Friday, January 20, 2017

Kimberlé Crenshaw

Kimberlé Crenshaw spoke at GVSU on 1/18/17. Her main points were:
  1. Resist normalization
  2. Engage in local struggle
  3. Creative conflict at home can expand our world
  4. Practice intersectional fusion politics
  • Resist normalization: Inequality isn't natural/normal and should be corrected via many paths including the law. Law helps create and reinforce systems of power. "Color blindness" is perfectly consistent with segregation! It means blindness to racial inequalities. (Saying "I don't see color, I see a person" doesn't work, because it negates the disparities.)
  • Intersectional fusion politics = asymetrical solidarities and coalitions. The focus on individual responsibililty instead of structure, institutions, and infrastructure increases disparities. We have to be aware of the underlying realities (e.g., who pays the bills or provides corporate sponsorship to institutions?)
  • How do we stay resilient? These tensions are historical, same struggles throughout time, but we keep working on civil rights to build on a deeper idea of what community is.
  • Crenshaw recommended the film Agents of Change (2016) which isn't available for purchase yet
  •  The African American Policy Forum is a good site to get more info: 

Thursday, January 12, 2017

Fake news, Internet of us

I'm reading The Internet of Us: knowing more and understanding less in the age of Big Data by Michael Patrick Lynch. Fascinating, very relevant to "fake news." Lynch says that we know our opinions to be true by:
  1. Experience (via our lived senses)
  2. Reasoning (logical thought)
  3. Reflection (considering other's knowledge through its effect, existence, or character)
  4. Responsible (is someone else's fact grounded in the above and are they accountable for its veracity? Has it been examined rigorously by others and is therefore trustworthy?)
Rob Jenkins wrote a thoughtful analysis of critical thinking in the news column "What Is Critical Thinking, Anyway?" but also stated that it requires one to be dispassionate, which means to recognize one's feelings, but not trust them "because they aren't necessarily grounded in reality" and are "not based on reason, and, therefore, form a poor, shaky foundation for decision-making." I think this is specifically a man's (or male) point of view, or better, in the Myers-Briggs categories, grants privilege to thinking over feeling. Feelings are based on past experiences, and also on current intuition, take people and how they will be affected into consideration. I think they are part of what goes into making good decisions.
not based on reason and, therefore, form a poor, shaky foundation for decision-making - See more at:
because they aren’t necessarily grounded in reality - See more at:
because they aren’t necessarily grounded in reality - See more at:
because they aren’t necessarily grounded in reality - See more at:

What Is Critical Thinking, Anyway?