Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Some things to consider when protesting protesters

This is not yet another hot take on athletes and the national anthem.
There are no takes to be taken on that topic, hot or otherwise. You're either okay with it or you're not. Your rant is going to be received enthusiastically by people who agree with you and rejected outright by people who don't. This renders the necessity of all of these rants invalid.
Of course, all of the rants are going to keep coming; I'm just pointing out that this is not one of them.

Your views are yours and you're entitled to them. It's not even appropriate for me to challenge why you feel the way you do. I'm just happy that we (currently) live in a nation that allows you to have and express your opinions.

But (oh boy, here we go), I would like you to take one thing into consideration:
If part of your argument refers to professional athletes as "spoiled millionaire crybabies" or some similar dismissive description, you're demonstrating that you lack a level of empathy that discredits the validity of your argument to a degree.

  • For starters, not all professional athletes are millionaires, so your description is factually inaccurate. If your point is that they're overpaid, especially in relation to what people like firefighters, school teachers and others who provide life-changing/saving services make, that should be an entirely separate argument, one that can be effectively countered with the fact that they make what their industry determines they can make. And in that case, if you're a fan who buys tickets and merchandise, or you watch on TV and patronize sponsors, you're part of your own "problem".
  • More importantly, they're people, and they're entitled to how they feel about things the same way you are. Being paid money (whether or not you think it's too much) to play a game doesn't invalidate their access to the same rights you have because you don't get paid to play games. If your point is they shouldn't be protesting at work, on company time, that's also separate from the point I'm trying to make about marginalizing them for how they make a living.
  • Technically, they're not paid to play games; they're paid to entertain people. If people aren't interested in watching athletes play games, nobody would pay them to do it. But that's splitting hairs.
  • Is it possible you're just jealous of professional athletes, and if so, isn't that a whole different thing that should be addressed outside of this? Maybe?
When you're angry at "spoiled millionaire crybabies" who play games for a living, you're dismissing them outright as something less than people. And if you're unwilling to demonstrate enough empathy to do that, then you're certainly unwilling to consider what factors might inform another's views. And THAT says you haven't really considered all the sides to the whole issue itself and aren't even willing to do so. And THAT speaks to YOUR credibility and the validity of your argument.
  • "THEY SHOULD BE OUT DOING THINGS IN THE COMMUNITY!" Do you know that they aren't?
  • "THEY'RE ONLY DOING IT BECAUSE THEY SAW SOMEONE ELSE DO IT!" Isn't that how most things start, from political movements to dance crazes?
  • "THEY'RE JUST DOING IT FOR THE ATTENTION!" A lot of that attention manifests itself in death threats directed toward them and their families. None of it manifests itself in endorsement opportunities. Do you really believe that anybody wants that kind of attention?
  • "THEY SHOULD BE GRATEFUL FOR WHAT THEY HAVE!" Do you know that they aren't?
Again, I have no interest in trying to change anyone's mind. I don't believe that's even possible. I already know how I feel about it and I'm pretty sure nobody's going to change my mind, either. I also don't believe these arguments are going to stop. What I want is for there to be enough understanding between individuals who see each other as people so there can be good, reasonable, thought out arguments.  

Remember, you can empathize with someone without agreeing with something you find objectionable.
The ability to understand and share the feelings of another.

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