Oh This World
Oh This World
May 6, 2020
Ep. #13: How Can We Communicate Effectively with the Other Side? (& is it even worthwhile?)
Play episode · 49 min

A wide-ranging conversation about how to talk to people we disagree with and if that is a worthy goal in the first place.

First, Antoinette gives a quick update on yesterday's vote-by-mail episode, calling attention to this helpful explainer from the Mike Siegel (TX-10) campaign, and Lucas revisits Texas AG Ken Paxton's 2014 Pen-gate incident and offers a poignant mea culpa about something he said on yesterday's show.

Some essential context for our show today is understanding the way the GOP has used calls for "civility" to stifle debate and avoid accountability. We start with recent examples of uncivil behavior Republicans had no problem with: ugly incidents right here in Austin and at the Michigan Capitol. We then dive into a 2018 town hall Antoinette and Lucas attended to show how the GOP has weaponized "civility."  

We also explore how race factors into the "civility" equation. Two essential reads: "When Civility is Used as a Cudgel Against People of Color" by Karen Grigbsy Bates from NPR's Code Switch, and Adam Serwer's must-read 2019 essay, "Civility is Overrated."

Next, Antoinette and Lucas look at when and whether the project of reaching out is even worthwhile, using their own experiences as activists and human beings.

Finally, we dive into tools for communicating with the other side: Antoinette digs into her experience as a communications professional and revisits our old friend the Letter to the Editor, and Lucas takes us back to 2003 for a brief foray into his time as an itinerant T-shirt salesman.

Two calls for action:

1. Challenge yourself to have a conversation with a friend or family member with whom you don't agree. Focus on listening.

2. Are there ways you can use your own story to show how politics is personal to you? How can you convey how actual policies affect your actual life, and through what channels can you convey your message? Let us know what you're thinking: find us on Twitter/IG @OhThisWorldPod or shoot us a line at ohthisworldpod@gmail.com.

Looking for more ways to get involved locally? Our friends at Indivisible Austin have a special page for OTW listeners who are interested in joining up with them. Check it out here.

This episode was recorded on Wednesday, May 6, 2020.


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