The best new tips I have learned during this Lent, which I hope will help me be a RE-humanizer:

  •  judge actions when I must (for example, to stand against injustice or violence) but do not judge people. I might deem an action to be dangerous, inhuman, or even evil in an extreme case–but as soon as I start slapping labels like that on another person or group of people I am contributing to the problem.
  • learn how to listen to others for the purpose of understanding their views accurately–not for the purpose of formulating counter arguments!
  • acquire a vocabulary to use when reacting to dehumanizing language I hear.  Maybe ask, “How would you feel if someone called you that?”

In terms of new questions, I think I will have lots of them going forward.  I am concerned that this year in the US, with hotly-contested midterms coming up in the US, we could face a situation in which our fellow citizens are called “scum,” “unpatriotic,” “commie,” or “fascist” if they don’t go along with one thing or another. I’m going to try to resist that myself and be braver about objecting to it when I hear those labels slapped on others.

One aspect that is hard is making myself clear.  As I said in an earlier post, it was really hard objecting to dehumanizing language used against Putin in the context of Ukraine. I need to learn how to explain better–and concisely–that I object strongly to his actions but consider it problematic to demonize any person.

Thank you all for being companions on this journey!

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