Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Ways of defusing voices of dissent or discontent or disagreement.

From Kathy Silveira Escobar

Ways of defusing voices of dissent or discontent or disagreement.

1. “You need to stop being so angry.” Oh, I can’t tell you how many times I have heard that one. “They’ll listen to you when you stop being so mad.” I am not saying that anger opens doors because I know it is scary for people, but goodness gracious, we need to learn how to let people be pissed off about the injustice they and others they know are experiencing. We can never be polite enough, not angry enough, not _____ enough to accommodate making everyone feel comfortable in hard conversations.

2. “But remember, there are two sides to the story.” This usually translates to: “Um, they deserve what they are getting somehow.” or “We weren’t the ones who did it, why should we have to be blamed?” It always points to minimizing the reality of what’s being shared.

3. “You just need to be patient.” To me, this ranks almost as high on the nails-on-a-chalkboard-meter as when married people having sex tell single women, “But God is your husband.” Sure, there’s something to be said about the long-game on change, but I know there is never a right time to question or disrupt the status quo.

4. “God’s in control.” I am not going to go into all of the terrible theology that goes into this statement when it comes to power and injustice but I believe these words really have a way of making people of faith feel small and unfaithful and dismissed.

5. “But what about…..” There are always so many “what about’s” that can be part of good healthy conversations at some point, but when that is the starting point, the first thing out of the chute, what it communicates is: “what you are saying doesn’t really matter all the way because of x, y, or z."

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