Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Mind Droppings: Arguing With Yourself

I’ve been writing for more than a decade from newspapers to my personal blog and now Male Media Mind. But M3 is different. This is one of the first times I’ve been passionate about the topics that I write about. In the past, when I wrote for newspapers, I had to please my editor and I wasn't emotionally invested in the articles I wrote. If someone disagreed with me it wasn't that big a deal. When I wrote my personal blog I didn’t have much of an audience and I wasn’t out of the closet yet, so while it was a little closer to my heart nothing really got to me when it was criticized. Now that I’m writing what I want and people are engaging with my content, I get a lot more worked up when people criticize my point of view. I’m getting pushback on a lot of things I hold to be common sense and I am learning how to let go of some of my need to be right.

The latest incident of arguing had to do with the Black Daddy Issues video. We talked about BDSM in the black community and why the association with slavery made it anathema to some. There were quite a few people who took issue with the topic.Some were reading more into it than was there, thinking that we said only black people had issues with BDSM. At no point did anyone say that, but maybe it was just the tone. I mean everyone in the video was black and the topic was about the special issues black people might have with submission. I tend to take criticism seriously in order to improve my content, but going back I realized it had more to do with them feeling justified in their outrage rather than the way the topic was presented.

I understand their passion. After all, these issues are important. That's why I bring them up. So I take people at face value and talk through why they have such a strong opinions about the subject, but the thing I start to notice when engaging with someone who is emotional is that they're rarely listening to anything I have to say. I try to make sure that I continue to listen because I want to model that behavior for them, but then I just start repeating myself. They want to make sure that they are heard, but they don’t hear a word I'm saying.

I want to find a way to break that cycle. I try to be respectful. I try to make sure I let them know I take their point of view seriously even as I disagree with it. I’m not going to agree with you just because you’re passionate, but I will acknowledge your reasons and feelings. If I feel you’re wrong about an issue I’m going to tell you so. I try to repeat what they said and acknowledge that their statement is reasonable, if that is the case, and then tell them my point of view and I why I think the way I do. I try not to repeat myself, but often times I can tell that they haven’t heard or addressed a single point I’ve made.

At the point my feelings get involved and I want to lash out at them, I know it's time for me to disengage. They are my audience and I remind myself that I'm thankful for their presence even when they piss me off. I hate to have to do that because I really do appreciate everyone who will engage with my ideas, but sometimes I have no choice. So how do you deal with people you get into it with online? Does it make sense to engage with people who don’t seem to be listening to you?
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