What is the appropriate role of a father? To what extent does the answer depend on the gender of the child? What is the appropriate balance between actively instructing children and passively allowing them to come to their own conclusions?
What is my responsibility to continue seeking information from sources who make me unhappy, if their criticisms of me and people like me are correct? What is the appropriate balance between cultivating one’s own happiness and well-being and trying to be a better person, in cases where these two conflict?
What is my responsibility to speak up for less privileged people, and what is my responsibility to remain silent in order to allow less privileged people to empower themselves? How much does the answer depend on the degree of privilege I benefit from?
To what extent is it acceptable to express disagreement with unprivileged people in a discussion about that privilege? How much does the answer depend on the relative privilege between the people who disagree? How much does the answer depend on the nature of the disagreement?
In cases of double standards, to what extent is the problem due to the inequality of the application of the standard, and to what extent is the problem the standard itself? Put another way, should the priority be to give “privilege” to everyone, or should it be to remove it from everyone? Is the answer the same for every type of double standard or privilege?
With respect to pornography and sex work, how can one reconcile the goal of ending the objectification of women with the goal of allowing women the freedom to choose to participate in pornography and sex work without a social stigma (e.g. "slut shaming")? If these two goals are incompatible, which is the better goal to achieve? Can pornography be consumed in such a way that does not objectify its participants? If not, to what extent are the participants culpable for perpetuating the objectification of themselves and others?
To what extent is it possible to separate a work of art from the artist who produced it? To what extent is it acceptable to try to do so? If the artist's racism, sexism, or other prejudices are not present in the work itself, how does this affect the question? If racism, sexism, or other prejudices are present in the work, how should this affect how we understand or value the work as a whole? To what extent do the time period and contemporary cultural context of the artist affect this calculus?
To what extent is it acceptable to appreciate or enjoy the privilege I benefit from? To what extent does maintaining my lifestyle harm or oppress other people? If I am aware that change is required and have the ability to affect that change, to what extent am I complicit in oppression if I do not actively work toward that change? How much is the answer affected by the difficulty of the change?
Assuming that it is impossible to perfectly rid myself of bias and to always speak and behave perfectly appropriately, at what point am I doing “good enough”? At what point is it reasonable to consider myself a good person? How does the answer change if it is not impossible, but merely very difficult?
I have spent a lot of time pondering both these generalized questions and the more specific scenarios that led to them, but I haven't been able to come to any conclusions. I can't figure out the general principles, I can't figure out the specific applications, and I can't figure out if it even makes sense to try to reduce the specifics to general principles. It's possible that there are no definitive answers.
I recognize that some of these questions may be problematic. Some or all of them may be fundamentally based on biased assumptions or on ignorance. Some or all of them may be offensive, or ridiculous, or self-pitying. If that's the case, I'd like to know about it.
If you do have thoughts or opinions on any of these questions, please leave a comment. I have just one request: you don't have to be nice to me, but please do be nice to each other.