Thursday, March 29, 2007

Hate Speech and Compassion -- Dovetailing HCOM Classes

In addition to taking HCOM 310 this semester, I am also enrolled in HCOM 304 -- Relational Ethics. We are currently working with compassion -- for ourselves and others. In short, we are exploring how to incorporate greater compassion in our relationships and therefore heal ourselves.

While reading "
On Freedom of Expression and Campus Speech Codes," it occurred to me that not only can these issues of free speech be addressed with additional speech (as we discussed with pornography), but also with compassion. Yes, I realize that, like the concepts we studied in 312, it seems rather idealistic. Yet remember what we've been learning -- that we can only start with ourselves. If we begin to practice compassion in our lives and conversations, that's at least one small improvement in the dialogue.

When we become angry over some injustice or some experience we have had with hate speech, if we simply start with being compassionate with ourselves and exploring why this makes us angry and what the root of that anger is, we are closer to resolving the problem. Did we have the urge to respond to that hate speech with hate in return? If so, we are not so different from the perceived offender.

Many of us will chafe at such an idea and deny it, but if we are truthful with ourselves, we will find that there are many things about our ownselves that we don't care for either. Perhaps we can even find it in ourselves to be grateful for the offense, which gave us the opportunity to explore these thoughts and feelings.

I am probably not conveying the concepts of compassionate communication and relationships as well as I would like, but I hope I have at least sparked a little kernel of interest. Holding compassion for myself and others certainly hasn't been easy thus far, but I believe that if I can continue to work with it, I will be well-served by these teachings.

1 comment:

freespeechprof said...

I love to see how you are dovetailing these issues. The question of restorative justice we talked about yesterday in class is another great example of how these issues go together. Compassion and communication ethics seem to me to be the essence of a conflict resolution practice that makes human sense. Glad to see you raising those connections for us to think about.