forgiveness enhanced-buzz-19285-1386285314-17

So, its a very sad time. Nelson Mandela has died at the ripe old age of 95. In my opinion, people like him shouldn’t be allowed to die. Ever. Never ever. Because we haven’t learned from history, haven’t learned our lesson, and we need constant reminders that we need to make this world a better place, in any and every way we can. Nelson Mandela is not superhuman, he is what Zimbardo called an “everyday hero”. He is just a man, who has made mistakes, but he also made so many choices to DO GOOD, to BE GOOD, to be BETTER than he was yesterday. Social psychology is a field that has mostly formed from the miseries of human existence. Rarely has any kind of real contribution to the field arisen from genuine, unmotivated, non instigated introspection or outrospection. The legacy we want social psychology to leave is that one of a field that does what it can to make the world better.

What does this all have to do with Nelson Mandela? First of all, many of you might know who he is, but now you will. AUC also wrote a tribute for him as well. He was a lot of things, but he was also a social psychologist. Not really, not in training, but in spirit and thought. He was a social psychologist in disguise. Its hard to forget that he was a flesh in blood man, not a superhero, and that he still put so many social movements into action, in South Africa and all over the world. But no, he was an ordinary man, a critical empathetic and charismatic man, a man who understood the power of social influence. He spent his life exposing how the power of social influence led to prejudice, discrimination, injustice, and then when the tides turned, he used social influence to try to overturn all of the systems and use the power of social influence for good.  He was a model for prosocial behavior, when he could have been anything but forgiving, understanding, empathetic, he had every reason not to be. But he used controlled thinking, and utilized so many aspects of South African morals, beliefs, and attitudes to create CHANGE. This is not to say everything is perfect in South Africa, prejudice and discrimination are still rampant, but the status quo being interrupted set off the spark for long term, sustainable attitude change.

taught to hate

People always wonder HOW HE DID IT?!?!?Well, he didn’t do it alone number one. What social psychology teaches us about minority influence, is how amazingly powerful it can be in certain circumstances. Mandela had the qualities of being the kind of leader that could create the kind of group cohesiveness that would lead to consistency and agreement between members on the BASIC ISSUES. He was able to instill trust and avoid what could have been the inevitable backlash of having a cohesive group, that they would turn on the “out group” who were once the oppressors now that Mandela had the power to do so. He focused on trying to have a fair and peaceful transition process, and succeeded in many ways and failed in others. But he DID emphasize that to move forward we need to empathize with and understand the perpetrators of all of that violence and the bystanders who did nothing.

work with enemy

“If you want to make peace with your enemy, you have to work with your enemy. Then he becomes your partner”

enemy sport

He wasn’t always the emblem of peaceful protest, he supported resistance in its many forms. For a while, a long while and until very recently, he was considered a “terrorist” while simultaneously being glorified for being a peaceful otherworldly altruist. He suffered the consequences of NOT conforming, as he felt the price of conforming was too high to bear.

Terrorist VS Inspiration

mandela terroristIcon inspired the world

He did not only speak out about the injustices in South Africa, but EVERYWHERE. Take a look.  7 Nelson Mandela Quotes You Probably Won’t See In The U.S. Media. Here is my favorite: “The UN took a strong stand against apartheid; and over the years, an international consensus was built, which helped to bring an end to this iniquitous system. But we know too well that our freedom is incomplete without the freedom of the Palestinians.”

enhances freedom of others

I could go on and on and on, showing how much of a social psychologist he was in his fight against prejudice, but I will leave some things up to you to find out and figure out.  SO, comment on the post with some information on how he used social psychological principles to end prejudice and discrimination in South Africa and all over the world. He wasn’t perfect, but he was more often than not a positive model for prosocial behavior, leading by lived example. One that we all should follow.

FYI to ALL and especially for the lovely ladies trying to tackle harassment in Egypt with Social Psychology…. Here is some food for thought :)

This Sexual Harassment PSA Shows You What Egyptian Women Live With Every Day

Follow the hyperlinks to find resources about various initiatives within Egypt that have been done to try to combat sexual harassment.

Take a look at this PSA created by UN Women. Even from the title you can tell which strategy towards attitude change, “Put Yourself in Her Shoes”….. Do I even need to elaborate???

How successful do you think this PSA is? What routes is it taking? Take a look at some of the comments as well.

The below video is also AMAZING. Apparently this aired on TV but I had no idea of its existence to be honest. Its a show called Awel el Kheit, the beginning of the thread. They talk to young men about harassment, and oh my, LISTEN TO THEIR RESPONSES. Think about theories of and kinds of aggression, how it started what sustains it and maintains it…

Also, there is an awesome tactic used, the woman being harassed is…… SURPRISE!  You will have to watch to find out.

I have my own theories on how sexual harassment has not been adequately addressed by NGO’s, popular youth movements, and other “invested” parties, but I would LOVE to know what you all think. Since its out in the open and being talked about and there are so many trials to MAKE IT STOP, why hasn’t it even dwindled? In fact, many people see that the opposite has happened and that it has INCREASED.

Sooooooooooo……….

Waiting to hear what you think… as always 🙂

Halloween Grinch Gives Fetus-y Anti-Abortion Crap to Trick-or-Treaters

WOW, I am not sure what to be more surprised about…. how little this surprised me or that it actually happened? Oh world!

Lets return to this quote next week!

“Now, I’m no propaganda expert, but if you were trying to teach children that [THING]= bad, then wouldn’t it be ill-advised to build an association in children between whimsy/childhood glee/fun and [THING]?”

“Upworthy: Thanks ONE Campaign for the image!”

How did Halloween transform from a sacred religious day of worship and remembrance to the current consumerist sexist racist event that mainstreams cultural appropriation? Ok, thinking caps on… how did we go from this to this? This is of course an extremely hard question to answer, but it is one that social psychology is well equipped to address. What shall we pick on first…..

COMMERCIALISM OP-dayofthedead

CONSUMERISM:

What happened to the idea that money can’t buy happiness? What happened to homemade costumes and re-runs of the Twilight Zone (NOT Twilight!) and watching The Nightmare Before Christmas? Which by the way is to be watched at Halloween AND Christmas.

BUT wait we have to be fair and appreciate that spending on Halloween in the US is forecasted to decrease this year… great right? I mean come on, what people are said to spend this year isn’t that bad!!! Its just a measly 6.9 BILLION DOLLARS!!!! What else could we possibly do with that kind of tiny budget? Spare change? Not like we could stop the famine in Somalia or anything….

Ok, ok, but Egypt isn’t as bad right??? In our current climate of economic crises, poverty, and conflict…. RIGHT???? Of course the numbers are not calculated so meticulously as in the US, but because most of the costumes, candy, decorations and other items are imported, we are most likely spending MORE on Halloween than the average person in the US. OK, even if so, less people are celebrating it in Egypt than in the US… very true. BUT STILL, all of the “hotspots” are having celebrations, and tickets range from 50 LE to 700LE and more. PER PERSON. Minus other expenses and decorations etc.

GENDER halloween-costumes

SEXISM:

Apparently I am not the only one in AUC focusing on this issue. Take a look at this article written in AUC news. Do not get me wrong, to each his/her own if they want a “sexy” costume, but its actually about the double standards in whats available for women and girls that makes me mad. Calling people “sluts” because they have revealing Halloween costumes is as sexist as those who push the “sexy” costumes on us. In terms of gender, the whole point is choice. Actual choice, with informed consent, and without the kind of social influence that reinforces gender inequality. Also, sexualizing children, always a NO NO.

Take a look at this slideshow, oh me oh my. Here is a taste of the kinds of costumes you will see…. :/

SEXIST 1aacff640-23a1-0131-54ea-0a905abe3172

RACISM:

“Halloween is like Christmas for racists, because it’s an easy way to cloak bigotry in the guise of fun.” Take a look at these photos and tweets, I feel sick again. And yes, racism is an issue VERY close to home for our side of the world. Take a look at this costume that is sold widely.

RACIST costume 2 ARAB COSTUME

I think the photos speak for themselves…?

In terms of attitude change, there has been a backlash against Halloween this year. This backlash led to this campaign: “We are a culture, not a costume. You wear the costume for ONE NIGHT, I wear the stigma FOR LIFE.” “This s not who I am and this is NOT OKAY.” If you take a look at the campaign, it addresses multiple stereotypes, even “positive” ones, attempting to make us think about the CONSEQUENCES of our actions. The campaign focuses on race although the slogan could apply to so much more. Take a look:

CAMPAIGN STIGMA HALLOWEEN photos for poster

Here are some clues about how not to be one of these people in Buzzfeeds article “17 People Who Need To Be Banned From Celebrating Halloween”. #1, 7, 8, 10, 11, 15, and 16 are the most unsettling for me, other than the photo I talked about in my last blog which is #9.

RACISM HALLOWEEN BN-AF594_scream_KV_20131031130155 IS YOUR COSTUME RACIST

The Deluded Person’s Etiquette Guide To Avoiding Halloween Racism, Sexism, And General Tastelessness

Also, I would say, most importantly, know what the hell the holiday is all about. Isn’t this step number one? What is this about? Before conforming blindly? History lessons are funner than you think, and begin your journey with this.

So read this, think about it, mull it over, and then comment.

AND because I hate to solely Debbie Downer you, here are some things to lift your spirits.

1. Watermelon and gender role reversals.

NOT SEXIST FUNNY WATERMELON

2. Ellen dressed as Nicki Minaj!!!!!!!!

3. AAAAAAAAAND, drumroll, a photo of me as a child on Halloween. YES im a NOT-sexy Tinkerbell, and YES I am wearing a cowboy hat 🙂

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PS include in your comment what you were for Halloween 🙂