Sunday, April 12, 2015

Sometimes I can be crass

There have been times in my life where I have said some really stupid things. Everyone has had these from time to time, and this can really put others off.

I am finishing my bachelor's right now with only another 3 months to go. Being in political economy means that I am learning about concepts which have everything to do with extremely controversial subjects and can sometimes be very useful in conversations I have with people. I also am by nature very open about almost everything and when I feel comfortable with people I speak freely. When I get into my field of interest I can go on and on for hours. I probably have some type of Aspbergers as well, but it is fairly mild almost all of the time. So when I am talking with someone I trust and they say something I am not sure about I will speak freely what I think given my education (and sometimes lack of experience). For people who don't know me very well this can put them off and make them think of me as being rude, and they are right.

A particular incident was during a very intense and educational Unitarian Universalist Young Adult Con in my district. I was talking with someone I barely knew about gender quotas and had just started learning about how economic quotas and price ceilings work along with their effects both positive and negative. I spoke freely about what I was learning but unfortunately didn't realize that gender quotas work differently from other types of quotas in their efficiency and ability to deal with this. This really put her off and offended her, which I regret, but as soon as I got a chance I did research and found papers discussing the efficiency of gender quotas and she was absolutely right, they do work differently from price ceilings (I'm not sure exactly why yet, I have a lot of other projects I am working on, hopefully someday I will get back to it). But this is just one example of other times I have been too intense for people to know how to deal with me.

Disclaimer: I am a white heterosexual cisgender male American. I am very liberal. I am UU. I am also a liberal feminist meaning I believe that everyone should be treated fairly regardless of gender. I believe your skin color, background, native language, disability status, or any other trait should not determine how others treat you. This puts me at odds with Marxists and radical groups who think the solution to injustice is simply to turn the tables and make today's bourgeois tomorrow's proletariat which historically has only perpetuated such systems. It also puts me at odds with conservatives who don't believe in social liberalism.

Being a white heterosexual cisgender male puts me in a very advantaged class and effects how people see me on a daily basis which I find hard to fully understand, especially since I grew up in a very liberal community where we don't judge people by the color of their skin or other thing which has no bearing on someone's character. This means my personal experience is from that of a supporter and ally of people who are discriminated against, though I myself have not been directly discriminated against like other people find.

With this in mind, I am very open to learning. One principle I take very closely to heart is from UU's 7 principles "A free and responsible search for truth and meaning" which I try to put into practice every day. Knowing this means that when I talk with people and they say something that is inaccurate or hurtful I work very hard not to get angry with them and remember we are all on this journey together to make the world better and live our lives to the fullest we can. I am very interested in talking with the person about whatever issue it is so we can both grow and learn together. This is the best way I know to help move this world onto a better path. Only after someone says something offensive time and time again after talking about how it is wrong and show no incentive to learn and grow will I start to get tetchy with their statements. This is of course a goal and something I don't always succeed with but it is very important to me.

When I do things like this I want my friends and family to know that I do care about them and all they have to do is tell me they are done with the conversation and I will stop. If I call them by the wrong pronoun, it is never intentional, they just might have to correct me one more time and I will reliably get it right after I see them enough. I never purposefully try to offend people, and I will never be offended if someone calls me out for being too crass or offending them. The only way someone could offend me in such a situation is to think that I don't care and feel like they can't correct me, because nothing could possibly be further from the truth.

So, given my place in society and vantage point (which is definitely not a complete view on the world) and my age (I'm only 22) I find it is very important that when I talk with someone to respect them and not insult their intelligence or worth as a person as long as they are trying and making progress to be a better person. We are all in this journey together and we all have things to learn from one another and teach to each other. I really do believe that by having honest conversations with one another and sharing our knowledge we can become better people and make this world a better world.

1 comment:

Stidmama said...

Very proud of my son who correctly used "cisgender" in a sentence. He also makes me proud as he learns and grows every day!

Proud Mama Look.