“Rectifying False Narratives”

There are false narratives living inside us. Narratives we’ve been taught to believe about a certain people group, institution or ideology that causes us to exhibit prejudice against the subjects of our narratives- often without even realizing it.

This means that we are inadvertently contributing to collective illness in our country, and it is harming the diverse community that is America.

During this time of the COVID19 pandemic, many false narratives are contributing to prejudice that stigmatizes people and mongers fear and xenophobia. 

 

 

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#rectifyfalsenarratives

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#iamnotavirus

 

Tell Your Story

Have you felt stigmatized by a false narrative that others believe about you?

Have you come to recognize stigmatizing false narratives you have internalized, and refused to allow them to control your decisions or behavior?

Have you helped share a counter narrative that opposes the stigma of a false narrative- and how?

Creating culturally competent spaces for people to share their stories helps us to build soulful relationships with each other, which allow us to work together to create the change we wish to see in the world.

Our goal is for these experiences to be recognized, shared and to stimulate awareness in order to inspire positive change.

 

  

 

 

 

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We want to learn your story through the expression that works best for you. Fill out the form below to share your story in words. 

 

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We want to learn your story through the expression that works best for you. Click below to go to our Instagram page to upload an image, a piece of visual art, or a photograph along with a caption. In the caption, make sure to include our hashtag: #rectifyfalsenarratives so we can see your stories and upload as many of them as possible onto here!

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We want to learn your story through the expression that works best for you. Click below to go to our FaceBook page to upload a video expressing your story, along with a caption. In the caption, make sure to include our hashtag: #rectifyfalsenarratives so we can see your stories and upload as many of them as possible onto here!

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False Narrative Stories


Asian American False Narrative- written by Ryan Kuja

“I was sitting in Starbucks when a group from China sat down at the table next to me. Unexpectedly, my body viscerally responded with tension. I was within 6 feet, the distance droplets can travel and enter the eyes, nose or mouth and cause infection. There were empty tables nearby, further away from them. Part of me wanted to move. It would have brought my anxiety down as well as a sense of calm through the elimination of the perceived threat. Of course, it I’d gotten up and moved tables, it would have been inconsiderate and rude. But it also would have been more than that. If I had gotten up to distance myself from the group from China, I wouldn’t have been practicing the “social distance” we are hearing from the experts as a key aspect of curbing contagion. Actually, I would have been practicing xenophobia. 

There was no threat. I consciously knew that. So what caused the dysregulation in my body and mind? A narrative I wasn’t aware of. My body was giving me inaccurate information based on a narrative that I hadn’t realized was operative within me, and in our society more broadly, a racialized narrative that has identified Asian bodies as the origin of contagion, thereby stigmatizing them. Let’s all be mindful that this pandemic has not only been politicized, it’s also been racialized. Let’s all do the work of becoming aware of the narratives that sustain fear and stigmatize others.”

 

News Stories 

Where do we see extremism, racism, and other forms of hate manifesting due to false narratives that are rampant during this time of pandemic in local, state and national news stories? 

National news stories expressing the reality of these harmful false narratives are compiled here. Please read to learn more about these realities! 

If you publish news articles, write one on this topic, and would like it posted here, please reach out to westmisocialenvironmental@gmail.com

 

 

White supremacists are recruiting, spreading hate during this time of COVID-19 crisis. How is this happening, and how can the media fight this spread of hate? 

READ ARTICLE

Anti-Muslim propaganda is seeping into online discourse about the coronavirus

READ ARTICLE

What rise in racist anti-asian American attacks during pandemic says about American culture

READ ARTICLE

RECOGNIZE

1.) KNOW AND SHARE THE STORIES
2.) WORK TO UNCOVER FALSE NARRATIVES INSIDE YOURSELF 
3.) RECOGNIZE EMERGENCE OF FALSE NARRATIVES ON A MOMENT TO MOMENT BASIS

  

UNDERSTAND

1.) WHERE DO THESE FALSE NARRATIVES COME FROM?

2.) HOW DO FALSE NARRATIVES CONTROL OUR PROGRAMMED RESPONSE TO SITUATIONS?

3.) HOW CAN WE BEST SHOW UP IN THE SPACES THAT BELONG TO THE VICTIMS OF FALSE NARRATIVES?

RECTIFY

1.) WHAT ARE SOME STRATEGIES FOR COUNTERING FALSE NARRATIVES? 

2.) STAND UP AND SHOW UP FOR THE VICTIMS OF FALSE NARRATIVES

RECOGNizE 

What is happening when we are in a certain situation and we suddenly become tense, indicating that we are stressed, anxious or afraid? This is our negative reaction that occurs in us because of an inner false narrative being ‘triggered’ by our situation, and it’s just like putting on a pair of sunglasses. The lens we have darkens our seeing, causing us to view other human beings negatively in a way that is stigmatizing.

UNDERSTAND

We have been taught to wear these sunglasses so much that it has become habit. On a day like today, when there is no need for sunglasses, or in the situation that we are in, when there is no logical reason to be stressed, anxious or afraid of someone else, we need to understand that it is the lenses we are wearing that cause us to feel this way, and that cause us to see that person negatively, in a way that stigmatizes them. These ‘sunglasses’ represent seeing someone through the lens of the false narrative we have been taught to believe about them (taught by stereotypes perpetuated in the media and other places).

Rectify

Wearing these sunglasses, or using the lenses of false narratives that we’ve been taught to believe to see the world, is a bad habit, because it harms people within our human family. But habits can be broken, and we can learn to see the world in truer and more beautiful ways. Let’s put on the metaphorical lens of rose-colored glasses, or rather, leness that helps us to rectify our old ‘false narrative sunglasses’. Scroll down to see our “rose-colored glasses”… 

 

BREAKDOWN:

Methods of Recognizing

EMOTIONAL & BODY SYMPTOMs

 

ARE YOU FEELING-
tense?
stressed? 
anxious?
afraid?
aversion? 

towards another person, even though nothing they have done gives you reason to feel this way? 

DIAGNOSIS:

You have an internalized false narrative. This is not your fault- these false narratives are ingrained in us by the society we live in- and it is NOT a moral failing to admit that they exist within you; in fact, the moral failing is to refuse to admit they exist. 

RECOGNIZE AND ACCEPT your diagnosis, try to understand it more, and learn to rectify it. 

 

Harvard implicit bias test

 

Once we recognize the existence of these false narratives in the world, we must work to uncover and recognize their existence in ourselves. Take the Harvard Implicit Bias test to learn of the areas in which implicit bias is most present in yourself, so that you are then able to counter that. And share this test far and wide! 

ACCESS TEST

IDEAS?

Ideas

IDEAS?

Ideas

Rectifying Method #1: Positivity in Sentences

When we are in a situation that triggers a false narrative in us, we FIRST: remind ourselves that it is our ‘false narrative sunglasses’ that are causing our negative feelings and thoughts about another human being. SECOND: replace our NEGATIVE REACTION with a positive thought! 


Positive Sentence Thoughts: 

  • I affirm this person’s humanity. 
  • I affirm the inherent worth and value of the person in front of me. 
  • I see the differences of the person in front of me as beautiful. 
  • I choose not to believe the false narratives I’ve been taught to believe about this person; rather, I will get to know them before coming to ANY conclusions about who they are. 
  •  (for fear) I know that logically, nothing this person has done indicates that they are at all dangerous. Instead of choosing to focus on the bad I’ve been taught to believe about them,  I choose to focus on the good, and I affirm their inherent value and worth as a human being. 
  • (for anxiety) I have been taught to feel an aversion towards people who (look/behave/believe/think) like the person in front of me. Instead of focusing on this, I choose to affirm their humanity and recognize that we all have parts of ourselves that make us unique, and if those make me uncomfortable, that indicates to me that I likely need to learn more about them in order to really understand. 

 

 

 

Rectifying Method #2: Conversation Guide


ILRS Method- How can you have conversations with family and friends about these false narratives? In order to facilitate conversations in which everyone can be heard, and you also have the newfound skills to have conversations with people who you disagree with, learning about them as well as sharing your perspective, here is a guide to conversation. (This is especially helpful in large group family/friend gatherings.:-) 

 

INVITE 

GOAL:

  • invite someone into conversation about false narratives 

TIPS:

  • ALWAYS get their permission
  • ATTENTION matters… have the conversation at a time when both can focus. It’s okay to ask for distractions (i.e. phones) to be eliminated.
  • START by asking a question, and make it about them (i.e. “do you know about false narratives? I’d really like to hear your thoughts about  them. If they don’t know what false narratives are, explain briefly).
  • DON’T ambush them
  • DON’T immediately go into science or politics
  • PREP FOR TAKEAWAY: at the end of a conversation, you want to have learned something from the other person. So if they don’t say much, don’t just assume it’s your turn- ask a different, maybe easier question. 

LISTEN

GOAL:

  • Practice listening. This may be the most difficult part, especially if you disagree and have strong feelings… but by listening, you create a space for the other person to feel valued and safe. 

TIPS:

  • DON’T interrupt
  • RESIST any urge to respond right away. 
  • REMAIN open-minded and non-judgemental

REFLECT

GOAL

  • Practice reflective listening, because this is one of the most important ingredients for a conversation.

TIPS:

  • REFLECT: once the other person is done speaking, reflect the main points of what you think you heard to them (be open to the idea that your interpretation of that may not have been correct). 
  • REFERENCE: reference specific points the other person spoke about while you reflect what you heard

SHARE

GOAL

  • Share your experience and awareness of false narratives, without trying to change others’ minds– because by not trying to ‘change’ or ‘fix’ others’ thinking, you invite them into the opportunity to question their own thinking without attacking them or telling them they’re wrong.

TIPS:

  • ASK: After you’ve reflected on what they’ve said to share your listening, ask, “Can I tell you what I’ve been thinking about?”
  • EXPERTISM: recognize that you are not the expert on your topic (so don’t be arrogant) but you are the expert on yourself, so share how the issue impacts you.
  • FACTS DON’T CHANGE MINDS- don’t TELL, and don’t use so many facts as you do stories
  • END: go back and forth as long as you’d like. End by thanking them for talking, and share one thing you learned from them. This encourages future conversation to happen.

TAKACTION!!

01

Share Counter Narratives:

Once we recognize the false narratives inside us and understand where they come from, how can we REPLACE the false narrative in our minds with a positive, COUNTER narrative? This can be accomplished through relational connection and positive storytelling. This website is a space where positive counter-narratives can be told. Hear them, and then, work to spread counter narratives in your own life.

SOCIAL MEDIA: spread positive imagery and stories telling counter narratives about the people who these false narratives have been perpetuated against. For example, there is a current movement happening on social media in which non-Asian-American people are taking a picture of themselves with an Asian-American friend as a way of showing solidarity. Use hashtags such as #iamnotavirus and #rectifyfalsenarratives.  

CONVERSATIONS: Access our CONVERSATION GUIDE (ILRS Method) above to learn of ways to have conversations in which you can counter false narratives through intellectual rebuttal, and by sharing counter-narratives. 

03

RETRAIN YOUR BRAIN:

Ally vs. Accomplice

What does it mean to be an ally? How are myths about allyship distorting what it means to be an ally? And how, then, can we shift from being an ally (which all too often means claiming to the support the advancement of diversity, equity and inclusion, but not SHOWING UP in meaningful and actionable ways in support of this) to being an accomplice, in full solidarity and working alongside those we are supporting? 

Access this ALLY VS. ACCOMPLICE resource to learn how to change the way you think about being an ally or an accomplice in the context of rectifying false narratives. 

04

COUNTER EXTREMISM- SOCIAL MEDIA:

5 Step Guide From The Tanenbaum Institute About Countering Extremism on Social Media

 1.) Report Hate Speech and Rhetoric

2.) Commit to Sharing Information That Counters Extremism

3.) Join a Hashtag Campaign

4.) In Crises, Provide Information in Real Time

5.) Hijack a Hashtag

ACCESS FULL RESOURCE HERE 

Share Counter Narratives!

Credit: Institute for Social Policy, HIAS

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In Michigan, Muslims make up only 2.75% of the population. But a Michigan without Muslims would lose… 

  • more than 1,600 new inventions
  • the education of 30,000 students 
  • the cartoon of 100,000 jobs 
  • the representation of 2.3 million constituents 
  • the social services for 24,000 families in need 
  • medical care for 1.6 million patients
  • $177 million in charitable giving 

read more!

Telling Counter Narratives About Arabs

How much do people really know about diverse people groups living in different parts of the world? How can we build a knowledge base for them that’s not based in false narratives, and counteract any false narratives that may exist under the surface with counter narratives?

Counter narratives