This is my tumblr. There are many like it but this one is mine. What I'll do with it, I have yet to figure out. Diftbaa.
TRIGGER WARNING: SEXUAL CONTENT
So a few days ago, I took yet another journey down the path of internet comments on a popular website with someone of a dissenting opinion. I think we all know where that leads. But surprisingly it didn’t go where one might expect. We took time to discuss our positions, listened to each other, and found that our positions were not really that different after all. After finding a youtube video of a related topic, I sent it to her. She expressed her gratitude and offered this up.
"You started out on [removed] thread looking like ‘that guy’. Like you were going to be a misogynistic Asshat. […] But instead, you argued your position, asked a lot of questions, actually read provided links, made me understand where you were coming from so we could close a communication gap. And most importantly, I got the understanding that you got it…
And then, late the other night, after I was in a meeting where this topic was discussed at length […] I come home and see your message. And I start listening to it and think exactly what [removed] wants you to think, that he’s another privileged dude who’s angry cause he can’t get laid. But he’s not…at all. He’s rather manically brilliant. And his spiel [parallelled] that thread in a way and reminded me there are a lot of guys who do get it.”
This made me think. And that is dangerous because it spawns these long blog posts. I’m soon to be 35. I have been an atheist for over 2 years now. I would have been earlier, but no one talked to be about it. Instead they raged and told me what an idiot I was for believing. It took a friend of mine metaphorically setting me down and going over all the points with empathy and understanding before I began to see his side of the story.
I’ve been really bad at empathy except for the past 3 years. It is because no one had taken the time to sit down with me and ask me to imagine others complexly. While the age old “How would that make you feel” does have some credibility it does not have weight until someone can contextualize the rest of the story. No one had done this before John and Hank Green.
I was really blind to some of the horrors and the actual existence of a rape culture in the US because no one took the time to explain it. Everyone either denied its existence or raged because people denied it. There was no communication, only anger.
It isn’t that this information is new. I mean it is everywhere on the internet. But honestly, who looks up information on rape culture, atheism, empathy, climate change, LGBT rights violations, and so many more things? As a life long user of the internet, I can tell you I hope I’m well informed, but I’m informed by people around me. That is part of the problem.
I’m more than willing to read this stuff if it is important to a conversation I’m having or if it is important to a friend and they show me. I DO NOT wake up in the morning and say “Hey, I’m gonna find out about female genital mutilations!” It doesn’t happen. Now I might say that if previously I had seen a tweet from an aid worker who talked about it. Or I might do it if someone on facebook asked how it was different from circumcision. But I would not do it out of the blue. THIS IS IMPORTANT. As a person, I am influenced by those around me. So if you want me to take your side in a debate or you want me to change my mind… USE YOUR WORDS!
Yelling at me does not endear me to your side. Calling me stupid does not endear me to your side. Telling me I’m homophobic, misogynistic, stupid liberal, whack job libertarian, or any other name is not a good way to change my mind. Also it puts people into boxes, of which you immediately make assumptions that may prove false under closer inspection. You could be right about all of that though. And I could be wrong. The information could have been out for years and if only I took the time to read it I might find out what a douchecanoe I am. But… why would I search for that information?
Here you are, feeling superior with your superior knowledge and calling me ignorant at best while refusing to attempt to fix the underlying problem. You see here is where you provide links and give facts. Here is where you take someone under your wing and let them know how and why they are wrong. Here is where you cite sources. Here is where you open up communication and DO NOT shut it down by being snarky or a gigantic rage monster. Here is where you acknowledge that the person you are talking to is a person. Here is where you understand they are the sum of their experiences and education. Here is where you realize that if you want this undesirable element in society to change, YOU ACTUALLY HAVE TO WORK FOR IT!
That’s right. It is frustrating. It is time consuming. And if you have talked about it once you will have talked about it a billion times… but have you talked to person X about it? What about person Y? How many times have you talked to them about it?
In a world filled with cognitive dissonance we need to remind ourselves that others may not share our point of view. And that is ok (most of the time). But if we wish to change their minds or show them where they are wrong, if we truly wish to change the society and not just feel superior to others who do not share our views, we must do so with courtesy and thoughtfulness. Anything less… well… you wanna help? Stop helping.
### Special shout out to the Alys, Jeremys, Jasons, Stephanies, Johns, Hanks, and all the other people out there who educate and not just berate.
Taken from the Adult Nerdfighter Page of Facebook.