From Emma Goldman at War on Error, Class, Part VIII on cultural signifiers and Sorting Hats:
So, really, the conundrum is that, on one hand, we want some kind of shorthand, some way of sorting people, and, arguably, some agreement on an assortment of dimensions of sorting. This isn’t even necessarily a bad thing, although it certainly can be (e.g., when people who are hiring employees think of “someone who is like me” in terms of skin color or religion or genitalia, for example). On the other hand, restricting yourself to people who think and look and dress exactly like you is boring, tedious, and likely to lead to literal and figurative inbreeding of all sorts.
We can play the proffered Dichotomy Game and point out that between those two hands lies something entirely reasonable, but – oooh! Look! I’ve just burped up a piece of old cud!
I’ve long held a Goldilocks theory of difference: life (or any given aspect thereof) is best shared with people whose (relvant) views and experiences are not too similar, not too alien, but just the right amount of different. Though most Goldilocks statements pass without comment (they’re practically tautologies, after all) this is one of the few that seems to provoke disagreement. Not on the cloistered end, but on the end where I feel conversation can degenerate into pointless conflict and talking past one another, disputes where neither party is ready to give up their side of the argument.
I don’t think it’s particularly respectful or honest of me to participate in a serious discussion if I’m unwilling to come out of it standing on one ear. Maybe in an ideal world we’d all be ready to give up our cherished beliefs at the drop of a hat, but… naw. I don’t think that’s how people do or should work. Does that make me close-minded?
Rana on the historiography of the American frontier. Yeah, I was fed that line about the expansion of the West…
Gah! Stupid futzy internet connection. A different selection of the Many than what was originally intended: ester on thigh high stockings, Steinn Sigurðsson with an acronym puzzle, and the new Get Your War On.