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"Looking at an issue through a set of experiences..."

I've seen here, and in some media, a lot of very angry and disgusted commentary about President Obama's speech regarding the trial that shall not be named. Not having heard it, I read through the transcript and, as difficult as some of it was to digest, I'm not sure he's too far off the mark.

Setting aside the discussion about whether it was prudent for him to speak on the matter, there are some very good jumping points for a rational discussion regarding his words. When he said that African Americans are "looking at this issue through a set of experiences" it apparently was cause for great consternation.

But, don't we all do that, regardless of race? As an example, the debate over the Second Amendment, which rages daily, seems significantly influenced by events that happened well over 200 years ago.

If we could keep the vitriol to a minimum that would be great because I think this is an interesting line of thought and I'd like to hear your comments.


Asked by Mrs_Prissy at 5:45 PM on Jul. 20, 2013 in Politics & Current Events

Level 34 (65,487 Credits)
This question is closed.
Answers (16)
  • I agree. My children are black. The experiences I have and the fear that my children are Trayvon means I have a much different perspective than mothers who children will never look like him.

    Answer by Anonymous at 7:47 PM on Jul. 20, 2013

  • Don't we look at every single issue through our eyes that have seen our own experiences? And doesn't this ALWAYS effect how we process things? Sometimes if offers us better perspective, sometimes better ability to empathize. Sometimes it offers nothing but cynical points of view.
    It's all about our own experiences, always.

    Answer by sahmamax2 at 5:51 PM on Jul. 20, 2013

  • It's all about our own experiences, always.

    i.e. I have a relative who vehemently was anti abortion. His life experience taught him the act of terminating a pregnancy was Wrong.
    I asked him to consider, not change his opinion, just consider a certain set of circumstances (no rape or incest just a few other things) he hadnt experienced these things but just the convo caused him pause

    IMHO- if your opinion is based only on experiences then you are rather closed minded.


    Answer by feralxat at 5:57 PM on Jul. 20, 2013

  • to clarify
    if you have never experienced animal abuse how can you form an opinion based on the OP?

    Answer by feralxat at 5:58 PM on Jul. 20, 2013

  • We always look at everything through the filter of our own experiences. I have no patience or sympathy for parents who don't pay child support, or second wives who bitch about the first wife getting child support, for example, because my ex doesn't pay child support. If he did, and was a decent father, I'd probably have more sympathy for those types of people.

    I think what makes the difference, though, is when we can still be open minded enough to consider something that might not quite fit with our views based on our experiences. I try, for example, to be fair when I read a question on here about some second wife bitching about the child support, because maybe she does have a legitimate gripe (though I don't think I've found one yet).

    If you can't still try to be open minded even while using your own experiences to form an opinion, that's when real problems develop.

    Answer by wendythewriter at 6:46 PM on Jul. 20, 2013

  • I think we all do look at events through a set of experiences. And maybe I'm alone in this, but I think Obama should have tried to look at this event through his experiences as an American, not necessarily an African-American. His job is to lead the entire country, not just part of it. He could have spoken in a way that drew Americans together regardless of race, not separated some of them by their unique, and admittedly painful, experiences.

    Answer by Ballad at 6:49 PM on Jul. 20, 2013

  • I agree with you

    Answer by butterflyblue19 at 5:51 PM on Jul. 20, 2013

  • Yes, everyone brings their own personal experiences into a debate or discussion. Take the Relationships section for example, I'll admit that my own experiences may have made me a tad bitter & jaded so, I may just quickly tell someone that their SO is no good. Whether that's true or not, is not really the issue, it's my perception.

    For people who have experienced some form of racism, either 1st or secondhand in their lives, the trial seems to reek of racism.

    Answer by 3libras at 6:13 PM on Jul. 20, 2013

  • "Don't we look at every single issue through our eyes that have seen our own experiences?"

    This is my thought. At a person level and beyond, we use experiences (past and present) to make judgement, decisions and form opinions. It may not always seem rational, but it is human

    Comment by Mrs_Prissy (original poster) at 5:53 PM on Jul. 20, 2013

  • " He could have spoken in a way that drew Americans together regardless of race, "

    I didn't come away from him words with that impression at all. To me, he was speaking to the reasons why people were so emotional about the verdict, why some react the way that they do. I've re-read his speech a few times, trying to figure out why it was considered so offensive and I simply am not seeing it.

    Comment by Mrs_Prissy (original poster) at 6:53 PM on Jul. 20, 2013