A taste of my own 'diversity' medicine...

12 November 2016

 

 

On the 10th November, still feeling outraged by the Trump victory, I posted a letter on Facebook written by Aaron Sorkin to his wife and 15 year-old daughter for Vanity Fair.  It started like this:

 

“Sorkin Girls, Well the world changed late last night in a way I couldn’t protect us from. That’s a terrible feeling for a father. I won’t sugarcoat it—this is truly horrible. It’s hardly the first time my candidate didn’t win (in fact it’s the sixth time) but it is the first time that a thoroughly incompetent pig with dangerous ideas, a serious psychiatric disorder, no knowledge of the world and no curiosity to learn has.”

 

For me, Facebook is a place where I share articles, photos, experiences, etc. with friends and family from around the world.  I don’t have work colleagues or clients on Facebook unless they are good friends outside of work (or former colleagues) – I use LinkedIn for business contacts.

 

The first comment was from a good friend who used to work in the City and is now running a charity.  He thought it was ‘Outstanding’.  I smiled to myself as my own view had been reinforced.  Later that day, I was taken aback to see that the next comment started ‘This man has a very simplistic view of the world — and yet he believes he's incredibly sophisticated.’  It went on and finished with ‘Sorry Brenda but thats my opinion. Boy do we see things differently.’  I was stunned.  This was a long-standing family friend with whom I had grown up.  Our parents have been best friends since they were in their late teens.  I’m ashamed to admit that my initial thoughts were ‘What’s wrong with him?  I thought he was smarter than that.  He has a strong wife and daughter – how could he possibly think that?  Should I ‘unfriend’ him as he clearly sees the world very differently than I do?’  Then I thought again and I realised that I was being foolish.  He’s a good man and a loyal friend who hasn’t changed since before writing his comment.  In fact, the reason that I was completely shocked by the UK referendum result and the Trump victory was that I didn’t have enough diversity of thought and opinion in my social circles.  I spent a disproportionate amount of time discussing both with people who violently agreed with and reinforced my own views rather than truly listening to other views.  I typed the following comment in reply to my friend ‘Luckily I have a very diverse group of Facebook friends and therefore I benefit from diversity of thought and opinion on this one!’  He ‘Liked’ my comment.

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