Why It's Important to Be Kind
This is probably a fruitless exercise, as it most likely won't get read or taken seriously by the people with an opposing viewpoint. That is ok, if nothing else, it was a cathartic experience to collect my thoughts on this topic.
- •There has been several lists and even more comments this week detailing why it isn't important to be nice or kind when dealing with people that have opposing viewpoints, opinions or ideas.I have learned that my comments are not wanted in that environment, so while I enjoyed reading and learning about the viewpoints of people with different opinions and life experiences than me, I chose not to interject out of respect. I haven't tagged anyone in this list because I would like it to stand on its own as a general statement about my beliefs and not an attack on any group or individual.
- •As I read more and more of these lists I became frustrated that so many people that I find interesting, intelligent and entertaining, don't respect the importance of peaceful discourse as a means of conflict resolution.I haven't blocked or unfollowed anyone because I value everyone's right to an opinion, regardless of whether or not it agrees with mine. I think there is much more to be learned from people with dissenting opinions than there is to only associate with those that share your point of view. (My reasons alone, I'm not commenting on anyone else's motives for blocking or not blocking).
- •I began to think about what my heroes and role models might think about this situation, and how they might handle things better than I could and have.Before we get carried away, I would like to plainly and specifically state that my conflict on listapp or anyone else's for that matter is incredibly insignificant compared to the conflicts some of my role models were forced to deal with. I am not comparing myself to them, nor would I ever. But, I do believe regardless of what is going on in our lives, we can take examples of how others have conducted themselves and use it as a model for our own actions.
- •I believe kindness, politeness, common courtesy and an attempt to understand each other is the best method of resolution for any conflict.Nobody is perfect, as I certainly am not. We will all make mistakes from time to time, act without thinking, or let our emotions get the best of us. But, I believe if we make an effort to resolve conflicts politely, with compassion and with kindness, that is the best we can do as human beings. And, that intelligent discourse and peaceful disagreement is the epitome of an intellectual society.
- •Here are some examples of people that preached non-violent conflict resolution - and they were faced with much greater burdens than disagreements on social media.You may feel that words, specifically your right to not be kind when dealing with conflict, are not a form of violence. But I would suggest that you consider how words feel when someone uses a racial slur. Or, to a lesser extent, when someone is generally just rude when verbally interacting with you. Cyber-bullying, for example, is a real problem because words have the power to convey violent tones or feelings of intimidation. The power words hold is why we're all here on this app to begin with.
- •Mahatma Gandhi - http://www.biography.com/people/mahatma-gandhi-9305898#spiritual-and-political-leaderMahatma Gandhi was the primary leader of India’s independence movement and also the architect of a form of non-violent civil disobedience that would influence the world. In 1906, Gandhi organized his first mass civil-disobedience campaign, which he called “Satyagraha” (“truth and firmness”). His commitment to non-violence has been a beacon of hope for oppressed and marginalized people throughout the world. Satyagraha remains one of the most potent philosophies in freedom struggles to this day.
- •Martin Luther King Jr. - http://www.biography.com/people/martin-luther-king-jr-9365086#the-southern-christian-leadership-conferenceIn 1959, with the help of the American Friends Service Committee, and inspired by Gandhi's success with non-violent activism, Martin Luther King visited Gandhi's birthplace in India. The trip affected him in a deeply profound way, increasing his commitment to America's civil rights struggle. African-American civil rights activist Bayard Rustin, who had studied Gandhi's teachings, became one of King's associates and counseled him to dedicate himself to the principles of non-violence.
- •Dolores Huerta - http://www.biography.com/people/dolores-huerta-188850#activismDolores Huerta is an activist and labor leader who has worked to improve social and economic conditions for farm workers and to fight discrimination. To further her cause, she created the Agricultural Workers Association in 1960 and co-founded what would become the United Farm Workers. In 1988, she nearly lost her life when she was beaten by San Francisco police at a rally protesting the policies of then-presidential candidate George H.W. Bush. She suffered six broken ribs and a ruptured spleen.
- •Malala Yousafzai - http://www.biography.com/people/malala-yousafzai-21362253#synopsisAs a young girl, Malala defied the Taliban in Pakistan and demanded that girls be allowed to receive an education. She began writing a blog for the BBC Urdu service under a pseudonym, about fears that her school would be attacked and the increasing military activity. She was shot in the head by a Taliban gunman in 2012, but survived. Malala accepted the Nobel Peace Prize in 2014 and contributed her $1.1 million prize money to financing the creation of a secondary school for girls in Pakistan.
- •Robert Kennedy - http://youtu.be/GoKzCff8ZbsRFK - a privileged, white, cis male, gave a speech so profound on the importance of kindness, compassion and non-violence to a predominantly minority audience after the assassination of Martin Luther King jr., that Indianapolis was the only major city that didn't riot after his death. Think about the climate on race relations at that time and how important MLK was to the civil rights movement, if anyone had cause to respond with violence, it was that audience, at that time.
- •These are just a few examples of people that faced tremendous conflicts, oppression and hatred and chose to value a non-violent resolution. Not because it was easier. And, not because kindness and compassion is a tool used by white people to limit the effectiveness of minority causes.It's so easy to sit with your smart phone and type angrily at someone you disagree with, from the safety of cyber-space. It is much more difficult to think of an intelligent, rational dialogue to express your views and help the other person understand where you are coming from. It is even more difficult to be patient, and in some cases, accept disagreement when things don't go the way you would like. Let's not take the easy way out and resort to violence, as animals would. Let's be human(e).
- •So, I will continue to act kindly towards others, even when we disagree. I will continue to preach compassion and understanding as my heroes RFK & MLK would. I will be patient and believe in the process as my role models, Malala Yousafzai, Dolores Huerta and Mahatma Gandhi would.I am not trying to tell anyone how to act or that their viewpoint is not valid. If you choose to harass people for their opinion or for having a different point of view, you can do that. Just like the Taliban did to Malala, the SFPD did to Dolores Huerta, and like the British and South African government did to Gandhi. Hopefully it doesn't reach the level of violence it did with RFK or MLK, because those disagreements began with words as well, like most do.
- •Bombing for peace is like fucking for virginity, it's nonsensical. You can't violently and aggressively force someone to be peaceful. Angrily telling someone they don't understand, is the least effective way to get them to understand.Aggression only begets more aggression. If you're upset over a lack of equality, then try treating everyone equally. That means treating the people that have opinions different from yours with the same respect you would treat someone that agrees with you. Preaching equality out of one side of your mouth, while telling someone out of the other side that they can't understand your plight because they don't share the same background, is hypocritical and ignorant.
- •I will stand on the side of peaceful discourse, acceptance and understanding of dissenting opinions and compassion towards all.You do you. It's your right and I respect that. ✌🏻️
- •*🌟*Addendum*🌟* I'm sorry to make changes after so many people have commented but I didn't want this to get lost in the comment section. My hope is that this will not be viewed as tone policing.Maybe it is tone policing and I'm just not educated enough on the topic to realize it. If you take nothing else from this post,please understand this: I think passion is important and it is ok to be emotional when discussing topics that are meaningful to you. I very much enjoy passionate debate and I would never want someone to feel that their emotions are not valid. IMHO passion and emotion are not mutually exclusive from respect, and we should be able to express our disagreements respectfully.