march and associated protests at the White House took the fight directly to those in power.
  • The goal of the march was to get a bill passed in congress.
  • The protesters marched 10 miles a day but blocking traffic along the way was not their goal. It was only when the group grew too large that traffic was effected.

Now, there's a ton more that happened over the years that Martin Luther King Jr. and fellow activists fought for civil rights but they fought to change the system, not destroy it. They fought for political change with specific goals.

I think that's a far different movement that the disorganized Black Lives Matter movement. I think the disorganization BLM has is similar to the disorganization the Occupy movement had.

Having said that, seeing clear goals with Campaign Zero and the recently released Vision for Black Lives will go a long way to organize the movement and enact real change.

I look forward to their success in improving the civil rights of all Americans.

Last edited by MichaelApproved; 08-07-2016 at 04:53 AM.
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Old 08-20-2016, 09:57 PM   #13 (permalink)
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This was very intense. There were times that I was super frustrated with both Elsa and Michael. One thing maybe we could all agree on us is that this conversation possibly accomplished more good for our common cause then a Black Brunch.
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