Can we look to racial conflict for advice?
August 21, 2008 6:37pm CST
Does anyone remember in the early 90's, tension was so strong between Korean business owners and their African American patrons, that a bi-coastal mistrust and boycott ensued? I read an article once that attributed the tensions between these groups to their styles of interaction, and while that article focused solely on this, subsequent articles have certainly recognized their different communication styles as a large contributing factor. Quick and cursory summary: the claim is that Korean culture was quieter and more reserved when meeting new people and dealing with strangers. African American culture was more outgoing and likely to speak intimately with strangers. Korean business owners that were polled noted there was not enough respect, loudness, and swearing coming from their black patrons. And the African American patrons said they felt ignored, and that they were being constantly watched. For my money, I can see how this would become a volatile situation! In MyLot, our communication is so hindered by lack of facial expression and hand gestures, tone of voice, and very often no understanding of where the poster is coming from (age, location, etc). And so many discussion escalate into arguments, and then name calling, and then trolling! How many conflicts (besides just disagreements, those are ok in a discussion forum ) can be avoided? I am interested if anyone here has a productive solution / treatment for this problem? For myself, if someone says something that gets me angry or annoyed, I check out to see how they respond to others. 9 out of 10 it is just their communication style that is foreign to me, not that I am being attacked. Sometimes even just looking for age or location can clear it up, sometimes there is a non-obvious language barrier. So then, what are some things you have tried to dissolve a fight before it becomes a fight? Examples from real life welcome!
22 Aug 08
History makes us better learners. So, in this way, we can certainly hope to find a solution to your aforementioned problem by looking at the different racial conflicts and so on. I know exactly what you mean when you are referring the context in here. True, in mylot, there's a lot more unknown factors working, like who the poster really is, what they do exactly in their daily lives and how they feel exactly in a particular situation. Words are merely words and they cannot essentially capture all the emotions and all the feelings of a person. We are not meeting anyone here in person and that's why words play a more vital role in delivering whatever we feel completely. I personally think that's an underestimation of our possible true selves. Anyway, we can avoid conflicts here by clearly understanding what one has to say by reading his/her posts and then judging and justifying from his/her viewpoint. That's a pretty big task which we necessarily have to master. I see no other way of having a peaceful way of communication in here. Maybe I am short of ideas in this regard. Anyone suggestive of some ways are welcome always and I'll look forward if this discussion can yield some effective solutions to this.
• United States
22 Aug 08
An "other way" of having peaceful communication is to walk away when someone offends you, but that's a shame because the person who disagrees with you the most is the person who you can learn from the most! Great reply, very thoughtful. Like you, I hope to see more responses! I'm sure with the 140k + members here, somebody else has found a way to keep the peace without giving up. Thanks!!