Respectful conversations matter


Tiffany Trent, Assistant Opinion Editor


We all have different experiences and perspectives that shape who we are as individuals. Therefore, it’s important for us to share our viewpoints and beliefs.

This way we can all learn from each other and fight against ignorance. There are countless topics and perspectives that we know very little about. That, however doesn’t mean we have to stay uninformed. By having intelligent and respectful conversations with each other, we are able to broaden our mental horizons and become better informed members of society.

The most vital part of these types of conversations are the way they are handled. Let’s use gender and relationships as examples. I myself am a passionate advocate for feminism and gender equality. I know a lot about the movement, struggles and accomplishments that go along with it. There are many people who know very little about feminism. If someone is unsure about an aspect of gender equality, I am happy to explain what I know. Personally, I appreciate it when someone is willing to admit that he/she does not know about an issue. If he/she is willing to ask questions, it shows that he/she is interested in the topic and wants to learn more about it.

A lot of people feel very strongly about relationship norms, the “friend zone,”Netflix and chill, chivalry and so forth. There are a lot of differing opinions regarding relationships. Having strong opinions isn’t the problem if we share them respectfully. The problem comes from letting those strong opinions interfere with treating someone who disagrees with us or is uninformed, with courtesy and civility.

The same guidelines apply to me when there is a topic I know little to nothing about. I don’t want to continue to be in the dark about things that matter and are important to people. I want to know more, and asking respectful questions is the first step to gaining such knowledge. I have asked plenty of questions that probably seemed obvious or even dumb to other people but by doing this I have learned a lot.

I think it is vital to have these kinds of conversations in a considerate and safe manner. If we shut each other down by becoming hostile or believing that someone else could never understand where we are coming from, that would be a terrible shame. Instead, I believe that by sharing our experiences and viewpoints with each other, we become stronger as a community and become more aware of each other’s struggles and accomplishments.