This Week’s Selected Media, February 11, 2024: Born to Run by Bruce Springsteen

February 11, 2024 by Joshua
in Tips

This week I finished:

Born to Run, by Bruce Springsteen: Growing up in Philadelphia, across the river from New Jersey, Bruce was always big.

I loved this book, which I listened to, Bruce himself reading it. The first third recounted his doing what it took. He struggled to buy his first guitar for $18. He slept on floors, figured out how to play. He played what gigs he could.

He had a vision of greatness. He didn’t need other people’s permission. I doubt anyone else imagined anything he envisioned. He didn’t just work blindly. He looked inside himself. He wouldn’t accept halfway.

Given my situation of nearly everyone othering me (“a phenomenon in which some individuals or groups are defined and labeled as not fitting in within the norms of a social group”) by calling me “admirable” or “extreme” but not like them, and when I point at a brighter future everyone looks at my hand, his sticking through it resonated.

Independent of Springsteen, I couldn’t help looking up “othering.” I’ve heard it so consider it a word, but wanted to see its definition. These words resonated with my experience acting on sustainability leadership:

Othering also involves attributing negative characteristics to people or groups that differentiate them from the perceived normative social group.

Othering is a way of negating another person’s individual humanity and, consequently, those that are have been othered are seen as less worthy of dignity and respect.

On an individual level, othering plays a role in the formation of prejudices against people and groups. On a larger scale, it can also play a role in the dehumanization of entire groups of people which can then be exploited to drive changes in institutions, governments, and societies. It can lead to the persecution of marginalized groups, the denial of rights based on group identities, or even acts of violence against others.

Othering can be thought of as an antonym of belonging. Where belonging implies acceptance and inclusion of all people, othering suggests intolerance and exclusion.

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1 response to “This Week’s Selected Media, February 11, 2024: Born to Run by Bruce Springsteen

  1. Pingback: My favorite part of Bruce Springsteen’s memoir » Joshua Spodek

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