HERSHEY, Pa. (WHTM) – Chances are, you’ll be talking politics soon, and you may not agree with your family, neighbors or co-workers, but the conversation doesn’t have to become heated.
Milton Hershey School’s Special Assistant to the President for Diversity and Inclusion, Fonati Abrokwa says, before anything, your mindset when entering a conversation about politics should not be to debate, but to listen.
“A debate is about ‘I’m right, you’re wrong.’ A dialogue is about let me hear you, hear me, we may agree, we may disagree, it’s not personal,” said Abrokwa.
But many times it can feel personal, or get personal, especially when polititcs is on the table.
“So it sounds strange, but have an exit strategy and that could be as simple as, ‘I’m not comfortable continuing this conversation or I agree to disagree,'” said Abrokwa.
For parents and teachers, it’s usually best to focus on the basics with kids, so they can make their own informed decisions.
“Ask them questions like ‘Why do you think the way you think? What helped you make that decision?’ Again, young people are highly influenced by those they respect or look up to, so it’s certainly important for educators to keep that in mind and follow their school’s policies,” said Abrokwa.
And the same strategies can help for social media interactions.
“In our country right now, we’re just in an emotionally charged state,” said Abrokwa.
But it’s best to keep those emotions out of political talks. Bottom line, enter a conversation with the goal of understanding and not coercion, and the end result is usually more peaceful.