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January 15, 2012 / compassioninpolitics

How to answer the victimology discourse or victim rhetoric argument….

You should be able to set up some of these arguments in cross-examination. Talk about personal tragedies and/or historical tragedies…..and about paying attention to them or ignoring them.

1. TURN- All the historical reasons which negate the argument: victims of war in Iraq and Vietnam….victims of Hitler in Europe…..victims of abuse by cops during the civil rights marches…..victims of sexual harassment and rape. Rachel Carlton’s images in Silent Spring helped ignite the environmental movement. The stories Anita Hill helped raise awareness around sexual harassment. All these images led to transformation–even if slowly (thats the nature of social changes in worldview & government).

2. TURN-Acknowledge the nature of justice. Without a notion of suffering or victimhood before the law there is no restitution or justice.

3. TURN-Acknowledge reality & truth & erode the silence that hides cycles of violence. Without a personal acknowledgment of victimhood there is only a dream reality. Life is good and bad–it isn’t a 24/7 disney world. (you could also key this into impacts of voices vs. silence).

4. TURN-The alternative to victimhood is silence and pushing things under the rug. Lets not talk about the victims of tragedy because that really solves or builds awareness for those problems. Its a pattern that, instead of building awareness builds isolationism, where we don’t find out about the complexity in the world and its problems.

We acknowledge that out images are partial and not essential or universal. Its only with images of both victimhood and victory that the true reality of the human experience can be told.
We include both victory and victim images–or at least we make possible the later. The link assumes we only include victim images.

6. Often a Performative contradictions–if they have other arguments they almost inevitably involve victims. [insert performative contradiction impacts & voters]

Talk about the images as tools in the toolbox of reform, awareness, and conciousness raising (that being a feminist idea).
The other team is proposing having hammers without nails…we think both are key. In fact, they work together. Its possible you could make stronger arguments–such as awareness of violence is the prerequisite for action–its the gateway to personal and governmental change.

I think Mueller and Mueller have answers in their book–as they are one of the authors of the disaster images argument.

The more nuanced the argument is the harder it is to make these arguments. obviously.

Hopefully this serves as a springboard to more arguments…


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