Failure to communicate

The letter-writer is mistakenly attributing bigotry to people who are not bigots.

Failure to communicate

Re: “Standing up to rebut what’s wrong in letters”, (March 15)

I think what we have here, is a failure to communicate. I read the letter-writer’s replies and go, “How on earth did they get THAT, from what I wrote?”

I don’t know how much more clearly I can say that I’m not a bigot, I hold no bigoted views, I do not believe in spreading hate, I do not spread hate myself, and yet the letter-writer continued to insist that I do. I’m the one trying to correct the record, here. I know the meanings of the words I type. If I say the letter-writer read my words incorrectly, then that’s what they did. I don’t know the exact cause of this misreading, though I have given several possibilities. The fact that the letter-writer chose to interpret those possibilities as a vicious personal attack just shows that they think there is nothing wrong with how they’re reading or processing what has been written, despite the obvious disconnect. This disconnect has prevented the letter-writer from seeing places of clear agreement between us.

I have not attacked the letter-writer’s family lineage; I was pointing out it’s not likely for me, who has some small lineage of that nature, to be a fascist. Word of friendly advice, stop reading every criticism as a personal attack. We can’t solve the problem if the problem is not acknowledged.

“Calling out” bigotry, ignorance, hate, etc., is good. However, the letter-writer is mistakenly attributing bigotry to people who are not bigots. It is one thing to attack an idea. It’s quite another, to wrongly label certain people as having that idea.

I apologize if the letter-writer thought I was being mean, but I’m not trying to be. I’m trying to get to the bottom of the reason the letter-writer keeps reading things that aren’t actually there. I know it’s hard to extrapolate tone in text, but what they misinterpret as “antagonism” is actually frustration over repeatedly trying to get them to correctly interpret what I’m saying, without much success.

Maybe the problem here is systemic liberalism and thinking with feelings rather than logic. There was a study done in America (Haidt, Graham, and Nosek) with 2,000 participants, which among other things asked how a “typical liberal” and a “typical conservative” would respond to questions on morality. Moderates and conservatives could correctly guess how liberals would answer. Liberals, on the other hand, particularly very progressive ones, were for the most part not able to correctly guess the answers that conservatives would give.

April J. Gibson



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