Thursday, February 11, 2016

On Self-Deprecation

Another Thread from the Tapestries of Alfred Corn:

The prejudice of the larger society is often internalized in particular individuals. So that women doubt the value of themselves and other women; people of color become anxious about their own ability and value; Jews let themselves be affected by prevailing attitudes and become "self-hating"; and gay people develop homophobia. Our first instinct is to dismiss this psychological configuration as absurd. But I sense that it is actually a very strong current in human affairs, affecting all sorts of actions and decisions.

Carolyn Holmes Gregory Excellent post, Alfred. Something I think about pretty often, too.
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Art Kingston and so the circle continues. someone stick a pin it . I though wonder having watched briefly the news on the migrant situation in France. thinking what would come of the situation if all there were given the tools to create their own town.
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Alfred Corn African-American writer Zora Neal Hurston grew up in in Eatonville, FL, an entirely black community. So she never developed any form of self-prejudice. It was only later when the family moved to Jacksonville that she realized she was, for the larger society, Other.
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Art Kingston In my thinking. Perhaps a secondary situation as described where people share the same circumstance. Inequalities would not be present. Purely speculative of course.
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Shakila Khalje But the forces which create the "other" in us can be the fuel for personal, political, cultural, social etc. awareness and understanding. I could have lived a very peaceful, safe and nice life in Afghanistan and never would have suffered as well as en...See More
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Alfred Corn Shakila, I've come to see an enormous strength in you. What would have destroyed other individuals became, for you, a motivation for achievement.
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Shakila Khalje Thank you. Could not agree more. It can easily be the destructive and self-limiting force. I know first hand that too. It is a rich but tormented becomes dauntingly aware of the deadly/life altering consequences and that is in itself a great motivator for choosing resilience/survival mode.
Doug Anderson I've come to understand self-hatred as the result of projective identification in childhood. Since as a child we have no self-knowledge and thus no ability to defend ourselves, we take on the projections of others and form our identity around them. If, say, we have a parent who is sexually repressed, they may project their own unfulfilled sexual desires into us and we then act them out. They then condemn us and we condemn ourselves. We are condemned to carry their shadow. We're scripted. Socially it works the same way. In the Double Soul of Black Folk, Dubois talks about the identities that are thrust upon people as well as who they really are.
Carolyn Holmes Gregory Doug, this is pretty accurate. Sociologists call the acting out that transpires "secondary deviance". I studied that phenomenon in graduate school.

Alfred Corn I can tell you've reflected on this at considerable length.
Jack Miller One way we deal with this internalized self-deprecation is to seek out models that affirm ourselves. As a teen I was deeply depressed by my homosexuality, but in college I read about every great homosexual I could. Doing so allowed me to gain self-respect for my difference; perhaps too much so as I began to see myself as a non-conforming Leonardo, Marcel Proust,Walt WhitmanJames Baldwin, Andre Gide, and Plato. There is nothing better than education and travel to heal such lack of self-esteem.
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Alfred Corn That's good, Jack. I don't see that every gay person has made the transition, though. Some of the most damning literary depictions of gay experience have been produced by gay men themselves. I just wonder if they realize.

Ida Jablanovec You were seeking your ego-ideal, an idealized version of you, that you that would be if you allowed yourself to be you. Society in general does not understand the damage they do when they shame people.

Raymond Saint-Pierre I learned early on in high school that the proscribed/forbidden books were not just the ones I wanted to read, but needed to read because they explained so much more! Poor Sister Ursula never knew what she let loose!

Ann Wood Fuller As a female and a Lebanese, which gave me the skin of a darker mother, I had so much self demoralization growing up. And the larger members of society, those beautiful Anglos, added to my self flagellation.
It was only when I came to a liberal college town that I sunk into a better comfort zone.

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Alfred Corn And look at you now! Confident and happy to be you.
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Ann Wood Fuller Shukrun Alfred, O but all the painful years I'm sure we all share..
Alfred Corn Says it all.
Alfred Corn And there is a paradox: extreme self-vaunting is actually a sign of low self-esteem. A "reaction formation" of compensatory feeling.
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Ann Wood Fuller I will
always remain humbled in the presence of angels, and gods!

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Eric Robinson i don't kno2w many Jews who "self-hate," just as I don't know many blacks who "doubt their worth." I do know of many of both who are tired being asked to demonstrate value to whites who, intellectually and socially, would never be in our league. That is more than tiresome
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Jefferson Carter It's called herd instinct.


It was born before dawn from a rhizome,
has lived, pinned to one place between
row houses and the ditch, for twenty years.

When it was eight a kid hacked it, never
thinking it could feel. Struck by lightning,
its bark ripped tip to root. It has stood

crooked ever after, its leaves dry, yellowed
before their autumn. Though sunlight tints its
top leaves bright, its lower hang about its scars.

Touched by breezes, its branches aspire to be
broad. Every move its limbs ever made was
toward the sky, toward its own sun.

If only it could get past its present, if it could
hear an Orphic lute and pull up its roots
and dance down the ditch. it might see who it is

and live among sunflowers by the hundreds.
Will the aspen be rooted there in that filtered
light, its boughs shadowed by the one it

stands beside, its grieving mother. wondering
if never seeing, never feeling, means safety,
means nothing to burn in Hell for?

Anthony DiMatteo "What strange phenomenon is this? What name shall we give to it? What is the nature of this misfortune? What is this national vice that permits loss of independence? What vice is it, or, rather, what degradation? To see an endless multitude of people not merely obeying, but driven to servility? Not ruled, but tyrannized over?"- de la Boetie, On Voluntary Servitude.

Alfred Corn The problem is the more vexatious in that it is most often unconscious. The person isn't aware of the subtle ways in which the prejudice has been internalized.

Let me add this simple song