Friday, June 19, 2009

We Must Speak Our Truth

Every so often I come across a bit of news that takes me back to what I know I need to do. As a feminist lesbian scientist I run across some closed minds. It doesn’t happen often. I generally think it is because there is a certain sense of fear. People who disapprove of who I am are reluctant to say so. Honestly, I would prefer to hear what they have to say so I can respond. Society as a whole is never going to be on the same page on everything. Our job is to hear all the opinions so we can make the most educated decision for ourselves. Today I came across a fabulous article that reminds me of my responsibility to hear the other side.

Douglas Murray wrote what I find to be an amazing piece about how he chooses to have discourse with Muslim extremists. It can be found here:
Why we must debate the extremists: The oxygen of free societies is freedom of speech. Everything short of incitement has to be tolerated, even when it is wrong

Clearly I am not wading into this particular debate as I have no standing in it, but the following quote certainly brought me up short:
At events I regularly meet young Muslims and non-Muslims who have simply never heard arguments put for why liberal democracy is, though not perfect, our only achievable, messy, hope. I think it important that they hear someone speaking in defence of religious pluralism, women's rights, gay rights, and actual diversity in society. I also think it important that they hear religions critiqued, satirised and treated in the same robust manner in which the rest of us have our most cherished ideas treated.
I had such a visceral response this paragraph. It's true...we all need to hear the other side. Without all the information it isn't possible to stand as an intelligent individual. It made me want to speak out more than I do. While I know many people who don't approve of me remain silent out of fear of perceived repercussions, I know I also remain silent for many of the same reasons. I choose to not rock the boat. It is not a wise choice.


frau sally benz said...

It's hard for some people to imagine, but I often keep quiet too. I think most people do when it comes to certain topics. There are some things we can't shut up about, and others we don't want to touch.

But I certainly think it's important to push ourselves a little bit each time we're confronted with these situations.

Anonymous said...

Murray's article (and the al-Muhajarun article it linked to) were very interesting--thanks for the heads up.