Your Voice

I was browsing social media, as I usually do most days, and I came across this video of Oprah interviewing Trevor Noah for some show of hers or another. If you don’t know who Trevor Noah is, he’s a late night news comedian from South Africa. I personally find him quite funny but also very intelligent. So I was listening to this interview and he gushed about his mother and how she groomed him to be the man he is today. Then Oprah asked him about how he feels he wants to be portrayed to the world through sharing the news cause his whole goal is to share the news in a fun, sometimes serious (depending on the topic) way. He said something that really resonated it with me and I kind of want to break it down with my thoughts and get some of your input in return.

The first thing he said was:

Human beings no longer see human beings on the other side of discussion… and it’s tough to say that one side should be empathetic to the other side when the other side doesn’t see them as human beings either.

First off, I thought this was quite an interesting thing to say because it definitely got me thinking about the way in which I engage in discussion with other people and how I normally react depending on the topic. I can’t necessarily say that I disregard what or how another individual says or thinks because I consider myself every open minded but I can admit I feel a sense of pause when it comes to certain topics. Obviously, this is natural because we all have our strong views, morals, ethics on certain topics especially when we’re crazy passionate about them. But I wonder if I’ve ever made someone feel less than human because I was driving my passionate vision on to them.

It made me think about this author/reader/publishing debacle that’s currently trending, at least on my Twitter. I won’t name names but basically there are authors out there who participate in manipulating readers into sympathizing or empathizing with whatever is going on in their life to the point that they walk a fine line of receiving things they didn’t necessarily earn. I know that kind of sounds like a jumble but ultimately it’s kind of equivalent to a person freely transferring all the kindness and support inside of them to an individual without the expectation of reciprocity but end up being used in the end. This kind of thing makes me wonder when that individual stopped seeing you as that generous human being and into something less inferior.

The other thing he said that resonated was:

If your character shifts because of who’s in power, was it your character to begin with?

In regards to his quote he’s relating it to politics but when I heard that, the two words I froze on was “character” and “shifts”. I was thinking about this for the rest of the day and on the drive home I asked my husband, “how do you define your character?” I explained to him the context in which I heard this and he said to me that he believes people’s characters fluctuate based on perspective and experience but at an individual’s core, it usually stays the same.

I have to agree in that respect. I think character is definitely fluid. I mean the word “characteristics” is derived from the world character itself. I tried to think of it like a character in a book where usually you have a hero, villain, or anti-hero. You go into it knowing what to expect and hope that the characters stay true to themselves. If they’re introduced as douchebags, I hope they stay that way throughout or die (cause I’m evil). Do I like happily ever afters? Sure. But I don’t want all my books and movies to be that way. When it comes to real life however, my hopes are completely opposite. The character I meet in the world, I hope they stay consistent with their views towards me. I realize, again that character is fluid so we are bound to change here and there but I guess I like to surround myself with characters with open wide minds, and I don’t mean about their personal lives, because that comes with time, but just in general.

I don’t set out to change a person’s character because I disagree with something they say or how they view the world but I hope that I could plant one tiny little seed in their mind that could maybe, just maybe, if not shift their views towards the middle a bit but at least get them thinking about someone or something other than themselves. Is that wrong? Do you think that goes back to not seeing the other as a human being? It’s quite interesting how these concepts are intertwined.

Like with most subjects, I could go on and on and on about what I’m thinking but we’re coming up on 860 words and I want to know what you all think. I’ll link to the Youtube clip below were I copied pasta’d the quotes if you’re interested in watching it. Again, he relates it to politics but I thought beyond that scope. Hit me with it in the comments below!

(Source: Youtube)


6 thoughts on “Your Voice

  1. Dehumanizing opposition is a natural defense to protect our conscience so we can attack with little to no guilt. The more permission we’re given to stop seeing humans on the other side by those in power(Real or celebrity), the easier it is to attack. Whether it’s verbal, physical or otherwise. It’s easy to remove the compassion and empathy if you view the opposition as less than you are. Why is this so easy to do? Because the need to be right is a million times stronger that the ability to accept that the others might not be wrong.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Cim, you have the best comments, I swear! I can see it being a natural defense, I think it’s hard for me to follow these days because I’m so accepting of an opposing view and have no trouble admitting when I’m wrong especially when it’s accurate. I agree about the permission art and in our current world climate it’s terrifying but at the same time it’s enlightening in a way because more people are voicing how they really feel so you don’t have to speculate if your neighbor likes you or not you know? In a way it’s equal footing even if the thinking on one side or the other is downright ugly.

      Liked by 2 people

  2. What an amazing post!! I don’t know much about Trevor Noah (I liked some of his old standup though) but I really think he’s spot on with that first quote, unfortunately. I think there’s a lot of demonising and looking for people’s worst intentions when it comes to a lot of discussions these days, which, personally, I don’t think is conducive to a productive conversation (you kind of have to assume the person has good intentions if you want to have a dialogue, and I think that the second people assume the worst it devolves into an argument). My personal view is to try and hear out the other side and be as open as I can be to having my mind changed (with limits of course)- that doesn’t mean I won’t try to change their mind (and I have a, shall we say, passionate argument style which I’m really *trying* to tone down so people don’t get the wrong idea) I just think that there’s as good a chance that I’m wrong as they’re wrong (or that we’re both wrong together). I dunno, I think it’s quite easy to get strident- and I think to an extent that’s okay (like I said I’m definitely guilty of it πŸ˜‰ )- but I find that can either be taken the wrong way and I’ve unfortunately seen it lead in a very negative direction. I think when it gets into the namecalling territory then there’s something more going on (possibly dehumanising people a little- again, I want to think the best of people… but yeah, when people dish out the insults probaabbly the time to assume they don’t think they’re talking to another person anymore). And I do think personality/characteristics is somewhat fluid (basically character- I just sometimes use different semantics, cos I always think there’s this bit of us that’s more consistent over time, but it kind of gets masked by a load of external traits) Annnd I’m rambling, sorry about that! This is just an incredibly thought provoking, well done post!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I completely agree about the demonising aspect. As the human race we always go for the negative before the positive when someone tells us something instead of pointing out points as a whole or at least start positive and then say something like “I see what you mean here but I also disagree because…” and keep it civil. I think the fact that you admit that you’re guilty of “passionate” πŸ˜‰ arguing. I’m the same way. In fact, I just admitted to someone today that I’m very stubborn and I recognize that! I was also talking about that too, you want to think the best in everyone but they make it very hard and then out of control when the insults start to fly. Totally agree there. Then it’s just let it go, we agree to disagree, all good. I like the way you said that, “a bit of us that’s more consistent over time”, so true. I love your rambles! They’re great!! Thank you! I’m so glad you enjoyed this post! πŸ™‚

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Yeah I really agree with you. I think that’s a great way to phrase it. hehehe I’m glad I’m not the only one. Yeah I have the same trouble lol- though I will come back three days later after I’ve thought it through and say “yeah you were right about such and such” (although there’s also a chance I’ll come back and say “you’re still wrong”- whoops! πŸ˜‰ ) Yeah at that point it’s really hard to maintain a cool outlook (I certainly am not the best at that πŸ˜‰ ) but it is best to walk away, cos nothing good will come of that. Thank you!! I really did πŸ™‚ I literally just sat deep in thought about it for a while!

        Liked by 1 person

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