Are we more drawn to words that make us mad than to words that make us think?
Thinking is hard.
Especially thinking critically. Checking information, considering multiple perspectives and arriving at our own conclusions takes effort.
But within nanoseconds, we can get riled up over an offensive comment or a story of a perceived injustice.
Diversity in the news
Let me ask you, when you see diversity in the headlines or on your social media feeds, is it more often:
1️⃣ Giving you something to think about?
2️⃣ Giving you something to get mad about?
If like me, you see the latter more often, it’s time to take a closer look so we can discern what’s really worth feeling pissed 😤 about, and improve both our lives and our moods.
Ponder or provoke?
🚩 Statements that want us to bond over disapproval (or worse) of “people who do X.”
- These can look like venting within a community, but watch out for language that generalizes and lays blame without investigating or offering useful suggestions.
Example: Angry posts seeking camaraderie among people whose names have been mispronounced.
While a valid complaint, bonding over criticism of people (usually outside our own culture) who won’t fulfill our expectations without investigating why is not respecting diversity, ironically enough.
🚩 Statements citing isolated statistics out of their context, aimed at making us angry.
- Pay gap and crime stats are big ones. I often see “quick stats” pulled off an even quicker Google search without much more suggested but to “get upset” about it.
Don’t just take stand-alone statistics at face value. The person presenting them is using them to tell a story, but it’s an incomplete or even false story if not read within its proper context.
🚩 Perceived acts of prejudice, discrimination or other injustice.
- ❗️If it’s upsetting because it’s so shocking, investigate whether it’s true.
- ‼️ If it’s upsetting because it doesn’t surprise you at all, investigate whether it’s true.
When the source has an interest in making us upset, it’s best to confirm. And when we accept something as true without question, because it fits our existing beliefs, we’ve now let confirmation bias lead us to perpetuate stereotypes ourselves.
Like I said.
Thinking is hard.
But it’s worth it. 🙌