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Old 01-30-2012, 02:22 PM   #1
Marc Abrams
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Re: Investment

Dan:

You have some great "gifts":

1) precise, analytical mind.
2) willingness to go at something with 150% of available resources.
3) ability to articulate through face-to-face interactions, highly complex & subtle processes.
4) great body sensitivity.
5) Great teaching method.
6) highly evolved body skills.

It is a shame that people tend to get lost in the frankness of your message on the internet. It is easy to misconstrue what you sometimes say as insulting to other people's teachers and to other people as well. Frankness is not considered an asset in a politically correct society. People who have met you have gotten to know the person behind the words and most become friendly with you and want to continue to learn from you because you have something worthwhile to offer and you are very kind in sharing as much as you can with people. The increasing frequency to which you are requested to teach seminars and instruct high ranking Aikidoka should be clear feedback that more and more people recognize that your greater worth goes beyond your posts on this thread.

Thanks for continuing to dedicate as much time and resources as you do to our community.

In friendship,

Marc Abrams
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Old 01-30-2012, 02:54 PM   #2
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Re: Investment

Quote:
Marc Abrams wrote: View Post
Frankness is not considered an asset in a politically correct society.
Marc,

After reading your posts for several years, I am disappointed that you resort to the lazy and intellectually dishonest "politically correct" cheap shot. Suffice it to say that in my opinion, there are many more people who use the label "politically correct" as a bully stick and tool to stifle dissent, than there are people who attempt to use the reality of anything that could be called "political correctness" to silence others. Civility is not an evil, and labeling requests for civility as "political correctness" in order to demonize them is dishonest and antisocial. Yeah, I said it. How's that for "political correctness"?
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Old 01-30-2012, 03:16 PM   #3
Marc Abrams
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Re: Investment

Quote:
Mary Malmros wrote: View Post
Marc,

After reading your posts for several years, I am disappointed that you resort to the lazy and intellectually dishonest "politically correct" cheap shot. Suffice it to say that in my opinion, there are many more people who use the label "politically correct" as a bully stick and tool to stifle dissent, than there are people who attempt to use the reality of anything that could be called "political correctness" to silence others. Civility is not an evil, and labeling requests for civility as "political correctness" in order to demonize them is dishonest and antisocial. Yeah, I said it. How's that for "political correctness"?
Mary:

i gust i is just notz smartz enuf for u . Civility. Civil actions arose out of chaotic/warring times in which it became important to distinguish foe, from ally, to neutral, etc. The HONEST acknowledgement of information in order to distinguish between these above-mentioned classes of people is at the foundation of civility. Civility seems to mean something different to you. Civility seems to mean that it is somehow bad to point out things in an honest and frank manner. The pattern that you seem to advocate seems to lead people into passive-aggressive means of interacting with one another because being frank and honest is "not civil" in your book. We must be so sensitive not to hurt the feelings of fragile others, even if it means being dishonest... Boo Hoo.... You can continue to misinterpret what I am saying until the moon turns to cheese for all I care (which in my opinion, is beginning to lead me to believe that you are demonstrating a pattern of passive-aggressive behavior). Your use of the term "antisocial" is also not in line with how I use that well-defined term, but I will leave that one for another day. How is that for frankness and honesty of opinion.

Now, if you would like to stay on the topic of the thread, by all means, please do so. If you would like to start a separate thread on the meaning of civility and political correctness please knock yourself out.

May your blood pressure lower and you enjoy the rest of your day now .

Marc Abrams
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Old 01-30-2012, 05:25 PM   #4
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Re: On Civility, Political Correctness, Honesty, and Frankness

Hi folks,

To address some of the points raised in some of the above posts before I run out the door...

Civil and respectful conduct are not obstacles to honest and frank discussions -- rather, I would say that they are catalysts for such, as they keep discussions from entering into unnecessarily divisive, derogatory, and hostile rhetoric. The most passionate disagreements full of honest and frank opinions can be couched with consciousness, consideration, and sincere respect for the opinions of others.

Please do be passionate. Please do disagree. Please do be frank. Please do be honest.

And, please do be civil and respectful.

My recent post on "Request for Civil and Respectful Conduct" may be found here:

http://www.aikiweb.com/forums/showthread.php?t=20698

Thanks,

-- Jun

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Old 01-30-2012, 06:01 PM   #5
Janet Rosen
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Re: On Civility, Political Correctness, Honesty, and Frankness

Thank you, Jun.
I try to be open but I also try to check my language and tone.
If I have found myself writing a "buzzword" that I think will provoke a knee jerk response, I edit before posting for clarity - not to be "PC" or to self-censor, but BECAUSE my goal in communicating is to BE open and frank AND understood. Why knowingly use language that pushes buttons when another word or phrase will express what I want to say without risking turning off the reader or sending the reader onto a tangent unneccesarily.
My two cents.

Janet Rosen
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Old 01-31-2012, 06:48 AM   #6
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Re: On Civility, Political Correctness, Honesty, and Frankness

"Political correctness" is a loaded, bully-stick term. There are other ways to express whatever you want to say.
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Old 01-31-2012, 07:21 AM   #7
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Re: On Civility, Political Correctness, Honesty, and Frankness

I've read several good pieces on the use of "political correctness". The term itself arising out of the rhetoric used in political discourse that was specifically non-inflamitory. The phrase then spread into mainstream society were it is used as a veil of sensitivity. I believe the term can go either way; I have seen it used inappropriately as a tool to veil difficult discourse and as a tool to imply a societal peer pressure. The piece of political correctness that is a problem is when it is dishonest. Remember, the term is one of censorship - you are already changing the words, but if you change the meaning too...

I believed Marc's implication is that Dan refrains from sliding around the difficult conversations in aikido. Specifically, those conversations that deal with core beliefs of aikido people: ideologues and cult perspectives of aikido; the differentiation between play dress-up and budo; the actualization of aiki. These are all tough topics that generally shoot to our core beliefs and when they shake, we shake.

I think Frank Doran sensei is one of the best orators I have heard in a seminar. I remember apologizing to him that I wasn't good enough after hearing his honeyed words poor into my ear. But, in hearing him broach difficult topics, I never heard him change what he was going to say. He was practiced and eloquent, but he said what he meant and meant what he said.

Many people speak of very extreme positions on Aikiweb. Dan received some brunt because he is shaking some serious foundational pillars. I think the fact that he is on Aikiweb and willing to hear feedback on how to be a better writer/teacher in communicating his knowledge is a great opportunity to take part in that exchange. In fact, one of the very reasons why I read Aikiweb is to try to find better words to explain what I am doing. If I find my pillars shaking, I try to think about what language would be less scary, but still convey the truth of the message.
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Old 01-31-2012, 07:57 AM   #8
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Re: On Civility, Political Correctness, Honesty, and Frankness

Hi folks,

Let's keep this thread focused on the manner in which one writes here on AikiWeb (rather than on any single person's character, etc).

Thanks,

-- Jun

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Old 01-31-2012, 08:47 AM   #9
Marc Abrams
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Re: On Civility, Political Correctness, Honesty, and Frankness

When I was a child, I remember the saying "Sticks and stones may break your bones, but words will never harm you." It seems like today, there are no more sticks and no more stones to remind us of what really hurts. Instead, we treat words like they are sticks and stones. In my opinion, a bad result of this change is that people are discouraged from talking honestly because of a fear that it might hurt or insult someone else- intended, or unintended. To me, an important aspect of civility is the ability to clearly articulate your opinion, believe, etc. so that people know exactly where you stand. Other people can them make informed decisions as to how to proceed in interacting with that person.

I was fortunate to have had a graduate class with Max Lerner, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Max_Lerner .
He was one of the smartest people I have ever had the honor to meet. Besides his obvious brilliance, the other remarkable trait was his ability to detach his ego from his ideas. He strongly believed, advocated and utilized the ability to say and hear anything in order to always receive as much information as he could so as to provide a constant feedback mechanism to his ideas, beliefs, etc.. He was able to modify his ideas when he received information that clearly indicated that his held-belief was not accurate in his estimation.

I do not like having to play the game of couching opinions, disagreements, etc.. It forces us into acting and talking in a passive-aggressive manner that simply makes things worse, not better. I can play the passive-aggressive game as well, if not better than most, and have no problem meeting a person at their level, but would prefer to be frank, even it steps on the proverbial toes of others. It has been my experience that when people are willing to air their views freely, regardless of how objectionable they might be to others, the ability to effect change based upon mutual respect for the willingness to be so open, increases. I will end this with one real-life example:

I was making my way across Canada after having finished my coursework for my Ph.D., on my way to starting my pre- doctoral internship and post doctoral fellowship (combined program). I was at a camp ground and was relaxing after a couple of days of wilderness hiking by myself. I was playing my guitar, relaxing in the late afternoon sun. I then made my campfire, cooked my dinner, cleaned up and began walking around the camp grounds. It was dark and as I walked by one group, some shouted out "hey you who played the guitar, come over here." The person spoke in a heavy, eastern European accent. I walked over and introduced myself. They asked me to bring my guitar over and join them for what turned into an all-night party. They had recently come over from Poland. Soon after joining the party, complete with serious vodka drinking, one of the men made a clearly anti-Semitic remark (I am Jewish). Instead of getting offended, I asked him to elaborate on what he meant. He gave me a long litany of why he hated Jews and why the world should hate them and get rid of them. I listened patiently and asked him to elaborate on each of his points. We were drinking, playing songs and having a great time while he was doing this. When he was done, I asked him about what his real-life experiences had been with Jews. Not surprisingly, he basically had no real meaningful encounters. I then let he know how much I appreciated his honesty and then let him know that I was Jewish and was not offended by what he said. He and his friends were stunned as I proposed another vodka toast to the opportunity of meeting one another. We spent the rest of the night drinking our asses off, having a great time and I began to provide him with some real history and real facts about Jews. In the morning, when we said our goodbyes, the group genuinely thanked me for helping them see a side that they had never seen before. The guy apologized to me and we hugged one another. I told him that apologies are never needed when two honest people meet, hear each other out and find the common ground of mutual respect amidst a world of misunderstandings.

That kind of encounter could never happen if one of the people reacted to the venomous words as if they were sticks and stones.

Marc Abrams
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Old 01-31-2012, 10:40 AM   #10
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Re: On Civility, Political Correctness, Honesty, and Frankness

Hi Marc,

Thank you for your thoughts.

I agree that there may be people out there who, no matter how one writes, may feel umbrage towards what was written. And, I agree that articulating one's points clearly and honestly is an important part of discussion and discourse.

However, I very much disagree that couching one's thoughts with, as I wrote, consciousness, consideration, and sincere respect for the opinions of others will force one to be passive-aggressive. Direct, honest communication can certainly take place with consideration -- I have no doubt about that.

I appreciate your anecdote about your encounter at the camp-ground. To me, the story shows that if one listens with an open mind without judgment nor a sense of retaliation, one can receive even the most prejudiced words and work through them. That's admirable. I wish everyone were able to do so. Unfortunately, I don't think that's the case (that everyone can listen (read) so patiently), especially on a limited medium such as an Internet discussion forum such as this one. Hence, I very much believe and am requesting here that people moderate their frank and honest rhetoric with civility, respect, and consideration.

Best,

-- Jun

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Old 01-31-2012, 11:00 AM   #11
Marc Abrams
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Re: On Civility, Political Correctness, Honesty, and Frankness

Quote:
Jun Akiyama wrote: View Post
Hi Marc,

Thank you for your thoughts.

I agree that there may be people out there who, no matter how one writes, may feel umbrage towards what was written. And, I agree that articulating one's points clearly and honestly is an important part of discussion and discourse.

However, I very much disagree that couching one's thoughts with, as I wrote, consciousness, consideration, and sincere respect for the opinions of others will force one to be passive-aggressive. Direct, honest communication can certainly take place with consideration -- I have no doubt about that.

I appreciate your anecdote about your encounter at the camp-ground. To me, the story shows that if one listens with an open mind without judgment nor a sense of retaliation, one can receive even the most prejudiced words and work through them. That's admirable. I wish everyone were able to do so. Unfortunately, I don't think that's the case (that everyone can listen (read) so patiently), especially on a limited medium such as an Internet discussion forum such as this one. Hence, I very much believe and am requesting here that people moderate their frank and honest rhetoric with civility, respect, and consideration.

Best,

-- Jun
Jun:

I am not disagreeing with the notions of consciousness, consideration and sincere respect for others being taken into account. The problem that deal with on a daily basis (maybe that is because I have to deal with matrimonial attorneys every day) is that most couching of words is done to significantly distort the message which simply makes it difficult to have a straight-forward discussion or even argument for that matter. This leads to a back and forth encounter, filled with increasing degrees of venom. Sometimes, a good reflection back of what somebody is putting forth and them calling them to task to be more forthright is very helpful. Some see that as retaliation. I see that as receiving back what you put out. Goes with the saying of "don't put in out there unless you are willing to handle it back on your end."

I think that you know that I do have a lot of respect for what you have created here and I really do try to behave .

Cordially,

Marc Abrams
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Old 01-31-2012, 01:10 PM   #12
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Re: On Civility, Political Correctness, Honesty, and Frankness

Radio TÚlÚvision Libre des Mille Collines. No sticks and stones involved. Nothing but words over the radio. Nothing but words.
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Old 01-31-2012, 01:47 PM   #13
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Re: On Civility, Political Correctness, Honesty, and Frankness

Quote:
Mary Malmros wrote: View Post
Radio TÚlÚvision Libre des Mille Collines. No sticks and stones involved. Nothing but words over the radio. Nothing but words.
Mary:

Do you think that it is fair to say that sticks and stones, and machetes, guns, gasoline, etc. were responsible for those massacres? Or, would you like to claim that words caused the deaths of those unfortunate people. I would call your post sophistry. This is a common tact that I see in people advocating for a more PC kind of speaking environment. I would support my claim by asking you to provide me with statistics that displays cause of death as words.... Let us not forget that this type of hatred was spewed on the radio during Nazi Germany. There are wonderful accounts of people who did not listen to the words and put their lives at stake in saving Jews from the holocaust. One of the hallmarks of the Nuremberg trials was the idea that one is held accountable for one's acts and did not allow people to absolve responsibility for actions based upon the words of others. In the Unites States, speech is free; what you do with that speech can become quite costly.

Marc Abrams
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Old 01-31-2012, 02:19 PM   #14
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Re: On Civility, Political Correctness, Honesty, and Frankness

Marc:

The reference to Radio Mille Collines may be a little obscure for the average North American. Of those who know what they did, not many dispute their role in the Rwandan genocide, which did not only include inciting others to kill, but specific targeting, telling mobs where to find victims, many of whom died as a result. The RTLM leaders are in prison today for their role in the genocide. There is ample documentation of their trials. For that matter, in re: your reference to Nazi Germany, surely you are aware that hate speech as well as actions was prosecuted in the Nuremburg trials.

But I can tell I'm not getting through this way, so let me try another way. My point was a very simple one: the term "politically correct" has been so often misused as a tactic to shout down anyone who wants to raise the issue of civility (or lack thereof), and so transparently used as a fig leaf for those who hate being asked to be civil towards groups that they used to disparage without consequence, that it is a poor choice for someone who claims to value civility. You might want to consider who uses the term "PC" or "politically correct" most often, how they use it, what they mean by it, who they're aiming at it, and what their goals are. In my experience, far from being brave and independent free-speech warriors, those who complain about "political correctness" are most often bravely (from behind a screen) defending their right (?) to use the n-word or the f-word or to call women bitches or hos or use some other slur directed at some other historically stigmatized group. It is a deeply tainted term, and you can't use it in a manner that isn't stained with those associations. In a discussion on aikiweb, if what you mean to say is "orthodoxy" or "conformity" or some other word, then use that word. Use the whole language, that's what it's there for. But you keep saying "political correctness", and because of the way others have used it, all I can say is: "You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means."
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Old 01-31-2012, 02:33 PM   #15
Janet Rosen
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Re: On Civility, Political Correctness, Honesty, and Frankness

I do not think that choosing my words carefully in order to express myself as clearly as I can equals passive aggressive communication.

Janet Rosen
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Old 01-31-2012, 02:41 PM   #16
Marc Abrams
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Re: On Civility, Political Correctness, Honesty, and Frankness

Quote:
Mary Malmros wrote: View Post
Marc:

The reference to Radio Mille Collines may be a little obscure for the average North American. Of those who know what they did, not many dispute their role in the Rwandan genocide, which did not only include inciting others to kill, but specific targeting, telling mobs where to find victims, many of whom died as a result. The RTLM leaders are in prison today for their role in the genocide. There is ample documentation of their trials. For that matter, in re: your reference to Nazi Germany, surely you are aware that hate speech as well as actions was prosecuted in the Nuremburg trials.

But I can tell I'm not getting through this way, so let me try another way. My point was a very simple one: the term "politically correct" has been so often misused as a tactic to shout down anyone who wants to raise the issue of civility (or lack thereof), and so transparently used as a fig leaf for those who hate being asked to be civil towards groups that they used to disparage without consequence, that it is a poor choice for someone who claims to value civility. You might want to consider who uses the term "PC" or "politically correct" most often, how they use it, what they mean by it, who they're aiming at it, and what their goals are. In my experience, far from being brave and independent free-speech warriors, those who complain about "political correctness" are most often bravely (from behind a screen) defending their right (?) to use the n-word or the f-word or to call women bitches or hos or use some other slur directed at some other historically stigmatized group. It is a deeply tainted term, and you can't use it in a manner that isn't stained with those associations. In a discussion on aikiweb, if what you mean to say is "orthodoxy" or "conformity" or some other word, then use that word. Use the whole language, that's what it's there for. But you keep saying "political correctness", and because of the way others have used it, all I can say is: "You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means."
Mary:

I think that it is safe to say that we are simply talking past one another. I have been fairly consistent in clarifying the terms that I have been using. You seem to think that the posts on this forum are somehow disparaging and demeaning to certain groups and people. The posters have clearly tried to state that they are giving honest evaluations of what they see and not see. It seems to me that the people who are being discussed do not view themselves in that manner and thereby consider the comments to be uncivil, disparaging, I don't know what ever other words you would like to use. I simply do not agree with that position.

Who here have been hiding behind their screens? Most of us here have been trying to get certain people and groups to meet. The ones who seem to be feeling slighted are the ones not wanting to get out from behind their screens. Nothing I can do about that. Ledyard Sensei's post today clearly addressed that issue.

As to people who use the "N" word, bitch, slurs against other groups, I support their rights to display who they are and say things like that. If that is how some people would like to be viewed then fine. It's funny that within the black community is seems to be alright for some to call each other by the "N" word, but they would never condone that being said by a white person. it is funny that when we are mad, we might utter some of those offensive words ourselves without really representing what those words mean in a large sense of things. Not as black and white an issue as many would like to make it out to be.

Thank you for suggesting certain words that you would prefer that I use. I will take that into consideration. At the end of the day they are still words. Please remember that sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will not hurt me unless I decide to allow them to. I think that many of us should do the same.

Marc Abrams
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Old 01-31-2012, 04:15 PM   #17
Demetrio Cereijo
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Re: On Civility, Political Correctness, Honesty, and Frankness

Quote:
Mary Malmros wrote: View Post
Radio TÚlÚvision Libre des Mille Collines. No sticks and stones involved. Nothing but words over the radio. Nothing but words.
Comparing Radio Mille Collines and AW is a bit over the top.

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Old 01-31-2012, 05:01 PM   #18
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Re: On Civility, Political Correctness, Honesty, and Frankness

Hi Mark,

Thanks again for your thoughts.
Quote:
Marc Abrams wrote: View Post
I am not disagreeing with the notions of consciousness, consideration and sincere respect for others being taken into account. The problem that deal with on a daily basis (maybe that is because I have to deal with matrimonial attorneys every day) is that most couching of words is done to significantly distort the message which simply makes it difficult to have a straight-forward discussion or even argument for that matter. This leads to a back and forth encounter, filled with increasing degrees of venom.
In the above communication difficulty that you are seeing of a message becoming distorted, I don't think the problem lies in expressing oneself with civility and respect but with the intent to distort the message in the first place. That kind of behavior, I don't want to see here on AikiWeb, of course. Rather, let there be plain talk without semantic obfuscation; let there be honest discussion without suspicions of conspiracies and/or groupthink; and, let there be passionate sharing of opinions without targeting the individual behind the passions.

If one runs into such regrettable rhetoric, though, I ask them to stay level-headed and remain respectful so as to keep from fueling these kinds of unfortunate manners of communication here. The less venom in the discussion, the better.
Quote:
Sometimes, a good reflection back of what somebody is putting forth and them calling them to task to be more forthright is very helpful. Some see that as retaliation. I see that as receiving back what you put out. Goes with the saying of "don't put in out there unless you are willing to handle it back on your end."
I disagree with your thoughts above, as I do not believe that giving back what one receives, when it comes to inconsiderate and disrespectful communication here on AikiWeb, is acceptable. That is not the kind of behavior that I wish to see.
Quote:
I think that you know that I do have a lot of respect for what you have created here and I really do try to behave .
Yes, I do -- and for that, you have my appreciations. Thank you.

Best,

-- Jun

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Old 01-31-2012, 05:18 PM   #19
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Re: On Civility, Political Correctness, Honesty, and Frankness

I take Marc's view regarding how to deal with insults: They cannot hurt me; to get upset about them tends to only inflame the interaction. On the other hand, I also believe in trying to minimize any shock my comments might have for the sake of receptibility. I don't think it necessarily promotes passive-aggressive behavior to suggest people strive for PC (i.e. socially "neutral") behavior. I am not at all PC around people I know will not take offense, but I try to be extremely PC (in most cases) with people I don't know well, or who I think are likely to be offended.
I used to get in arguments with someone about this same issue. His view was that if you're not speaking your mind the way it sounds in your mind, then you're being fake and thus not showing respect...so it was really very honorable compared to people like me who adjusted our language to suit our audience. I told him he was being a @#$% for not being able to accomodate sensitive people in his world view and he got a little offended. His was a bit of an extreme view, but I think it encapsulates somthing important in interpersonal exchanges: respect is in the eye of the beholder...and, being subject to the same Human Condition, we tend to feel differently depending upon which side of the coin we happen to be.
So, ultimately I think the problem isn't so much that some people are civil and some people aren't; it's that many of us have different ideas of what constitutes civility and how much we care to reconcile the difference. If we all magically stopped being offended, or at least didn't allow ourselves to get emotionally invested in proving our perspective to the other person as being more valid, we would, I believe, see a lot more substance to our exchanges. All my short life I've seen a lot of examples of people talking about how bad it is to be uncivil while turning around and displaying uncivil behavior themselves. I believe that if we put more energy into forgiving the misdeeds we see around us, particularly when they come in the form of words, we would see something far more productive.
...My hurried two bits.
Take care folks!
Matthew

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Old 01-31-2012, 07:53 PM   #20
lbb
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Re: On Civility, Political Correctness, Honesty, and Frankness

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Demetrio Cereijo wrote: View Post
Comparing Radio Mille Collines and AW is a bit over the top.
I suppose it might be, if I knew what you were referring to by "AW" and if I had made any such comparison. In fact, I made no comparison at all. I pointed out the "work" of RTLMC as an example where words did very real and lasting damage, by targeting individuals and members of a group for murder and telling their murderers where to find them.
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Old 01-31-2012, 07:55 PM   #21
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Re: On Civility, Political Correctness, Honesty, and Frankness

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Matthew Gano wrote: View Post
I take Marc's view regarding how to deal with insults: They cannot hurt me; to get upset about them tends to only inflame the interaction.
Do you think that one's view that words "cannot hurt" may have something to do with one's experience with them? Do you suppose that the perception of the power of words is different for someone who has never been targeted with racism, sexism, homophobia, or other forms of hate speech, than for someone for whom it is an inescapable lifelong experience?
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Old 01-31-2012, 07:59 PM   #22
lbb
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Re: On Civility, Political Correctness, Honesty, and Frankness

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Marc Abrams wrote: View Post
Mary:

I think that it is safe to say that we are simply talking past one another. I have been fairly consistent in clarifying the terms that I have been using. You seem to think that the posts on this forum are somehow disparaging and demeaning to certain groups and people.
Well, no, that's not what I said, or anything like it. All I've done is to point out your unfortunate use of one loaded term. My opinion -- third time now, or is it the fourth? -- is that you can't divorce the term from the baggage that it has obtained since it has been appropriated by people who want to use it as a license to be jerks.
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Old 01-31-2012, 10:12 PM   #23
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Re: On Civility, Political Correctness, Honesty, and Frankness

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Mary Malmros wrote: View Post
Do you think that one's view that words "cannot hurt" may have something to do with one's experience with them?
Yes. I do not mean to suggest that pain or suffering cannot be caused by words, or that it is unreasonable to experience. What I meant to suggest was that in having that experience we have some amount of choice in whether or not we allow others to have that kind of power over our state of mind. A personal example would be "trailer trash," because I grew up in a single-wide. People use this phrase all the time and at times in the past it's "hurt" me. I don't think my experience was unreasonable, but I also believe part of that emotional pain came from how I actively responded to it. I'm pretty sure my love of "intellectual" efforts was, in part, negatively reinforced from the stereotype I was subjected to...as well as other good and/or bad character traits. To be clear, I came to these ideas after experiencing how they could hurt.
For the sake of conversations and interpersonal interactions/relationships I tend to think it's more important for people to speak considerately of others rather than bluntly, but I also believe in not allowing what might be considered "lesser" thoughts/words to affect my quality of living. I was the "omega wolf" growing up so I believe I do have a valid appreciation for these questions.

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Do you suppose that the perception of the power of words is different for someone who has never been targeted with racism, sexism, homophobia, or other forms of hate speech, than for someone for whom it is an inescapable lifelong experience?
Yes, although I doubt anyone has "never" experienced hate speech. Still, this is part of why I suggested perhaps the more important issue is in how much we strive to reconcile the gap in perceptions. We cannot know the full effect our words will have until we've been told about them. I believe all people should try to respect the negative experience even innocently intended remarks might cause; we should all respect the fact that other people have other perceptions than our own, all of which are based on individual experiences; even if we don't think they're rational or they otherwise make no sense to us.
...So it seems to me, at any rate.
Good night,
Matthew

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Old 01-31-2012, 10:17 PM   #24
GMaroda
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Re: On Civility, Political Correctness, Honesty, and Frankness

I've found that those who claim that words should be ignored are those who have the privilage to ignore them. Some people have thicker skins but some people just can afford to ignore hostile speech because it's never come to anything else for them.

It's easy for the privilaged, such as myself in this country, to accept "mere words" as just that. It's harder for those who hear them every day.

I don't find moderating my speech to still get my point across. After all, I wouldn't use the same speech amongst my closest friends as I would with my parents.
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Old 02-01-2012, 06:35 AM   #25
phitruong
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Re: On Civility, Political Correctness, Honesty, and Frankness

words affect people differently. words affect male differently than female; differently between old and young; between folks of different background and experience; and so on. words can reach into places where stick and stone cannot. they reach into our heart, our soul and our spirit. words have more power than most realized. have you ever wondered why freedom of speech isn't guaranteed in many countries in the world? because it has the power to bring a ruling government down to its knee. words like "We the People..", "I have a dream.." have the power to change the course of a nation. words have a great deal of power. and words from spiderman movie "With great power comes great responsibility"

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