Tuesday 12 May 2015

Orientation to very hard things

If you tell people something is going to be really hard, who responds to that invitation?

Can you figure out how to stage the signals letting people know that there will be difficulty -- so they are neither ambushed nor deterred, but invited with the assurance that they will have just as much support as they need to face the challenge?

I have been following this line of thought to figure out how to more successfully scaffold uncomfortable conversation about society and environment issues.

Traveling back to the U.S. reminds me how hard people are on each other, even (maybe especially) when they're trying to build up to doing hard things. So having watched a wave of appreciation for mothers swell the bandwidth of social media yesterday, I'd like to add my appreciation for the orientation provided by people who have done things they think others should try.

I can see how you went. I can witness and imagine some ways these things can be done, especially if I don't also have to worry about sticking exactly to your path(s). And especially then, figuring out the paths to take, I am even more grateful for the sign posts people might leave at difficult passages and choice points.
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Kirsten Valentine Cadieux said...

I was inspired in thinking through this by Zoƫ Carpenter's remarkable cover story in the current issue of The Nation "Librarians Versus the NSA: Your local library is on the front lines against government surveillance":

"Audrey Evans, who was a college student in Arkansas at the time, had what she calls a “crystallizing moment” when she heard about a library warning sign that read, "The FBI has not been here," and then, in smaller type below: "Watch very closely for the removal of this sign." The subversive message intrigued her. “It was an effort of resistance, and of getting around something, and simultaneously making the public aware of what was going on,” she told me recently. The conversation librarians were having about civil liberties “revealed the values of the public library as an institution, and became a grounding spot for me as a political-consciousness moment. I started thinking that maybe I would want to be a librarian one day.” She got an internship at the Clinton Presidential Library and, after college, went on to study law librarianship. Several other people that I spoke with for this story, including Alison Macrina, told me similar stories about how the activism of librarians after 9/11 shaped their political perspective."

Kirsten Valentine Cadieux said...


Kirsten Valentine Cadieux said...

While I'm on this line of thought, I should give credit for those clever signs (13 years ago, demonstrating how ahead of the curve radical librarians have been): http://www.librarian.net/stax/4182/the-fbi-and-whether-theyve-been-here-or-not/

And I'd also like to extend the scope of my example to the OTHER side of the challenges of protecting what I think of as the power of "small data." Not only are there struggles over who can monitor what we learn -- but also about how we share it: http://www.slate.com/articles/health_and_science/science/2015/05/wyoming_law_against_data_collection_protecting_ranchers_by_ignoring_the.html?wpsrc=sh_all_mob_tw_top

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