1. What do you see as your strengths and weaknesses as an intervener?
I like to think that I am a very good observer. I am very good at reading body language and things of the sort when I’m around others, which may come in handy in the future as I try to perform my own intervention. I think I have also improved my skills as a writer describing interventions over the course of the semester. Unfortunately, my knowledge of power interventions is still sub-par. I think this is because I just haven’t talked all that much about them over the course of the semester. In my final blog post I briefly talked about the power intervention taking place with Donald Sterling in the NBA and it was probably the hardest intervention I’ve talked about all semester. Hopefully with time I my knowledge of power interventions will continue to improve.
2. Which course assignments or experiences helped you the most to learn about interpersonal and social intervention? Which were the least helpful? Why?
Far and away the best assignment for me in this class was the main essay. The essay allowed me to look at a specific situation in detail and see all the different ways that Dave Grohl and others were intervening at Sound City. The essay was an amazing learning experience as I wrote both the rough copy and final draft. Honestly it was one of the coolest assignments I have ever done. My least favorite assignments were probably the in-class assignments. I felt our group was more focused on socializing than learning the material so I didn’t learn that much doing in-class assignments.
3. In what ways will the knowledge and skills learned in this course be useful or relevant (or not) to you in the future?
Well, as a concert promoter I will be acting as an intervener trying to shift the attention of my audience (concert goers) to my venue, but in terms of actually putting the concepts we’ve learned in class into action? It will never be practical, but it would definitely be fun. Until the Sound City paper, I figured I’d just forget everything I learned in this class once it was over. But now, I’ll probably still look at events in the music industry through the RSI lens on occasion. I guess you could say that there’s a symbolic need in me to use this material now because of the paper.
4. In what ways have your views of interpersonal and social intervention changed or not changed as a result of this course?
Well I had very limited views and beliefs on interpersonal and social interventions before this course, so in that sense you can say that they have changed quite a bit from the start of the semester. Now I have a way to interpret social interventions that I did not have previously because of this class.
5. What is your overall feeling about the RSI model? In other words, how relevant or useful is it to your own experience? How has learning about the model intervened (or not) in your life?
Well, writing about Sound City was definitely a need intervention in my own life as I realized just how interesting the act of looking at an intervention through the RSI model could be. Now I’m just wondering if there’s more. Can all the interpersonal and social interventions taking place in our world truly be summed up between three different kinds of interventions? What about something like love? I personally have very limited experience with it but would falling in love with someone be categorized as a need intervention? To me that seems too simple. Love is too complex a thing to just say that when we fall in love with someone we create a symbolic need to be with that person.There must be more in-depth explanation of it. Obviously I'm thinking out loud, but I am interested. Thanks to Sound City, I want to continue to use the RSI model because it is very interesting to do so.
Thank you for teaching me about the RSI model. I hope to continue to use it in the future!
Recently in the NBA, Los Angeles Clipper’s owner Donald Sterling came under a lot of heat from his players , the league, and just about everyone imaginable for his less-than-admirable thoughts on African Americans. These incredibly misguided and racist remarks have netted in a lifetime ban from the NBA for Sterling. While the comments were just about as terrible as they could possibly be, this discussion is taking a look at what happened after the comments were made. This is the ongoing power intervention that is taking place in the NBA between the league itself and Donald Sterling.
After the comments made by Sterling, the association got together and decided to ban Donald Sterling for life from the game of basketball. The NBA is attempting to remove the influence Sterling has over the Clippers and over the game in general by doing this. As soon as the ruling was made, Sterling pushed back. Currently, he still owns his share of the team and is refusing to sell it. He’s also currently hiring lawyers and preparing to sue the NBA. While Sterling has no problem hearing his name repeated over and over, the NBA is desperately trying to shift the attention the media is giving Sterling away from him and back onto the NBA playoffs, which are also occurring right now. The NBA is trying to foreground the playoffs and background Sterling. To this point, they have not been successful; the mainstream media continues to follow Sterling’s every move.
This situation is a worst-case scenario for the NBA. While they are desperately trying to background the Sterling situation, they are also trying to mask the anomaly of the fact that Sterling has been a thorn in their side for years and they’ve just allowed him to continue to be the racist that he is. To make matters worse, because of this recent outburst from him, the media is also starting to dig into Sterling’s 33 years as the owner of the Clippers. The media is halting any progress the NBA can make on putting this situation behind them whenever they bring up any negative comments or actions Sterling has made in the past. The NBA has responded to these stories and has continued to try to background these anomalies when they asked the president of the Clippers, Andy Roeser, to take an indefinite leave of absence. What the NBA is trying to do is show its audience that it is doing everything it can to right this wrong.
In addition, the players have gotten involved as well and have performed their own attention intervention with the fans, their audience. Shortly after the initial comments were released by TMZ, the players of the Clippers, who are mostly African American themselves, made a statement of unity as a team by not wearing any team gear before the start of one of their playoff games. The players of the team opposing the Clippers also planned on walking out of game 5 of the series were it not for the lifetime ban passed down by the NBA. Because of the ban, player outcry has been mostly silenced as they have shifted their attention from Sterling back to the playoffs, but it remains to be seen what will happen after the playoffs come to an end. Sterling has also remained relatively silent on the whole situation, so it will be interesting what happens when he finally starts talking in an official manner. Obviously this situation is ongoing, however it will be fascinating to continue to look at it through the RSI model.
How do you solve the problem of homocentrisim here at JMU and at colleges everywhere? How do you actually put acceptance into practice? We must conduct a need-based intervention. We must convince the straight community that they need more understanding and compassion towards the LGBT community, and the LGBT community needs to feel more accepted in return. While the overarching goal is an attention intervention among the straight community, the way to get there is through a need intervention. An idea that comes to my mind as I think about putting acceptance into action would be to have a sort of “holding hands” day on campus. A day where everyone, straight or gay, could hold hands and it doesn’t matter what sexual orientation you are. We are together. We are one. That would be a simple yet effective way to preach and practice acceptance.
The primary audience of this need intervention is the straight community. The straight community must decrease ignorance of the LGBT community and increase our awareness of the symbolically created walls that we have separating us from the LGBT community. College is the place to begin this wave of acceptance due to the liberal tendencies of most on a campus. While there will always be those unwilling to change (the @Straightmu Twitter account was an unfortunate example of this here at JMU) most on the campus would probably be more than willing to try to learn to break down the barriers that they knowingly or unknowingly have created with the LGBT community. While there is a GayMU week at James Madison University, there has to be more. It is so easy for most of us to simply just avoid the events of GayMU week and move on with our lives. So, what’s the answer? Those of us within the straight community that are already accepting have to start a movement with those who aren’t. We have to team up with the LGBT community both locally and nationally to begin this movement. I believe that the national LGBT community should focus a lot of their resources at one college with an experiment like this and see if it works, but if a movement of passionate individuals can get started and be supported by the national LGBT community, who knows what could happen next? What would the movement actually do? Well, I don't know. Their objective, though, will be removing the symbolically created walls by those who tolerate, but do not accept. However it is important to note that everyone must get involved. From department heads to promote acceptance in the classroom to members of the SGA to help promote the movement itself to the president of the university being the figurehead for their respective college, this movement would have to reach out to all areas of the university. Those in charge will have to learn to have thick skin, as those who are intentionally masking these anomalies will be out in full force promoting their respective beliefs. But it can be done. It must be done.
While JMU is probably not the place to initially start a movement like this due to its strong roots in southern Christian beliefs, it probably would be a good place to go for a challenge if the movement works at other universities. My goal here as the intervener, my rhetorical maneuver, so to say, is to put this idea in the minds of you, the reader. If you are at an extremely liberal college and feel passionately about this anomaly, get out there and start a movement. Get going, and it’ll only be a matter of time before we are no longer just preaching tolerance, but also practicing acceptance. The time has come. Our world is not composed of LGBTs and straights. We are all brothers and sisters. We are all human beings.
Recently, in our SCOM 330 class, our group came across a very interesting issue that has yet to truly be addressed in our society. Our campus, as well as many others, have come to accept homosexuals in recent years. This is an impressive feat in and of itself given where many campuses were just 30-40 years ago. However, do we truly accept? While we freely tolerate the LGBT community, as of now everyone still assumes that everyone else is straight. This problem is labeled as homocentrism. The anomaly is that while we openly accept the LGBT community, there’s an invisible line that has been placed there by the straight community to separate the LGBT community from everyone else. As long as the LGBT community stays out of our way, we’ll "accept" them. While the straight community probably doesn’t even realize that this is occurring, the LGBT community is very aware of this anomaly and is trying to bring it to the foreground of our minds.
Still confused as to what I mean? Ask yourself this: how often do you see two girls holding hands in a campus dining hall? Or two men kissing on the quad? Probably not much, right? That’s because the LGBT community still feels very intimidated at showing themselves in the public setting. I have occasionally seen a gay or lesbian couple holding hands, and every time I see it I think, “Good for them!” for being willing to show their love in public. But that’s the problem: I should not even half to think that. I should look at something like that and think nothing of it just the same as when I see a heterosexual couple holding hands. See what I mean? An attention intervention needs to take place on campuses everywhere to shift our attention away from LGBT couples and onto our own stories of love.
So what can we do to fix this problem? Well isn’t that the question of the day? You can’t just preach tolerance. It’s more than that. We have to recognize that an intervention must take place between the LGBT community and the straight community. The straight community has to shift its attention away from those labeled as homosexuals and stop viewing them as anomalies. This is not an easy task. I went to an all male high school in my younger years and I think this really taught me to not just accept those of a different sexuality, it taught me to treat them exactly as I would anyone else. Going to an all-male high school helped me to shift my attention away from the fact that the person I was talking to was homosexual and onto their many likes and qualities. The only way that we can truly learn how to accept those in the LGBT community is by interacting with them and making them feel just that: accepted. Included. This is certainly a long and arduous task, but it must happen in order for the LGBT community to truly feel accepted. We can't just talk about this anymore. We must act.