Last weekend, after enjoying dinner and a few drinks, I brought up Governor Chris Gregoire’s budget cuts. Lively conversation came to a screeching halt, the discussion instantly got heated, and I found myself thinking some not so nice things… Word to the unwise, don’t bring up politics at dinner parties! One question has lingered, or should I say, nagged at me since, “Why do you need everyone to be equal?!?” (insert exasperated tone).
This question BLEW MY MIND.
As an SDA student at Seattle University, I am lucky to be part of a group that believes in access and tolerance for everyone. Dialoguing about micro-aggression, oppression, and the role we play in overcoming it is a norm. And the goal of equality is simply understood. It’s been a while since I’ve heard from someone who doesn’t feel the same way. In this case, how does one explain that meritocracy is a grand delusion and that there are systematic barriers in place that go unnamed and ignored every single day?
This is what I have taken away from it:
- Moments like that offer a chance for teaching and learning: I had an opportunity to name some of my frustrations with our nation’s value system but also take other opinions into consideration. Additional perspective (while oftentimes annoying) can lead to deeper critical thinking and insight.
- Having said that, don’t shy away from dialogue: Personal conversations are golden opportunities to influence someone’s thinking or plant a kernel of thought.
- Learning is often a by-product of how you say something versus what you are say: In my case, epic fail. I was too worked up to verbalize my thoughts respectfully and my active listening skills went out the window. It is imperative to hear the opinions of others and then ask questions to find out where those individuals are coming from and why they think that way.
- Becoming well-versed in current events and research is key to supporting an argument: I have put a lot of thought into what I believe and where that stems from but cannot support these opinions with facts and stats. If I am going to spout the merits of education from the rooftops, I need to be conversant in my arguments!
- Let it go/Agree to disagree: This is usually the most difficult to put into action but one cannot stay sane otherwise.