A commenter posting as 'Anon' on a recent thread asked if I had any advice or suggestions about how to introduce controversial subjects like immigration and HBD, in social situations.
Those of you who have read this blog for a while may remember a few years ago when I put that question, in a slightly different form, to my readers. I think I asked if any readers had had success in trying to jog people's consciousness about these kinds of subjects, and to share any experiences or tips you might have.
As the old comments were lost in the transition to the present comment system, I can't share any of those comments here. I seem to remember we had a fair number of responses.
As I said to 'Anon' on the comment thread, I have no recipe or script. I have no easy, quick answer as to how to go about it, because it's one of those things you have to play by ear for the most part, unless the situation involves people who know you well, and/or whose views you know. You have to know, or judge, where your interlocutors are 'coming from.' What is their current state of awareness? What are their general political views? How tolerant are they? For example, if they are far-left or even 'moderately' left, you know that they are rigid-minded and intolerant people who cannot have a calm discussion about touchy matters, and that they brook no dissent from PC orthodoxy in their presence.
I can only say that the situation and the company dictate your approach, and the degree of openness with which you can safely speak.
Obviously if your company includes a lot of, say, academics or 'educators', you know that any non-PC statements, no matter how carefully worded, will result in your being ostracized. If you are at a social function with work colleagues who are 'educators' or academics (as I have been) you must realize you risk your livelihood if you speak too frankly. It's sad that such is the case in a 'free' country which pretends to believe in 'free speech' but it is the reality.
Another rather obvious point is that the degree of 'diversity' in the group of people affects your ability to speak up. Any group of teachers or professors, for example, is automatically going to be more 'diverse' than any random group of Americans, so great care not to transgress PC norms is, unfortunately, necessary.
Likewise, even if you are in a homogeneous group of people, you may be unaware that many White Americans now have families with a degree of outmarriage, and they are likely to take umbrage at any politically incorrect statements, even though they may be nominally 'conservative' or Republican.
I've thought before how this is one reason why 'diversity' is insisted upon by the powers-that-be: it dampens free speech among us 'American-Americans.' As we learn to censor ourselves in the presence of hostile or easily-offended ''others'', we forget how to speak freely and frankly, as we used to do. We learn to be more furtive and to veil what we say so as not to upset anyone or bring down some unpleasant consequence on our heads. Poor Emma West forgot to do this, and now the powers-that-be are 're-educating' her, no doubt.
Online it is easier to speak up, and the famous Mantra works best in that situation, while following a script does not work as well in 'real life' gatherings. The Mantra requires going step by step through the statements, while in actual conversation, with give-and-take, that's not always possible or effective. In face-to-face exchanges, the flow has to be more spontaneous, think-on-your-feet style. I suppose you can use key phrases from the Mantra where appropriate. But I am open to hearing what others have experienced.
I think it's always most effective, as far as influencing people's thinking or provoking some unorthodox thoughts on their part, to get to know them first and establish yourself as someone who is normal and trustworthy; controversial or startling statements right out of the box are not usually good. Start with things you can agree on. I think this was a point that was also made in the recent AmRen article about which I blogged the other day.
It's amazing how many people, even 'liberals', oppose affirmative action. Each time anti-AA ballot measures have been introduced, even in hyper-liberal areas like California and Washington State, they've passed handily, by comfortable margins. Of course the courts may overturn such initiatives, but the fact is, in the privacy of the voting booth (or vote-by-mail) most people reject AA. But most liberals are just not honest enough to say they oppose it, at least among their liberal friends.
But if you introduce the subject of affirmative action, you will find that more people agree than you might think. Mass immigration, especially of the illegal variety, is also a subject on which most average Americans agree. I've been pleasantly surprised to find that you can introduce this subject and draw many 'amens' in response. Likewise, social benefits for illegals. Most Americans do not agree that non-citizens, especially illegals, should receive benefits. So subjects like this are not as risky as some other non-PC topics.
I have no easy formula, but this is something that has to be done with patience; things can't change overnight, though it seems that recent events have caused some people to become more politically incorrect than they once were. So there is hope.
Does anyone have experiences to relate, or suggestions and tips to share?