We are perhaps familiar with the old adage that 'seeing is believing' - the idea that one needs to see x before one is willing to believe that x exists. Building off work by feminist and critical race scholars, this Olio examines the extent to which it is more apt to say that believing is seeing- that is, it may be the case that one needs to believe that x exists before one can see x.
This can be easily illustrated with the case of illusions - take the classic duck-rabbit gestalt. It may appear at first as a duck, but if you believe me when I say there is also a rabbit present, you’re more likely to be able to see the rabbit, too! In the same vein, many instances of oppression (political, social, or epistemic) depend on a person trusting their interlocutor that the oppressive act in fact exists. Take, for instance, sexual harassment. Prior to the development of the conceptual resource that allowed us to understand the contours of sexual harassment, many people would have seen sexual harassment as something innocuous, like flirting, or they literally may have failed to see it at all. And the same is true for a number of other issues, like misogyny or racism. In this Olio we’ll ask the question: can you really see when you don’t believe?
Think Olio is not about learning a new skill or adding credentials to your resume. It is about getting together with other people and expanding our worldview. It exists as a conduit for fruitful discussions, a dissent from the regurgitation of facts, and an embrace of new perspectives.