Do you remember those parody videos that were floating around on Facebook unboxing abstract ideas? Unboxing white privilege! Unboxing police brutality! Unboxing transphobia!
I watched a few of these videos as they sprung up on my newsfeed and, honestly, they irritated me.
I consider myself a fairly liberal person, but with these Unboxing videos… While I agreed with their base messages, I loathed the way in which the message was being spread. These videos made me feel bad for being me, they made me feel condescended to, they made me feel patronized, and I was on the creator’s side! Imagine how those who disagreed with his points felt?
So when the creator of these videos, Dylan Marron, started a podcast called Conversations with People Who Hate Me, I was extremely intrigued.
The gist: he contacted people who had left him hateful online messages and had conversations with them. The key to this project, however, was that Marron’s goal was not to change his guests’ minds – he only wanted them to share their opinion and for them to hear his opinion as well.
The conversations on this podcast are glorious.
Nobody’s mind was changed. Nobody went in a conservative and left a liberal. But also, nobody screamed out profanities. Nobody hurled insults at each other. There was a discussion between two people with two different worldviews.
We need more of this in the world!
We need people to not take it so personally if somebody disagrees with us (bearing in mind that safety takes priority – by the way, being offended is not unsafe).
We need people to not be afraid of having an opinion because they know they’ll be shunned or insulted the moment they share it.
We need people to talk to each other to better understand our differences.
We need people to understand that somebody disagreeing with us on one topic doesn’t necessarily make them a bad person.
People either don’t know how to have discussions anymore or they refuse to have them – we turn instead to calling each other stupid, ignorant, close-minded, un-Christian, old-fashioned, racist, any number of things, and then we’re surprised that we don’t get along after all the name-calling.
Conversations with People Who Hate Me is a podcast that urges people to change this practice of refusing to hear each other out. It is an example of how lively and civilized discussions can be productive. I would love it if we could have more of this in the world because people respond to being listened to, not to being shut down.
I strongly encourage you to give Conversations with People Who Hate Me a listen to get an idea of what a discussion between two completely different people looks like, and then go out and tell someone else to listen, and then go have a discussion on a controversial topic with someone who disagrees with you! Let’s yell at each other less and listen to each other more!
Thanks for reading, friends. Let’s make this world a better place one awkward conversation at a time.