Have you accidentally offended someone? Here’s advice for you and them.| Allison Stanger | Big Think | Summary and Q&A

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July 24, 2019
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Big Think
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Have you accidentally offended someone? Here’s advice for you and them.| Allison Stanger | Big Think

TL;DR

Implicit biases are inevitable, but it's crucial to create an environment where people can speak freely, apologize for unintentionally offending others, and learn from their mistakes.

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Key Insights

  • 🙈 Implicit biases and blind spots are inherent in human beings but do not define one's character or morality.
  • 🤔 Creating environments where individuals can think out loud and make mistakes fosters a more inclusive and diverse discussion.
  • ❓ It is important to apologize sincerely and move on if someone is inadvertently offended, rather than disqualifying them from further participation.

Questions & Answers

Q: How can diverse work environments and college classrooms foster civil discourse?

By allowing individuals to think out loud and make mistakes, it creates space for a better understanding of different backgrounds. If someone unintentionally offends someone else, a sincere apology followed by moving on is crucial to maintaining a healthy learning environment.

Q: Why should we be more generous with our fellow humans?

It is important to be forgiving and not disqualify someone from a discussion immediately if they offend someone unintentionally. By assuming positive intent and giving people the opportunity to learn from their mistakes, it promotes growth and empathy.

Q: What is the impact of repeatedly offending marginalized groups?

Repeated offenses can be immensely frustrating, but it is essential to recognize that people can learn and grow over time. It is the duty of educators and society to help individuals become more aware of their implicit biases and strive towards inclusivity.

Q: How can we balance the need for open discussions without causing offense?

The key is not to self-censor but to be self-aware. While it is impossible to always say the right thing, being committed to not purposely offending others and apologizing when unintentional harm is caused is crucial for maintaining civil discourse.

Summary & Key Takeaways

  • Implicit biases and blind spots are part of being human, but they should not hinder open discussions in diverse environments.

  • It's important to encourage people to speak freely but also to apologize and move on if someone is inadvertently offended.

  • Apologizing and being forgiving are essential for progress and learning in civil discourse.

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