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Naked hooligans for justice
One of the first places I saw the Dog Poop Principle in action is in diversity activism.
The Dog Poop Principle: When you see a long list of related problems, look for a single solution that addresses all of them at once.
The goal of diversity activism is to make everyone feel welcomed and cared for by society — even really weird people. This is a noble goal — there have certainly been times in my life when I've despaired at how alone and outcast I felt.
But the typical approach to diversity activism takes a lot of education and work! And most people don’t have time for it, by no fault of their own. The typical approach is to create a long list of different kinds of people, and then try to make everyone memorize that long list, along with all the struggles each kind of person has, and take special care to accommodate each kind of person specifically when you encounter them.
The best "diversity encouragement" event I ever witnessed was far simpler.
It didn’t even have a diversity encouragement intention — it was a decades-old tradition. But it acted as a unity encouragement event. Instead of looking for where all the dog poop is (i.e., listing injustices) and then laboriously avoiding it, this event aimed in a totally different direction, and completely fulfilled the goal of diversity activism: everyone welcomed everyone else equally, without a second thought.
What was the event? The First Rain at UC Santa Cruz, where I went to college.
Here's how it works — the first time it rains at night during a new school year, thousands of students get completely naked and run around campus in large crowds. There were naked people of every race, sexual orientation, and level of attractiveness — and nobody cared. Everyone was too busy having fun and being human together to be distracted by the different ways we suffer.
Since then, I've always suspected the best way to appreciate our diversity is by celebrating our unity.
I’m starting to suspect I’ll get a lot of mileage out of the Dog Poop principle. Is that the right name for it? Possible alternate names:
- Simplicity science (slightly poking fun at ‘complexity science’)
- that’s all I’ve got. Hit ‘reply’ and let me know your suggestions.