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Becoming


An intimate, powerful, and inspiring memoir by the former First Lady of the ...
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Discuss Becoming by Michelle Obama:
How do we as a nation push back against cynicism and the "us vs them" battles that so often divide us?

Created: 01/01/19

Replies: 10

Posted Jan. 01, 2019 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
davinamw

Join Date: 10/15/10

Posts: 2143

How do we as a nation push back against cynicism and the

Life on the campaign trail was a constant education for Michelle Obama. Among the lessons was the power in people coming together to see her…and to see each other eye to eye. "I've learned that it's harder to hate up close."

How do we create spaces where people can come together to talk, listen and share stories and ideals to build stronger communities, even when people might not agree or share the same history or perspective? How do we as a nation push back against cynicism and the "us vs them" battles that so often divide us?


Posted Jan. 11, 2019 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
Lois Irene

Join Date: 01/20/16

Posts: 73

RE: How do we as a nation push back against cynicism and the "us vs them" battles that so often divide us?

Isn't this the big question of our current times? Michelle believes that one cannot lose hope. When in the face of negative and hurtful situations, a person must persevere with hope, conducting oneself in alignment with one's values.


Posted Jan. 12, 2019 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
Auntie Mame

Join Date: 04/21/11

Posts: 26

RE: How do we as a nation push back against cynicism and the "us vs them" battles that so often divide us?

This is such an important question when our country is so divided. Unfortunately our leaders have done nothing to try and bring people together. The term “hate speech “ is very frequently used today. I don’t know how this can be changed, but I think we need to stress the positive energy Mrs. Obama has tried to encourage. Her speech at the Democratic convention was inspirational.


Posted Jan. 12, 2019 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
paulak

Join Date: 04/21/11

Posts: 112

RE: How do we as a nation push back against cynicism and the "us vs them" battles that so often divide us?

It strikes me that conversation is a lost art and if we could simply converse with each other in a civilized way, we could eliminate much of the rift that divides us. Michelle Obama captures this in her quote, "I've learned that it's harder to hate up close." And instead of fostering communication, social media in many ways destroys it by encouraging people to simple yell expletives and take positions, the more dramatic, the more they trend and are captured as reflective of the way things are. I find this disturbing and often overwhelming. We need to look for ways to eliminate this aspect of social media and try to channel another way of speaking to each other again.


Posted Jan. 16, 2019 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
sharonj

Join Date: 01/26/17

Posts: 20

RE: How do we as a nation push back against cynicism and the "us vs them" battles that so often divide us?

I think it can start at a personal level, speaking up in a respectful but firm way when one encounters generalizations and stereotypes with their personal conversations. Role model to young people by attending and supporting diverse community events. Reach across a line you find uncomfortable. I once volunteered in a women's prison and learned so much. And of course supporting leaders that do more than talk the talk.


Posted Jan. 16, 2019 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
elise

Join Date: 04/22/11

Posts: 58

RE: How do we as a nation push back against cynicism and the "us vs them" battles that so often divide us?

All you can control is yourself. I agree with sharonj - start with your personal actions and speaking. Address your own personal prejudices and work on improving your own attitude. I know people with very fixed ideas on many social issues - not just racism, and telling them that they are wrong would be a waste of time. Modeling good behavior for your children, family, coworkers and friends is something everybody can do.


Posted Jan. 18, 2019 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
Mira

Join Date: 07/14/17

Posts: 5

RE: How do we as a nation push back against cynicism and the "us vs them" battles that so often divide us?

I agree with elise. Starting with yourself, teaching your children, setting good examples at home, work, social situations etc. But you must speak out, call out people when they go into this “us vs. them” mentality or mode. There are a lot of people outraged at the big obvious things. But if there is one thing I’ve learned in the last 10 years, its the little things we have to pay attention to.
The one thing I have done is started to call attention to those i speak with when they make a point of using a person’s race, sexual orientation, religious affiliation etc. and ask them why is that an important factor in whatever they are telling me. How is it relevant. I’ve had the answer of, “well it’s not” then i ask why add it? Or if they say, so you know I say I didn’t ask. I’ve even had people ask me, if I’m talking about someone, their race, orientation etc., and i say it isn’t relevant. I’ve noticed that a few of my friends and co-workers have stopped this categorization when speaking to me.


Posted Jan. 18, 2019 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
kimk

Join Date: 10/16/10

Posts: 403

RE: How do we as a nation push back against cynicism and the "us vs them" battles that so often divide us?

Thanks, Mira, for your idea above. My mom has ALWAYS categorized people when describing them - "The Jewish lady down the road" - "The black couple across the street" - etc. - and it's always bothered me but I wasn't sure what to do about it. I love the idea of asking, "How is that relevant?" I'm going to start practicing that immediately.


Posted Jan. 21, 2019 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
elise

Join Date: 04/22/11

Posts: 58

RE: How do we as a nation push back against cynicism and the "us vs them" battles that so often divide us?

Mira- that is a great idea to ask how the categorization is relevant. My family has a mixed race couple, several gay and a transgender member. I am constantly faced with off handed remarks that I wish I didn’t have to deal with. Getting preachy does not work, but I will try the relevance remark!


Posted Jan. 31, 2019 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
ruthiea

Join Date: 02/03/14

Posts: 190

RE: How do we as a nation push back against cynicism and the "us vs them" battles that so often divide us?

Some very insightful posts here, and hopefully these ideas can help. I think schools, religious institutions and media can help by showing us how to listen, discuss, and speak respectfully. I feel that learning how to debate in school teaches how us to argue without fighting and listen so that you can hear. I love having a constructive argument - even more so when I have to concede that I was wrong - it means I have learnt something and been open to receiving new points of view.


Posted Feb. 13, 2019 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
lar

Join Date: 06/14/18

Posts: 5

RE: How do we as a nation push back against cynicism and the "us vs them" battles that so often divide us?

Sometimes I feel it is hopeless, especially with the current situation in the White House. However, I think any little thing we can do, whether it's writing a letter to the editor, contacting our representatives, talking to young people or merely quietly listening to what another person has to say can help move us away from us vs. them. I like the comments made about categorizing people and pointing pout that it is irrelevant. My friend always says, "you know my cleaning person who is gay," and I say "yes, so what's the point?" I try to say it lovingly and ask her to stop adding the tag to him.


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