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The Paradox of Marginalisation II

In a previous blog post I argued that when we expect people of certain groups to behave a certain way (the way that fits our stereotype of the group they belong to) but also to not behave that way (because we disapprove of it), we condemn people from these groups to unavoidable disapproval: if their behaviour fits the stereotype, their behaviour is devaluated by disapproval because the traits that conform the stereotype are devaluated, but if their behaviour challenges the stereotype, then it is also disapproved of precisely for not conforming to social expectations.

One might respond to my diagnosis by arguing one of two things. First, that the paradox emerges from an equivocation in the term “expectation”. Second, that there is a symmetry at the heart of the paradox that would allow us to derive the opposite conclusion: that there is a positive double bind such that whatever people from these marginalised groups do we cannot but get social approval for our actions. I will address eac…