The Living Thing / Notebooks :

Getting along

Tolerance, ghettoisation, xenophobic panic; Causes, pathologies and consequences of and suggestions for


By Nora Samaran.

There is a variation on ‘Not All Men.’

It is called ‘I Feel Bad When You Say That.’

Noisy chaos of notes about the cultivation of tolerance and cooperation between people in the presence of cultural, ethnic, sexual (etc) difference. An inverse to neofeudalism, and a twin perhaps to cooperation.

The ease and rarity of empathy

Gábor Simonovits, Gábor Kézdi and Péter Kardos (SiKK17)

We report the results of an intervention that targeted anti-Roma sentiment in Hungary using an online perspective-taking game. We evaluated the impact of this intervention using a randomized experiment in which a sample of young adults played this perspective-taking game, or an unrelated online game. Participation in the perspective-taking game markedly reduced prejudice, with an effect-size equivalent to half the difference between voters of the far-right and the center-right party. The effects persisted for at least a month, and, as a byproduct, the intervention also reduced antipathy toward refugees, another stigmatized group in Hungary, and decreased vote intentions for Hungary’s overtly racist, far-right party by 10%. Our study offers a proof-of-concept for a general class of interventions that could be adapted to different settings and implemented at low costs.

I wonder how reproducing that one has gone?

Deep canvassing

Has a fascinating history, what with the famous LaCour study, which was fake, and the Broockman and Kalla study, which was real. There is a convenient Dave McRaney podcast on this theme.

For real this time: Talking to people about gay and transgender issues can change their prejudices.

Benefits of diversity

Need a cash payoff to explain why you should bother fostering tolerance despite the obvious difficulty? Sure, I can give you that, but quick question: Do you open with “what’s it worth to me?” in all your conversations? Are you, further, tiresome to be around? Just checkin’.

Scott Page calls this the diversity dividend.

There is some famous recent Google research here (not peer-reviewed, mind)

Google: Foster psychological safety

Of the five key dynamics of effective teams that the researchers identified, psychological safety was by far the most important. The Google researchers found that individuals on teams with higher psychological safety are less likely to leave Google, they’re more likely to harness the power of diverse ideas from their teammates, they bring in more revenue, and they’re rated as effective twice as often by executives.

McKinsey report, Vivian Hunt, Dennis Layton, and Sara Prince: Why diversity matters

While correlation does not equal causation (greater gender and ethnic diversity in corporate leadership doesn’t automatically translate into more profit), the correlation does indicate that when companies commit themselves to diverse leadership, they are more successful.

The fragile feelings of the relatively privileged

Previously a disquieting curiosity, now a keystone in the edifice of contemporary feudalism.

Keyphrase: The klansman calling the snowflake white.

This thing about who the geeks are is a touch-point.

For a cultural-studies take which regards geekdom as a problem by trying to acquire the rights of other minorities, see Postmodern geekdom as simulated ethnicity.

For Scott Alexander eloquently arguing that lumping all geeks in together is a problem, see Untitled:

There is a growing trend in Internet feminism that works exactly by conflating the ideas of nerd, misogynist, virgin, person who disagrees with feminist tactics or politics, and unlovable freak.

For a softer version, try Jon Ronson’s So you’ve been publicly shamed.

A major point of his is that the counterpoint to sensitive men arguing #notallmen, is that there is a strand of internet discourse that argues #yesallgeeks. There is also one about the danger of arguing that oppression and toxicity is a zero sum game. Some other well-trurned thoughts also.

Anyway, moving on. An archetypical, if not the most dire, example was the aforementioned “gamergate”, where some boys were pissed that merely most, rather than all, video games, are for them. These ‘gaters ran around being shrill online and managed to legitimate a movement that habitually sheltered amongst them angry boys who like righteously making rape threats at a putative conspiracy of women influencing video game coverage using their naughty vaginas.

A lot of this is about the spiraling unintended consequences of angry people attempting to have real discourse online.

Separate but equal?

Research group finds creating boundaries key to reducing ethnic violence.

Calling out/calling in


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