Good faith arguments for both-sides

Valuing discourse means entering conversations with curiosity and humility: willing to genuinely consider where we might be wrong, or find validity in an alternative perspective. No one is above explaining their perspective. We retain a high bar for ‘harm’ in discourse, and avoid conflating it with discomfort

As one example of how that could play out, here is an attempt to outline a “good faith” argument to agree or disagree with each of the 20 woke-divisive questions included in the quiz.

QuestionWhy agree? (possible arguments)Why disagree? (possible arguments)
1. In the US, I should preference spending at black-owned businesses when possibleBlack americans have less privilege, and benefit from public support like thisMay not be an effective way to redress racial disparity
2. It should be mandatory for everyone to state their pronouns when introducing themselves to a new groupCreates more inclusive/comfortable environment for those fearful of being misgenderedMay contribute to further entrenching the centrality of gender roles and distinctions
3. The viewpoint that Ariel should be depicted by a white actor/actress is racistPreventing non-white actors from the role is inherently racial discriminationMay be explained by attachment to representations that remain faithful to original text, not about race
4. Trans women should be permitted to compete in women’s sportAnyone who identifies as a woman is a woman, and so should not be discriminated againstBiological men have different physical characteristics to women, and so inclusion comes at a direct cost to biological women’s opportunities
5. White people should not sport dreadlocks or other hairstyles that are historically from non-white culturesContinues a history of white cultures benefiting from stealing from cultures they have oppressedCulture should be increasingly shared, accepted and appreciated across cultural bounds – for the good of all
6. We should encourage the use of birthing parent as a more inclusive term than mother.Some birthing parents don’t identify as mothers, and will be offendedMothers are a historically marginalized group that it is important to recognize and support
7. Straight actors should not portray queer charactersWe need more queer representation in movies, so its inexcusable to not use this opportunityIt leads to greater risks of poor representationThe premise of acting is the art of assuming an identify that is not yours, and that art is important to foster
8. It is not appropriate to ask someone what their biological sex isBiology is a private matter. It’s also irrelevant: a person’s gender is what they identify asBiology is an important and defining aspect of what makes us who we are, and we all benefit from talking openly about it
9. The NY Times should not have published Senator Tom Cotton’s editorial recommending the government send in the military during Black Lives Matter protests.Tone was harsh, headline was incendiary. Unprecedented as a call-to-action against a predominantly peaceful protest.It’s a valid viewpoint, and furthers the public debate.. Violence occured, and many feared for their safety.
10. You should never ask someone “where are you from” if they are not whiteCommonly experienced as ‘othering’ by people of colorEveryone has an origin, it often comes from a place of genuine curiosity, and origin stories should be celebrated and appreciated
11. “Ladies and Gentlemen” is no longer an appropriate greeting as it risks excluding people who don’t identify as eitherNot necessary, easy alternatives, is exclusionary, reinforces gender rolesIs traditional, typically covers the majority of individuals
12. Boards of public companies should have quotas for gender and racial inclusivityFast and effective path to increased representation. Can be seen to counter biases in hiringRisks resulting in a candidate of higher merit missing out, could be considered unfair to those specific individuals
13. Fawlty Towers episode “The Germans” should be banned from stream services because a white old man repeatedly uses the n-wordWill cause offence, no shortage of contentConstrued as depicting a racist character as racist, which is an important message
14. We should avoid the term ‘stand up meeting’, as it is ableist (ignores the reality of disabled persons)Implicitly values standing, when not everyone is able toPhysical language clearly and compellingly conveys the idea of a short meeting
15. There is no place for advocacy on behalf of the rights of biological women, if that doesn’t include trans womenTrans women are women too, and are even more marginalized than women, so particularly benefit from the advocacyBIological women are a distinctly defined group, who have been historically marginalized, and have specific needs tied to their biology
16. It is not possible to be simultaneously a feminist AND anti-abortionIt is intrinsically not feminine to prevent a woman from choosing what to do with her own bodyThe question of where life begins is a philosophical one, and if you believe it begins at conception, then you may feel obliged to uphold the right of that unborn child as primacy
17. A 27yo newly-appointed teen vogue editor should be fired when ten-year old tweets were resurfaced that were considered racist, despite her apologyLeaders must be held to high standards for us to show the world what kind of behaviour is not acceptableLeaders that apologize, learn and change is exactly the kind of behaviour we should be upholding
18. We should not engage in comedy shows or albums by Louis CK, since he was outed for sexual harassment, for which he subsequently apologisedMorally wrong behaviour deserves to be punished. Public figures should be expected to be role models. Apologizing doesn’t undo the harmHe has apologized, claims to have learnt and changed. Forgiveness and acceptance is core to how we heal the world
19. All white people are racist, even if they don’t know it, because of unavoidable implicit bias. Biases are established unavoidably through the expeirence of being treated as white in ones lifeIf it is impossible to be ‘not racist’ there is no standard to aim for, by which we’re ok. Racism isn’t amorphous. We know it when we see it, and many white people don’t do it.
20. Smash-and-grabs by people of colour, particular during protests, should not be called looting, because of the racial overtonesThe term has historically been used almost exclusively of people of colour. There are other less loaded terms to use.The definition of the act is clear, irrespective of who does it. 

If you already did the quiz, consider doing it again, perhaps your answers have changed?

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