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

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

“I’ve never understood what’s the point of supporting gay rights and nobody’s else’s rights, you know? Or workers rights but not women’s rights? It’s, I don’t know, illogical.” -Mark Ashton to Dai in Pride (2014) 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…

Read More

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.

Read More

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…

Read More

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…

Read More

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…

Read More

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…

Read More

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…

Read More

More on Confronting Toxic Othering

Posted on: January 13, 2022 | By: Tom Arcaro | Filed under: Hydra "privileging forces"

“In contrast to those who suggest that we act as soon as the whistle blows, I suggest that, even before the whistle blows, we ceaselessly try to know the world in which we live — and act. Even if we must act on imperfect knowledge, we must never act as if knowing is no longer relevant.” – Mahmood Mamdani, Saviors and Survivors (p. 6)     More on Confronting Toxic Othering and Critical Hydra Theory (CHT) [Note: Content from this post may be updated regularly to be used in a revised edition of my recent book Confronting Toxic Othering.] Ethnocentrism In conversation with a veteran humanitarian worker, I listened to her vent about a recent deployment to a major conflict zone. She noted that ‘ethnocentrism be damned’ there are some fundamental wrongs embedded into the local culture, using as an example the grotesque mistreatment of women and the use of rape as…

Read More

Martian thoughts on the humanitarian sector

Posted on: January 11, 2022 | By: Tom Arcaro | Filed under: General posts on the humanitarian aid industry

              Martian thoughts on the humanitarian sector Nearly a year ago in February 2021 three vehicles launched from Earth visited Mars, and two of them landed on the surface. For some of us, these events served as a small respite from COVID worries, impeachment trials, military coups, and far too many massive humanitarian needs across the globe. Talk of space travel has always excited my imagination and so, in that spirit (and as an homage to Horace Miner) I offer my thoughts on what a Martian might think if they were to visit their neighbor and ask about this idea called the ‘humanitarian imperative’ and other related matters. Martian:  Thank you for allowing me this visit to Earth. Since humans seem to be the apex life form in terms of brain power, may I ask you some questions about ‘humanity’? Sociologist Arcaro: You are very…

Read More

Confronting Toxic Othering now on Kindle and Amazon

Posted on: November 3, 2021 | By: Tom Arcaro | Filed under: Hydra "privileging forces"

Confronting Toxic Othering now on Kindle and Amazon A long journey My book Confronting Toxic Othering: Understanding and Taming the Hydra is now available on Kindle and as a paper back on Amazon. Publishing this book was a more than two year journey. It began with an email from a humanitarian worker by the name of Leah Campbell at ALNAP who had the who had read some of my blogs and thought that I would be a good fit for a session at this organizations semi annual meeting in Berlin. When I got her email about contributing to a panel on privileging forces, almost immediately I saw the connection between the the five social forces mentioned. I connected all of these privileging forces together in an image of a hydra, and for the last two years I have been presenting this idea to every one of my sociology classes. My…

Read More
Next Previous