With an intentionally diverse community, students are exposed to a wide variety of opinions, identities, political affiliations, and more. When comments across campus tread the line of free speech and problematic and destructive rhetoric, it can feel uncomfortable, especially as a marginalized person, to confront these issues. Here are a few next steps to begin addressing this issue with your friend:

  • Time and Place. Think about a place that will be safe for the both of you to express your opinions. Sometimes people express certain views depending on who is listening.
  • Ask why. Sometimes it is easier to address a problem when you know the other person’s reasoning behind their point of view. This question can engage your friend to speak on their political views without any hurt feelings.
  • Address your concern. After hearing your friend speak out on their reasoning behind their support for certain political views, you can speak your mind. It is possible that your friend does not know how their behavior is affecting you. It is important that both of you acknowledge each other’s concerns.
  • Prepare for response/reaction. Remember that not everyone will see eye to eye on political issues. Express how their political views are problematic and destructive, rather than arguing ad hominem.

It can be difficult to have these conversations, but they are important ones nonetheless. Hopefully, these steps make it easier for you to begin a conversation regarding political rhetoric and identity as this election year finishes.

by Dear Sam, student club at Andover