by Karisa Barrow, PsyD
With every social progression, there is regression.In the United States, we are in a state of political polarization, especially with respect to social issues. Though NCSPP doesn’t align itself with partisan politics, as a conscientious leader, I sometimes feel like it’s impossible to remain motionless in the face of the unbearable political tide: inflammatory rhetoric replete with sexism, racism, homophobia, transphobia, xenophobia, and so on. Yet I sometimes also grow weary of swimming against this powerful current and resign myself to treading water.
As I move toward greater flexibility and acceptance and try earnestly to make room for everyone’s perspective, I inevitably negotiate the line between being unreservedly curious and foreclosing any discussion by just saying and doing the “right” thing. Unfortunately, in my effort to be politically correct, I often deny myself the opportunity for an enriching and healthy exploration of conflict within myself and with others. Take, for example, my typical experience on social media: No matter what cause I champion in my posts, the response from those who know me is either an explicit, raucous endorsement or a quiet, careful indictment in the form of being ghosted, un-followed, or un-friended. The comment is either liked or left entirely alone. No discourse on the topic is tolerated by or takes place between the dissenting parties, which leaves me to believe we are becoming evermore paralyzed by the fear of our irreconcilable differences-afraid of disconnection by virtue of disagreement.
As our world becomes progressively integrated, we will find ourselves unavoidably exposed to unfamiliar and incompatible ideas long before we are prepared to grapple with them-even among those who are closest to us. My hope is that we don’t continue to collapse our thinking into right or wrong, or, worse yet, reticence. My hope is that we maintain our reflective capacity and have the courage to dip a toe or a foot, or dive straight into the muddy waters of uncertainty inherent in revealing our disparities to one another. I, for one, am committed to making space for experien