This post is part of our ongoing effort to highlight discourse about civility around the web. Our articles for civility linkblogging come from a wide cross-section of blogs and newspapers, magazines and other websites, from the United States and abroad.
Notable among this week’s articles is one eloquent call for civility in debates over marriage equality, and a creative response by three Philadelphia women to the problem of harassment on the street and elsewhere. In the former, Indianapolis Star columnist Erika Smith reminds us that that not everyone who opposes same-sex marriage is a religious zealot. And not everyone who supports same-sex marriage is a rainbow-clad heathen. While in the latter, Rochelle Keyhan, Erin Filson, and Anna Kegler explain the impetus and impact of their groups, Hollaback Philly and Geeks for CONsent.
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Now — the list:
Probably there are a good number of issues, concerns, likes, activities that are passionate for the person speaking, but are of little importance to you. In those instances you can listen attentively and thank the person for sharing.
Other times you are affected or passionate about the subject. After you have listened, you share your views respectfully without demeaning the person or their ideas. It may be possible to find some consensus, or you can both respect that each of you have a different view.
“So much of our interaction takes place digitally now. When people don’t handle conflict well, they will often hide behind email. It’s so much easier to say mean things when you’re no longer looking someone in the eye.”
Eye-to-eye can be a more effective forum for reaching compromise than screen-to-screen, she said.
“Try to see the situation through the eyes of the other person,” she advised. “Realize they’re being mean and angry because they’re trying to protect something. There’s a reason they’re being so emotional. Have empathy that the person feels threatened.”
In the past 20 years, the emphasis in the schools, and now at home, has been on self-esteem and self-worth, and the value of learning to focus on others has slipped away. Teachers and parents alike are tip-toeing around kids and their unruly behaviors so that they don’t feel shamed by manners and discipline. Is it working? If we look around, we see spoiled disrespectful brats in most restaurants, schools and on athletic teams. These kids wouldn’t lift a finger to help their parents without arguing about it first or proclaiming how unfair it is to have to help support the daily grind of operating a house. Parents are exhausted and overwhelmed by these children and know they have created monsters, but don’t know what to do. If that is your household, then I would suggest establishing the rules of civility in your home.
Let’s Practice Civility in Debate over Same-Sex Marriage
Posted by Erika D. Smith at IndyStar.com, August 26, 2014
I’m asking you to remember that not everyone who opposes same-sex marriage is a religious zealot. And not everyone who supports same-sex marriage is a rainbow-clad heathen.
There are people in the middle. In fact, a lot of people are in the middle on this issue. People who don’t know what to think. The problem is we can’t hear them over the roar of rhetoric.
So I’m asking for civility — maybe even open-mindedness.
Three Philly Women Seek Civility on the Street and Equality in the World of Geekdom
Posted by Howard Gensler at Philly.com, August 28, 2014
On the street, the women say, one never knows when a simple catcall might lead to violence, or when relentless harassment could turn what might have been meant as an innocent remark into the final straw of aggravation.
For many women, walking around in public can be a nonstop series of lip smacks, ass pinches, vile come-ons and more.
“For some guys it’s just a catcall,” Keyhan said. “But they don’t realize that the catcall is just a prelude to all the other awful things that can happen in a public space. . . . If all it was was just, ‘Hey sexy, hey baby,’ I would not spend all my free time on this. But when you never know what’s going to come next, that’s the problem.”