“If we’re trying to get out of violent culture we have to figure out how to not be so violent ourselves when we’re trying to do some good.”
Let’s talk about community, conflict, and cancel culture. In our earliest form as humans, we had communities, villages, and tribes numbering just a few hundred people that we would have known for most of our lives. The village has gone digital in 2022, which makes conflicts more common and means managing hundreds or even thousands of friends, followers, and strangers. It’s no wonder the comment section gets contentious!
Join me and Sarah Dixon in this great interview where we talk about the evolution of community; how, when, and why to call people out (or “in”) for harmful behavior; how to promote good allyship without being white saviors; and the generational divide in online communication. Plus, Lilith and cops.
As an artist, facilitator and coach, Sarah Dixon’s work supports individuals, communities and institutions to evolve and adapt, creating a more inclusive, healthier and equitable future for us and generations to come. Her approach is deeply relational, exploratory and responsive. It gives us the opportunity to do profound and meaningful work on the themes and patterns that affect us all, in a curious, playful and creative way.
Get in touch with Sarah at SarahDixon.studio and on Facebook, Instagram, and LinkedIn! Sarah mentioned a great paper that you can see here — White Supremacy Culture by Tema Okun: https://www.whitesupremacyculture.info/characteristics.html
And don’t forget to get on my email list at bit.ly/CaitNotes for my latest updates and whimsy!
[00:00:00] Caitlin Fisher: Hello again friends. We are back with Run Like Hell toward Happy on a Friday. And today we are gonna be talking about call out culture, Cancel culture, how to call people in, et cetera, and helping us take this journey is Sarah Dixon.
And Sarah is an artist, facilitator, and coach, and her work supports individuals, communities, and institutions to evolve and adapt, creating a more inclusive, healthier, and equitable future for us and generations to come. Which we love! Her approach is deeply relational, exploratory, and responsive. And it gives us the opportunity to do profound and meaningful work on themes and patterns that affect us all in a curious, playful, and creative way. And you know, we love creativity here and play. So, hello Sarah, welcome to this show.
[00:01:01] Sarah Dixon: Hi, Caitlin. It’s great to be here.
[00:01:05] Caitlin Fisher: I am super excited to have you.
[00:01:08] Sarah Dixon: So I’m really glad to be here with you.
[00:01:10] Caitlin Fisher: Hooray!
So yeah, let’s jump in. Sorry, my dog has decided it’s play time already. Uhhuh . So what, what interested you specifically about the cancel culture topic?
[00:01:26] Sarah Dixon: I guess it came out of the pandemic, like for a lot of people.
We all got a bit shut in. I’m actually I have a chronic illness, so I was already a little bit shut down in my world and using Zoom and, you know, really happy online. I worked for long time as a website designer and graphic designer, so I was very happy on the internet, but it was like there was this massive pile on and suddenly everybody was online all the time wanting to talk about, firstly the pandemic. Then there was the murder of George Floyd. So then there was a big talking about all racism, anti-racism. So there’s been so many conversations happening. And also in the UK we were given Covid grants, so I’m self-employed and I was able to access a grant so I didn’t have to work fully for some time during the pandemic.
So that pressure was lifted, a space was opened up to start diving into conversations, which I found really interesting and so I witnessed this process as many of us have, you know, where there are topics that come up. People get excited, they’re emotional, they’re invested in a particular point of view, a particular perspective, and then through the channels of social media, that’s where those conversations are playing out and that’s creates a particular way of interacting and…
I guess in a sort of wider sense, you know, I studied biology originally. I’m now an artist. I have a lot of… I’m like an entrepreneur, so I’ve got like perspectives from lots of different ways of doing things and, and thinking about things. And I was particularly interested in how do we help each other get through a crisis?
And one of those aspects is what do we do when we have a conflict online and how do we navigate? And not damage our relationships in our communities, which we also need to maintain and sustain in order to be in a good place to get through some kind of crisis. .
[00:03:16] Caitlin Fisher: Yes. That’s, that’s such an important part of it.
The community aspect of being online in 2022, because we have so much access to talk to all sorts of different types of people we’re learning, we’re absorbing so much. I think that a lot of people’s, especially anti-racism, education and you know, gender concepts, like all sorts of things. You, you can see the, like the people who are on that journey of unlearning it and like being an ally and doing the work versus the people who are really stuck and set in their ways and like dedicated to the thing that they already believe.
And there’s nowhere that, that is more clear than in the Facebook comment section. .
[00:04:07] Sarah Dixon: Mm-hmm.
[00:04:08] Caitlin Fisher: Yeah. Where, where families can be torn apart forever, you know, like, . So we see all of this conflict online and people just, you know, canceling someone like some, sometimes the pile on is, is so harsh that the intent is literally to like destroy someone’s livelihood.
[00:04:34] Sarah Dixon: Yeah.
[00:04:35] Caitlin Fisher: For, you know, saying the wrong thing or being viewed as incorrect. So for instance, recently we had Lizzo, if you’re familiar, and Beyonce, both have released new albums recently and they both had the word spazz in lyrics. And in the US spazz is sort of like, just sort of a little chaotic, a little whatever, but
[00:04:58] Sarah Dixon: Okay.
[00:04:59] Caitlin Fisher: Yeah. But in the UK, it’s, it’s a, it’s a slur.
[00:05:05] Sarah Dixon: Yes.
[00:05:06] Caitlin Fisher: And so there was a big blow up and it was like, Oh my God, I can’t believe Lizzo would do this. But she didn’t know. And so what she did was, correct herself and rerelease the song with updated lyrics. And you saw some people say, That’s great, that’s exactly what we want. And other people said like, it’s still not good enough. She never should have done it in the first place, but so where’s that? Where’s that line? Like where are we allowed to be on a journey?
[00:05:35] Sarah Dixon: That’s exactly it. You know, there’s like so many complexities. And we are so different in our different cultures, our different experiences, our different understandings.
There’s such a huge range, and on social media, it can all be condensed down into a very short span of time where. A tiny aspect. If one person is placed out and boom, there’s a, there’s a, some kind of trigger event thing happens. And yes, with a, with a pop song, that’s quite a big deal cuz that’s got a legacy to it and it’s kind of long lasting.
So great to just edit it. I think we are negotiating, how do we relate to each other? How do we function in this world when it, when these are the tools of communication. There’s a lot to think about, A lot to figure out together. And there’s a lot of I think also there’s an element of, you know, centuries really of layers of social constructs that are kind of unraveling or being exposed to light that they wouldn’t have been exposed to before.
Though it’s very glaring. Social media is really like shining spotlights on everything. And yes, it’s just fully intense, you know, And we are still just people trying to live in a kind of- biologically speaking, we would be in a community of, you’d have probably about 200 to 300 people that you knew and that would be it.
And you’d know them, a lot of them from like for your life like that, they would be fairly stable group. Yes. So it’s solution designed for, for maximum 200 people to cope with. But obviously that’s not what the world’s like.
[00:07:06] Caitlin Fisher: Yes, correct. I actually recently read research that we can only maintain. about maybe 150, like solid, stable connections.
[00:07:17] Sarah Dixon: Exactly.
[00:07:17] Caitlin Fisher: And so, you know, if you have 4,000 Facebook friends, you’re, you’re going to get some people who you’re not close to and who maybe only observe you from afar. And so they might have a take that you disagree with or you might have a take that they disagree with and then you… just the block button comes out. But I would love to go back to what you said about like the, we’ve got layers…
[00:07:49] Sarah Dixon: Well, all those layers of oppressive relationships and events and it’s all, I mean in, in the UK particularly, I kind of. There’s a very long history. It goes back thousands of years of, of people coming in and beating up somebody and taking over and implementing a different culture.
So, and they’ve been squabbling and fighting and fighting for centuries. So there’s just, and then there’s like one of aspect of the work that I’ve done is around the witch hunts and the persecution of, of people who were perceived to be casting spells in a bad way. And you know, there’s that and there’s like, there’s just been so many and suddenly… so we encounter somebody now, for me, we are a, a sort of representation of that history in some way. We don’t always know what that is, but we come into the world. I don’t think we come in kind of blank in the traditional sense. I think we come in to a culture and we are gonna be educated into it and we have like a certain level of like evolutionary history behind us of genetics and we have intergenerational patterns and traumas that come through that we’re not even conscious about and we are influenced by all of that.
So, and then suddenly we’re going and putting something out there online and somebody else’s location is somewhere else and boom, but, But there’s a lot to unpack. There’s a lot of layers and complexities behind that simple surface.
[00:09:15] Caitlin Fisher: Yes. And that brings us to sort of a topical thing that we touched on before we started recording, which is that the queen literally just died. Yesterday.
[00:09:25] Sarah Dixon: She died last night. And immediately, lots of people, not everyone, but lots of people have jumped online, whether it’s the arts council in the country, in the uk, which funds artists. So of particular concern to me. Immediately issued an email saying there was suspending, basically suspending funding application processes until they get information about how this is gonna be dealt with. So they are a government body. So the government basically has just got a new prime minister and it’s like, Oh, okay, everything’s off. We have to do a massive state thing. So, So they’re the big, the big institutions and stuff coming straight away, taking over the news, shutting down the football, and then And then everywhere everybody is piling on social media to share their views and yeah.
Already we’ve seen, like I’ve had a thread on my page, which is people not liking what I’m saying and then trying to figure out how do we negotiate that conversation when this is friends and family. So you mentioned the 150 people, but within that we can have a lot of difference. And you know, like you mentioned earlier, families can fall apart and fight over this stuff.
So, Really close family members can actually be really somewhere else in their perceptions and their, and their understanding of the world. And, and so that’s what we’re seeing now around the Queen, which is a national identity issue, is massive.
[00:10:48] Caitlin Fisher: Yeah, I bet that sort of older generations are more traditional, more like, No, the, the monarchy here is very important. It’s, it’s an institution and then you have the younger generations that are like, Yeah, but all the colonizing and imperialism and. And that’s actually bad mom, you know.
[00:11:11] Sarah Dixon: But yeah, there may be some generational element, but I think there’s other factors. I mean, we have the class system here and people are invested in that at every level.
So, and at each, at different ages as well. So like, my parents are not particularly royalists but I’ve got friends of my age who are, and it’s them that I’m getting into. Conversations with where we don’t agree and we don’t see things in the same way, and it’s deeply symbolic. And this stuff has been built over the centuries, right?
So this whole concept of royalty was developed in some ways. It was about trying to bring people together and leadership, but it was also about tribes trying to kill each other. So you know, the idea of a king. Quite open and nebulous really over the centuries. That’s basically who’s got the biggest army is gonna win.
Yeah. And who’s got the most support and, And our history is very traumatic around that. I mean, there’s been some awful things have gone on within our own nation. And then over time, slowly kind of building up, piling up this concept that we are one nation and suppressing the conflict. And presenting a face to the world and having a very strongly enforced hierarchy of which the monarchy is an important part of, kind of symbolically enforcing that identity and, and, and, and creating a kind of, basically what I think is a kind of fantasy of who we are.
And a lot of people are very, very invested in that fantasy, and that’s where the conflict comes in because they’re not able to take on board different points of view. if they see it as a threat to that identity, to that perceived kind of goodness that they’ve built their self, their, their world around.
And that goes across the ages and across the classes. I think to some extent, yes. Younger people are asking more questions. They’re facing a much different future than maybe we’ve had. I mean, I’m 48, so it kind of hasn’t been too bad in my early you know, young adulthood. Now it’s sort of cracking open a bit more, whereas my daughter is gonna be entering a very, very different kind of world.
So yeah, I think there is gonna be those questions, maybe more energy, more passion coming through about it. But for me, I’m in a place where I’ve realized through the pandemic, you know, these are people I live near, these are people I need to get along with. So I don’t wanna get into some kind of cancel fight.
However, I also really can’t take the idea that the monarchy is all wonderful and there’s nothing wrong with it.
[00:13:50] Caitlin Fisher: Yeah, that makes sense. That would be a little challenging. Yeah. I think that that echo is sort of how social justice and like the, the awareness of social causes is working as well because..
For example, let’s just say gender expansive ideology. So yeah. Transgender identities, non-binary gender identities. We have like millennials and Gen Z who are very open to this and they’re like, Oh, cool, I didn’t know that. I love it. Let’s explore it. Let’s really just dig our hands into that and try on some different hats and identities.
And then you have like parents and grandparents who are like, No, it’s girl and boy. Like what are you doing. You are unraveling the fabric of everything I know. And like you said about sort of people who have this, this fantasy, this ideal that they’re living, that like, no, this is how it is and it’s actually good.
Anything that challenges that it’s gonna feel like a threat. Yeah. Even when it’s just, here’s some information that might help you learn some stuff.
[00:15:00] Sarah Dixon: Yes. So what’s a threat? You know, the idea of calling in is like having some compassion as well, like realizing, okay, you’ve grown up, you, you have a reason why you see things where you do.
And cancel culture gets a bit like, Well I don’t care about you as a person, I’ve just seen you do something wrong and I’m just gonna squash and it. And it’s like, well, okay, But then, But then what? Like there’s still people, they still exist. You know, we can’t just cancel people cuz that like in the most extreme sense means killing them.
Right? So, you know, that’s really intense and kind of violent. So if we wanna build an inclusive world, that means figuring out how to include things we don’t like. Okay. And I think that’s a core part of what sometimes gets not really grasped and understood. And always, like, again, coming from biology perspective, we’ve got, and you know, I’ve done some like neuroscience for my coaching and stuff, and it’s about, you know, we’re wild, we’re wild creatures, essentially we’re, we’re animals.
Okay. And, and so we are, we are responding in, in very emotion emotive ways when but symbol symbolism as an artist, you know, you realize that that’s what I’m interested in really, is like how symbols are so powerful because there’s a big part of your mind, right, which can’t, which doesn’t see any difference between so-called reality and symbols.
There isn’t a difference. It’s not like I can choose one or the other. So, When, when the queen becomes really embedded in someone as a symbol, a positive symbol, that is their reality. Like, it’s not like optional. It’s not something where they could, It’s like gravity. You know? You, you can’t just say, Oh, well I’ll just flip that round.
You know, It’s, it could be quite a journey for some people and it’s, it’s a matter of trying to respect where they’re at whilst looking after yourself and, Seeking out what is possible, and sometimes it’s not possible. Sometimes there’s just not worth the energy, you know? But what is the principle? Like is the principle we get to people or is the principle that you believe in really about trying to forge connection even when it’s really, really hard?
[00:17:21] Caitlin Fisher: Yeah, I think that’s a good distinction because I am a big proponent of compassion and giving people space to learn. So if somebody says something that they don’t realize is actually racist or classist or sexist, you know, I will try to point that out to them and either in , like a Facebook comment, like if they’re up on one of my posts or something.
A big one for me is actually like fat phobia and weight bias. Yeah. I will call that out all day. So love that. Being in eating disorder recovery, that’s very important to me because we have a lot of diet culture and disordered eating metaphor in the self-help space and the self-improvement space. Comparison of like, Productivity and willpower and diligence to dieting.
And I don’t like that. I’m like, no. ‘Cause diets are bad and they don’t work and, and it’s bad. So like, fat people can be successful. That’s, that’s me. So, you know, where. , where is my responsibility to call things out when I see them? That’s a, that’s a great place as well, because obviously the things that affect me
[00:18:42] Sarah Dixon: mm-hmm.
[00:18:43] Caitlin Fisher: so autistic bias fat bias, things like that. Queer phobia, those are things that affect me personally. But then in my role, trying to be an ally, I also wanna be calling out racism. I also wanna be calling out anything that, that doesn’t affect me, but that I have learned.
So, you know please don’t burn sage. That’s an appropriation of a, an indigenous practice. Yeah. You know things like that. But I think. And I think white people do it a lot is we get, we get our little sword and shield and we’re like, I’m here to protect all of the minorities. I’m gonna call you out cuz you did bad thing that I learned was bad and we, we get really shitty about it.
I think like we take, we take up this mantle in a way that I think is kind of toxic sometimes.
[00:19:38] Sarah Dixon: Mm-hmm.
[00:19:39] Caitlin Fisher: rather than being compassionate and helpful and like guiding people along a journey the way that we were guided along a journey.
[00:19:47] Sarah Dixon: Yeah, absolutely. And I think that image you’ve just created of, of the sword and the shield and rushing into battle.
I mean, I’ve been there and, and I’ve examined it and I’ve thought about it and I’ve realized like, and I’ve, and I’ve learned as well, you know, reading there’s a paper which I wanna… it’s about the sort of culture of white supremacy and what that involves? I don’t know. You may have come across it. I’m terrible at remembering, so I’ll find the link and share it.
[00:20:10] Caitlin Fisher: Yes, please do. I’ll put it in our notes.
[00:20:11] Sarah Dixon: Yeah. And it, and it runs through basically white supremacy culture isn’t just about white supremacy, but it’s a set of kind of values and one of them is …well, it’s essentially a violent culture, and so we are, and we are totally steeped in that to the point where we can’t tell because we’re in it so long, we’re born into it.
And so yes, going into battle mode is a, is a classic mode and I would perhaps link that to the history in Europe where there was just a lot of battling going on for several centuries and people were actually literally fighting each other with swords and shields and politics in particular was very deadly and people were constantly chopping each other’s heads off.
So , you know, that’s pretty ingrained, right? And yeah, that’s, you know, that feels like cancel culture. We can feel powerful, but it’s actually is that really the culture that we want? If we’re trying to get out of violent culture, we have to figure out how to not be so violent ourselves when trying to do some good, which can be a good thing, You know, sometimes. I’m not against it completely, but it’s like learning to understand where your thoughts and feelings and behaviors are coming from and like give yourself space to step back and reflect before deciding to kind of take on a certain type of mantle or approach.
[00:21:30] Caitlin Fisher: Yeah, I’ll, I’ll fight a Nazi or a Republican.
[00:21:33] Sarah Dixon: Right, Exactly.
[00:21:35] Caitlin Fisher: You know, some people I’m not going to guide gently on a journey. Some people want me dead and I’m like well–
[00:21:43] Sarah Dixon: exactly.
[00:21:44] Caitlin Fisher: Back at you.
[00:21:44] Sarah Dixon: Yeah. So that’s it. You see, it’s like knowing who you’re dealing with, knowing whether it’s Someone you want to build a connection with or you need to is like your deadly enemy.
And you know, that kinda thing, understanding, I learned so much from reading about Nelson Mandela, his approach and how he started with a very, very violent, where white colonizers were murdering black people constantly and making all kinds of apartheid rules. And how does he come from that? And get to a place where the country is legally at least, pretty much equitable.
I mean, the history’s still there. The things have happened. They’re not gonna vanish and dissolve overnight. But you know, he made an incredible journey and it was, How did he do that? He always treated his oppressor as a human being. That was one of the core things that he did. The other was the oppressor made the rules about violence.
So I didn’t make those rules. I have to play them. So he want, he advocated for a violent arm of their political movement because he knew that the oppressor would never change unless there was a threat of violence. Not because he thought, I feel like getting violent. Like maybe sometimes he did. Right. And there were a lot of young men in particular who were very much up for a fight.
However, he was trying to, he wasn’t quite saying, Let’s not have any fighting. He was saying, we need to use it strategically. It’s part of this game and we didn’t make the rules, but we are gonna use what power we have to shift the rules and maybe then the violent part is gonna be removed. Do you see what I mean?
Like yes. It’s thoughtful, it’s strategic, it’s understanding, and it’s holding the oppressor, the enemy, as a human being at the whole time. Because the purpose is to get to a point where you are in good relationship with that person, even if they are not seeking. That sounds hard. . Yeah. Really hard. Like he is incredible what he did.
[00:23:46] Caitlin Fisher: Yeah. I only know a little bit about him actually. So yeah, I’m, I’m very interested to, to learn a little more about this, but that to me is taking me back to 2020 and the Black Lives Matter protest when there was, you know, quote looting and rioting going on, and the demonization of that, as you know, well, these black people fighting for so-called justice, like why aren’t they being peaceful?
And it’s because you won’t listen when they’re peaceful. Yeah. So, and this, it’s not new. Like this is not from 2020. This is Martin Luther King and Malcolm X. Like Yeah. Forever. We have been looking at the dichotomy of like the peaceful civil rights activist versus the violent civil rights activist.
[00:24:39] Sarah Dixon: Yeah.
[00:24:40] Caitlin Fisher: But exactly what you just said about Nelson Mandela, that, that called this up for me is. The United States police state is violent against black and brown people. That’s what they’re for. They are to protect white power and profit. And we think that the police are here to protect and serve, but we never ask what they’re protecting and serving.
So, And boy, will that blow you up on the internet these days, but, Like it’s violent. It’s already violent. And if you meet that violence with violence, you’re criticized. Yeah. But if you, you know, they say like, Oh, if you just follow the rules, if you just listen to the officer, everything would be fine. That’s not true. It’s simply not because the officers are coming from a place of violence.
[00:25:33] Sarah Dixon: Yeah. So that is violence in itself to, to, to run that narrative. So violence can happen in physical ways, but it can also happen in conversation. It can happen in very subtle. Or less visible ways, let’s say. They may not be very subtle, but they can be very much less visible.
Like, you know, fat shaming, that’s a form of violence, like a comment on the internet can be violent. So, and that is very much a big part of the culture, very widely, and it’s really hard to be in a violent culture and live with that. Like how, how do you respond? Like, do I start fighting with people? Do I try and be the biggest sword on the block, you know, and smash everyone up and make everyone scared so they leave me alone or do I run and hide?
A lot of people prefer to that, you know, like, can I live in a small town? A lot of people come here because they’re a bit shaky and they just want to live in a nice, peaceful, beautiful place and not have any hassle and I don’t do politics and all of that. And then, you know, there’s trying to talk, like trying to explain, you know, there’s a kind of…
Well actually, interestingly, you know, again, going back to a coaching perspective, sort of psychology, Children trying to cope with a world of adults. If it’s a violent world, they’re gonna have tactics. How do I survive here? Do I become more violent like them? Do I try and negotiate and become incredibly good at making an argument? Do I run and hide? Do I ally myself with the bully so that I get left alone? Do I become the rebel and try and take them on and, and then just keep getting hurt over and over again? You know, there’s all these modes and it, it’s all to do with like, how do we get self. Aware of our position, understand power dynamics and understand what power do we have and how do we best apply it.
And sometimes getting in a fight in social media is just a complete waste of your energy. It’s not gonna change their mind. It’s not gonna really influence anything very much. It’s gonna make you stressed out and tired. Just go and make, like for me, I’ll go make a painting. Like it’ll be a much better use of my time.
And that painting might have a message. You know, I’ve got my one here, which is Lilith, who is originally known as the Baby Eater and
[00:27:32] Caitlin Fisher: Oh wow. I didn’t know she was known as the baby eater.
[00:27:36] Sarah Dixon: Well, yeah, she was in the Bible, you know, Adam’s first wife and was rejected because she refused to be submissive to him.
And So they went and made Eve out of Adam. So they made a kind of patriarchal woman who would be up with the patriarchy and go for it and do what she was told. Cuz Lilith was like this free spirit who was like, No, I’m not, I’m not gonna, you’re not my boss, I’m gonna do like how I live.
[00:28:01] Caitlin Fisher: Love Lilith.
[00:28:02] Sarah Dixon: Yeah. So I’ve got that in a painting that might have more impact over time than some Facebook comments. Yeah. And it felt good to make it, to look at that as well. I, I used to be a keyboard warrior. I would get in the arguments, I would fight and absolutely, you’re right. It’s just draining, it’s exhausting, and it’s not going to change those people.
[00:28:31] Caitlin Fisher: What it can do, and what I will usually do is leave a comment that is like, This was racist. You are wrong. You know, something. Or I’ll go onto… there was a library in, I think Indiana, in the US that had featured a bunch of queer children’s books and somebody got very angry and was like, They’re, you know, they’re grooming our kids here.
Yeah. And so that went viral and I left a very positive comment. I was like, This is so great. I love seeing all these families represented. That’s awesome. And then I turned off notifications. and left because I was there to show the people who were being targeted that they’re not alone, that they have support.
I wasn’t there to argue and change the minds of people that think that LGBTQ community is pedophiles. Like, I’m not, I’m not gonna change that. That is a deep cut in your, in your brainwashing process. Yeah. I can’t help you. I’m sorry. .
[00:29:34] Sarah Dixon: Yes. I like that you could put that, I’m really sorry, I, I can’t help you, but I am gonna say this.
[00:29:39] Caitlin Fisher: Yeah. I can’t, I can’t save you from Q Anon on or whatever did this to you. Yeah. Yeah, so just leave a supportive comment and then use that block button liberally and yes, move on.
[00:29:53] Sarah Dixon: And the great thing is we do have choices. And absolutely those comments are important. They do help people feel that there is a different cultural vibe happening and we should put our chip in the ring.
And I’m not saying we shouldn’t ever do it, although some people might choose not to do it. Like some people will dedicate themselves to like behind the scenes lobbying with their political representatives and they won’t go on social. They don’t even have a profile, like they’re just out there doing some completely different.
So it’s kind of figuring out what, what, how do I use my life energy in a positive way in this really messy, complicated world? And it’s not easy. And, and yeah, I think those conversations do have big impacts. They do actually have legacy cuz they stay there. You can search someone’s profile from like 10, 15 years ago and see what they were saying.
And sometimes, and there is a lot of value in those conversations. I guess if I’m your coach, I’m gonna be saying, right, Well, you also don’t wanna be getting yourself stressed out, wasting your energy, getting upset, crying, raging. You know, don’t put yourself in that place if you don’t need to. Sometimes you’re gonna need to. So save it for that .
[00:30:53] Caitlin Fisher: Yes. I love what you said about turning it into a creative output. So making a painting for me, I might go write a blog post. Yes. Or paint something or I don’t know, just get really riled up and like go live on, on Facebook or Instagram and just like, speak my mind. But yes, like if I am using creativity to be a change maker and to share my ideas with the world and be in support of the, the society that I wanna see where we’re all treating people equitably and better, and not terribly. Yeah, I can go make some stuff about that instead of just fighting with some random guy in the comments.
[00:31:38] Sarah Dixon: Plus, we are giving our time and attention to a platform that has no interest in our interests. So most of the social media platforms are privately owned. They are there for shareholder benefit. They couldn’t give two little hoots about the people using. So long as they’re on there using it. Like who’s got the power in this situation? A lot of those people may be completely invisible in this thread, you know? Yes. Whose interests do we serve with our energy and our time, and our effort, and our thinking, and our feeling?
[00:32:11] Caitlin Fisher: That’s so true because even if you’re commenting on like, say an account, a profile, or page, You oppose, you’re giving them metrics, you’re giving them more reach.
[00:32:24] Sarah Dixon: Exactly.
[00:32:25] Caitlin Fisher: And there’s, there’s this algorithmic game when you’re getting involved on social media. So perhaps yeah, the best way to combat that really is to just go make something yourself about.
[00:32:40] Sarah Dixon: And the other thing is we can do is have offline conversations like go and chat to someone. When you’ve got a real human being, you’re gonna react very differently and speak differently than when it’s just some typing. Yes. You can’t see the person, you can’t see how they feel. You don’t know like what a shitty day they had. You don’t know how their dad beat them when they were a kid and they don’t wanna even think about it or they blocked it from their brain. They don’t even know it happened. You know, you just, you dunno what you’re dealing with when you’ve got a real human being. And maybe set up a little framework around a conversation so there’s some ground rules.
Then maybe those kinds of changes that we’d like to see could maybe start to have some possibility cuz we can start to encounter each other as more whole complex beings and not as reduced to little soundbites and moments in time when, you know, when I’m stressed out I say stupid things and I’m learning like. Don’t say stuff when you’re stressed out, Especially not in public . Yeah. You know, it’s simple.
[00:33:40] Caitlin Fisher: That’s so good too because, you know, so for instance, I have a friend who it took her a long time to start u to start, to start to stop using the, we just call it the R word or the R slur. Mm.
And she would be like, Oh, that’s so R-Word. When she meant like, that’s, you know, don’t like that. And I just one day turn around and I was like, What? Just recoil. Just what? Did you in the year of our Lord, 2000- whatever, you said that? And she was like, I know. I’m sorry. It’s bad. I know.
Talking to her as a friend in that moment where I could just be like, Dude, try harder. Yeah. Like that’s a, that’s a bad one. We don’t .No. was probably more impactful than me, like getting into it, like in the comments section with her somewhere where we’re detached from our friendship a little. Hmm. Where I can be like, you know, you shouldn’t say that because this and this and this, and I’m info dumping because we’re not just having a conversation.
So I love the idea of actually sort of doing your call outs or your call ins as I think is preferable because a call out to me is like a public shaming.
[00:35:02] Sarah Dixon: Exactly.
[00:35:03] Caitlin Fisher: And a call in is like, I care about you and I know that you care about things. . Yeah. So I want to tell you what I’ve learned and encourage you to do better.
And that to me should be private. Yes. Now if it’s a celebrity or a politician, by all means get on Twitter. Like, because they need the pressure of it. If one person had talked to Lizzo and said, You know, that’s a little, you probably shouldn’t say that. She might not have known that it was actually a really big deal.
But when Twitter erupts on you and. . No, this is a huge deal and you need to fix it. Yeah. Public pressure can be useful, but we don’t need to publicly pressure like a stay at home mom down the street who doesn’t know any better yet.
[00:35:49] Sarah Dixon: Yeah, exactly. There’s a public shaming element and that is really high triggering for a mammal, for a social mammal, like your inclusion in the group is a matter of your survival.
So public shaming is like actually what we used to do to the so-called witches, like the women accused and the men accused and the non-binary people , everybody who was accused of some kind of witchcraft thing. It was basically public shaming. And it wasn’t just that there was a lots of other patterns of like, take somebody for stealing, take somebody for whatever.
It was all about setting up these systems of hierarchy, of who’s right, who’s wrong, what you’re allowed and not allowed to do. And they were really intense, like properly terrible, and it was a matter of survival. Maybe now you might lose your career, which is pretty survival-y, you know? But at least we’re not chopping each other’s heads off and putting them in the On the stick.
[00:36:41] Caitlin Fisher: Yeah. Yeah. Burning them.
[00:36:43] Sarah Dixon: Yeah, so, but that intensity in public, which social media is a public platform that’s really hard for all these millions of people to all have to have suddenly a public life. So when it comes to public life, there’s that really interesting question, which has been a part of this discussion about the Queen, which is, you can’t say that it’s disrespectful because a grandmother just died.
Somebody’s grandma died. And I’m like, Okay, but thousands of grandmas died today. You know, then we’re not talking about them. I’m sad for those people, but I’m. That’s not what this is about. This is about a system where there’s a symbolic character who you’ve been tried to get you indoctrinated into it and think of it as a great thing so that we can then go ahead and do lots of, lots of really questionable practices.
Under this guise, this fantasy thing. And and so there’s this weird thing of like, so with with the singer who, who had this you know, the wrong words in the song. , those people are presented as individual human beings, right? So the queen is presented as a nice lady. Oh, there’s this, just this nice lady and she’s our queen, but she’s not, There’s a whole massive institution and she’s just told what to say and says it, you know, She was just a very good at doing, doing what she was meant to do.
And and, and so, It’s the same with the pop singers. They are in an in an organization. So why didn’t that organization have a system that knew this and filtered it out before it got put in public? So there is a question. It’s not really about her, it’s about the system that she represents and what is that doing?
And they’ve only reacted to it because they’ve got a PR issue. And yes, that’s a valid tactic. To create change, to push for change, but it’s totally not about that individual singer at all. She is just a, just like the queen, you know? It’s like a symbol and it represents an institution and it’s the institution where the violence is happening.
Yes, through individual people. Sometimes we need to just pick certain individuals out of the system and get rid of them, but we also, we need to looking at the system and what a system is creating certain. Experiences, modes, messages, narratives, et cetera.
[00:39:06] Caitlin Fisher: That’s very interesting. I am, I’m a Lizzo fan. , so, so like, yeah. I do view her as an individual rather than someone who participates in the music industry. Right. And she has a lot stacked against her, even within the industry. She’s fat, she’s black. She’s a woman. You know, so. You know, like I see her as like a groundbreaking person, and yet she’s still within this music industry that does have a history of, you know, they, they don’t really care what happens as long as they get paid.
[00:39:43] Sarah Dixon: Exactly.
[00:39:44] Caitlin Fisher: That’s so, thank you for that, because I was just like, well, you know, Lizzo wrote this lyric and then Lizzo fixed the lyric. Everything is great. But yeah, it is a symptom of the music industry as a whole, like you can say whatever you want as long as like you don’t get too many people mad.
[00:40:01] Sarah Dixon: Yeah. and then they’ll be like, Yeah, yeah. They’ll have a PR team that knows what to do. Right. And and absolutely the singer, the person at the center has their personality, their perspective, their talents, their power, and they can use that. So individual, it’s, it’s like, it’s both, you know, it’s, it’s impossible to separate the two, but you know, for me particularly when it comes to the Queen and the monarchy as a whole, but in lots of these things, it’s just useful to remember that and recognize it and see the power structure around somebody and not just individual people. Because that to me is part of creating inclusive culture, is understanding that we aren’t separate, We aren’t individuals at all. We’re born into something.
We’re trained into certain ways of thinking. We have experiences which inform our worldview. And and all of that is not, you know, I didn’t choose. Some people believe that somehow your spirit chooses to be born in a certain place and whatever. Okay. Then you’ve really got some big questions to answer moral questions, right. You know?
[00:41:02] Caitlin Fisher: Yeah. Like, oh my, my spirit wanted to be part of a monarchy.
[00:41:07] Sarah Dixon: Yes, exactly. And what lesser whatever. So there is a way to construct around that. But generally, you know, for me it’s about, it’s like evolution is kind of, it’s a bit of a, it’s a very creative, experimental thing. It’s like, let’s just chuck a bunch of possibilities in the forms of you living creatures into the world and see what happens.
And we have this amazing creative potential because of that. And you know, we absolutely can completely transform how we see the world, how we talk to each other, how we live. We totally can do that. We have the most amazing capacities to explore, but we are really, I’ve seen an amazing quote. There’s this writer called Sophie Strand, and she just pasted up a, a quote the other day, and it was really relevant and it was about that we are born into myths and we’re kind of tangled in them.
Like the idea of civilization is a myth that we’re trapped in. And she was talking about it like a web, you know, like little creatures stuck in the spiders web. And it really feels like that to me. And I’m like, Cut the threads and extract myself and yeah, it’s we are not, we’re not separate. We’re not individuals.
We’re part of something and we all can learn. What is my influence? How can I make some impact here? Maybe it’s a good conversation with a friend or my family member. Maybe it’s for me to be creative. Maybe it’s for me to enter politics. Maybe it’s for me to completely dissolve from the world and, and di and divest from everything.
You know, everyone’s gonna have their own path to their own power.
[00:42:38] Caitlin Fisher: I think that’s beautiful. I love that. We have, we have so many options. Every single human being, I think has a shared humanity. Yeah. And balancing the compassion of that shared humanity with what makes us individuals is, I think, something that challenges us.
But it’s, it’s, I love that you were so focused on community and being part of something in, in everything that we’ve talked about. So what would be, if you have like one piece of advice for people who wanted to support humanity, over social media, the internet in this modern age what would that advice be?
[00:43:25] Sarah Dixon: To support humanity? I think start with yourself. Like, look, after having deep self-compassion, you are a beautiful creature that came mysteriously out of the universe. Right? And beyond that, you know, our job is to live, function and hopefully enjoy life at least some of the time. And, you know, if you are passionate about something that’s upsetting you in your culture, take care of yourself. And then really think in a big way, a wide open way about where your power is. Think about your power and, and how you where your influences are, where you, where you can influence that culture and, and in a way that allows for some space for joy along the.
[00:44:12] Caitlin Fisher: That’s wonderful advice. . So can you tell us where we can find you around the web?
[00:44:21] Sarah Dixon: Okay, So yes, you’ll find me on Facebook and Instagram. So my website is called Sarah dixon.studio, d i x o n studio. And then on there there’s links to Facebook and so on a LinkedIn and on Instagram, you can see my Goddesses project. But yeah, if you go to my website, Sarah dixon.studio, you’ll find links to all the social media and I’m very happy to chat. I love to have a good conversation.
[00:44:45] Caitlin Fisher: Yes. I will put links to all of your things in the show notes. And also if you find that article you were talking about, shoot that over to me.
[00:44:53] Sarah Dixon: Yes, I’ll do that. It’s really good sort of analysis of white supremacy culture,
[00:44:57] Caitlin Fisher: Love. Yeah. Thank you so much for being here today. This was a wonderful conversation. I’m feeling a little more hopeful about humanity today, , after talking. So that’s powerful, and thank you. That’s, that’s a great place for us to come to a conclusion. So thank you so much for being here with us today.
[00:45:16] Sarah Dixon: My absolute pleasure. Thank you so much for having me on the show, Caitlin.