Unreasonable Debate: A personal bone of contention

Disclaimer: This is a rant and my point of view may or may not change after a good sleep and a strong coffee.

I just wrote out a massive rant about problems I am having with troubles and contradictions in society at the minute… I then deleted it. Because I realised that my problems aren’t with any current issues or even the contradictions (although contradictions bother me because they shouldn’t be there).

My problem is with respect. Or more to the point the lack of respect we seem to have now. All of a sudden someone can have a different view from you, and instead of it being a difference in opinion it is “wrong and offensive”. For instance, if you don’t support the BLM movement that has been going on, you are automatically labelled as racist! This bothers me because I support equality totally and 100% but I have massive issues with the organisation Black Lives Matters and I won’t support them. But that’s an entirely different topic.

My point is people don’t listen to people lately. They are unwilling to listen to another point of view. Seriously?! Are you that threatened by the thinking of someone else? Are your opinions so fragile that you are scared someone might change them? You know what, I don’t care the reason… it is just wrong.

There is obviously caveats to respecting other people’s opinions. Such as hate speech. By hate speech I mean two categories of speech, 1) speech which insights violence. 2) speech which is oppressive and / or prejudice.

I think the tricky thing here, though, is speech which is prejudice. As the word prejudice can have different interpretations depending on your own points of view.

The Cambridge Dictionary defines prejudice as:

an unfair and unreasonable opinion or feeling, especially when formed without enough thought or knowledge:

The word unreasonable is the important word there. What is sensible to you in a given situation may seem unreasonable to me. For example, you may walk into a shop and see a candle stick holder for £10,000 and know nothing about candle stick holders and think to yourself “wow that is most definitely unreasonable and they can’t honestly justify that price”. A salesperson for the shop comes over and explains its origins and a person, you never heard of, hand crafted the item. Another person you never heard of owned the item until they passed away and then it was past down several generations of a wealthy family. You still may very well think the price is unreasonable and the shop still believe it is a reasonable price. Who would be right in that situation?

What I’m trying to say is at the moment, if people dislike something said, they say they are offended and the offending party is in the wrong, they don’t listen to any facts the other person says. And even if they do listen to the facts, they may not believe them because it goes against their own opinion.

A civil discourse of counter opinions just doesn’t really happen anymore.

How are we meant to grow as a society if we can’t even sit down and talk to people with differing opinions. Some of the best conversations I have are with people I disagree with. Sometimes they will frustrate me because I will be thinking “I’m coming out with compelling facts here, why are they not listening”. Yet the truth is we both learn. It either strengthens our resolve or our opinions change. Either is fine.

We have to stop this vicious cycle of disrespect we throw towards people who’s opinions differ from our own.

We are all guilty of not listening to someone else’s point of view on certain things. But I guarantee that we all want the same things at the end of the day. We all want society to improve, we all want our lives to improve, we all want a brighter future for our children.

So let us stop this cycle of disrespect and work together to achieve those things, because no single person or no single group of people have all the answers.

Society is a jigsaw and we have to work together to find the pieces and put them in place.

Anyway, I should stop ranting now. I hope you all have a fantastic weekend and lookout for my post next Tuesday.

“Deliberation and debate is the way you stir the soul of our democracy.” – Jesse Jackson

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