Rule #1 as a blogger: People hold you accountable for every word. Which is fine as far as I'm concerned. I don't open my mouth unless I know a whole lot about what's coming out or I'm asking a whole lot of questions to get informed.
Even if you're not a blogger, this rule still applies. Opinions can quickly turn into a life sentence...or at least a dreaded label.
Intent is 9/10 of the conversation.
What do you do in a social climate eager to slap a label on you- eager to find out which side you're rooting for? It seems you're either for or against something. You simply can't just exist or have a natural discussion. It's all personal.
That being said, I'm not afraid to discuss things openly and I'm not afraid (anymore) of being called judgmental because it's such an empty label today. We don't like what somebody says. They don't agree with us. They don't represent the status quo. They must be "judgmental". Whatever!
A better notion to follow when discussing sensitive topics is if you're going to speak out, know your sh*t or at least have an earnest desire to know some sh*t.
Every day, it becomes increasingly difficult to blog about anything meaningful let alone have a decent conversation without a freakin' safety net and counselor on site. Ever heard of the term 'Walking on eggshells'? Folks, we're no longer walking on eggshells, we're walking on glass (Legos if you're a parent- you know what I mean)- that's how uptight our ass has become.
I enjoy tackling the tough-to-talk-about topics. Say that fast four times!
This also puts me in the line of fire to be judged harshly. On the flipside, it has put me in a unique position of being privy to peoples' innermost thoughts because they know I get real.
One particular sensitive topic I've discussed and written on is transsexuals and transgender.
After posting a few blogs about my experience with my transsexual father, I was often behind the scenes communicating with people affected by this, but afraid to speak openly in public. I welcomed the private discussions as I know they needed a breath of fresh honesty. I also welcomed nearly 600 comments on that blog post! Majority of comments positive. Some not so much.
I was publicly accused of being Judgmental.
That label makes people shy away from being open and honest. I had to push through the desire to retreat. There's severe social repercussions to not drinking the Kool-Aid.
Imagine listening to transsexuals regretting their changes and families torn apart because socially we're told to blindly accept yet it's not that easy when you're in the situation. There's little support for the family members or "rogue" trans.
Transgenders' admittance to mental illnesses, inner struggle, and childhood trauma were also common. All these discussions taking place, all this honesty, and not one ounce could I share in good conscience in order to protect these people. Nobody would believe me anyway because what I had to say is against the current culture.
People want to explore "transgender"and gender fluidity as if it's a trend. That's like exploring depression on purpose because others have it. The bottom line is a clear lack of information in society regarding certain topics- mainstream knowledge which is a pre-determined political correctness ( to know as little as possible about the actual topic but knowledgeable about the norm).
I once emailed consistently (for a year) with a young woman determined to stay with her new husband who decided to live as a woman. Even though she was willing to bend over backwards to accommodate him, he wanted to get his own apartment and try dating guys. I've heard some sh*t that would make you think twice about blind acceptance.
And that's the problem. We lose the ability to ask questions. We gain what's called ruinous empathy.
It ruins our ability to care...much. And confront...never.
"We say something out of some vague sense of sparing people’s feelings, but it’s usually clear to the other party what we really mean. In reality, we all know when people are not shooting straight with us, and many of us will feel insulted that someone would attempt this sort of social mind control. If you don’t say what you mean, you are digging a trust ditch that’s going to need to be refilled over time." Russ Lowry (Co-founder of Radical Candor).
Kids naturally speak honestly. We laugh it off and make a joke about it; kids say the darnedest things. Kids know that questions are how they learn. They know that saying the wrong things also lead to wonderful learning experiences.
I mention honesty because we have come to fear it in light of being labeled judgmental.
Discernment is not being judgmental. This leaves it up to the individual's insight and experiences rather than society to decide. Russ Lowry, co-founder of Candor, introduces a term called, 'Radical Candor' which means to care personally and challenge directly.
I will never stop discussing sensitive topics. Why? Because I see too much social ignorance. The solution we're looking at collectively is to all think the same way so that we won't disagree- avoid all confrontation and punish those who think differently.
Judgment in the context of today's culture is a flimsy label. Ironically, it is a quick-to-judge stamp on character, hastily given by someone who is accusing (and judging) another of being judgmental simply because they don't agree.
Judgment is truly hating something without being informed. If someone is informed, excuse them for simply not agreeing with you. Even the most informed individuals do not agree completely.
I can make it cool to drink the Kool-Aid, but would you now that you have some insight into what happened in Jonestown? It pays to be informed even when there's enough people around you to tell you how to think.
"The People's Temple did not start off as your average mind-controlling cult. It initially gained much respect as an interracial mission for the sick, homeless and jobless."
OMG if this doesn't get you to ask questions and question the "norm", I don't know what would!
Ignorance is when you're not informed but terribly convinced.
Ignorance is the status quo!
Blindly accepting is still ignorance. When you choose not to inform yourself, you're in the same boat as the people who spew out uninformed comments of hatred. Both create apathetic individuals based on lack of information.
Drop the name-calling.
Stick with facts and opinions based on facts.
A worthy discussion doesn't include repeating the same thing over and over with nothing new to add to the conversation.
The moment when people want to shut down the conversation is usually the moment they have a chance to learn from each other.
I can't say this enough; intent is 9/10 of the conversation. Inform or learn.
I don't assign labels or call names yet I have received a truckload of that from people who consider themselves tolerant and free of judgment. Let's have a moment of silence and quietly Google the word, hypocrisy.
I grew up with a transsexual father (from transvestite to transgender to transsexual). I've read and studied the topic for almost 20 years, and even then I thought it would be a great idea to attain my psychology degree, graduating with honors. I know my sh*t people! But I'm not always right. I'm still willing to learn.
I will keep discussing the tough topics because we need to. Tell me...with all the private conversations over the years, and all the people opening up their hearts (and truth) to me, that people don't need an honest exchange of ideas and thought in society. Honest discussions. What a f*cking concept!
We've learned nothing about stereotyping, acceptance, tolerance, or judgment if we have done nothing to extinguish, 'You are wrong if you disagree with me' or the common thought in society.
I didn't write this because I care what you think of me, I wrote this because I want you to care enough to get informed and bring a sincere honesty to the conversation.
Wine Advice + Uncommon Sense
Everybody needs to express themselves in some form- mine happens to be written form...with an opinion. Occasionally I get in the mood for some wine and answer life's tricky questions.