So far, my century has only one move, and it consists in this:

First, take a person. Do not consider what she/he says. Rather, look at what she/he looks like.

Then, pick superficial features that are readily available to sight, like skin color. Assign the person membership to a group based on that feature. People are usually members of many groups at once. One can be, say, part of those-who-take-the-bus, those-who-were-born-on-a-Wednesday, those-who-speak-English, those-who-have-traveled-to-Turkey, those-who-passed-algebra, those-with-left-handed-mothers, those-who-listen-to-jazz, and so on. Disregard all these group memberships and focus only on the following axes, which reflect the current university trivium: race, class, and gender.

Within those axes, the only divisions that matter are white/non-white, upper/non-upper, and male/non-male. Here, be a staunch realist and insist that it is possible to detect and track robust distinctions. However, for sub-distinctions within non-white, non-upper, and non-male, be a staunch relativist and insist that it is impossible to detect and track robust distinctions.

The person so processed is now a spokesperson for the combination of the profile obtained, irrespective of whether she/he disowns that role or insists on representing one of the many other groups that she/he intersects with. So, henceforth, treat the person, not as a token, but as a type.

Once these steps have been followed (given the reliance on visual cues, this should only take a second), listen very quickly and superficially to the claim made by the person. It is important not to consider the claim, or any reason(s) offered in support of it. Only the topic needs to be noticed.

Next, compare the claim to the current demographic pie-chart of race, class and gender for that topic. Ask yourself whether assenting or dissenting to the claim would result in an increase or decrease of the slices for white, upper, and/or male. Refer to these guidelines to steer your judgement:

– If assenting to the claim would increase the area, dissent.

– If dissenting from the claim would increase the area, assent.

– If assenting to the claim would decrease the area, assent.

– If dissenting from the claim would decrease the area, dissent.

These guidelines allow one to judge claims pertaining to topics that one is ignorant of, provided one can forecast the relevant demographic increases or decreases. The ambit of activism thereby becomes unconstrained.

The legions who implement the foregoing steps hope to eventually bring about topic-specific pie-charts that match the pie-chart of society at large. This is their ideal. They all assume that, if such a demographic match is finally achieved, justice will ensue. Somehow.


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