Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Countdown to 30: 30 days, 30 Lessons (Day 16 - Details Matter)

Nuance is a wondrous thing. It is actually one of my favorite things. Nuance is the difference between loving and being in love; between hate and anger; between better and best. For me, nuance is the space where the truth lives - the details tell the story.

Details matter. Full stop.

Philip Seymour Hoffman Dylan Farrow Janet Mock/Piers Morgan

Each of the multiple stories attached to those links is screaming for nuance. Addiction, incest/sexual assault, and gender-identity are issues that can't be discussed without the details. Yet we all try. We all make judgements based on the information we think we have. So many of the posts on any platform I've seen about the above topics begin "Well, that's not what I would have done..." "If I was there, I would have seen..." "The facts clearly show..." The truth is the "facts" rarely show everything. And "facts" don't always lead to the correct conclusion. For example:

It is a fact that the sun is hot. It is also a fact that were I to touch the sun*, I would disintegrate based on the previous fact. Therefore, based on those facts, the sun could be considered a threat worth destroying. Facts aren't conclusions and shouldn't be confused as such. 

When you remove details, you change the narrative. One person's "detail" is another person's crux.

This becomes particularly important when dealing with marginalized communities. It is the repeated dismissal of the details of our existence that marginalizes us. The details of a marginalized group's struggle are always inconvenient to the dominant group. And if you are talking to someone about their story, don't police their narrative based on your experience.

When it is not your story, you don't get to decide which details are important.

Listen more. The details matter.


*I realize this would happen before I got anywhere near touching it, but c'est la vie.

No comments:

Post a Comment