Back in the day, it seemed like folks could disagree on a lot of things, but still find ways to coexist. People didn’t always insist on their relationships being contingent upon harmonious politics or beliefs. Things have changed. In today’s polarized society, it can feel nearly impossible to find common ground with folks who don’t share our views on big issues, especially when those folks are the people closest to us. For many families, political beliefs, racism, gender discrimination, and other hot button topics can cause personal rifts that can tear a family apart. In this episode, we discuss how to have healthy disagreements with family members when diverging views on big issues make basic conversations extremely difficult.
In Episode 5, we talk about the motives, intentions and economic incentives in so-called “antiracism” and activism in the rapidly evolving debate on racial justice. So many people are desperate to know what they can do to not be racist. Brands and organizations have gone out of their way to appear as positive actors in a precarious racial discourse. Books about systemic racism, such as Robin D’Angelo’s White Fragility have been selling out of bookstores in recent months.
It has become morally hazardous to be perceived as racist in any way, and while widespread intolerance of racism important, that cannot be the only driving factor for trying to be antiracist. Actually fighting against racism through productive dialogue and responsible behavior is vastly more important that just appearing to do so.
Words can inspire great deeds, heroic actions, and confidence in us all as individuals but also as groups within society, and within society itself.
They can motivate us to do the right thing in the face of massive resistance, and help us find the strength needed to overcome any challenges.
We can choose to use words inclusively, to build bridges, and influence the lives of our fellow human beings in a positive manner, create understanding, and common ground where it may have been extinguished or absent.
The opposite is also true and throughout history, we have seen how words have been used to justify and legitimize vicious, and barbaric acts of violence, murder, and systemic oppression denying certain groups in society, equal opportunities, and or other basic human rights based on their gender, religion or ethnicity.
Ever since the murder of George Floyd, one of the words we have been unable to escape and rightly so is Racism.
It has been used often, defined, and explained but yet it still seems to be willfully misunderstood.
Is the lack of consensus or the “misunderstanding” simply based on ignorance or the immense complexities of the term Systemic Racism? Is it a collective, societal denial, a refusal to acknowledge society’s actions, and the consequence thereof, thereby absolving anyone of blame or the shame? Or is the pushback, a counteraction, by malevolent forces in society who are not willing to relinquish their privileges so that others may share those exact same privileges, or do all of these reasons intersect.
Whatever the answer, words matter!
They are our tools and they have been weaponized in this struggle. They can help us move forward or keep us in an endless loop that keeps reproducing the same outcomes.
In Episode 3 of the Dialectic Peoples podcast, we discuss a word that is perhaps the most contraversial word in the English language – the “N” word. Usage, translation, history, context – all the ways in which this powerful word has plagued and empowered the people who have used it and those whom it has been used against.
Disclaimer: There is use of language in this episode that some may find offensive. We encourage listeners to use their discretion.
Notice: We experienced some technical difficulties at the beginning of the recording, so there are some elements of noise in the first 5 minutes that will affect sound quality. Thank you for your patience.