Why Can’t We Be Friends


“Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.” -Martin Luther King Jr.

Over the last two days I have talked about why MRA’s are wrong but not idiots, and I have written an Open letter to MRA’s.  Today I would like to bring these two articles together by talking about why even if we can’t be friends we can still be civil to each other.

Now I kind of touched on this a bit in the first article about how even especially when we don’t agree with somebody we should strive to understand their point of view.  Now a commenter on my first post made the comment that “If someone is espousing a sexist, racist, or homophobic viewpoint, DO NOT EVER make them feel like their point is “legitimate”. The only way to prevent such attitudes is to make it known loud and clear that such viewpoint are hurtful, degrading, and NOT okay.” and I agree. (This is not the whole comment, for that please read it under my first post on MRA’s)

I am not advocating that every point is legitimate.  I am simply advocating that you listen to every opinion and respond in a non hostile way and acknowledge that especially when the other person is wrong they may feel they are coming from a legitimate place.  I say this of course because it is true.  People who seem to have crazy opinions do not magic themselves into an opinion.  They get there the same way everybody else gets to their opinions.

Before I go on I want to be very clear.  There ARE people out there that no matter how many times you listen to them and try to calmly explain your point of view all they are going to do is scream and shout at you.  Those people are not worth your time. Everybody should try once, and you are a saint if you try it again.  But for those insipid people who will not even listen you when you are coming from a loving place they can take a long walk off a short cliff.

To me it is very simple.  If you are part of the establishment and you scream at any minority then you are are going to do is make yourself look like an asshole.  And likewise if you are a minority and all you do is scream at the establishment all you are going to do is cause them to build thicker walls and stronger doors w/reinforced windows.  No matter which side of the issue you are on screaming usually accomplishes little.   So, instead of figuratively screaming at each other I still suggest using the 3 step process.

  1. Acknowledge: Let the other person know that you heard what they are saying, as in the actual words
  2. Empathize: This means you make an attempt to get into their shoes and understand where they are coming from.  This DOES NOT mean you agree with them, it means you are just trying to understand them.
  3. Tell them why they are wrong in your opinion.  This is the trickiest part because it will be better to use I statements rather than you statements, but with practice it can be done.  Examples?  “You are wrong because…” or “You cannot say it that way because…”  vs.  “I feel a better way to say it would be…” or “This is how I see it…”.

I understand that step three is going to seem a bit awkward at first but if you work at it I promise it will be better in the long run.

I also want to point out that those folks who are knowingly coming from a place of hate are the worst offenders.  It happens on both sides of any issue so please don’t think I am singling anybody out here.  But, when somebody says to themselves, “Well they are screaming at me so I am going to fight fire with fire and scream right back” then you are doing NOTHING to help at all and you just need to take yourself out of the equation.  Coupled with that are the people who say “Their opinion is wrong and I am right so I am NOT gong to sit here and let them be wrong.”  But, remember they think the same thing of you and they are allowed to have their opinion just like you are.

If we can follow these steps, and keep the other info in mind, then usually you are going to get an outcome that will change something.  Granted the person you are debating is unlikely to fall on their knees and beg for your forgiveness right there on the spot but, if you can have a civil discussion they will be way more inclined to at least think on some of the things you have told them.


Tomorrow: Falling in love


One comment

  1. Hi Peeta, me again ^__^

    I get where you’re coming from with your 3-step communication process. The idea is to change someone’s mind, yes? The problem is, in my experience, it often doesn’t work.

    When someone says something sexist generally if I try to say, “I hear your opinion, here’s why you’re wrong,” what they seem to hear is, “I hear your opinion, here’s my opinion, both opinions are equally valid because they are opinions.” Rather than seeing their error or apologizing, they come away feeling like a woman has legitimized their sexist statement.

    (I get this with able-ist people too, because I have a disability, but I think more people can relate to sexist comments because they’re so much more pervasive.)

    Whereas the one time someone actually apologized to me for being sexist, here’s what happened:

    Guy: I hate her, she’s such a cunt!
    Me: *cold stare*
    Guy: What, she totally is!
    Me: Don’t you ever fucking say that word about any woman, ever. There is no way that you using that word is ever NOT fucking degrading.

    (at this point, I started to tear up, because I’m the kinda nerdy-wuss who cries when I get angry. I think my rage tears really shocked him, plus my swearing, because irl I’m kind of a “goody-two-shoes” and I rarely swear)

    Me: Fuck you.
    Guy: Whoa, whoa. I’m sorry, I didn’t mean it that way.

    Legit. He said “I’m sorry.” He’s also never used that word around me again–hopefully never around any other woman either.

    Now, IDK if he actually learned “the word ‘cunt’ is degrading,” or if he learned “Lucy is really sensitive,” but you know what? I don’t care. He stopped using the word, and even if he’s just as sexist “on the inside,” he’s not being outwardly sexist, and therefore is not making women feel unsafe around him.

    You seem like a really well-intentioned person, and in your case, I do see where you’re coming from, but, as far as I can tell, talking sensibly almost never works. Punching someone in the emotions just might. Humans are rarely rational; pathos > logos.

    Now, granted, this is just my personal experience. Maybe others have had different experiences, and they have actually changed their minds via logic and reason. I’d love to hear other people’s experiences of successfully dealing with “–ists.”

    DFTBA, looking forward to your next post ^__^

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