An unfounded feeling that others have evil designs against one's well-being.
Others have evil designs against one’s well-being.
Lot’s of people do not like the FLDS.
Well, that’s a pretty benign statement, unless, of course, you happen to be an FLDS member. The closer you get, geographically, to the FLDS, the more overt the dislike becomes.
If you’re a waitress, you take a bit longer to give slightly less service. If you’re a cop, you write a ticket instead of give a warning. If you’re in the area, you drive through town staring. If you’re a clerk in the municipal building, you make them wait just a tad longer…for everything. If you’re a school child, you call them “dirty plygs”.
If you are an FLDS mother, you teach your children that it is important to love everyone, all the while shielding them from the stares of strangers. Rushing them inside when a car drives by a bit too slowly. Quickly diverting their attention when a scantily clad woman enters the store you’re in. Teaching them to say their brother is their cousin when they go to school, knowing if they say otherwise, they will be mocked and bullied.
If you’re a young person in the FLDS it makes the job of loving everyone terribly hard. And terribly inconsistent with your experiences. It makes the job of trusting anyone outside of your community a monumental task.
If the entire history of the Mormon people is full of legitimate stories of Mormons being persecuted, and if much of the persecution has taken place in the lifetimes of people you know and love, it serves only to compound the distrust.
If every time you open a newspaper or listen to the radio, there are reports of people you know, and love, being described as despicable criminals, it makes it both terribly confusing and terribly hurtful.
If this has been a person’s life experience, and now, suddenly, they are being asked to interact with outsiders, it is understandable that there is very real apprehension. That the distrust is natural and real, and founded in having been hurt and watching loved ones be hurt.
Compound this with having lived in a relatively closed community with a subtle yet important difference in language and its use, from mainstream society. Understand that the outside world uses language in ways that are completely alien to the FLDS’ entire experience, and there is no guide book to teach about it. Imagine that sarcasm and innuendo and double entendres are not a part of someone’s experience, and they have to come into our world and navigate without understanding these common twists in how we use everyday language. Understand that those permutations of language have either never been there, or have slowly devolved as individuals have, in following their teachings, worked harder and harder at being straight forward, saying what they mean, and not involving themselves in duplicitous everyday behaviors, so there is no need to have a language system reflective of that. That even humor is straightforward, clean, and not made at the expense of another in demeaning ways.
So now you have people who have lived their entire lives knowing they were generally disliked and/or grossly misunderstood by the outside world. They have individually all experienced that dislike in their interactions with outsiders. Some more than others, but it is inescapable, all together. And these same people now find themselves in a situation where they are choosing to interact in order to help change this paradigm. So they do little things like come on-line to the blogosphere to ask questions of some, and give answers to others. Navigating in a world of language.
Navigating in a world where they are outnumbered by their detractors by an enormous margin. Challenged to try to help shift the thinking of their detractors, using language. Detractors who have themselves used ugly language directed at them.
Those that interact more, obviously begin to pick up on the nuances faster. After awhile, they “get it”, for the most part. And they begin to use language in the same way. However, because we don’t ever, on either side, really acknowledge or understand, this language barrier, it is easy for mistakes to happen. It is easy for perceptions to be different than the writer intended. It is easy to react to what we think we are reading, based on our personal understanding of the language, all the while being completely wrong.
This perception/understanding dilemma is part of the downside of blogging for everyone. It is enormously compounded for people, like members of the FLDS community, who have unacknowledged cultural differences in language from the larger community of outsiders they are interacting with.
In a multi-dimensional interaction these differences would be far more quickly overcome. In the blogosphere that doesn’t happen so easily.
Rather than accuse members of the FLDS community of having persecution complexes, or getting angry at how they respond to what we are saying, and how we are saying ‘it’, perhaps we can each try to better understand the FLDS perspective and experience. If based on a person’s response, we know they have misunderstood our intent, perhaps it would further good communication, and foster a possible trust, to simply re-explain what we are trying to convey. If we are being humorous, using sarcasm, and it is not picked up, explain it. Don’t react to the reaction!
We can each only be responsible for our own behaviors. Even here, on line. But if our real purpose is to help reshape how we understand and interact with the FLDS community, then an excellent starting point is in understanding and overcoming language barriers. Let this be an experience that is a learning one for all of us.
6 months ago