Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Public Opinion

Only a small portion of the public is valued and has an opinion considered valid. Furthermore, what passes for solidarity rarely includes many ideas or, more importantly, many people who are providing alternatives to tradition. That which is commonly referred to as a democratic approach is often something very different. The prohibition of alternate views is never written in a formal rule book where it can be easily challenged. Instead, there's a consistent supply of subtle methods for blaming those who don't follow the prescribed plan. 

For example, the Internet continues to be small with very limited access. It would be helpful if discussions described as open and public would acknowledge this limitation, but that rarely happens. Usually when it is described as a tool for liberation, the describer has either been misled by popular culture or is just intentionally deceptive. Believing that inclusion exists long before it does will require ignoring the exclusionary methods being used. 

There are plenty of convenient ways to describe negatively those who aren't welcome (non-team player, selfish, willingly ignorant and/or poor, unnecessarily individualistic, antagonistic, etc.), and until this is no longer comfortable, the limited solution options that result will prevent progress. 

Those which are called the best ways to provide access and encourage inclusion are decided by authorities rather than by those who need support. Since needing support is synonymous with lacking understanding of what is important, the decision-making process is left to those who have been granted the privilege of calling what they think knowledge without it being adequately challenged. 

Much of what is discussed regarding the way diagnosis is used for people not fitting in or relating to others in a substandard way is limited to those who profit from problems continuing. The public follows the authority by pointing out what they see is lacking in others in a way that promotes their own status. 

The division between those who have the authority to participate in influential discussions and decide policy and those who don't, follows a similar trend as income and class division. The advertised way for people to overcome their position encourages the belief that people who are least respected don't contribute anything valuable and are therefore, disposable. This also encourages unrealistic expectations. Until what gets called public opinion is the result of hearing what many people think who are seen to have an inadequate or uneducated view, the definition of empowerment will be misleading and the goals which are set will continue to be unmet.   

Monday, December 2, 2013

A Valid Argument

As I wrote in my last post, exclusion is often subtle. More importantly, those who understand it best have fewer opportunities to describe the problem. Therefore, what passes for factual information remains unchallenged and is generally false. 

Inclusion can be nothing more than a buzz word or a brand name. People who have spent time, energy, and possibly money on learning at prestigious establishments, more commonly known as schools, think in limited ways and often need to devalue the contribution of others in order to maintain their overly inflated status.  

My experiences with blogging and with social network sites remind me that educated people may read what I write. As I've been told, in no uncertain terms, some will expect me to not only continually remind readers of my complete lack of education, but also I'm expected not to write in any way that cannot be easily distinguished from the way valued people say things. A valued person is someone who has been granted the privilege of using condescending language to insult those who were not issued the license that they were, and they will justify the harm done by describing others as willfully ignorant.  

This license permits them to call what they have learned information. It is otherwise known as a diploma or degree. The ones who issue them teach a set of rules branded as logical, which supposedly regulate arguments, debates, and influential discussions. Since others haven't learned these rules, we accept what is said by people called experts with letters after their name. Perhaps these people are aware of the unfairness and maybe not. I've never heard one of them acknowledge it though. 

It might seem unlikely that this would happen within a community defining their goal as the encouragement of diversity and the empowerment of those with needs considered special. However, my experience indicates that it happens quite often. 

Those who have special talents may also have special needs. A few may even be able to market their services as a result of conventional talent. It's important though, to avoid having an advocacy effort become ineffective due to sending a hypocritical message. 

If the only exclusion being discouraged is that which can be identified by the flashing neon lights on a giant billboard, most of it will remain protected and effective. It's inconvenient to accept those who communicate in a different way and have a unique perspective but without attempting to do this, not much that needs to be challenged will be.