Friday, March 26, 2010

Talk to people about what they know: a practical way to deal with racism, ignorance, people

I found this post on Metafilter earlier this month and was impressed. The writer spent time in a job where he dealt with aboriginal land claims and the non-natives who were being affected by them, so he encountered a lot of racism.

He argues convincingly that most such beliefs are quite shallow, and that you can ignore a lot of it and see the good in people by remembering this quote he provides, from a cowboy singer:

"You know, if you talk to people about what they know, they will always tell you the truth."

See what you think. The post is part of a larger discussion about respectfully disagreeing with people.

1 comment:

  1. Our very conservative evangelical neighbors next door recently had to move out rather suddenly due to financial difficulties. I helped him clear some stuff out of his garage, and he paused to tell me that I had been a very good neighbor. I told him the same thing.

    We never had dinner at their house, we put signs up for rival politicians in our yards, and I know that we didn't agree on many, many things.

    But we did agree about being polite, about helping each other out with little chores and yard work, about rooting for the local sports team, and about the pros and cons of the weather. The little kindnesses and courtesies, built up day after day, greatly outweighed the big ideologies we espoused in terms of setting the grounds for our relationship. I don't think we had a deep understanding of each other, but we treated each other with respect, and that meant a great deal.