26 February 2018

Make America Kind Again

At some point I need to follow-up on my last post to tell more about how DrH matched into a really great fellowship in Vancouver, Washington. In that post I'll relay how many times people have thought that means we were moving to Canada this summer.

And on that note, I'd like to chat about this altered Trump slogan - Make America Kind Again - that I've repeatedly seen hashtagged in the last few weeks.

Last week we went to the movies with friends to watch Black Panther. (Incredible, by the way, though I'm not so much digging the action scenes. I've decided I'm an empath. It just hurts.) Our seats were near the front of the theater. Towards the end of the movie a man who had a seat directly in front of us appeared to walk in from the hallway and take a phone call. I write "appeared "because all I can remember is him walking to his seat, from I don't know where, and then begin talking loudly enough that it was a nuisance. At first I assumed he was asking a question to his neighbor, but as the talking continued my mind went to phone call. I tried to ignore him, but he spoke for minutes in the same tone. A couple seated in front of him turned around, briefly, and gave him a dirty look. A minute later several people throughout the theater loudly yelled that he should have some decency and take his conversation outside.

Since then these five minutes have circulated my mind on a daily basis. First, I felt some fear that in this day and age it was difficult to know how this man would react to being yelled at in public. That's the first clue we have a problem, if my initial instinct is to jump to that scenario. Secondly I thought, "Couldn't someone have politely and quietly asked him to stop, so as not to disrupt the entire audience?" Which of course led to, "Uh, you heard him too! Why didn't you act?"

Coincidentally I've been reading various commentaries on community and culture recently, this book and this article for starters. I share these as examples of conversation instigators, not as facts or my own opinions. These two sources highlight how a community can have a culture of avoidance, which can perpetuate problems.

Obviously there have been more times than just in the theater that I have smiled and tried not to offend, so to speak. Does anyone else feel like they need classes on how to be kind but bold? Maybe add to that a class on how to demonstrate tolerance and respect when you don't agree with one another.