How To Disagree Without Being a Jerk
CML: Hey, Shannon! Guess what? We made a mistake! We fucked up and hypocritically posted a conversation in which we decry verbal abuse by verbally abusing verbal abusers!
SB: I know. We totally did. You know how sometimes you get mad and then get all hypocritical and don’t pay close attention the words coming out of your face because you’re mad and RAAAAAWWWRRR?
We did that. And then we got editorially lazy and didn’t make another pass on our words with a fresh pair of (less rage-filled) eyes. We messed up. I’d like to own that. We messed up. We didn’t lead with our critical thinking brains… we led with our angry ones.
CML: Which is ironic since what we do for about, oh, 100% of our parenting day is to try to teach our kids to examine their actions and make good decisions. And then we did neither of these. I fully believe we're in the right to decry the actions of those harassing the City Councilwomen and lazily calling them nasty gendered names, but it was such clear id spilling all over our post when we used similar language to describe those people. That was our mistake. Our total bad.
I guess what I'm trying to say is that it's like rain on your wedding day... or not. But it's definitely ironic, and it's definitely embarrassing. I mean, just last week my Smartner and I were talking about how we needed to use this chart on how to respectfully hold a conversation that's up in our older Smartling's first grade classroom. It was a joke, but maybe we really DO need it, if only to cool us down when we're feeling hot under the collar.
We apparently need to study.
SB: “Dear Smartlings, When you’re angry, please don’t use mean words. That’s what mommy does.” Yeah. No. Not a good message to send. What IS a good message to send, however, is owning up to your mistakes, apologizing, and learning from them. As with pretty much all mistakes, this is a bell we can’t unring… but we can take responsibility for what we did. We used unkind language while criticizing unkind language. Not cool. And while the folks that used hateful, misogynist language to berate the City Councilwomen were ABSOLUTELY in the wrong, we didn’t help our cause by sinking to their level.
We were angry—and rightfully so—but that doesn’t make it okay to name-call. So, we apologize. We’re owning up to it. We absolutely should not have used derogatory language. We have a right to be angry, but we can express that anger in a respectful way. We can do what we teach our children to do; we can say, “I’m angry” and “I’m frustrated” and then explain why. We don’t have to devolve into name-calling.
We got called out on our poor behavior by some folks who feel very strongly about bringing back the Sonics, but who have been very careful not to use hateful language. We’re grateful that they held us accountable. Because, although we weren’t talking about the folks who are being respectful in their protests, our particular complaint was overshadowed by our hypocrisy. We hurt our cause.
So, we’re thankful for this opportunity to address it. To apologize for making the wrong choice. To apologize for letting our anger get the best of us. This is what we do as parents, and this is what we do as writers. We try our best, and when we mess up… we own up to it.
CML: Raising good people means acting like good people, even when that's difficult. Hard, but true.
SB: Amen to that. So, in partnership with our attempts to be good—nay—GREAT parents, we admit our mistake, promise to be more careful and thoughtful in the future, and move forward knowing that we can express our anger and frustration without being disrespectful.
(With thanks to @BringBackSonics for pointing out our mistakes and giving us a chance to learn from them. We’re thankful.)