Finding alternatives for dealing with inappropriate remarks


Sometimes someone in the group says something that is particularly hurtful or outrageous. The tendency might be either to cut it off as violating meeting rules (assuming that things like personal attacks were agreed to be prohibited), or to object on behalf of whatever group or person is attacked. There might be another response. Consider the Hawaiian elder who, in responding to a question as to why he did not react to outrageous statements said, “In case you hadn’t noticed, the silence was deafening.” The lesson for the rest of us is that sometimes it is inappropriate culturally to challenge the attacker directly, so the response is to be silent and let the offending remark “die” without support.

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