COMMUNICATION IN THE TRUMP ERA
"we have lost the privilege of being complicated"
Nu·ance - (Noun) - a subtle difference in or shade of meaning , or sound
As a generation and as humanity , I believe we have lost the privilege of being complicated* . Every person is a deeply layered and complex human being but we treat each other simply . We each have a complex life situation and story from which we view and experience through a lens that is completely unique . And further , we are given an amazing tool to express that complexity . Words . Words to write , to speak , to share the exactness of our own uniqueness . Words that in near infinite combination and context can express exactly what we want to share with the world and contribute to our combined humanity . This privilege lost couldn’t be more prominent coming into President Donald Trump's Inauguration .
We had the privilege . Through centuries of human history , scholars , philosophers , writers , and other great minds have brought language to an unparalleled level . We have more access . We have more ways of sharing ideas that may separates us due to geography or ideas that may bind us together because of common human experience . But we lost that privilege . We hadn’t lost it as much as we’ve sort of casted it aside . Like a chore we waited till the weekend to take care of . We skip a couple weekends and then soon we just never bother to get to it . We’re out of practice .
We use oversimplified generalizations and phrasing to talk about complex , nuanced and weighted subject matter . We read other people’s posts using oversimplified generalizations and phrasing to talk about complex, nuanced and weighted issues . And when we disagree with them , even though we’re probably not getting all the information , we attack them with more oversimplified generalities and phrasing . Then 3 comments down , no one understands anything anyone is explaining so the argument becomes name calling and internet bullying . A virtual puffing of the chest while typing on an ergonomic keyboard between checking Snapchat .
This isn’t everyone . There are plenty of people that are trying to communicate with an exactitude of a threading needle . But most of that is being over shouted by the big bold banners of people yelling their words expressing emotion . Everyone should be able to yell out their feelings if they wish to do that but just know that yelling isn’t having a conversation . Yelling your feelings is self serving , it’s a release for the person doing the yelling , it’s not to explain or to communicate information for the other side to process and understand . And just like real life , internet yelling doesn’t result in conversation . Internet yelling matches only ever results to more yelling , name calling , and bigotry . The lowest of our humanity .
Communication and gaining another point of view is the way to understand difference . You don’t have to agree but you empathize and relate and have a mutual raft to stand on in dealing with issues looking for common ground . That’s the way to resolution . The other way is war , it’s killing people , it’s yelling , and belittling and beating up the people who don’t agree with you so you don’t have to deal with them .
We’ve lost the privilege of being complicated because we’re not allowed it . People won’t stand for complicated . They don’t have time for it . They don’t have energy for it . Its too complicated . Life is hard enough already . Google and Facebook already designed the algorithm almost to a point where you don’t have to be confronted with an opposing view . But is that what we are now ? We’re only gonna hang out with people we agree with about everything ?
I’m not innocent from this . I don’t always take the time to properly explain myself , or to seek more information before I get all hot and bothered . To ask for clarification or to seek first to understand . I might not be in the habit of writing and posting fire all over my Twitter , but I have sat in my chair and set fire to my laptop with my eyes .
I am trying and I’m asking anyone reading this to try it (if you’re not doing it already.) To ask people to explain themselves more and explain as best they can to exactly what the heart of the issue is before formulating a response . And when I do respond , to not attack their character , but only to address the exact issue at hand to the best of my knowledge . To let their information sink in a bit , to take a minute to see it from their eyes , and then share my own experience and knowledge . It should be an exchange , an exchange of information , and an exchange in humanity .
Donald Trump will officially become the 45th President of the United States tomorrow . Nothing is clear as to what that means or what is going to happen but there are definitely going to be a lot of heavy social issues to be addressed in the coming 4 years , and I believe the only way a large group of people can come together and properly address these issues is if we’re all respect each other enough to clearly communicate .
I will be posting here as a way to promote communication and conversation . I will sometimes address issues directly or just write about communication in general . Please come back and contribute , leave comments or share these posts along with your own thoughts . All that I ask is that we treat the topics with the respect , nuance and the complexity that it deserves . Looking forward to hearing from you .
*I first saw the “privilege of being complicated” phrase (which inspired this post) as a partial phrase used by Eddie Huang as a way to explain that marginalized people of America aren’t given that privilege . I used it in a different meaning but I’d thought I share the source of the inspiration for this post . You can find his article here .