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#357 | Combat cognitive conflicts
When Wonder Woman walked across No Man's Land in slow motion to free a Nazi-occupied town, I finally understood why superhero films can create hard-core obsessions. I had goosebumps. I rejoiced at representation done right. And at the end of the eponymous movie, when she harnessed powers that were fuelled by love rather than pain to defeat a warmongering God - "a perfect film," I thought. No notes.
The actor who played Wonder Woman was a proud member of IDF and is now holding screenings of propaganda films to justify the genocide in Palestine. I honestly don't get it. How can anyone have this degree of cognitive dissonance?
Then I remembered Art Spiegelman's Maus and his father, Vladek. Vladek, after surviving the Holocaust and escaping to America, was prejudiced against black people in the country. Essentially treating them with the same stereotyping and mistrust that he experienced and suffered for.
Theorists say that the dissonance boils down to years and years of otherization. Where people can't see themselves in the people they're prejudiced against.
It happens in other contexts, too, across class, caste, and creed. Divide and conquer has always been a predominant strategy by the powers that are.
So what can we do? Accrue knowledge and think for ourselves.
And that's how I came across Anti Racist Teaching and Learning Collective.
Particularly, I came across their resources for Maus. Although intended for teaching, these can work equally well for self-learning.
I will be scouring through these, and hopefully, next time I'm condoning or condemning an action - I can tell myself exactly why and live with it.