donough at colorado.edu
Sat Jul 11 10:38:01 EST 1998
> What bugs me personally about the larger cultural response, though,
>is that the questioner in the above example really doesn't suffer any
>negative social consequences for his behavior. Many people tolerate it or
>even admire it; they shrug it off and say "well, he's just being himself."
>Jerks and boors are just there, like earthquakes and plagues, and if you
>can't deal with them, then, well, you're to blame, not them.
This is where those who recognize the problem and have grown into positions
of authority can really make a difference. After I was subjected to some
mean spirited questioning at a departmental seminar the department chair as
well as one other senior professor spoke with the questioner who later
apologized. Having expected the question (and not being surprised by the
tone, given the questioner) I was able to answer with confidence. Even so,
several professors also checked in with me after the session to compliment
me on my answer and express their dissatisfaction with the tone of the
question. So, in the end, it was a very positive experience for me - but
only because so many people got involved. I think if more of us take a "no
tolerance" policy towards the abusers, it actually can make a difference.
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