My wife asked me an interesting question the other day. How to you manage to not feel something when people spout ignorance? This was more in relation to stuff she’s been seeing on Facebook mind you, and everyone knows the weeks of research people put into their posts… but it’s a solid question as a concept.
I am Canadian. It means something to us to be Canadian and not simply US-north. There are unique socio-economic variables that are difficult to describe to most people that are not Canadian. Mind you, I think the Nordic countries are probably the ones we have the most in common with. Our country is relatively conservative in fiscal values (sort of have to, when it’s cold 11.5 months of the year) and liberal in social values (again, when it’s cold 11.5 months you need to have neighbors who like you). As a general rule, we are willing to open our arms to help someone else out, even if it inconveniences us.
Oh there’s always going to be stupid. That’s life. But of all the inflammatory stupid I’ve seen, most people just turn a shoulder and ignore it. Because really, the only thing that stupid wants is attention.
So my personal technique was to just actively ignore stupid. I’ve removed those contacts from my feeds, with a sole exception, a family relative. This individual has a rather strong religious foundation, lives in the country and prefers simplicity and stability. Change, nearly always, is a bad thing in both perception and reality. Yet, in person they are one of the nicest people you’ll ever meet. There’s no open judgment towards family. Their kid was in an interracial marriage, adopted kids that weren’t his – the whole shebang. But they also link to inflammatory comments about other cultures. So in this case, it’s rather clearly just a lack of education and appreciation. Once they get to know someone, all the prejudices go away.
I play hockey with people of other faiths and when you’re on the ice, it doesn’t matter. In the room, no one is talking about it because they all know it’s a personal thing. All the guys will come out to the pub and they’ll eat and drink according to their customs. If I was to look at the various things posted on the interwebs, I should be instead calling the police because there are 50/50 odds one of the guys is going to blow up a rink. But that’s stupid. Saying all people of a given faith are dangerous is like saying all Catholics are Nazis or that all musicians should be blamed for Nickleback. It’s just so profoundly idiotic, that there is no reasonable argument against it. Reason just noped the heck out.
Don’t argue with an idiot. They’ll bring you down to their level and beat you with experience.
So in answer to my wife, I just plainly ignore it. Rather than focus on the argument, I’d like to focus on the people. People fear the unknown, so let’s just make them known instead. Have a chat, shake a hand, lend a smile. If people feel like they belong, then it opens up a whole new world.