Hans Rosling’s book Factfulness and critical Hydra theory

Posted on: July 23, 2022 | By: Tom Arcaro | Filed under: Hydra "privileging forces"

“The problem of the poor is not the problem, the problem is the rich.” -Miles Richardson DRAFT [Note: This and other posts will become part of a revised edition of Confronting Toxic Othering] Hans Rosling’s book Factfulness and critical Hydra theory More on critical Hydra theory My quest to more fully understand the genealogy of privileging forces continues, and below I present my less-than-optimistic view on why confronting toxic othering and systemic marginalization is perhaps a Sisyphean task. Common Reading Not unlike many other educational institutions, every year my university assigns a common reading intended for all incoming students. The expectation is that the ideas presented in this book will be talked about in a wide array of classes. Faculty are provided copies of the reading well in advance, and so I received -and have now read- this year’s reading. Factfullness by TED star Hans Rosling is not a hard…

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Chrys Stevenson reviews Confronting Toxic Othering for The Australian Humanist

Posted on: July 19, 2022 | By: Tom Arcaro | Filed under: Hydra "privileging forces"

Book review I am excited to post a review of Confronting Toxic Othering: Understanding and Taming the Hydra by Australian author and critic Chrys Stevenson. Her review was published in the Winter 2022 edition of The Australian Humanist and is being used below with permission. Work on a revised edition of Confronting Toxic Othering: Understanding and Taming the Hydra is currently in progress with plans for re-publication in September, 2022.   Power and Privilege: the ‘Hydra’ Model of Intersectional Discrimination   Chrys Stevenson reviews Confronting Toxic Othering: Understanding and Taming the Hydra by Dr Tom Arcaro   “Intersectionality is a lens through which you can see where power comes and collides, where it interlocks and intersects.” – Kimberlé Crenshaw   Tom Arcaro is a professor of sociology at Elon University with a special interest in humanitarian aid. Arcaro has made it his mission to understand how power and privilege function to…

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On World Refugee Day 2022 let us remember that education is a basic human right

Posted on: June 18, 2022 | By: Tom Arcaro | Filed under: General posts on the humanitarian aid industry

  On this World Refugee Day 2022 let us not forget that all refugees have a right to an education Listen to a poet As a sociologist I am fully aware of how complex social reality is. In this ever globalizing world where cultural histories are now blending together, the task of capturing all the detailed nuance of one’s life is a daunting undertaking. Poetry is a time honored tool women and men from all over the world have used to artfully articulate observations about their lives and about the culture(s) in which they live and act. Poets are lay sociologists using an alternate language structure to share powerful insights. My goal with this essay is to comment on education as a basic human right and I can think of no better way to start than to use poetry. Below are two poems by Rohingya refugee Roshidullah Kyaw Naing, soon…

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Beginning a genealogy of privileging forces: racism, classism, and colonialism/paternalism

Posted on: June 3, 2022 | By: Tom Arcaro | Filed under: Hydra "privileging forces"

Beginning a genealogy of privileging forces: racism, classism, and colonialism/paternalism Overview Below is a largely conjectural and theoretical beginning to a conversation about the history of privilege. I build on and then expand the work pioneered by critical race theorists in attempting to describe and explain how false consciousness plays a key role in establishing and maintaining unjust social structures. Deepening critical Hydra theory Effectively confronting toxic othering means deepening our use of critical hydra theory (CHT). One way this can be done is by looking at how all of the privileging forces represented by heads of the hydra are embedded into all contemporary cultural structures. This means looking deeply into our past nationally, regionally, and globally and making attempts to more fully understand the origins of these privileging forces and how they are intertwined in various ways. Critical Hydra theory (CHT) builds on critical race theory (CRT) by examining the…

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Review of Rohingyatographer Magazine, Issue #1/Summer 2022

Posted on: May 23, 2022 | By: Tom Arcaro | Filed under: Refugee humanitarians

Quick summary
In a hurry? Here’s the executive summary. If you are at all interested in the lives of Rohingya people living in the world’s largest refugee camp from an inside perspective get a copy of Rohingyatographer Magazine NOW.

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What the war in Ukraine says about humanity and confronting toxic othering

Posted on: March 7, 2022 | By: Tom Arcaro | Filed under: Hydra "privileging forces"

Updated 3-28-22 What the war in Ukraine says about humanity Some thoughts from two people who know about war All through time, writers, philosophers, and social scientists have brooded about human nature; most have concluded that as a species we are full of contradictions. We are quite capable of both astounding acts of beautiful compassion but at the same time -and even by the same people- grotesquely cruel behaviors. Russian novelist Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn tells us about the universality of evil in the human psyche. His words offer little optimism; evil will always be with us. Though now deceased, I am sure were he to be alive today he would not be surprised at Putin’s invasion of the Ukraine. “(T)he line separating good and evil passes not through states, nor between classes, nor between political parties either — but right through every human heart — and through all human hearts. This…

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Video materials related to toxic othering and the Hydra

Posted on: March 4, 2022 | By: Tom Arcaro | Filed under: Hydra "privileging forces"

Video materials related to toxic othering and the Hydra Inspiration from the Rohingya and Bangladeshi learners As I wrote in the last chapters of Confronting Toxic Othering, it was the inspiration I got from the Rohingya and Bangladeshi learners I co-taught in the summer of 2021 that helped me to more clearly understand the many (and still developing) nuances of what I am calling ‘critical Hydra theory’ (CHT). Over the course of our 3 month class I produced scores of short, subtitled videos intended as ‘mini-lectures’, augmenting both our text and the weekly meetings we had via GoogleMeet and Zoom. My teaching assistant, Elon student Trevor Molin, helped me to put these videos together, most combined into same-themed longer videos. Those interested will find all this material linked below. Videos made for our Rohingya and Bangladeshi learners in the summer of 2021: Culture #1 Culture #2 Socialization Self and Society…

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Dispatches from the Margins of the Humanitarian Sector

Posted on: February 21, 2022 | By: Tom Arcaro | Filed under: General posts on the humanitarian aid industry

Dispatches from the Margins of the Humanitarian Sector Available now on Amazon and Kindle is my latest book Dispatches from the Margins of the Humanitarian Sector. This is a beta version and I will be deleting, editing, and perhaps adding in the next several months. Please let me know if you’d like to be a beta reader or would like a review copy. This is a compilation of blog posts from the past several years covering a wide range of topics. Here is the the Introduction Since publishing Aid Worker Voices in 2016, I have been blogging frequently about the humanitarian aid world. In addition to interviewing countless humanitarians, reading a constant flow of books, articles, and web pages, I have also taught a global social problems course for the last five years. In this class, I have always focused on the nature of the humanitarian system and have frequently invited into my class…

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Additional section and/or chapter ideas for Confronting Toxic Othering

Posted on: February 6, 2022 | By: Tom Arcaro | Filed under: Hydra "privileging forces"

[updated 2-21-22] Additional section and/or chapter ideas for Confronting Toxic Othering An ongoing project Though I published Confronting Toxic Othering (CTO) in late September 2021, I never considered the project done. In presentations to several audiences here in the US I have found myself explaining and expanding the concept of the Hydra, each time finding new and useful wrinkles to add. In the preface I invite the reader to provide feedback and I constantly seek same from my current and past students. As of this writing I am in communication with several colleagues here at Elon University but also with (the soon to be Dr). Tanishia Williams at the African-American Policy Forum, co-founded by Kimberle Crenshaw, and with Anton Treuer, Professor of Ojibwe at Minnesota’s Bemidji State University. My hope is that from each I will gain deeper insight about the forces of oppression which dominate our world. Perhaps most…

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Thoughts on witnessing

Posted on: January 20, 2022 | By: Tom Arcaro | Filed under: General posts on the humanitarian aid industry

“I cannot be an optimist but I am a prisoner of hope” -Cornel West, American author and activist Thoughts on witnessing   The act of witnessing As a first year grad student in 1975 I served as a teaching assistant to a large lecture section of Introduction to Sociology. Mid way through fall semester the professor covered the topics of race and ethnicity. One bright fall day, without much contextualization, he screened for the class the very powerful 1955 documentary “Night and Fog.” I had not seen this film before nor any like it. I was struck by the stark, brutal, raw, and emotionally wrenching depiction of Nazi death camp atrocities and, frankly, did not know how to react, how to process what I had seen or to deal with what I had witnessed. I had no idea this was just the beginning of a lifetime of intense exposures to…

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