I just finished with Max Hunt’s Nov. 8 article [“Everyday People: Local Activists Strive for Social Change,” Xpress]. I would not be surprised if this article generates some vituperative attitudes and words from various sides of the political spectrum. Why? Because of this: The article humanizes and subjectifies each movement’s spokesperson — nonetheless, in a political and discursive milieu that is often hellbent on objectifying and oversimplifying people, what they stand for and the movements they represent.
Kudos for reaching out and giving these folks a chance to speak on what they are about and why. Such efforts are quite rare in today’s media culture, which seems much more interested in fueling hysteria and xenophobia than in real dialogue, and in drawing hard lines through political issues than in explaining nuanced political positions that break preconceived boxes (e.g., gun-toting leftists or Confederate battle flag-lovers reaching out to BLM and LGBTQ folks).
This is not only informative, but by making such nuanced positions and groups more public, it gives citizens permission to embrace and express nuanced and thoughtful political positions rather than always choosing one of only two mostly illusory and contrived sides.
I would venture to guess that there are members of each of the movements cited who are more myopic and intransigent than this article seeks to expose or explore, but I think we can already gather that from the existing mainstream discourse.
In my daughter’s elementary school, they constantly coach the kids to “seek first to understand, then to be understood.” Along with a handful of other mantras, I see it written on take-home handouts, her folder, posters in the hallways. I must admit that as much this phrase has been ingrained into my memory, and how often I even remind my daughter of it — I think I fail pretty miserably at it most of the time. Thanks for the reminder.
— Jordan Foltz