Like any good Millennial, I was scrolling through Facebook when I found a video that captured my eye and actually changed my perception of how I think in heated discussions.

Here is the original Video below:

The reason I find this video worth of my sharing (something that I admittedly do not do very often, even with my content) is that I was able to put the ideas presented to use.

The Scenario

Recently, I went to the Gaylord College convergence lab, as I will continue to do until I graduate, to work on projects. I had just come from filming at a restaurant, where the owner comped our meals in exchange for promoting his shop. I had left overs that I no longer wanted.

There two of my male colleagues were sitting in the lab and discussing things I couldn’t hear. I walked up and offered them my food, saying it was free from the restaurant and I didn’t want the rest of it.

They declined, one asking why I had the food.

I explained that I received the food for filming at the restaurant and detailed the basis of my new television show, where women athletes and women in the sports industry are spotlighted and discussed.

One of the men shook his head in frustration. “I don’t understand why that is so important.”

Taken aback, I simply asked why he thought so.

The man continued explaining how no one bats an eye when there is an all female newscast at our school, yet all of our (male) professors ‘go ballistic’ when an all male newscast is a possibility.

The full extent of his points would be impossible to dictate fully but some of his main complaints included:

  • Women expect men to do all the hard (physical work) and get all the benefits (i.e. men set up the broadcast equipment, yet women get the head positions)
  • Men are expected to pay for dates, even with feminists.
  • White men are so pushed down by the full force of women ‘taking over’ that they are leaving the broadcast industry.

Please note that these are non-extensive and extremely simplified points and do not fully reflect the conversation nor the person.

When my colleague said these things, my first instinct was that of the tribal instinct. I wanted to call him sexist, leave the conversation, call him stupid for even considering things like this an issue.

However, I remembered this video with the idea of making the other person feel like he is a part of my tribe. When he made statements that I felt diminished who I was as a woman and feminist, I instead found the points in which I agreed with him and repeated the phrase ‘I understand you frustration.’

The moment that sticks out the most to me in that conversation is when he spoke about how the faculty almost forces men out of positions in the newscast. Instead of saying ‘now you know how most women feel,’ I explained on how it’s not a forcing out of men, but a creation of places for women.

Half knowing what I was talking about, I related it to New Deal era economics, where jobs were created as a push back solution to the Depression. In this case, a creation of places for women is a push back against the thousands of years of saying women have no place.

I explained how the hundreds, thousands of years of  white men in a certain positions affect modern jobs, such as his Anglo-Saxon sounding name subliminally gives him a better chance at a job than a non-Anglo name.

After getting my piece in, he looked down, mumbling something about getting it.

The Problem

In this case, I used tribal logic to get around this fiery frustration a male in a still-male-dominated-yet-slowing-more-female industry was feeling. Many things I wanted to say were left unsaid, such as the quote When you’re accustomed to privilege, equality feels like oppression”, under the guise of trying to change someone’s mind.

I had a feeling I had at least changed my colleague’s mind a little. But such little progress was made at the price of me compromising and holding my tongue. Beliefs that I fervently disagreed with were stated and left by the wayside of the conversation.

My biggest issue with tribal logic in political conversation is the fact that I had to sacrifice most of my ideas to the comfort of the other side. However, I left the conversation with this from my friend.

“It’s nice to have an intelligent discussion about this, for once.”

 

Have you ever used tribal logic in a heated political discussion? What were the issues? And do you think you might have changed someone’s mind?