Katherine Hawley on Kristie Dotson

in Psychology Today.

 

Misunderstandings can sometimes occur despite everyone’s best efforts. But this becomes an ethical issue when the audience really should have known better, when open eyes and open ears would have allowed them to empathize more, and acknowledge that they don’t have the full picture. Professor Dotson writes movingly of ways in which black women, in particular, can be on the receiving end of such avoidable but harmful misunderstandings. As she points out, this can lead women to self-censor, because silence seems preferable to routine dismissal or rejection.   Dotson calls this ‘testimonial smothering’ – a reminder that although it may seem like self-censorship, it arises from anticipation of others’ negligence.

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