Race and the Red Sox

RetractableRoof

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[

His point still stands, though—what does any of this have to do with your anecdote?
Fair question. It doesn't I guess.

But as extraneous as it was to say 'beautiful' had I used any other unnecessary adjective it still shouldn't have changed my anecdote unless he was hinting at something else. So I tried to answer the something else.
 

The Needler

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Dec 7, 2016
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I never said she was physically beautiful. That was your jump because you're judging me. She was a engineering double major, a campus leader, a thoughtful daughter, gifted piano player, kicked my ass in chess, diplomatic in most every situation, extraordinary kindness and compassion to others, and the ability to put someone in their place when they needed it. Simply the most beautiful black person I've ever met in my life. I'm sorry if you are seeing things that aren't there.
Oh, the most beautiful *black* person? Thanks for the explanation.
 

Devizier

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You two are talking past each other. The statement he's objecting to is not "There are racist people in Boston" - it's "Boston is a racist city".
The correct response is to acknowledge that both statements are true and move on to the discussion about ameliorating the problem. For the purposes of this conversation, the fact that Chicago, Los Angeles, Baltimore, etc. are also racist cities are beside the point.
 

drbretto

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The correct response is to acknowledge that both statements are true and move on to the discussion about ameliorating the problem. For the purposes of this conversation, the fact that Chicago, Los Angeles, Baltimore, etc. are also racist cities are beside the point.
Are they besides the point, or are they evidence that truly abolishing racism (At least any time soon) is maybe a bit unrealistic of a goal? I don't see any problem with providing context.
 

RetractableRoof

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The correct response is to acknowledge that both statements are true and move on to the discussion about ameliorating the problem. For the purposes of this conversation, the fact that Chicago, Los Angeles, Baltimore, etc. are also racist cities are beside the point.
Fair enough. I'll move on - but one of those statements I don't believe to be true which is at the core of this/these exchanges.

To be honest these exchanges (as crudely as my part has been) have actually provided some food for thought for me. So I won't apologize for the partial (complete?) train wreck.
 

Doc Zero

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Dec 6, 2007
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Yeah, that's a failure on my part. I'll own that.
If posting the story was meant to illustrate that you, A White Man, had "felt" the effects of racism "personally" (which is absurd to begin with) anything about this person's looks, personality, or accomplishments is irrelevant to the story. But, again—your aim in telling this story is pretty shaky to begin with.

It comes across as a trifecta of "I've been the victim of racism before"/ "black people can be racist too" / "I've dated hot women." It's not a very good look.
 

RetractableRoof

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If posting the story was meant to illustrate that you, A White Man, had "felt" the effects of racism "personally" (which is absurd to begin with) anything about this person's looks, personality, or accomplishments is irrelevant to the story. But, again—your aim in telling this story is pretty shaky to begin with.

It comes across as a trifecta of "I've been the victim of racism before"/ "black people can be racist too" / "I've dated hot women." It's not a very good look.
First if all you don't know me, but I would say a lot if my early youth was spent in the middle of and shaped by racism. Getting my ass kicked as a young teen by a handful of black teenagers because I was the proverbial white kid in the wrong place at the wrong time during racial tensions. I also had my backside saved from the same predicament being even worse by a passerby (can I say he was a kind black man or is that no longer allowed?). How much many more anecdotes must I confirm before my experience allows me to have an opinion in any matter dealing with racism?

I've already said I own my failure to communicate my thoughts well.
 

Doc Zero

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First if all you don't know me, but I would say a lot if my early youth was spent in the middle of and shaped by racism. Getting my ass kicked as a young teen by a handful of black teenagers because I was the proverbial white kid in the wrong place at the wrong time during racial tensions. I also had my backside saved from the same predicament being even worse by a passerby (can I say he was a kind black man or is that no longer allowed?). How much many more anecdotes must I confirm before my experience allows me to have an opinion in any matter dealing with racism?

I've already said I own my failure to communicate my thoughts well.
I would agree that a lot of your life is apparently shaped by racism.
 

Hoodie Sleeves

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The correct response is to acknowledge that both statements are true and move on to the discussion about ameliorating the problem. For the purposes of this conversation, the fact that Chicago, Los Angeles, Baltimore, etc. are also racist cities are beside the point.
Part of ameliorating the problem is focusing on the actual problem, not just blaming enormous groups of people for shit that happened before they were born.

Unless your argument is that every city is a racist city, in which case the term is meaningless, and you shouldn't really have an objection to it being discarded.
 

RetractableRoof

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I would agree that a lot of your life is apparently shaped by racism.
Yeah yeah, I get it. Ha ha. Feel better now?

I'm not racist or a hater in general no matter how poor my choice of words. I'm embarrassed that I've caused others to view myself this way. That said, there has been good things in this thread so there is a positive in the train wreck I've contributed to.
 

RetractableRoof

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On the advice of counsel (otherwise known as kind messages in my PM box), I'm going to stop posting in this thread for a bit.

drleather2001 said:
FWIW, most of your comments were part of the positive in this thread, I've read them more than once. Thanks.
 

Wayapman

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Aug 19, 2012
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As a lurker and very infrequent poster, can I say that there were very large swaths of this thread that I found interesting, thought-provoking and productive. There are also a handful of posters who took every opportunity to nit-pick every single word in any potential post and talk down to people. Demonstrating the very "elitist" attitude they are complaining about Bostonians having.

I get it guys, this is a very serious and sensitive topic, but let's try to keep our civility. It's the only way to truly have a productive discussion.
 
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The Allented Mr Ripley

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As a lurker and very infrequent poster, can I say that there were very large swaths of this thread that I found interesting, thought-provoking and productive. There are also a handful of posters who took every opportunity to nit-pick every single word in any potential post and talk down to people. Demonstrating the very "elitist" attitude they are complaining about Bostonites having.

I get it guys, this is a very serious and sensitive topic, but let's try to keep our civility. It's the only way to truly have a productive discussion.
The word is Bostonian.
 

drbretto

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As far as fixing things goes, I've been raked over the coals for this before already, but I still believe that this approach where anyone joining the conversation to add a unique viewpoint gets attacked for not automatically falling in line is counterproductive. How much of an affect do you think you can have in the real world if you can't even have a civil conversation about it on this forum? You'll do a hell of a lot more good by saying something like "I see what you're trying to say here, but I don't think that really applies because..." rather than "you're an ignorant racist shit because" because at least this way you'll get someone willing to think about and and maybe pick the right side rather than just alienate a potential future ally.
 

JohntheBaptist

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As a lurker and very infrequent poster, can I say that there were very large swaths of this thread that I found interesting, thought-provoking and productive. There are also a handful of posters who took every opportunity to nit-pick every single word in any potential post and talk down to people. Demonstrating the very "elitist" attitude they are complaining about Bostonites having.

I get it guys, this is a very serious and sensitive topic, but let's try to keep our civility. It's the only way to truly have a productive discussion.
Nit-picking and making the conversation uncomfortable and self-searching is how you have a productive discussion. No one is complaining about Bostonians having an elitist attitude. It's that Boston has a race issue, this incident is further proof on a very long list, and so is the "yeah yeah racism bad, but leave Boston alone!" obsession.

People trying to make a racist incident about them, and you're calling those pushing back on that "elitist." And then you beg for civility.

To my mind, the main issue is that so many Bostonians just don't want to talk about it. They don't want people litigating the idea that the city might have a race issue, anyone that brings it up is "elitist" and "self righteous" and "talking down to people." Pleas for "civility." Other cities are too! The incident was probably made up, the guy deserved it because he listens to rap music, he's a "millionaire" just hearing "bad words." All in this thread. We're mocking Curt Schilling in one thread for calling Jones a liar and blaming it all on his taste in music, and the same thing is done in here repeatedly!
 

Jungleland

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As far as fixing things goes, I've been raked over the coals for this before already, but I still believe that this approach where anyone joining the conversation to add a unique viewpoint gets attacked for not automatically falling in line is counterproductive. How much of an affect do you think you can have in the real world if you can't even have a civil conversation about it on this forum? You'll do a hell of a lot more good by saying something like "I see what you're trying to say here, but I don't think that really applies because..." rather than "you're an ignorant racist shit because" because at least this way you'll get someone willing to think about and and maybe pick the right side rather than just alienate a potential future ally.
I think it depends a lot where the person you're trying to court to the informed side is coming from. I see a pretty obvious distinction between the ignorant who don't know any better that their opinion is outdated/bad/harmful and those that are willfully ignorant/racist/deniers. I agree that those in category A are probably better brought to enlightenment with honey rather than vinegar but in this very thread there's been a whole lot of column B.
 

drbretto

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I'm not going to do this with you again, man. If you want to throw up your hands and just let it all be I think you should start now.
It's your inability to actually read and understand what people are saying to you that leads to this kind of unproductive bullshit. Don't worry, I made the mistake of taking you off ignore, and I'll just rectify that again here. Good luck berating people into world peace.
 

drbretto

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I think it depends a lot where the person you're trying to court to the informed side is coming from. I see a pretty obvious distinction between the ignorant who don't know any better that their opinion is outdated/bad/harmful and those that are willfully ignorant/racist/deniers. I agree that those in category A are probably better brought to enlightenment with honey rather than vinegar but in this very thread there's been a whole lot of column B.
Yes, of course. I agree. But right now, the context is this forum on this site right now. I have to think just about everyone here is at least on board with the idea that racism is bad. People here can actually be educated and probably would be willing to if people can maybe have a little faith in the population here first.

Once you get out into the wild, yeah, the waters muddy up a bit.
 

JohntheBaptist

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It's your inability to actually read and understand what people are saying to you that leads to this kind of unproductive bullshit. Don't worry, I made the mistake of taking you off ignore, and I'll just rectify that again here. Good luck berating people into world peace.
Thanks for letting me know, drbretto. Also thanks for editing this down under 3,000 words this time.

Happy trails!
 

AB in DC

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As a lurker and very infrequent poster, can I say that there were very large swaths of this thread that I found interesting, thought-provoking and productive. There are also a handful of posters who took every opportunity to nit-pick every single word in any potential post and talk down to people. Demonstrating the very "elitist" attitude they are complaining about Bostonites having.
The word is Bostonian.
Can I just say, that was very nicely done. Credit where credit is due.
 

JohntheBaptist

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Sure. But this can be done without being condescending.
So now we've shifted from "he probably lied," to "you're being self-righteous," to "wait Boston is a victim too" to "you're being too condescending when you poke holes in the things people say."

But sure, I'll try to be less condescending if I've hurt any feelings. Anyone who's feelings I've hurt feel free to PM me for a personal apology.

Anything we can do to just stop talking about it I guess.
 

wade boggs chicken dinner

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People here can actually be educated and probably would be willing to if people can maybe have a little faith in the population here first.
I'm not going to get in a back and forth with you but there's a school of thought that says that white people can't be educated if they keep talking about their experiences.

Or to put it another way, and I know this is going to sound harsh but here goes nothing, people of color do not want to be told by white people what racism is or how it's going to be solved.

Again, that's a school of thought. For those who don't agree with it, and I'm going to say it's a lot of people on this board, it might be worthwhile to at least understand the reasons behind it.
 

drbretto

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I'm not going to get in a back and forth with you but there's a school of thought that says that white people can't be educated if they keep talking about their experiences.

Or to put it another way, and I know this is going to sound harsh but here goes nothing, people of color do not want to be told by white people what racism is or how it's going to be solved.

Again, that's a school of thought. For those who don't agree with it, and I'm going to say it's a lot of people on this board, it might be worthwhile to at least understand the reasons behind it.
No back and forth necessary, I think this post is a perfect example of a good, productive post. You see a lack of understanding in me, and you're explaining it. I am happy to take that information into consideration and add to my understanding.
 

Devizier

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Unless your argument is that every city is a racist city, in which case the term is meaningless, and you shouldn't really have an objection to it being discarded.
I think I made my point pretty clearly, but I'll rephrase it.

The point is, when people discuss the prevalence of racism in Boston, the proper response should not be "But they do it too!"
 

Wayapman

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Aug 19, 2012
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So now we've shifted from "he probably lied," to "you're being self-righteous," to "wait Boston is a victim too" to "you're being too condescending when you poke holes in the things people say."

But sure, I'll try to be less condescending if I've hurt any feelings. Anyone who's feelings I've hurt feel free to PM me for a personal apology.

Anything we can do to just stop talking about it I guess.

To the contrary, let's talk about it, i think we have talked about it quite a bit and done so productively in many ways which is a great thing. But let's talk about it in a civilized manner so it doesn't devolve into a flame war which has seemed to happen every 5 pages on here. You can not encourage discussion on a sensitive topic and expect discussion to only occur under your mindset of how it should go. Changing people's minds or influencing their viewpoint involves understanding that they actually have a different viewpoint than your own.

I think the majority of people here want the same end resolution. I think we are more productive without being antagonistic and insulting. There has been a lot of good conversation, sharing of ideas, enlightenment to different viewpoints, etc. Similar to the way that hopefully the spotlight on the Red Sox and their fan base forces their hand to clean things up as much as they can and self police better
 

drbretto

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I think I made my point pretty clearly, but I'll rephrase it.

The point is, when people discuss the prevalence of racism in Boston, the proper response should not be "But they do it too!"
I agree with you if you think the people saying it are saying it as an excuse.

I still think its relevant if the point is to try to think about what the real causes are and real possible "fixes" are, which I think is the real point of having the discussion in the first place. You'd treat a local problem differently from a global one. Figuring out if Boston is particularly broken compared to other big cities seems relevant.

But again, that's totally different if someone is using that line to excuse Boston.
 

dhappy42

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Oct 27, 2013
11,044
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Nit-picking and making the conversation uncomfortable and self-searching is how you have a productive discussion. No one is complaining about Bostonians having an elitist attitude. It's that Boston has a race issue, this incident is further proof on a very long list, and so is the "yeah yeah racism bad, but leave Boston alone!" obsession.
I think it's less "leave Boston alone" and more "why single out Boston?" I've lived in Boston, NY, DC, Atlanta and the Detroit suburbs. They all have a racism problem, which manifests in somewhat different ways.

Edit: Not saying there aren't deniers. There obviously are, e.g. Schilling, on WEEI, in this thread. A significant proportion of Americans think anti-white Christians are more discriminated against than African-Americans. My point is it's not just a Boston problem and I don't think most Bostonians are racists or racism deniers. But I don't live in Boston anymore, so what do I know?

People trying to make a racist incident about them, and you're calling those pushing back on that "elitist." And then you beg for civility.
I think civility is almost always called for, even when calling out racists.

To my mind, the main issue is that so many Bostonians just don't want to talk about it.
Maybe, but that doesn't seem to be a problem here. Kind of the opposite.
 
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lexrageorge

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I'm not going to get in a back and forth with you but there's a school of thought that says that white people can't be educated if they keep talking about their experiences.

Or to put it another way, and I know this is going to sound harsh but here goes nothing, people of color do not want to be told by white people what racism is or how it's going to be solved.

Again, that's a school of thought. For those who don't agree with it, and I'm going to say it's a lot of people on this board, it might be worthwhile to at least understand the reasons behind it.
If people aren't being allowed to talk about their experiences, even if irrelevant, then there's no need to have an open discussion forum on the topic. Seems like a better way to address personal anecdotes is to say "Look, that really doesn't apply, and here's why...". Maybe we'll just have to agree to disagree on this point and move on.

With a couple of exceptions (ignoring a couple of lurkers that came out of the woodwork), noone here has called Adam Jones a liar or defended the Gerry Callahan's of the world. And noone here has claimed that Bostonians are uniquely more racist than folks from any other city in the US (maybe there' s a post or 2 I missed, but a couple of nearly 700 is not worth losing sleep over). But I do believe the vast middle ground between these 2 extremes should allow for some civil discussion on what's relevant, possible solutions, and, yes, personal experiences.
 

JohntheBaptist

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I think it's less "leave Boston alone" and more "why single out Boston?" I've lived in Boston, NY, DC, Atlanta and the Detroit suburbs. They all have a racism problem, which manifests in somewhat different ways.
Why single out Boston? Because it happened in Boston. And happens in Boston. And then "Boston" responded with a preoccupation with being singled out. I still don't totally understand why that's surprising to people.

I have never claimed that racism isn't a problem everywhere, including every big city, and reject that that is implicit when discussing Boston and the thing that happened in Boston and how Boston has a clear history of this. Anyone suggesting it only happens in Boston is incorrect, obviously.

I think civility is almost always called for, even when calling out racists.
Sure, I agree. Which is why I'd hoped at the start of the thread pushing back wouldn't be met with "self righteous" and "Captain America," and that's around when I abandoned it in kind. I am sorry if I hurt feelings. Normally we shoot straight here and people seem fine with it. I do find "he made it up" and "yeah but Boston" to be a bit ridiculous, YMMV.

Maybe, but that doesn't seem to be a problem here. Kind of the opposite.
Disagree completely, as I described specifically in the part you left out of your quoting me, the things I've specifically responded to here.
 

wade boggs chicken dinner

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If people aren't being allowed to talk about their experiences, even if irrelevant, then there's no need to have an open discussion forum on the topic. Seems like a better way to address personal anecdotes is to say "Look, that really doesn't apply, and here's why...". Maybe we'll just have to agree to disagree on this point and move on.

With a couple of exceptions (ignoring a couple of lurkers that came out of the woodwork), noone here has called Adam Jones a liar or defended the Gerry Callahan's of the world. And noone here has claimed that Bostonians are uniquely more racist than folks from any other city in the US (maybe there' s a post or 2 I missed, but a couple of nearly 700 is not worth losing sleep over). But I do believe the vast middle ground between these 2 extremes should allow for some civil discussion on what's relevant, possible solutions, and, yes, personal experiences.
First of all, you're missing the point. So here's another way of putting what some people think - the people who need to be educated should listen; the people who have lived it should figure out what to do about it. Here's the point - whether or not you agree with this statement, everyone who wants to take part in this discussion should at least understand the reasoning behind it.

And as for your other assertion - does it really matter if Boston is or is not uniquely more racist than other cities? Boston has a reputation based on people's actual experiences. Isn't that sufficient? And what if Boston has a reputation that is unique? Would that make a difference between what should be discussed and what shouldn't?

Just questions to think about.
 

mauf

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I think civility is almost always called for, even when calling out racists.
People who don't want to be called out for their immorality often plead for civility. Those pleas often gain traction, precisely because we all agree that civility is a virtue. But if civility is a virtue, telling uncomfortable truths is more so.

One of the things I cherish about this site is that we do strive to tell the truth. We prize being right more than being polite -- which may not a good way to sustain a marriage or a friendship, but is a great way to sustain a message board.

This thread has been mostly free from ad hominem attacks. Pleas for civility therefore seem more like an effort to shut down discussion than to foster it. (By the way, I'm not calling out dhappy42 -- his was just the post I happened to quote.)
 

pokey_reese

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Let's see if we can find some things that we can agree on (or can't) and go from there. I'm going to throw out some statements that I think are fairly non-controversial, and you all can tell me where I'm wrong.
- All cities are racist to a certain degree, including Boston
- Boston seems to have a reputation for being more racist than other comparable cities in the US
- It is not clear whether or not that reputation is valid beyond anecdotal evidence, however
- In order to advance conversations about 'how racist is Boston compared to x' we need some means of measuring that beyond individual experiences
- That said, individual experiences can be totally relevant when it comes to discussing potential solutions to specific forms that more racism can take, and understanding how racism affects people
- Institutional racism made famous in situations like the busing riots and red-lining are distinct from, but related to, the personal racism that may or may not be more common in Bostonians than citizens of other cities
- The former should be easier to measure than the latter
- Conversation about racism is awkward, at times heated, and generally uncomfortable, but still worth having
- The first step is admitting that we (as individuals, and as a community of Bostonians) have a problem
 

dhappy42

Straw Man
Oct 27, 2013
11,044
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People who don't want to be called out for their immorality often plead for civility. Those pleas often gain traction, precisely because we all agree that civility is a virtue. But if civility is a virtue, telling uncomfortable truths is more so.

One of the things I cherish about this site is that we do strive to tell the truth. We prize being right more than being polite -- which may not a good way to sustain a marriage or a friendship, but is a great way to sustain a message board.

This thread has been mostly free from ad hominem attacks. Pleas for civility therefore seem more like an effort to shut down discussion than to foster it. (By the way, I'm not calling out dhappy42 -- his was just the post I happened to quote.)
Glad you're not calling me out because I mostly agree with you. I strive (talking about life, now, not just SoSH) to be polite AND tell the sometimes uncomfortable or brutal truth when I think someone needs to hear it. I don't think civility and honesty are mutually exclusive.

A German colleague of mine calls this "klarsprechen" -- "clearspeak," as in "It's time for some clearspeak," a frank, but civil discussion. The intent is to communicate with respect, not to denigrate. If you insult someone, or even if they just feel insulted, they naturally become defensive and don't listen. Then YOU have failed to communicate or persuade... unless your real goal was to demonstrate your cleverness or moral superiority.

Is it tricky, sometimes? Yes: "Honey, does this dress make me look fat?" And for some people, no amount of clearspeak works. And clearspeak can be suicidal in some office politics environments. But there it is. Sorry to go all "meta," but especially when discussing topics like this one, if we're not respectful -- even towards people with obnoxious views (not referring to anyone specific) -- then the discussion goes nowhere.