General Question

Aethelwine's avatar

How can we be an ally without the opposition thinking we are being hateful?

Asked by Aethelwine (42953points) February 24th, 2019 from iPhone

It is common for an ally to be called hateful when they are stating facts.

Will the opposition ever be willing to learn? How do we approach them?

Common sense and facts don’t work.

Observing members: 0 Composing members: 0

36 Answers

JLeslie's avatar

Facts often come across as challenges.

You are calling the same people allies and the opposition I think. Which is interesting from the start.

In my opinion you have to build rapport, trust, and show respect if you want people to listen to your facts.

The biggest problem is there are alternate “facts” out there. The saying “facts are facts” isn’t completely true. Statistics are often manipulated and cherry picked, that’s a fact. Look at the statistic about tax refunds now with the Trump changes. Reports everywhere that in average the refunds are down 8.4%, but I haven’t seen one report on TV about how much on average total tax owed was up or down. The latter is the most important number! Bother numbers are worthy of mention though. This is manipulation and distortion on the left leaning side. On fluther, a jelly had an example of people owing more under Trump, but it wasn’t an overall average.

If we want facts to be accepted, we have to be willing to look at all facts also, and have a skeptical eye ourselves. Otherwise, the other side can punch holes in our facts and ignore everything.

It’s like a negotiation. You have to listen to the wants and needs of the other side to hear what they need and want and to get what you want.

First rules of getting understanding is to know your audience, again this has to do with listening. Knowing their fears and their needs. Then you have to speak to your audience. Use their language (although you don’t want to sound fake, I just mean more at their level, which might mean not using lesser used vocabulary, or it might mean using less slang).

Stop trying to use the same tactics that haven’t worked over time, and get more creative by knowing people you are trying to sway. I say this about climate change. I think drop the climate change talk in politics and talk about pollution, autoimmune disease, and cancer. Get that crap out of our air by promoting health. Although, when I discussed this the other day with some hard core militant type atheists they said it won’t work because the religious right doesn’t care if they die, or they believe God will take care of it, or that it’s part of God’s plan. I’m not so sure about that. I don’t think most Christians ignore health and just toss it back in God.

longgone's avatar

Change starts small. It often works best to ignore the people with opposite beliefs, and instead talk to those who are more open. Then, with time, the ripple effect of a new way of thinking will quite possibly sway the extremists too.

Humanity has gotten over horribly misguided ideas in the past.

KNOWITALL's avatar

You have a great source on fluther to observe this almost daily.

When you stop listening to the other pov, when you cuss and demean other beliefs, when you start playing to your audience instead of communicating. When you completely are taken over by emotion rather than intellect.

@JLeslie is a good example of learning or communicating without being so defensive that communication is impossible. I’ve been here seven years, so I’ve seen her get upset or misinderstand but she stays on task trying to communicate effectively. Its very rare.

Caravanfan's avatar

I am periodically insulted and demeaned with hateful posts here on Fluther for my political views, always by people on the left (despite the fact that I agree with a lot of the points of view). I’ve grown used to it. Tribes like their ideological purity.

janbb's avatar

I’ve come to realize that on the internet you put it out and have no control over what reaction you’re going to get back. So if a subject is very sensitive or important to me, I don’t engage about it online. I do consider myself an activist or ally in many causes but I try to use my energy about those issues In the real world. I’ve walked around for too many years with my antenna for hurt hanging out and i am trying to be more self-protective.

ARE_you_kidding_me's avatar

Depends on if you’re really stating facts. I see people state “facts” all the time. Often they don’t understand said facts and don’t realize they are either out of context, exaggerated or not really facts at all.

ARE_you_kidding_me's avatar

@Caravanfan Same here and I would be tempted to associate more with liberals if it were not for their behavior in this way.

Caravanfan's avatar

You and I have similar political stances so I’m not surprised.

Aethelwine's avatar

Great answers everyone. Thank you for taking the time to respond. I’ll give you an example that made me think of this question.

I watch a show on Bravo. don’t judge ;) I belong to an online group for fans of the show. don’t judge ;) In this show there is a person who is transgender. For the most part most of the people in this group are accepting, but there are some people who don’t understand and say very hurtful things about this transgender woman. One woman continued to call the transgender woman “he” or “sir”. I politely pointed out that there might be transgender people in the group and that misgendering this transgender person is hurtful. I corrected this woman and told her that the transgender woman is a “she”. The woman who was saying hurtful things was a black woman. I mentioned that racists comments wouldn’t be allowed in our group. You can’t change how you are born. Transphobia shouldn’t be allowed as well.

Oh boy. This woman went off on me. She called me a bitch and told me I was the one with the problem. She would never say a man is a woman. There’s no such thing as transgender. How dare I try to compare who she was with a transgender person.

I couldn’t believe how hateful this woman was. It was scary.

I ended up blocking her and leaving the group. I couldn’t take reading the transphobic comments that the admins allowed. The good thing is I had several other woman backing me up and they couldn’t believe what they were witnessing.

I’ll do what you do @janbb. That’s wonderful advice. I’ve done my best to eliminate anyone or any site online that would post transphobic things so I’m not confronted with it. I didn’t think a Bravo fan page would be a place I’d witness this since Bravo is an LGBT ally. I was wrong.

JLeslie's avatar

@Aethelwine Do you by any chance watch the TV show Big Brother? There was an exchange that was similar by a Cuban gay short. guy and a black woman, and the black woman completely freaked out. She was completely out of line in my opinion. She asked if midget is ok to use and he tells her no, that midget it is like saying nigger, and she starts saying “don’t do that” meaning don’t say the word nigger, and he says I’m just trying to explain the gravity of the word, and she just gets hung up that he used the n-word, and most of the people in the house back her up. WTH?! He never called her the n-word, he was just making an analogy.

A lot of people are very sensitive right now, and once they are set off they cannot he reeled back in. My example happened to be a another black woman, but it is definitely not just black women. Some people in every group are on edge. Hispanics, blacks, whites, LGBTQ, Christians, every group you can think of.

raum's avatar

I’m sorry you had to have that interaction.

In this particular instance, I don’t think it would have mattered if you were actually transgender or just a transgender ally.

Facts don’t matter if people aren’t ready to listen.

Caravanfan's avatar

I don’t understand why anybody would not call someone by their preferred gender pronoun. It costs nothing to do so and not to do it is hurtful.

JLeslie's avatar

@Caravanfan I agree that we should use whatever the person prefers, like you said it costs nothing. What I have a problem with is when someone uses the wrong one and the person is immediately hurt or immediately up to 10 on the anger scale. I’m not talking about the OP here, I’m just talking in general. People use the wrong word sometimes simply out of habit or ignorance. As long as they switch when asked that should be ok.

Obviously, the woman described in the Q was hateful and obstinate and didn’t care about a person’s preference or about anyone or anything but her own beliefs.

KNOWITALL's avatar

@Caravanfan Out here in the middle, we just don’t have many gender issues, so the few times it is even pertinent, some people don’t know how to react.

ARE_you_kidding_me's avatar

“What I have a problem with is when someone uses the wrong one and the person is immediately hurt or immediately up to 10 on the anger scale”

^^ This,
This gets under my skin when people seemingly can’t wait to pounce on the opportunity to be offended. This is not just about the pronoun issue either, the outrage culture and the dopamine hit people get from it, dangerous IMO.

Caravanfan's avatar

@KNOWITALL My guess, actually, is that you do have gender issues. It’s just that people keep it quiet because of the local culture.

@ARE_you_kidding_me @JLeslie I agree with you that in today’s climate the outrage meter goes haywire.

KNOWITALL's avatar

@Caravanfan We have some, of course, but not many. If there are, they are not being reported or in the news.

No one’s told me of hate crimes, but my trans friend did feel threatened at a job site (construction.) And she did say that a national chain store fired her for being trans last week. I haven’t heard the details yet. But she is VERY outgoing and so happy she wants to tell everyone her transition story, but she also has the muscles to back herself up if needed!

Caravanfan's avatar

@KNOWITALL Well there you go. Your friend needs to sue the national chain store for discrimination. What was the store?

KNOWITALL's avatar

@Caravanfan Lowe’s. Knowing Lilly, she will. :)

Aethelwine's avatar


“We have some, of course, but not many. If there are, they are not being reported or in the news.”

This is false. I belong to a support group for parents with transgender children and there are 8,000 of us in this group. We are from all over the country. Many are from your area and where I lived. The middle of the country is not immune, it’s just not spoken of because of the stigma involved and the backlash we receive from locals. Remember, I lived in a very Republican rural area of west central Illinois, not far from Missouri. I had to move my family so my child would have a chance. I know of two transgender teens from rural Iowa that commuted suicide the past two years.

Why would they be reported in the news? Not the suicides but your average person who is transgender.

Aethelwine's avatar

I accidentally just gave @ARE_you_kidding_me a great answer.

Please understand that when a transgender person is misgendered, even accidentally, it can really be a huge blow to the self-esteem of a transgender person. I do it accidentally out of habit to my son at times because for twelve years we thought he was a she. There are times when it really hurts him depending on the mood he’s in. It can ruin his day and cause great depression.

It’s easy for the average person to get over being misgendered. It’s completely different for a transgender person. Please take this into consideration before you become offended by them getting upset.

KNOWITALL's avatar

@Aethelwine I have heard of very few and obvi I have friends in that scene.

Of course, I mean adults, not children in school or anything.

If it is happening here, Southwest Mo, I’d be interested in hearing that.

Aethelwine's avatar

@KNOWITALL It is happening. There are many parents in my group from rural Missouri, and that’s just the parents in my group. Not all parents with transgender children are in my group. Just from my little town in Illinois there was one other teen who was transgender but his parents weren’t accepting. There was another that lived in a neighboring town who had an accepting parent but they kept it quiet and the child isn’t living as her authentic self because of the backlash they would receive. She’s waiting until she graduates high school and can move to somewhere more accepting, then she’ll transition publicly. Another teen from another nearby town also waited until they graduated high school and could move away. The backlash my family received was horrible, so it’s understandable why others remain silent. My child didn’t want to hide, so he came out on his own publicly.

Aethelwine's avatar

@KNOWITALL I should add that another reason you might not hear about it is because the child doesn’t have parents who are accepting. My son has been told numerous times by medical professionals how lucky he is to have supportive parents. They see many children who don’t have the same support from family.

Response moderated (Unhelpful)
KNOWITALL's avatar

@Aethelwine Now that could be true, there are the ‘pray them straight’ churches scattered about. So sad.

JLeslie's avatar

@Aethelwine When someone uses she instead of he with your son, I am curious what is your reaction in front of him? I could see it might be difficult to show empathy to your son, while at the same time, trying to be polite to the person, and either ignore the mistake, or correct them politely (I would correct them most likely, that is my nature). Or, do you feel like you have to display some outrage at their insensitivity so your son feels you empathize with him?

ARE_you_kidding_me's avatar

“Please understand that when a transgender person is misgendered, even accidentally, it can really be a huge blow to the self-esteem of a transgender person” Honest mistakes happen and if offense is taken from that, when no offense was intended there is a lesson to be learned. That’s partially what I’m addressing. I’m really calling out those who feed off of negativity, those who take issue where there is none and seek attention through their own perceived victimization when there is actually no such thing. It’s a common thread I’m seeing, taking the moral high ground and basking in the light of playing the victim. I have no problems with using gender pronouns but I’m never going to tiptoe around them. If I get it wrong understand it’s an honest mistake and I’m not to feel guilty for it.

Response moderated
Response moderated
Response moderated
Response moderated (Unhelpful)
Response moderated (Unhelpful)
Response moderated
jca2's avatar

The way I handle this, in both real life and on the internet (like Facebook for example), is I try to remind myself that I don’t always have to be the one to correct people. If someone makes a mistake or posts something false, I don’t always call it to their attention. All the time on Facebook, I see memes with false information. I will google and see that it’s fake news, but I don’t respond. I don’t want to spend a lot of time arguing with people.

As far as feelings go, feelings are not always logical and we can’t always control them, but my advice to someone who repeatedly upset with being called the incorrect gender pronoun is that this is something that may occur often, so we need to find a way to process our feelings and responses so as not to upset our day too much.

stanleybmanly's avatar

It’s all but impossible. And the current climate demonstrates the truth of it.

Answer this question




to answer.

This question is in the General Section. Responses must be helpful and on-topic.

Your answer will be saved while you login or join.

Have a question? Ask Fluther!

What do you know more about?
Knowledge Networking @ Fluther