Contributor Post Created with Sketch. Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Stereotypes and the Martyr Complex: A Dangerous Combination

 

If you’re like me, you’ve spent the last few months trying to figure out the reasons for the near collapse of law and order in this country. Most of us realize that events following the George Floyd death have been in the planning stage for a long time; the Marxists saw a moment of weakness in our society and capitalized on it with merciless determination.

I get all that.

But I wasn’t able to figure out why most of the people who have praised Black Lives Matter and volunteered to be rioters and protestors are white. Political leaders (as in mayors and governors) have celebrated the lawlessness and bowed to the causes of criminals. Tongue lashings from women of the white elite are witnessed by many, as are spoiled teenagers who have indulged in their first looting attempts.

What is going on?

I’d like to propose a theory for the willingness of Americans to debase themselves and engage in these extreme activities. It is a combination of the pseudo-science of stereotyping and bias, as well as the timely emergence of a Martyr Complex. Let me first explain the misleading conclusions that have been reached about stereotyping and the role it plays in the activities of the last few months.

In recent years, the study of stereotypes has revealed some fascinating factors:

Psychologists once believed that only bigoted people used stereotypes. Now the study of unconscious bias is revealing the unsettling truth: We all use stereotypes, all the time, without knowing it.

Actually, this conclusion doesn’t surprise me. Our brains are complex organs and the unconscious is, by definition, unknown to us. The article goes on to say:

Previously, researchers who studied stereotyping had simply asked people to record their feelings about minority groups and had used their answers as an index of their attitudes. Psychologists now understand that these conscious replies are only half the story. How progressive a person seems to be on the surface bears little or no relation to how prejudiced he or she is on an unconscious level—so that a bleeding-heart liberal might harbor just as many biases as a neo-Nazi skinhead.

I was still reluctantly onboard, until Jon Bargh, Ph.D. of New York University reached a more questionable conclusion:

‘Even if there is a kernel of truth in the stereotype, you’re still applying a generalization about a group to an individual, which is always incorrect,’ says Bargh. Accuracy aside, some believe that the use of stereotypes is simply unjust. ‘In a democratic society, people should be judged as individuals and not as members of a group,’ Banaji argues. ‘Stereotyping flies in the face of that ideal.’

I disagree with every sentence of their statements: (1) a stereotype almost always has some truth. For Dr. Bargh to say applying the generalization to an individual is always incorrect, is, well, too broad a generalization for me; (2) stereotypes in our thinking are not, in themselves, just or unjust, unless we apply them unfairly; they simply exist; (3) democracy does not require judging others at all, but is only intended to protect our rights; and (4) since stereotyping has nothing to do with democracy, it doesn’t fly in the face of any ideal (unless you are a Progressive).

I have made the effort to parse this paragraph because it reeks of the politicization of science. The scientists intend not only to tell us that we are victims of our unconscious mind, but they go on to say even more:

Of course, we aren’t completely under the sway of our unconscious. Scientists think that the automatic activation of a stereotype is immediately followed by a conscious check on unacceptable thoughts—at least in people who think that they are not prejudiced. This internal censor successfully restrains overtly biased responses. But there’s still the danger of leakage, which often shows up in non-verbal behavior: our expressions, our stance, how far away we stand, how much eye contact we make.

So, we must become fully conscious or our unconscious minds will lead us to be racists. We are hopeless human beings who are unable to be perfectly conscious, i.e., free of our stereotypes of others.

* * * * *

Now that we have explored the mindset of stereotypes and how we are victim to those stereotypes we hold (whether we know it or not), let me go on to explain the role of the Martyr Complex, also known as Martyr Syndrome, in the societal chaos, as well as its relationship to stereotyping. (Do not confuse the Martyr Complex with those who are called to martyrdom, such as Todd Beamer, shown above, who sacrificed his life on United Flight 93.)

I think most people agree that we live in a secular society, and that many of our citizens not only reject religion but have disdain for it. Nevertheless, many people crave some kind of religious experience (in the broadest sense), although they would call it something else. Belief systems like Marxism, Leninism, Leftism, and Progressivism today are thriving. One aspect of these “isms,” however, has been the missing role of the martyr. What is the definition of a martyr?

Historically, a martyr is someone who chooses to sacrifice their [sic] life or face pain and suffering instead of giving up something they hold sacred. While the term is still used this way today, it’s taken on a secondary meaning that’s a bit less dramatic. Today, the term is sometimes used to describe someone who seems to always be suffering in one way or another.

I am suggesting that the historic definition applies today, practiced in the extreme. Elaborating on this definition, there is this statement:

Know that people with martyr syndrome suffer mostly by choice. When someone has martyr syndrome, they often choose to continue suffering, rather than fixing the problem, because they think that their suffering provides them with the completeness and fulfillment required to lead a meaningful and whole life. More than anything, a person with martyr syndrome longs for recognition and approval from those around them. (Italics are mine.)

By this time, you might be asking about the connection between stereotypes and martyrdom.

If people become convinced there is absolutely no way that they can rid themselves of their racism, they are filled with overwhelming guilt. If they aspire to achieve an ideal life, they feel hopeless. They must do something to atone for, be punished for what they believe and who they are. They must present themselves as martyrs to the cause. They must declare it publicly, verbally flagellating themselves and decrying the unbelievers.

The leaders of Black Lives Matter, Antifa, and all the other organizations who are marching in our streets know just what they are doing. They seized an opportunity to maximize Progressive guilt, self-hatred, and pain. They will continue to recruit the people who cannot “free themselves” of their inherent stereotypes and urge them to seek martyrdom. And they will welcome them with open arms.

If we do not stand up for truth and traditional values, they will try to take the rest of us, kicking and screaming, with them.

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  1. Zafar Member

    It feels like a series of Revivals – a secular Great Awakening. Accurate comparison?

    • #1
    • July 3, 2020, at 7:35 AM PDT
    • 10 likes
  2. I Walton Member

    All sound in my view. I’d add one thing, or inject a speculation. The Chinese know us, know what they want, understand the left but have real influence across the board. I can’t believe they are not injecting enough into the insanity to make it widespread. They, not our left, will be the beneficiaries if we fail and our left offers only failure.

    • #2
    • July 3, 2020, at 7:40 AM PDT
    • 6 likes
  3. Susan Quinn Contributor
    Susan Quinn

    Zafar (View Comment):

    It feels like a series of Revivals – a secular Great Awakening. Accurate comparison?

    Interesting analogy, @zafar! They may very well experience it that way. Unfortunately they expect everyone to join their movement, whether we want to or not!

    • #3
    • July 3, 2020, at 7:46 AM PDT
    • 3 likes
  4. Susan Quinn Contributor
    Susan Quinn

    I Walton (View Comment):

    All sound in my view. I’d add one thing, or inject a speculation. The Chinese know us, know what they want, understand the left but have real influence across the board. I can’t believe they are not injecting enough into the insanity to make it widespread. They, not our left, will be the beneficiaries if we fail and our left offers only failure.

    That’s an fascinating thought, @iwalton. I expect that anyone who believes in Marxism/Communism would be happy to support this revolution. Certainly the Chinese want to damage us. Thanks.

    • #4
    • July 3, 2020, at 7:48 AM PDT
    • 2 likes
  5. Headedwest Coolidge

    Zafar (View Comment):

    It feels like a series of Revivals – a secular Great Awakening. Accurate comparison?

    Not quite; no redemption or forgiveness.

     

    • #5
    • July 3, 2020, at 8:01 AM PDT
    • 10 likes
  6. Susan Quinn Contributor
    Susan Quinn

    Headedwest (View Comment):

    Zafar (View Comment):

    It feels like a series of Revivals – a secular Great Awakening. Accurate comparison?

    Not quite; no redemption or forgiveness.

     

    Good point, @headedwest. Those would be betrayals of the cause.

    • #6
    • July 3, 2020, at 8:10 AM PDT
    • 3 likes
  7. Henry Castaigne Member

    One of the best articles ever written about modern stereotypes is titled, “The Numinous Negro”. Additionally, the Noble Savage is a huge part of how Westerners think about minorities. 

    • #7
    • July 3, 2020, at 8:19 AM PDT
    • 8 likes
  8. Arvo Coolidge

    Another great post, Susan.

    I have a different take, based on interactions with White people who are changing their perspective about race in America, including me. For me, Ahmaud Arbery’s story made it plain that life was different for Black Americans.

    As you point out, there is a sudden shift in perceptions about this, and it’s reflected in the polling.

    And historically, Americans have reacted to events and shifts have come, for good or ill. The video of George Floyd’s death might become a touchstone not unlike the popularity of Uncle Tom’s Cabin and the images of fire hoses and dogs at Selma. Most people’s reaction to the video is something like, “I don’t care what he did, that treatment is wrong.”

    Another societal factor that may be reaching critical mass is familial mixing and intermarriage. Victor Davis Hanson has said that this is the most powerful diffuser of cross cultural tension, and he’s probably right. My family now has Black men, their children, and some kids adopted from Ethiopia. So the stories about the differences in experience, the inconveniences of Black life that I never face, are not some abstract complainer on TV; they’re coming from someone I know and love. David French writes about similar experiences after adopting a girl from Ethiopia. 

    Back to the situation at hand.

    There is a very wide spectrum of worldviews represented by people who use the phrase “Black Lives Matter”. You’ve mentioned the hardcore Marxist bunch in your post. I like to call them BLM® because they’re in business. And I completely agree that their agenda is very bad, very unAmerican, and should be opposed. I also agree that rioting and looting is very bad. My impression is that a lot of it is instigated and perpetrated by provocateurs, some even paid. One friend from Grand Rapids posted a local story of a White woman who was paid $200 to smash a downtown storefront window. Around here there were also low level criminals taking advantage of the situation to do some petty burglary and such. The BLM® and criminal elements are small, but the former is artificially amplified in the news.

    My experience, with friends, family, and churches that have participated in marches and are using the phrase, is that they’re saying they want Black people to know they see their pain, and they want society to know that something should change. My guess is that reflects the large majority of non-violent people who are concerned and saying Black Lives Matter.

    I’d also guess that if you separated BLM®’s agenda from their name, the radical elements of the agenda would get no political traction or audience, as they never have. And history bears that out; when society was so sympathetic in the 1960s, civil rights legislation passed, but there was little interest in the radical proposals.

    But again, I tend to be naive and pollyannish about this stuff.

    • #8
    • July 3, 2020, at 8:36 AM PDT
    • 6 likes
  9. Zafar Member

    Susan Quinn (View Comment):

    Zafar (View Comment):

    It feels like a series of Revivals – a secular Great Awakening. Accurate comparison?

    Interesting analogy, @zafar! They may very well experience it that way. Unfortunately they expect everyone to join their movement, whether we want to or not!

    That’s why it feels like a revival. Woke is like Saved.

    • #9
    • July 3, 2020, at 8:40 AM PDT
    • 6 likes
  10. Susan Quinn Contributor
    Susan Quinn

    Arvo (View Comment):
    My experience, with friends, family, and churches that have participated in marches and are using the phrase, is that they’re saying they want Black people to know they see their pain, and they want society to know that something should change.

    Great comment, @arvo! Thank you. The exception I would make is that those non-violent folks might also be taking responsibility for causing the pain of black people, when they did nothing of the sort. And I think some of the pain is self-inflicted–maybe part of the Martyr Complex I described. It raises many questions: if we even have racist thoughts, are we completely victimized by them and lack agency because of them? We all have suffering in our lives, but to what degree is our suffering too much, and to what degree do we blame others? How helpful is it to blame others? Many questions to think about.

    • #10
    • July 3, 2020, at 8:57 AM PDT
    • 3 likes
  11. Percival Thatcher
    Percival Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    Susan Quinn:

    I was still reluctantly on board, until Jon Bargh, PhD of New York University reached a more questionable conclusion:

    ‘Even if there is a kernel of truth in the stereotype, you’re still applying a generalization about a group to an individual, which is always incorrect,’ says Bargh. Accuracy aside, some believe that the use of stereotypes is simply unjust. ‘In a democratic society, people should be judged as individuals and not as members of a group,’ Banaji argues. ‘Stereotyping flies in the face of that ideal.’

    I disagree with every sentence of their statements: (1) a stereotype almost always has some truth. For Dr. Bargh to say applying the generalization to an individual is always incorrect, is, well, too broad a generalization for me; (2) stereotypes in our thinking are not, in themselves, just or unjust, unless we apply them unfairly; they simply exist; (3) democracy does not require judging others at all, but is only intended to protect our rights; and (4) since stereotyping has nothing to do with democracy, it doesn’t fly in the face of any ideal (unless you are a Progressive).

    The observation that generalizations are always wrong is itself a generalization.

    Sorry, Doc. Nice try though.

    • #11
    • July 3, 2020, at 9:02 AM PDT
    • 2 likes
  12. namlliT noD Member
    namlliT noD Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    Susan Quinn:

    Most of us realize that events following the George Floyd death have been in the planning stage for a long time; the Marxists saw a moment of weakness in our society and capitalized on it with merciless determination.

    I get all that.

    Great! Solid.

    But I wasn’t able to figure out why most of the people who have praised Black Lives Matter and volunteered to be rioters and protestors are white. Political leaders (as in mayors and governors) have celebrated the lawlessness and bowed to the causes of criminals. Tongue lashings from women of the white elite are witnessed by many, as are spoiled teen-agers who have indulged in their first looting attempts.

    What is going on?

    The simplest explanation is that it’s an opportunity to make President Trump look bad. 

    The people rioting are all Democrats, in cities run by Democrats, for over 50 years.

    The proof is when you hear “the riots happened on Trump’s watch”.

    • #12
    • July 3, 2020, at 9:09 AM PDT
    • 8 likes
  13. namlliT noD Member
    namlliT noD Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    Susan Quinn: I disagree with every sentence of their statements: (1) a stereotype almost always has some truth. For Dr. Bargh to say applying the generalization to an individual is always incorrect, is, well, too broad a generalization for me;

    Like I said above, I prefer the simpler explanation of political strategy. But since you brought this up…

    For any discussion of stereotypes, I think it’s really, really important to talk about the difference between stereotypes and archetypes.

    A stereotype is an assumption of, say, a behavior, made by the observer. An archetype would be a behavior that the observed has adopted by imitation. So that for some behavior, while often attributed to prejudices of the observer, is actually due to the observed.

     

    • #13
    • July 3, 2020, at 9:21 AM PDT
    • 4 likes
  14. Arvo Coolidge

    Susan Quinn (View Comment):

    Arvo (View Comment):
    My experience, with friends, family, and churches that have participated in marches and are using the phrase, is that they’re saying they want Black people to know they see their pain, and they want society to know that something should change.

    Great comment, @arvo! Thank you. The exception I would make is that those non-violent folks might also be taking responsibility for causing the pain of black people, when they did nothing of the sort. And I think some of the pain is self-inflicted–maybe part of the Martyr Complex I described. It raises many questions: if we even have racist thoughts, are we completely victimized by them and lack agency because of them? We all have suffering in our lives, but to what degree is our suffering too much, and to what degree do we blame others? How helpful is it to blame others? Many questions to think about.

    I have a theological out; I can always say my thinking is contaminated, so I’m sure I’ve had unconscious racism and other bad mental processes. I don’t think anyone could point to anything I’ve actually done that promoted racism. Except maybe not taking action when the realtor said not to look at that house, because that neighborhood is getting dark.

    Yeah, the cause of the pain is complex and you’re right, some of it can be self-inflicted or even feigned, some of it is actual racism.

    And I’d lost track of how offensive it is to feel like I’m being accused of being the problem. But I don’t believe my neighbor down the street believes that of me.

    • #14
    • July 3, 2020, at 9:22 AM PDT
    • 3 likes
  15. DonG (skeptic) Coolidge

    It’s the masks. They give people the feeling of acting anonymously. A mob of people, who feel they are safe from judgement is a dangerous thing. There is reason the KKK hid their faces, when they were terrorizing Blacks and Catholics. People have a genetic need to be approved by society and they will conform. Those that don’t we call psychopaths. Get rid of the masks and save society.

     

    • #15
    • July 3, 2020, at 9:38 AM PDT
    • 4 likes
  16. KentForrester Moderator

    Susan, it is a puzzling phenomenon, isn’t it? I wouldn’t have believed there would be so many who would be duped into believing that Blacks are an oppressed race in 2020 America. Please. Spare me. The absurdity of that proposition shows up in the fact that their “demands” are either so vague that it’s hard to tell what they want — or so ridiculous that only the naive and stupid could believe in them (“Hey, let’s have fewer police in high crime areas. That’s the ticket!”)

    There are three houses in my neighborhood with Black Lives Matter signs in their yards. When I pass by, I think, quite uncharitably, “Idiots.”

    • #16
    • July 3, 2020, at 9:43 AM PDT
    • 6 likes
  17. Susan Quinn Contributor
    Susan Quinn

    namlliT noD (View Comment):
    A stereotype is an assumption of, say, a behavior, made by the observer. An archetype would be a behavior that the observed has adopted by imitation. So that for some behavior, while often attributed to prejudices of the observer, is actually due to the observed.

    This is interesting, @dontillman! Could you elaborate a bit more? How would you describe that the “behavior that the observed has adopted by imitation? What is the archetype being imitated?

    • #17
    • July 3, 2020, at 9:50 AM PDT
    • 1 like
  18. Susan Quinn Contributor
    Susan Quinn

    Arvo (View Comment):
    And I’d lost track of how offensive it is to feel like I’m being accused of being the problem.

    Even as a Christian in these times @arvo? As a Jew, I’m sensitive to the accusation that “Jews are a problem.”

    • #18
    • July 3, 2020, at 9:53 AM PDT
    • 2 likes
  19. Susan Quinn Contributor
    Susan Quinn

    DonG (skeptic) (View Comment):

    It’s the masks. They give people the feeling of acting anonymously. A mob of people, who feel they are safe from judgement is a dangerous thing. There is reason the KKK hid their faces, when they were terrorizing Blacks and Catholics. People have a genetic need to be approved by society and they will conform. Those that don’t we call psychopaths. Get rid of the masks and save society.

     

    The masks may be a factor, but I think it’s just a small part, IMHO.

    • #19
    • July 3, 2020, at 9:54 AM PDT
    • 1 like
  20. Arvo Coolidge

    KentForrester (View Comment):
    There are three houses in my neighborhood with Black Lives Matter signs in their yards. When I pass by, I think, quite uncharitably, “Idiots.”

    You should make a pitcher of tea, some cookies, knock on their doors and say, “Tell me about that.”

    And don’t say anything until they’re done talking. That’s the hardest part, harder than making cookies.

    Oh, I was kinda assuming the homeowners were Black.

    Are they?

    • #20
    • July 3, 2020, at 9:56 AM PDT
    • 2 likes
  21. KentForrester Moderator

    Arvo (View Comment):

    KentForrester (View Comment):
    There are three houses in my neighborhood with Black Lives Matter signs in their yards. When I pass by, I think, quite uncharitably, “Idiots.”

    You should make a pitcher of tea, some cookies, knock on their doors and say, “Tell me about that.”

    And don’t say anything until they’re done talking. That’s the hardest part, harder than making cookies.

    Oh, I was kinda assuming the homeowners were Black.

    Are they?

    Alll white.

    • #21
    • July 3, 2020, at 9:57 AM PDT
    • 3 likes
  22. MichaelKennedy Coolidge

    Humans evolved to use pattern recognition as a defensive rapid identification of threats. Reasoning comes later. “Stereotypes” are just the result of pattern recognition. Most stereotypes have some truth, many have a lot of truth. In the Middle Ages, Jews were restricted to money lending as a way of survival in Europe. Greeks were the ones administering the Muslim Empire of the Turks. Both of those ethnic groups got stereotyped but it was based on a real situation. Now, it lasted way past the time it was true but the term “Levantines” applied to Greeks and, of course, we know about the slurs about Jews.

    Blacks were slaves and got stereotyped as less intelligent. The West Indians also had a history of slavery but, perhaps , the fact they were self governing since the 19th century helped with the inferiority complex. Certainly segregation aggravated the problems of American blacks but the BLM types seem to be demanding that segregation return. This violence and looting does an enormous amount of harm to the image of blacks in whites’ opinion, what ever they may say.

    • #22
    • July 3, 2020, at 9:59 AM PDT
    • 5 likes
  23. Arvo Coolidge

    Susan Quinn (View Comment):

    Arvo (View Comment):
    And I’d lost track of how offensive it is to feel like I’m being accused of being the problem.

    Even as a Christian in these times @arvo? As a Jew, I’m sensitive to the accusation that “Jews are a problem.”

    I see a little of that in the chatter, along the lines of White churches don’t do enough or abet problem, but I don’t see a lot blame of Christians.

    It’s out there in some of the radical margins.

    I’d mentioned the awareness of antisemitism of our friends at Commentary might be similar to what some Blacks see, too.

    • #23
    • July 3, 2020, at 10:00 AM PDT
    • 3 likes
  24. Bruce Caward Thatcher
    Bruce Caward Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    [Completely off topic, but I think his name was Todd, not Tom.]

    Okay, back to the discussion . . . .

    • #24
    • July 3, 2020, at 10:09 AM PDT
    • 2 likes
  25. Susan Quinn Contributor
    Susan Quinn

    Bruce Caward (View Comment):

    [Completely off topic, but I think his name was Todd, not Tom.]

    Okay, back to the discussion . . . .

    Good grief, of course it was Todd. Thanks, @brucecaward.

    • #25
    • July 3, 2020, at 10:13 AM PDT
    • 2 likes
  26. David Foster Member
    David Foster Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    I don’t believe in the ‘guilt’ theory. Very few of the protestors have a sense of personal guilt; rather, they have a sense of moral superiority, and they want *other people* to feel guilty.

    The writer John Dos Passos was in his younger years a man of the Left, and, like many leftists and some others he was very involved with the Sacco and Vanzetti case. But he was more than a little disturbed by some of those that shared his viewpoint. Describing one protest he had attended, he wrote:

    From sometime during this spring of 1926 of from the winter before a recollection keeps rising to the surface. The protest meeting is over and I’m standing on a set of steps looking into the faces of the people coming out of the hall. I’m frightened by the tense righteousness of the faces. Eyes like a row of rifles aimed by a firing squad. Chins thrust forward into the icy night. It’s almost in marching step that they stride out into the street. It’s the women I remember most, their eyes searching out evil through narrowed lids. There’s something threatening about this unanimity of protest. They are so sure they are right.

    I agree with their protest: I too was horrified by this outrage. I’m not one either to stand by and see injustice done. But do I agree enough? A chill goes down by spine..Whenever I remember the little scene I tend to turn it over in my mind. Why did my hackles rise at the sight of the faces of these good people coming out of the hall? 

    Was it a glimpse of the forming of a new class conformity that like all class conformities was bent on riding the rest of us?

    See my post Conformity, Cruelty, and Political Activism.

    • #26
    • July 3, 2020, at 10:13 AM PDT
    • 7 likes
  27. Susan Quinn Contributor
    Susan Quinn

    David Foster (View Comment):
    I don’t believe in the ‘guilt’ theory. Very few of the protestors have a sense of personal guilt; rather, they have a sense of moral superiority, and they want *other people* to feel guilty.

    @davidfoster–So they are superior to everyone else and are determined to make them feel guilty? I’m trying to digest this premise. Why do they see themselves as superior? Because they recognize their own racism and admit to it, whereas others are less “woke” and therefore are unable or unwilling to acknowledge the “truth”? 

    • #27
    • July 3, 2020, at 10:19 AM PDT
    • 2 likes
  28. Jerry Giordano (Arizona Patrio… Member

    Arvo (View Comment):
    I have a different take, based on interactions with White people who are changing their perspective about race in America, including me. For me, Ahmaud Arbery’s story made it plain that life was different for Black Americans.

    This strikes me as completely irrational. A single event, with no empirical evidence that it is indicative of any widespread problem, changes your view. There is good data on this, such as the analysis of Roland Fryer (who appeared on the Ricochet Podcast, I think), which undermines this argument empirically.

    You may believe what you wish. Personally, I think that you — and many others — are being manipulated by a carefully orchestrated media campaign. I think that the NYT’s 1619 project is bearing its terrible fruit.

    • #28
    • July 3, 2020, at 10:21 AM PDT
    • 8 likes
  29. namlliT noD Member
    namlliT noD Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    Susan Quinn (View Comment):

    namlliT noD (View Comment):
    A stereotype is an assumption of, say, a behavior, made by the observer. An archetype would be a behavior that the observed has adopted by imitation. So that for some behavior, while often attributed to prejudices of the observer, is actually due to the observed.

    This is interesting, @dontillman! Could you elaborate a bit more? How would you describe that the “behavior that the observed has adopted by imitation? What is the archetype being imitated?

    Generally attributable to what the cool kids do, for some situational value of “cool kids”.

    Speech is chock full of examples. “ValSpeak”, Valley Girl speech, has absolutely no ethnic or language roots. It was just imitated. 

    Same with “Creaky Voice”, where the end of each sentence drops in pitch to a croak. Absolutely no ethnic or language roots, and now half the women on NPR do it full out. It was probably adopted because it can (arguably) sound sexy.

    People are really, really good at imitating behaviors.

    • #29
    • July 3, 2020, at 10:22 AM PDT
    • 4 likes
  30. Susan Quinn Contributor
    Susan Quinn

    namlliT noD (View Comment):
    Same with “Creaky Voice”, where the end of each sentence drops in pitch to a croak. Absolutely no ethnic or language roots, and now half the women on NPR do it full out. It was probably adopted because it can (arguably) sound sexy.

    Thanks for explaining! It makes sense. I think that Australians have culturally adopted the Valspeak (at least when I watch the zoo shows on TV). It drives me nuts. Somehow I missed the Creaky Voice. Not sure I want to torture myself by checking it out!

    • #30
    • July 3, 2020, at 10:26 AM PDT
    • 2 likes