Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Narratives in Blogging on Social Issues

To those who have been reading my comments in relation to disaster relief, and few clarifications.

1. I am not blaming the Red Cross for all ills that occur after natural disasters.

2. I am not advocating that locals in disaster areas should do all the work themselves, and that "outsiders" are just a problem.

And most importantly 3) When writing about social issues, I tend to focus on areas I feel either aren't being explored, or are underexposed views. Sometimes, they are the views that I prefer, and sometimes they are ideas that I'm trying to understand better through writing about them, and may or may not see them as "my take on things."

I see this both as a practice of trying to "see more of the whole" myself, and also as a way to offer something to others that isn't repetition of what's already out there. One thing I have learned from Zen is to interrogate personal narratives through questioning, problematizing, and letting them go. And I extend this practice to everything else.

One dominant narrative around natural disasters is that "experts" and "professionals" should run the show because they know what to do in such situations. I see questioning that as practice, not just in terms of offering a different view on the particulars of natural disaster work, but also because it helps train my mind to question narratives. In other words, even if some of my conclusions about the particulars in Japan end up being wrong, the practice of investigating the story, researching other views, and checking my own biases is beneficial. In addition, I'd like to think that in offering viewpoints that are not mainstream, and that perhaps even are uncomfortable to hear, I am offering others the opportunity to reconsider whatever story they have around an issue.

Sure, I like it when others agree with me, but in the end, if whatever I write both gets readers' minds turning, and/or aids in loosening the grip readers' have on their view - then I'm happy.

And when I receive respectful and thoughtful disagreements in the comments section, this offers me the opportunity to experience that which I am sending out.

Anyway, I think it's helpful sometimes to share the process behind the process of writing.

No comments: