Reminding Myself that not all Video Essays Irritate Me

Being a good person has to be a craft that you practice every day.

And when you see these broader patterns of exclusion . . . .we’ve got to recognize that not as the product of monsters or cretins but as a status quo perpetrated by people just like me and you, making hundreds of decisions every day where we assume that we are good people and that [being good people] is good enough, instead of committing to the practice, to learning the craft of being good.

Jay Smooth’s IllDoctrine, The Oscars, and Learning the Craft of Being Good (February 24, 2015)

The jumping off point is how Patricia Arquette’s quick push for gender equality in her Oscar acceptance speech segued into a failure of intersectionality, when she stumbled over her own perspective as a white heterosexual woman. The larger point is about perfection, effort, and how problems are never solved, once and for all. It’s hard to be constantly questioning why you make the decisions you do–and, honestly, you can’t. Sometimes, you just need to pick a button on the vending machine and walk away.

But all of us at some time make decisions that either perpetuate or challenge the status quo. We hire people; we make a new friend; we pick a tenant or new neighborhood. We buy that book or a ticket to that movie. Making the good person decision requires more than a basic belief–or even a basic reality–that you are a good person; it takes effort.

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