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Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Try to understand where others are coming from

When you speak, debate or post on a blog keep in mind that there are others who have screens/filter, life experience, views or even traumas you may not be aware of.

For example being too honest in a discussion about rape, may harm or create a reaction you could easily misinterpret from someone who has been raped or who may be close to someone who has been raped.

On a common gathering topic, if you talk about how celebrities have no right to an opinion or say and continue to harp on how celebrities do not know what they are talking about, be aware that an actor, family member or friend of a celebrity may be in the room. As you now I sit on the National Board of the Screen Actors Guild, so I can argue with knowledge and experience on educated, world traveled and intelligent most (but not all) actors and celebrities are. Do not believe media hype.

All professors are not liberal, and even those who have liberal leaning views, may have conservative views on some issues and be middle of the road on most. And professors, like actors, are more likely to be well traveled and educated even if your view of intelligent may be different than theirs.

Attack instead of consider the views of others seems to be a trend that could tear apart our democracy and our civility.  Not acknowledging the validity or experience of another post or another point of view cannot be tolerated in a civil society.

It is why we teach and hope to pass on "critical thinking" in this and other classes.

The truth is not one sided, and not vested in any one person.

Experts in any given field will disagree on most issues, so it is vital we all agree to disagree.

By this point in the term you should have learned not to believe slogans, sound  bites, things repeated too often around the dinner table or office. Do the research and keep your mind open. If you disagree, contribute without attack or confrontation. We have learned about persuasion, the fallacies, demographic differences, screens and filters (Noise), differences in individual experiences, and the importance of being tolerant and open minded.

Above all we should have covered and worked together to understand the experience, point of  view and reasons behind the views of others.

To say that it is OK not to allow people to no have insurances for financial reason, because insurance companies refuse to carry them or discrimination based on race, gender, religion, age or physical conditions is not the way to have a discourse. To propose a future and a way to transition to a healthier society would be a positive way to proceed on the same argument. Not everyone has money. Not everyone can afford Whole Foods or have the transportation to go to places that offer healthier eating. Not everyone is literate or speaks English. These are realities that should be acknowledged and not attacked.

One sided or unfeeling attacks t fly in the face of critical thinking.

In Critical Thinking you should put yourself in the others shoes and acknowledge the other side. It does not mean you have to accept any alliterative view, but you do need to know it, acknowledge its value and then use your knowledge in your balanced argumentation to support your points or agendas.  It is a requirement of the course within speeches. It is also something that is key to a democratic society.

I am really surprised that there are a few students who take this as a personal insult or attack to disagree or to have and post an opposing view to their own.

I find it hard to question that perhaps there is a need to protect those who are already sick, were born with the wrong color skin, are the wrong sex or through no fault of their own are poor. But I know there are those who empathy is structured differently or who have a different priority or view of how the universe should work.

I do understand.

However civic public discussion must be two sided, and open to opposing views for it to fit the purpose of this blog, most courses and our need to regain a civil society.

Respect, not inquisitions.

Understanding age and those who are different in any way is part of the process of open critical thinking.

Most courses I teach require this understanding and encourage an open mind, not attack, of others.

I am open to other views, and welcome those different than the ones I state openly in of classes I teach or in my public communications. As stated these are only as examples or to stimulate selection of speech topics by students (feel free to take any and all positions on an issue, event, viewpoint or informative topic).

I hope that most of you know that the "news and views" in this blog or others are most often not all my own. Some are written by others (acknowledged in the post), gleaned from media, presented to be a "devil's advocate" or presented to create two sided discourse (not argumentation), interned to assist in speech topics, content and to provide a platform for applying the concepts of the course (Communication, media and Critical Thinking) in the wider context of society.





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