Polarization: it is a word that has been spoken repeatedly over the past few years. It refers to the stark division between two opposing viewpoints or groups. This division has brought out something ugly within humankind: hatred. Disrespect and animosity have always been prevalent in our society, but the polarization of our world, nation, and local communities has given hatred a new space. This space has dominated how people interact with each other. No longer is there the time or the place to be able to civilly disagree with an opposing party, or to be in communion with one another. Without the space to communicate respectfully, the divide will continue to grow, and the actions surrounding how people treat each other will worsen.
How does one approach this problem, especially when there are fundamental differences in values and morality? This question is not something concrete or easily answerable. But the question is a necessary one to ask as everyone moves forward with their lives. I do not know the answer, but I do have a starting point. It comes with the vulnerability to be open to listening in the face of disagreement.
Personally, I struggle with this, and I tend to tune out when these situations arise. More recently, I have been challenging myself to listen and attempt to understand where other people are coming from. We all have different sets of experiences and there will never be a unanimous agreement on how we should live our lives. Instead, we should learn from what others are communicating, and how they experience life, and be respectful while engaging in these conversations. This can be especially difficult at times, but that’s when the hard work is done. If one does not engage in the work of listening, then one gives way to this polarization and hate.
I would like to acknowledge that I come from a privileged perspective while articulating this topic, so I understand that this approach won’t be possible for everyone. However, I do hope that we can all start to think about how to create these spaces for intersectionality, discourse, and openness in our day-to-day lives.
The hope of a collaborative and constructive community is what we should strive for moving forward. The reason for this is to eradicate the polarizing, hateful disposition that is negatively affecting everyone. It starts with a small group of individuals, but with the help of a community, then maybe we can grow together.