Love, Not Just Tolerate, Thy Neighbor and Other Assorted Links

“I feel comfortable when I hang out with them.” “I’m truly interested in understanding their point of view.” “I feel I can be myself when I am around them.” “To enrich my life, I would try to make more friends (from that group).”

Those are the warm fuzzy feelings that Professor Todd Pittinksy wants to promote, according to this piece in The Economist ($). When it comes to prejudice, most people stress "tolerance". Not good enough (nor effective), says Pittinksy. He believes in “allophilia” — liking for other groups — and the behavior it inspires.

For example, the attitude of an American voter towards immigration is determined less accurately by party affiliation or social and economic status than by the degree to which he or she simply likes Latinos. And people’s choices in charitable giving, study, voluntary work and travel are guided, not surprisingly, by the sort of groups that make them feel good.

More controversially, allophilia theory holds that efforts to fight racism often err in trying to abolish or minimise the difference between groups—telling people that “we and they are really the same” or “we all belong to a bigger group, and that matters more than any slight difference.”

Other ideas and articles that flowed through my brain today:

  • Scott Sossel’s review of Nigel Hamilton and the biography genre: "Fiction and biography, he writes, have in some ways traded places, and the boundary between fact and fiction in memoir and biography is only becoming more porous."
  • Are gay neighborhoods, most notably San Francisco’s Castro, losing their identity thanks to heterosexual couples moving in and the sense among gays that they don’t need their own hood? Also, are gay executives the best leaders? Interesting research from USC.
  • Notes from a talk given by Google’s Marissa Mayer. "If at least 20% of people use a feature, then it will be included."
  • Claremont Graduate University is establishing the nation’s first psychology doctoral program on happiness, led by Claremont Professor Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, author of Flow.
  • Dave Chapelle as "Black President Bush". Hilarious.
  • The "Mystery Man on Film," a screenwriter who blogs about the art of the craft, reminds us to consider a character’s goals in the context of Maslow’s Hierarchy.
  • Journalist Neil Strauss: "The average life takes about 17 hours to tell. Every life story I’ve ever collected has ended up taking up almost the exact amount of tape. It’s odd, when you think about it, that in all those years, each of us has only collected less than a day of interesting material."
3 comments on “Love, Not Just Tolerate, Thy Neighbor and Other Assorted Links
  • Ben- I have had several gay bosses at my various summer jobs, and yes, they are great. That said, I’m not sure if anyhting going on over at USC can really be called “research.” Maybe privileged speculation is better. I’m 90% joking, but thanks for pointing out these aritcles!

  • “Are gay neighborhoods, most notably San Francisco’s Castro, losing their identity…?”

    I never wanted to live in ‘the gay world’.

    I hesitated to come out as ‘gay’, not because I was ashamed, but because I didn’t want to be pigeonholed and defined by others’ expectations.

    ‘Gay’ is one of my attributes, not my identity.

    It’s the same as with astrological signs.

    I despise telling someone my sign– it’s an invitation for him to arbitrarily assign me all these qualities I don’t necessarily possess.

    Allow me to reveal myself as who I am–I am not an avatar of Libra.

  • The underling and even unsaid stereotype used in the “ gay executives the best leaders” is that white heterosexual male bosses are doing what they do best, being insensitive and oppressive. I also find it hypocritical that it is ok to promote stereotypes if they strengthens a certain world view (i.e. that homosexuality is a virtue). But if things were reversed and the same type of argument was made in the different direction then this would be seen as an stereotypical homophobic attitude. Being a white male heterosexual does not make you a bad boss and being homosexual does not make you a great boss, although I would prefer a level headed homosexual boss to a heterosexual tyrant any day.

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