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Bailey
A thread for white people considering how to talk to their relatives
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Bailey 13 Nov 16
Replying to @the_author_
I come at this from the perspective of rhetoric. Not the popular understanding of empty talk, but the actual study of rhetorical theory
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Bailey 13 Nov 16
Replying to @the_author_
Persuasion is a big part of rhetorical studies, so something I’ve been thinking about lately is how to persuade
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Bailey 13 Nov 16
Replying to @the_author_
Persuasion requires not only that you are able to communicate your points, but that your audience will listen to you
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Bailey 13 Nov 16
Replying to @the_author_
The popular concept of "debate" assumes conversations are logical and all participants come with an open mind
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Bailey 13 Nov 16
Replying to @the_author_
*gestures at the internet generally while laughing* Why people (are told to) assume that is a topic for another day
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Bailey 13 Nov 16
Replying to @the_author_
Attempting to logically persuade someone out of their beliefs will fail almost every time. People do not respond to logical arguments.
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Bailey 13 Nov 16
Replying to @the_author_
If you confront someone’s bias with statistics, they will retreat further into their original beliefs. It's been demonstrated repeatedly
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Bailey 13 Nov 16
Replying to @the_author_
You cannot out-debate hatred or bias, no matter how many times you present the facts
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Bailey 13 Nov 16
Replying to @the_author_
You also should not legitimize hatred by treating it like it’s worthy of reasoned consideration. It’s not.
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Bailey 13 Nov 16
Replying to @the_author_
So what to do, then? In rhetoric, we talk a lot about ethos, pathos, and logos. Ethics, emotions, logic. They have to be used in concert
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Bailey 13 Nov 16
Replying to @the_author_
Too many arguments start and stop with logos. “I presented the facts, you have to agree with me now!”
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Bailey 13 Nov 16
Replying to @the_author_
How many times has that worked, whether with a rando on Twitter or over the dinner table?
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Bailey 13 Nov 16
Replying to @the_author_
Logos is the support structure. It’s the foundation of reality on which an argument can be built, but it cannot be the whole argument.
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Bailey 13 Nov 16
Replying to @the_author_
YOU have to know your facts. The facts matter, but the facts (as we have seen over and over again) are not persuasive.
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Bailey 13 Nov 16
Replying to @the_author_
Beating someone over the head with facts will end in a screaming match and without progress
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Bailey 13 Nov 16
Replying to @the_author_
Learning how to incorporate ethos and pathos into your argument is important as well.
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Bailey 13 Nov 16
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How do you create space for having a conversation about ethics and with room to validate emotions?
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Bailey 13 Nov 16
Replying to @the_author_
This is NOT to say you have to validate someone’s racist beliefs in order to unpack them. You don’t, and shouldn't.
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Bailey 13 Nov 16
Replying to @the_author_
But you DO have to acknowledge the fear-mongering (pathos!) racism that has been so effective
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