Anti-Vaxxer and labels of hate and social control

\Josh Mazer has, once and for all, utterly gutted the social control power of the term "Anti-Vaxxer".

I'm interested in the feedback of people on his success in befuddling one of the main voices acting to thoughtlessly and callously strip away the dignity of "people for choice", "ex-vaxxers", and the "vaccine risk aware".  For people who proudly self-label "antivaccine", we still have your back and you still have our respect. But Josh soundly schooled this vaccine zealot -in a very vaccinish public forum - with an analogy of the bigotry and hatred in the term "anti-vaxxer" that I think few will forget.

The setting was a theatre, on the evening of Thursday, December 26, 2019, at a 2-person debate following the play Eureka Day, a play by Jonathan Spector, which dramatizes the claims of the need for universal vaccination and submission to the  greater good. The "journey" of the play is an ex-vaxxer parent feeling guilty about an outbreak that their child, in this piece of fictitious theatre, helped bring about.

The post-play panel event was etitled "The Anti-Vaccine Movement: Understanding Both Sides".

Josh's opponent was Dr Susan Polan Phd, Here is her bio:

Susan L. Polan, PhD, is associate executive director for public affairs and advocacy with the American Public Health Association. She oversees the Association's departments of government relations and affiliate affairs, communications and membership. She is responsible for planning and directing APHA's legislative, regulatory and legal activities, communicating those initiatives and Association news to members and the public, and overseeing membership recruitment and retention and Affiliate, Caucus and Section relations. Prior to joining APHA, Polan worked as the director of government relations at the Trust for America's Health, a public health advocacy organization. There, she served as lead staff lobbyist to Congress, federal agencies and the administration on priority issues, including public health infrastructure development, chronic disease prevention and where she advocated for new funding for a nationwide health tracking network. Polan has almost three decades of experience in public health, government relations and associations. Polan earned her bachelor of science degree in psychology from the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign. She later earned a master's of science degree in health psychology from San Diego State University and a doctorate in social ecology from the University of California, Irvine.

Well then, a worthy opponent!

Josh is bit hard to hear, so use earphones and turn it up while he is speaking.  But watching the video without sound is revealing.  Josh is man of impeccable integrity, I have never known him to lie, or even to willfully misinterpret facts or statistics to his advantage.  But he stands his ground.

With the sound on, or off, watch as she smirks and shifts around in her seat while Josh calmly relays certain unfortunate truths. Watch while Josh stares her down while she tries, and fails, to address and counter his points.  Watch while Josh handily responds to a question from the NIH-personnel filled crowd.  And watch as Josh unflinchingly describes the use of the term "anti-vaxxer" as similar in effect to slut-shaming.  Watch her response as she begs the question of the analogy by claiming to be "offended".

It makes no logical sense for Dr. Polan to be "offended" as a feminist (or as any type of person) that another group commiserates with the social pressure and pain of the empowerment of bullies via a derogatory label.

Given that the play opened up the topic of labels, Josh could easily have used "nigger", "kike", "WOP", or "spic" or any other hate-filled label that society has decided is inappropriate.  His choice to use "slut-shaming" was a brilliant, on-the-spot counterpoint that proved to be resilient trigger.  I'm sure the analogy is still ringing in her ears.  He made her hear what "anti-vaxxer" sounds like to parents of vaccine killed children.  That's quite a feat.

By the way, in a subtle way, the play itself appears to subtly reinforces the comfort zone of anti-choice individuals while reminding any pro-choice exvaxxers with the line

"There’s no benefit in Feeling Seen if you’re Being Othered.”

Wait, what did just I hear that character say?  Sounded just like "All of these characters are label-free, and you can be gay, polyamorous, anything goes, but you Anti-vaxxer there, Don't Show Up at the Statehouse, You're an Anti-vaxxer, You're an Other"?

I can see the t-shirts now.  "I am a MOTHER, not an "Other""

The point of this piece is to celebrate the moment that Josh showed the crowd, and his opponent what it feels like to "Other" their fellow human beings, and showed all of us how to shut down Choice-Shaming.

I'm calling the debate a total success for Josh and for anti-hate speech advocates everywhere.

Well done, Josh.

For the rest of this article please go to source link below.


By Dr James Lyons-Weiler, PhD / Editor In Chief at Science, Public Health Policy, and the Law

James Lyons-Weiler, research scientist and author of “Cures vs. Profits“, “Environmental and Genetic Causes of Autism“, and  “Ebola:An Evolving Story”, was born on July 4, 1967.

James grew up in Upstate New York as the youngest of three children.  On Valentine’s Day, 1973, his mom died of breast cancer.  Always a bright student, he sought refuge in school as a respite from stresses at home that sometimes come with a mixed family.  His favorite classes were biology, geometry, history, music, and creative writing.

Extended Biography here.

(Source:; January 16, 2020;
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