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-   -   Activism - a positive impression (http://www.polyamory.com/forum/showthread.php?t=1935)

CielDuMatin 01-09-2010 05:39 PM

Activism - a positive impression
 
Yesterday evening I had a nice encounter with an activist.

She came to the door, and was looking for increasing awareness of an environmental issue (known as fracking, by the way). She was very polite, informative, and didn't talk down to me at all.

When I told her that I don't tend to give my support (financial, letter-writing or otherwise) to door-to-door organizations without researching them first, she said that she quite understood and that that was very sensible, and gave me all the contact information that I needed in order to do something once I had done my research and wished me a good night.

I felt like she treated me with respect, whether or not I agreed with her or her cause. In turn I find that I can respect her and her cause a lot better, and have made the effort to go and do more research, both on the cause and on the organization she was representing. Now I am far better prepared and have been given the space to make up my own mind about an issue, without feeling pressured into it. She was obviously very dedicated (it was a horrible night out), but kept a very friendly demeanor about her.

To me, this is THE best way to get a message out. I wish more activists were like this, because it makes me listen to the cause and bother to look into it, rather than be turned off by the manner in which it is presented.

GroundedSpirit 01-09-2010 06:22 PM

Yes - it seems there's always been the double "E"s of activisim necessary for success. Education and emotion.
I think ideally it would unfold in that order - but it doesn't always happen that way.
Some people - like yourself - prefer to have the knowledge in hand to study and think through before making a decision. Others either don't have the time or believe they don't, and it takes some kind of emotional "hook" to pull their attention away and get them to educate themselves on the issue.
Different people seem to be inclined to be better at one than the other but both pieces end up being equally important.

DrunkenPorcupine 01-09-2010 10:01 PM

Quote:

I felt like she treated me with respect, whether or not I agreed with her or her cause. In turn I find that I can respect her and her cause a lot better, and have made the effort to go and do more research, both on the cause and on the organization she was representing. Now I am far better prepared and have been given the space to make up my own mind about an issue, without feeling pressured into it. She was obviously very dedicated (it was a horrible night out), but kept a very friendly demeanor about her.
I'm an activist and I've found that's always true! I've learned that it's really hard to convince people but it's really easy to plant seeds and let them convince themselves. Indeed, this is the only effective way to do it.

It's really hard to plant those seeds if you come off condescending and arrogant. Granted, I'm human and still have some moments where I get heated or defensive and my composure slips but I'm becoming better at avoiding those.

It's also very important to listen when you're the one coming with a message. Finding commonality is crucial. :)

Thanks for the random feedback on your experience with an activist. It's always good to hear people's opinons and feedback on how to be a better one. :)

greenearthal 01-09-2010 10:14 PM

So if I showed up at your door and was all like

"HOLY CRAP MAN THEY ARE TOTALLY POISONING ALL OF THE WATER TABLES!! But don't you worry. I got some GUNS! AND WE ARE TOTALLY GONNA GO %^&*^ THESE %^&*$ UP!! ARE YOU WITH ME MAN???"

You would lose respect for me?

Fine. I see how you are.

Ceoli 01-09-2010 10:20 PM

There are times when education with a gentle hand is the best approach. There are times when telling hard truths to power is the best approach (though it may not be perceived as so to those people having to hear the hard truths). I've found myself in both situations. Both approaches are valid and necessary to create change.

Ravenesque 01-10-2010 04:15 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Ceoli (Post 19334)
There are times when education with a gentle hand is the best approach. There are times when telling hard truths to power is the best approach (though it may not be perceived as so to those people having to hear the hard truths). I've found myself in both situations. Both approaches are valid and necessary to create change.


Indeed. Placing the onus on others whether or not we listen to their message seems... well I don't know what the right word would be. Irresponsible? I control whether or not I listen to someone. I thought others did the same.

It sounds like the equivalent of covering one's ears and saying "La la la, I won't listen unless you say it nice or it makes me feel good," and add a little stomp of the foot for emphasis. The real world isn't like that.

There is a mainstream trend that has been highlighted in socio-political studies. There is a focus on those who contribute to the cause "feeling good for doing the right thing." It must be included that it "feels good" and that "you did the right thing." The aim is not to help whatever cause in a meaningful way or become involved but about being able to pat oneself on the back, look in the mirror and say "I'm a good person."

It's pretty disturbing how disconnected from reality some are that even tragedy has to be sugar coated and framed in a manner that focuses on how good they are and how nice it makes them feel, in order for them to give it a second glance.

~Raven~


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