The beauty of this world is that we’re all different people, with different races, cultures, genders, sexualities, personalities, etc. We all grow up in different situations and we all encounter different experiences AND THESE THINGS MAKE US WHO WE ARE. Our past experiences help us form our opinions, ideas, and thoughts on things.
A man isn’t going to have the same experience in life as a woman. Someone who is white is not going to have the same life experience as someone who is of a minority race. Someone who is heterosexual and cisgender isn’t going to have the same experiences as someone who is part of the lgbtq+ community.
Of course we’re all going to have different perspectives on things! With our diverse backgrounds it’s absolutely impossible to agree on everything. It’s completely okay to disagree + have healthy discussions about difficult topics.
But what’s not okay? INVALIDATING SOMEONE’S OPINIONS AND FEELINGS. It’s okay if you don’t agree, but it’s not okay to have the mindset of “Yup, my opinions and thoughts are always right.” You can’t decide on how someone else should feel about something.
I’m being pretty vague, so I’m going to be a little more specific about exactly what I’m talking about (and it’s going to be tough, because topics like these are always hard to talk about…but that doesn’t meant that they don’t need to be discussed.)
Racism + Sexism + Homophobia are big issues in the world today, and I honestly think that if people were a little more understanding + tolerant + accepting, we could really make some progress. For example, if you’re in the (for lack of better words) “dominant” group, and a minority is offended by something that is said/done, you have no right to tell them that they shouldn’t be feeling offended. While you may disagree, you need to also acknowledge that IT’S THEIR OWN FEELINGS, AND THAT THEIR OWN FEELINGS ARE VALID. You have to recognize your “privilege” and realize that while you definitely do have the right to your own opinion, you don’t have the same experiences as someone of a minority group would have.
I’ve already said this, but I’ll say it again since it’s super important: IT’S OKAY TO DISAGREE. DISAGREEING + HAVING RESPECTFUL DISCUSSIONS = GOOD. But what’s not good? : Refusing to acknowledge, understand, or even think about someone else’s feelings and opinions.
It’s not about shaming, and it’s not about being right or wrong, it’s about TRYING TO UNDERSTAND. It’s about really listening to what someone is saying…About trying to open yourself up to a new perspective, to maybe possibly learn from your mistakes + fix problematic behavior.
i just had to include a p!atd gif, okay?
It’s taught to us from the minute we’re put in school: to respect each other’s opinions…But yet, no one seems to really do that.
But it really is important when it comes to tough topics like these…It’s important to get out of the mindset of thinking that you’re always right, and realize that there are seven billion other people on this planet, and that not all of them are going to agree with you.
And as for the other side of things, when someone does say/do something that you think is problematic, it’s important to not bash them for it, but instead, start a respectful, genuine conversation, to educate them + make them understand. Obviously not everyone is going to be open to hearing new perspectives (and these are the people that don't deserve respect, imo), but if they are willing, then you have a brilliant opportunity to educate someone :)
All in all, this was a pretty ranty post…I have a lot to say, and I didn’t say all of it in this post, but I think that this is a great starting place to start a good discussion. Just, please, try to make an effort to really listen to and understand what other people are trying to say. That’s all <3.
good luck on your journey of acceptance <3
How do you feel about our diverse backgrounds? What are your thoughts on respecting people's opinions + how to deal with problematic behavior?