A new post at Staying for Tea looks at the debate that arose around 1 Million Shirts and the Hughes family and goes further to provoke a better form of discourse in aid blogging. Aaron hits it out of the park arguing to be a moderate elitist. Here are some of the best sections:
A friend once tell me that “passion is perfected in discipline.” The passions that turn people into activists should be harnessed, channeled, and nurtured. Although I’m a big believer in action learning, sometimes the best expression of a passion is to wait, stay out of the action for a while, and invest in your capacity to act with competence.and
Let’s be clear, you don’t need a Masters degree to effectively serve others, but my own experience has shown that I’m less effective when I’m uninformed.and
Good critique is necessary, I agree. But we can do it without being mean-spirited, condescending, and elitist. I like Saundra’s approach at Good Intentions are Not Enough. She’s pushing for a panel at South by Southwest to discuss what we all can learn from the 1millionshirts venture, she’s posted numerous helpful and well-toned lessons and guidelines like this one. Sure, blogging success can be found sometimes in being controversial and highly-opinionated, but it can come at a cost of being dishonest and mean, and ultimately it can erode the legitimacy of one’s voice – maybe all of our voices.Read the entire post here.
I think the best we can do is to encourage good intentions while raising cautionary red flags, demonstrating how real harm can be done by acting too quickly on good passions, and then working to facilitate competence in others, especially those new to the aid and development field. And we can and should do this with grace and humility.