Daniels comments have gotten me thinking a bit. I am curious what others think too. See excerpt from his comment below.
“In cultures dismissed as uncivilized by the West, the exact opposite takes place. Emotion is expressed, voices are raised, debate might rage on for hours, but the given is that eventually the communal bond will be refound. You know that you are going to work things out. Yes, it’s agitated, loud, cacophonous, rowdy, etc. But I find it to be much healthier. And I have learned for the first time in my life to raise my voice when need be.
What I’m trying to say is that there is no point discussing adoption given the current dominant discourse’s prevailing power within the conversation. Everything “agrees” with the validity of adoption, it is a given. This is not an even playing field. But there is no point discussing it if we cannot speak of the elephant in the room–the validity of adoption to begin with. There is no point discussing it if every time an adoptee opens up his or her mouth they aren’t argued with, but are told that their WAY of speaking is wrong, or they are dismissed for X, Y, or Z reason.”
As I noted to Daniel in a follow up, I agree, in theory and have seen this type of communiation approach work in my professional life. My old boss, Peggy, is a loud, brash, direct, blunt, no nonsense, incredibly fair and just, amazing person to work for. She drops eff bombs regularly and tells you exactly what is on her mind. You always know where you stand with her. I adored those qualities in her for not only were they qualities she displayed but she also encouraged and allowed similar expressions to her. I regularly went into her office “to vent” about a problem and vent I did. Once I got the emotion out of the way, we set to solving the problem at hand OR we just walked away for all I needed was to let off some steam. She never held my words against me for she valued open, free flowing dialogue. She never told you to calm down, say things in a nicer manner, or cut you off. She let you say your piece any way you wanted, she listened attentively and then she helped (or countered).
I believe, perhaps erroneously, this is what Daniel is alluding to in relation to adoption discussions (Feel free to agree or disagree Daniel). I suggested the word “offensiveness” and Daniel seemed confused or in disagreement with my statement. I believe that is due to my own lack of clarity.
What I find difficult is this: in having discussions (like aforementioned) in an adoption arena a member of the discussion chooses personal attacks over candid discussion. To me there is a difference. Yet, with Daniels recent comments I find myself questioning that and also my own approach.
For example, a few years ago, an adoptee blogger was writing about her feelings as they related to her natural mother refusing contact with her. I expressed empathy and support and a discussion of why some mothers refuse contact ensued with contributors being both adoptees and natural mothers. Conversation was going along, point, counterpoint, etc. when one of the blog commentors said to me “Oh, shut up you stupid abandoning whore c*nt. No one wants to hear from you. You are no better than her natural mother.”
In general I ignore these people as I feel their behavior says far more about them than it does about me. I dont engage with trolls and definitely do not dialogue with people who cannot give me the same degree of respect I give them. If a conversation is so triggering to you, that you resort to mudslinging and personal attacks, I tend to walk away. You have proven to me you are not a capable of having a polite conversation and I dont want to talk to you. I am interested in having meaningful debate on how to preserve family not how much of a abandoning effing c*nt whore you think I am. Unless you can speak politely, I am not interested in speaking to you.
Daniels comments make me wonder if I am correct in that approach.
Is there a difference between expecting to be treated with respect and dignity and being overly focused on political correctness? Should we ignore the inflammatory statements made by some and continue on with the discussion or should we ask them to temper their words first and then come back into the room? By demanding a certain modicum of decency in our dialogue, do we hinder progress? Can we discuss adoption if members of that discussion resort to mudslinging and personal attacks? Part of me thinks yes we can but that part of me also feels that that discussion must be taking place by people with very secure egos and a certain level of emotional intelligence. Strong ego and emotional intelligence will prevent the conversation from getting derailed by the attacks. Another part of me feels that we owe each other some degree of decency and respect, perhaps even more so since it happens in the public, online environment.
Thoughts? Do you agree or disagree?