The Basic Course

Lesson 7: Sensitive Political Issues

That's Sexist! That's Racist! How to Resist the Urge to Label. This video discusses the need to avoid using inflammatory language in political discussions. Terms like "sexist", "racist", "homophobic", "misogynist" are often used in political discussions. Use of such terms to characterize others persons or groups tends to cause defensiveness in the other. This typically results in an escalation in hostility and animosity between people. This video explains how it is often helpful avoid statements that evaluate, characterize and interpret the actions or characters of others in situations involving interpersonal and group conflict. Instead, when one needs to refer to the actions of others, it is often more helpful to describe specific events and actions rather than to characterize them using interpretive and evaluative terms. This video also discusses the importance of engaging others who express political positions that we may actually hate. To do so, separating the person from the political problem at hand, it is helpful to adopt a curious stance toward the other in order to understand the needs, concerns, fears, threats, and interests that motivate people to adopt the positions they do -- no matter how offensive they may be to our social and moral sensibilities.