Episode 78: The Tolerance Framework May Be Doing More Harm Than Good with Kristen Donnelly, MSW, M. Div, PhD
Episode 78: The Tolerance Framework May Be Doing More Harm Than Good with Kristen Donnelly, MSW, M. Div, PhD
Kristen Donnelly (MSW, M.Div, PhD) is a TEDx speaker, international empathy educator, and researcher with two decades of experience in helping people understand the beauty in difference and the power in inclusivity. In this episode, Kristen warns of some of the dangers of the tolerance framework when it comes to inclusion and diversity. She offers a different alternative to this framework – one that will ultimately help us as a society to have better, more effective conversations and spew less violence and hatred toward one another.
Kristen Donnelly TED Talk 1 Kristen Donnelly TED Talk 2
Check out the Light After Trauma website for transcripts, other episodes, Alyssa’s guest appearances, and more at: www.lightaftertrauma.com
Alyssa Scolari [00:23]:
Hey friends. Welcome back to another episode of the Light After Trauma podcast. I’m your host, Alyssa Scolari. We have a guest episode today. Before that, just some housekeeping things, if you haven’t done so already, please go check out our Instagram page. The handle is @lightaftertrauma. If you haven’t done so already, please go check out our Instagram. It is Light After Trauma, just the name of the podcast. We’ve got some awesome things lined up for you there.
Alyssa Scolari [00:54]:
Just an FYI. I do have somebody running that page so if you reach out, I will do my best to get back to you. I love connecting with you, but just give me some time and know that if you see that somebody’s active, please don’t feel like I’m ignoring you. It’s not always me. I do hire somebody to run that page. She does an amazing job. Please go check us out.
Alyssa Scolari [01:20]:
Also, if you haven’t done so already, please leave a review or a rating for the podcast. That helps this podcast to grow so much and reach more people. The goal, as I’ve always said, is to be able to provide people with some type of free access to mental health information. While this isn’t exactly mental health treatment, it’s information, it’s connection, it’s inspiration, and especially in this world that we are living in right now, we need it more than ever. If you haven’t done so already, please leave a rating overview for the podcast. It would mean the world to me.
Alyssa Scolari [02:01]:
Lastly, we do have a Patreon for the podcast. I know I’ve mentioned here before, you can please look at the show notes for access to the Patreon. If you are able to contribute even the smallest amount, that would be so, so helpful. Again, it does take quite a bit of money to run the podcast, and I’m not complaining about that. I am fortunate enough to be able to have the money to do so and to kind of keep up with it, but it is sort of becoming more and more difficult to keep up with as time goes on because it’s taking a lot more time as we do more things with the podcast and becoming more expensive. Any amount that you can give will would be amazing and we would be so, so appreciative.
Alyssa Scolari [02:47]:
That being said, today I’m going to introduce our guest. This is Kristen Donnelly, who is an MSW. She is a master’s degree in social work and she is a PhD. She is also a Ted X speaker, a international empathy educator, and a researcher with two decades of experience in helping people understand the beauty, indifference and the power in inclusivity. She’s one of the good doctors of Abby Research, COO of their parent company and an unapologetic nerd for stories of change. Kristen lives outside of Philadelphia with her husband, where they are surrounded by piles of books and several video game consoles.
Alyssa Scolari [03:29]:
Hi, Kristen. Welcome. How are you?
Kristen Donnelly [03:31]:
I am fantastic. How are you doing ma’am?
Alyssa Scolari [03:34]:
I am good. I was reading your bio and felt like I was reading about myself for a second, not just because we’re from the same area, but the piles of books and video game consoles. Do you have a favorite game you’re playing right now?
Kristen Donnelly [03:53]:
Well, I’m perpetually playing Stardew Valley. I’m just always in a play through of Stardew Valley, but in anticipation of season two of the Witcher coming back out, I’m doing a replay of Witcher three.
Alyssa Scolari [04:07]:
Nice. Nice. I mean, it’s me. It’s 1000% percent me. I am on a huge Kingdom Hearts kicker right now.
Kristen Donnelly [04:17]:
I haven’t dived into that one yet. I own it. I just haven’t started because I’m not home enough to devote my time to a whole new world.
Alyssa Scolari [04:26]:
Yes. That’s exactly what it is. It’s a whole new world. I mean, I’m addicted. I mean, I can’t stop. I was like, I was reading this bio and I was like, “Oh,” I’m talking about myself for right now playing video games until 11:00 last night when I needed to go to bed. But I digress.
Alyssa Scolari [04:47]:
So welcome. It’s so nice to have you on the show. Today we’re talking a little bit, well, little bit, lot a bit, about this concept of tolerance. As I mentioned when I was reading Kristen’s bio, she is a TEDx speaker. Please head over to the show notes. All of the YouTube links to the TEDx talks will be in there. You absolutely want to hear them. They are phenomenal. We’re talking about tolerance today. Can you actually just first elaborate if you’re comfortable with sharing on how you even came to be in this field and be passionate about these topics?
Kristen Donnelly [05:25]:
That is the question I get the most and I’m still not good at saying it succinctly. We’ll give this another go. In a certain way I’ve been having these conversations for most of my life. My family bought a company in 1991 when I was seven years old. It is in a really under-resourced area of Philadelphia. My dad’s goal was to bring jobs back to that neighborhood. It’s a manufacturing company and we make dye. You’ve used our dye, you just don’t know it. But we make this stain that they use in the pap smear to see if people have cancer. We make the dye for the outside of sutures, the black sutures. It’s a lot of stuff. We make the color of Advil, some stuff like that.
Kristen Donnelly [06:10]:
But the point was that there was always more job opportunities for people who “don’t fit”. Over the years, a lot of our folks have been in recovery. They’ve been just out of prison, they’re illiterate, they’re not high school graduates, but we just deeply believe that that doesn’t mean that they’re not employable people and that they’re not people and they’re not worth our investment and our belief. This evolved into a mission statement, which is that our family is called to impact lives and create wealth. The wealth is emotional, psychosocial, economic, physical, spiritual, everything.
Kristen Donnelly [06:53]:
How can we impact lives and create wealth all the time? Because that question has been at the forefront of my life, this little white girl raised in suburban Philadelphia was never allowed really because of where we owned the factory and the things that we were facing all the time and the stuff, my dad didn’t really, he didn’t shove in our faces, but he didn’t shelter us either. We were always raised to understand that where are born determines a lot of how you live, that a lot of choices are taken away from you before you even take your first breath. What does that look like and how can those of us who have privilege leverage that privilege for the power of others?
Kristen Donnelly [07:32]:
For us, it’s a very faith based conversation, but I’ve learned that it’s both faith based and not. It’s how to human in a specific way. Very honestly, this is kind of how my thought processes have been going forever. I was the kid in college that when somebody would be like, “Well, we really need to have more diversity in our college experience,” and I’m looking around and I’m like, “Okay, what you mean is racial diversity and I don’t disagree, but you’ve got to stop using that word because I’m one of four kids at this college from above the Mason Dixon line. I bring some diversity.” 80% of people here are on financial aid. That’s some diversity for the 20% that aren’t, that are bringing that in. It’s a college full of people who grew up as third culture missionary kids. That’s a lot of diversity. Why aren’t we bringing that in?
Kristen Donnelly [08:20]:
But everybody was so focused on the fact that we were largely homogeneously white, that there was no appreciation of other values of diversity. I kept getting bugged by that throughout the ’90s and early ots and just I was always the obnoxious kid that was on student government or anything else. I was like, “We’ve just got to stop using that word.” But I hadn’t figured out how to convince people of my argument.
Kristen Donnelly [08:51]:
It really ticked for me when I was sitting in a youth rally in Belfast, Northern Ireland in 2006 and Northern Ireland’s a really complicated place with a lot of tension, both violent and emotional, historically. They used the word tolerance. You have to learn to tolerate each other. It hit me like a ton of bricks, but that was actually one of the rudest things we could do, that tolerance is simply acknowledging that someone else is allowed to exist, that somebody else is alive because it is illegal to kill you. It does not encourage relationship. It does not encourage curiosity. It really doesn’t even acknowledge their humanity. It just acknowledges their existence.
Kristen Donnelly [09:37]:
For about 10 years, I chewed on it. I did as much research. I’m a nerd. I have a lot of grad degrees. I did as much research as I could into really, truly what does diversity mean ecologically, spiritually, everything. What does diversity actually mean? The more I looked into it, the more I realized that tolerance is garbage and tolerance, that this is what the ’90s came to, like those coexist bumper stickers drive me up an absolute wall now, that …
Alyssa Scolari [10:07]:
The coexist bumper stickers?
Kristen Donnelly [10:09]:
Yeah. Because this is what we were giving to other people, all we were told as kids, so I’m an elder millennial, I’m the Oregon trail generation. What we were taught was to tolerate each other. We were never actually taught how to have conversations with each other. We were never taught about how to appreciate that someone else’s way to be human is just as valid as yours. We were just taught to tolerate.
Kristen Donnelly [10:37]:
I looked around the planet and I realized, I started tracing some things back and I was like, “Okay, a lot of this is because we were taught to tolerate each other.” There’s so much pearl collecting these days over, we don’t know how to have conversations. I’m like, “Well, we never really did.”
Alyssa Scolari [10:52]:
We never did. Never.
Kristen Donnelly [10:54]:
There was pockets of humanity, especially in small towns where you had to get along, whether you wanted to or not. There was a lot of force proximity. That’s still not inclusivity. That’s just forced proximity. We’ve done all this. We’ve got 2,000, 4,900,000 years of human history, depending on who you talk to. We’ve never done this well. But we have all the science in front of us that shows we’ve never done it well on a large scale. We’ve done it well in interpersonal relationships.
Kristen Donnelly [11:24]:
But with the continuing calls to walk away from your family if they didn’t agree with you politically, or to walk away to assume who somebody was based on what they retweeted on Twitter, I just started getting really nervous that all we were going to do was keep fracturing even further and we were going to calcify into those fractures.
Kristen Donnelly [11:46]:
When it came time to do my first TEDx application, this was the idea I knew, if I shared no other idea for the rest of my life, this is the one I wanted to present, which is that we have to stop tolerating each other and we have to start welcoming each other instead. That doesn’t mean being in a relationship with toxic people. It does not mean being in relationship with people who deny your humanity, but it means getting to know them a little bit first to know whether they actually do or not or they just retweeted something dumb. It’s saying, right now as you and I talk, there’s so much kerfuffle over JK Rowling.
Alyssa Scolari [12:22]:
Kristen Donnelly [12:25]:
I absolutely believe that her beliefs around trans people are damaging and murderous and actually violent. The calls for absolutely every person to completely abandon Harry Potter is also not productive or helpful, especially with all the research that we have that reading Harry Potter indicates that children will be more empathetic and open to difference than if they didn’t.
Kristen Donnelly [12:52]:
I think for me, I mean, the internet is a fear machine. We carry around fear machines in our pockets.
Alyssa Scolari [12:58]:
Kristen Donnelly [12:59]:
If we take JK Rowling, is she a trans exclusionary, radical feminist? She absolutely is. She’s even kind of claimed that. She’s not ashamed of it anymore. She’s gotten really loud about it. She gives a lot of money to those causes. This isn’t a secret, but it does not mean that somebody who still finds a lot of identity as a Hufflepuff is also a turf. It might, but it doesn’t, there’s not … Correlation does not equal causation. We can have conversations with each other to then determine the boundaries we have to set rather than setting those boundaries before the conversation all the time.
Kristen Donnelly [13:37]:
Really honestly, what I’m advocating for is that humans are messy and so life is messy and we just need to allow each other to be messy instead of these kind of very black and white boundaries that a lot of us have instinctually begun to draw because the fear machines told us to.
Speaker 2 [14:01]:
Yes. I mean, my brain jumps right into this cancel culture. There’s such a push to, like you said, a cancel her and four people who are Harry Potter fans like myself, with a slew of Harry Potter pop figures sitting on the shelf behind me, harry Potter saved me in my childhood. I say that, I’ll tell anybody that. I say that all the time. I found so much comfort and solace in those books. I find it to be so … I’m just very unsettled by this idea that we cancel her but then we also cancel every single person who continues to support Harry Potter in any way, shape or form.
Speaker 2 [14:51]:
I guess the question I have for you is how do you propose, what happens instead? What does that idea of being more welcoming and allowing people to be messy, how do we find that middle ground between holding folks accountable, but also allowing them space to be messy?
Kristen Donnelly [15:12]:
In terms of, so let’s keep going with this Harry Potter, because it’s actually a pretty good one. Today on Tumblr, I saw somebody say, “Your love of Harry Potter is not more important than somebody’s else’s life.” That statement to me is an encapsulation of a lot of false assumptions.
Kristen Donnelly [15:27]:
First of all, that my love of Harry Potter does not mean that I loathe that trans folks are being murdered. My love of Harry Potter does not mean that I do not believe that trans women are women and trans men are men. It does not mean a lot of things. We can draw the boundary and say that JK Rowling is a turf. If I make the choice to not go and see any of the new movies, for instance, because she is a producer on those, and so that puts money in her pocket. I don’t need those stories anymore.
Kristen Donnelly [16:01]:
Grindelwald isn’t part of this for me. I don’t need to continue to explore new ways that she wants to tell stories. But that seven book cannon is incredibly sacred to my 20s and to erase them from my 20s is doing some retroactive work that isn’t kind to me or who I was then or anything else. All that being said, I think we can cancel JK Rowling. I think we certainly can. I think we can stop giving her platforms.
Kristen Donnelly [16:38]:
However, the problem is that we will always be giving her money. This is the same thing in which Disney is a problematic corporation and they are terrible in so many ways and beautiful in so many others. She appears more clear cut because she’s one person.
Alyssa Scolari [16:58]:
She’s very out and loud about her [crosstalk 00:17:01].
Kristen Donnelly [17:01]:
And obnoxious. She’s obnoxious about it.
Alyssa Scolari [17:02]:
Kristen Donnelly [17:03]:
She is. I have no problem calling a spade a spade here, as they say in the UK. She’s a problem. She’s a problem. But she is not the only one who makes money on Harry Potter. She is not the only one who is caught up in this universe. She is not the only one. She is an industry. She is a corporation.
Kristen Donnelly [17:25]:
The first thing that I always say and my business partner, Dr. Erin, and I talk about this a lot, is that you can love problematic things as long as you understand that they’re problematic.
Alyssa Scolari [17:35]:
That’s a really interesting concept.
Kristen Donnelly [17:37]:
Part of adulthood is saying, “Oh my God, I love Harry Potter so much, but I look back now and it’s hella racist. The way that she did sexuality is weird because now we know why, and retroactively conning Dumbledore sexuality was kind of shady.” We can say all of these things.
Alyssa Scolari [17:58]:
The actually caused so much trauma for the students that he terrorized like Snape.
Kristen Donnelly [18:04]:
I can still say that all truth is truth and all the goodness is goodness. Hermione is one of the ways I learned that it was okay to be smart. All of those things can be true at once. It can be true that she gave us a definitive world that literally saved the lives of millions of children around the world and that she advocates personally for the exclusion of a marginalized group, both of those things can be true and they are true. It sucks.
Kristen Donnelly [18:47]:
Some of it is saying things like I absolutely love sports. I love sports so much. I watch sports all the time. Would I love to also tell you that I struggled to watch the NFL because I’ve read the research on CTE? Absolutely. Is football something that I find a lot of joy in and that kills people? Yeah, both those things are true.
Kristen Donnelly [19:09]:
Really, to me, one of the examples of this not going well is that we can’t have an honest conversation in the United States about guns because people who love guns can’t accept that what is also true is that they kill children. You can have a deep love of this culture that I personally do not understand. This can be a part of your identity, but I need you to also accept that they’re too easily accessible and that mentally ill folks can shoot up rooms full of kindergartners. I need you to hold those two things as true and then we can start having conversations.
Alyssa Scolari [19:47]:
Kristen Donnelly [19:49]:
We’ve been under this illusion as humans that things are simple, that things are supposed to be easy, that as we get older, things are more clear cut. No pals. As we get older, they get messier. We all still have this myth that at some point in life it was easy.
Alyssa Scolari [20:09]:
Kristen Donnelly [20:10]:
Alyssa Scolari [20:11]:
Back in the day, quote unquote.
Kristen Donnelly [20:13]:
There is no day.
Alyssa Scolari [20:14]:
There is no …
Kristen Donnelly [20:14]:
I mean, there’s a great Dane Cook joke where he says like, “Back in the day,” which was a Wednesday, by the way.
Alyssa Scolari [20:19]:
I love Dane Cook.
Kristen Donnelly [20:21]:
Whenever somebody says, I’m like, he’s terribly problematic, but he had some really good jokes.
Alyssa Scolari [20:27]:
He’s horrible and I can’t listen to him anymore, but he had some amazing jokes.
Kristen Donnelly [20:33]:
All of those things are true. Tina Faye has some spaces to grow and she is not good at being an inclusive comic. But Liz Lemon is one of the most profound comic characters we’ve ever had. All these things are true all at once. But we got to start being honest. We got to stop being scared to say the messy things because canceling, I’ll say this, canceling shouldn’t be a knee jerk reaction. It should be a consequence of a lot of actions.
Kristen Donnelly [21:08]:
I can’t remember. It was like, so there’s a Broadway star who I really like who came out and said that she was anti-vaccine and that she wouldn’t be getting vaccinations. A lot of her co-stars, which they have every right to do, were kind of like, “Cool. I’m never working with you again. I’m not ever doing this again.” But I watched the Broadway community immediately be like, “We’re canceling her.” I was like, “Okay, that seems quick.”
Kristen Donnelly [21:32]:
Then people started to kind of come with other receipts of other things she’s been doing. Like, guys, this is emblematic. This isn’t one thing she did. This is emblematic of an attitude of how she’s treated other people. This is kind of, she’s shown us who she is and now we can believe her.
Alyssa Scolari [21:50]:
Right. It’s been a buildup, not like …
Kristen Donnelly [21:54]:
Brett Kavanaugh showed us who he was. We should have believed Dr. Ford.
Alyssa Scolari [21:59]:
Kristen Donnelly [22:02]:
Larry Nassar showed us who he was and we needed to believe the gymnasts. When people show you who they are, we need to believe them, as Dr. Angelou said. When people do something dumb on Twitter in the year of our Lord 2012, and we unearth it, we need to see a bigger context.
Kristen Donnelly [22:20]:
That’s kind of how I would say it. It needs to be a much more messy conversation. I should also say everybody’s decision on this, your mileage may vary. If as you’re listening to this, your choice is that you cannot engage with Harry Potter, rock on, mazel tov. You do you? That is fine. Zero judgment from me. Where it becomes is when you begin to shame me for my choices in how I’m going to interact with this very messy, very uncomfortable, absolutely nobody wins here situation.
Alyssa Scolari [22:51]:
Yes. Because that’s where so much of the chaos happens is that point where it’s like, well, why do you still have this Harry Potter poster? What does that make you? You’re transphobic and you’re actively contributing to the murder of so many people. That’s where I see so much tension, so much tension.
Kristen Donnelly [23:14]:
I think, I mean, so some of the ways we vote is with our money and so I don’t give more money to Harry Potter stuff. I have all the stuff that I’m going to have. I’m still going to read the books. I own them. I bought them already. What good is it going to do? But will I advocate for children to read it? I don’t know, probably not. My niece and nephew are two. That’ll be their parents’ decision. Whatever.
Kristen Donnelly [23:35]:
But what I can do is have the really hard conversations with a lot of people in my life who are like, “But I’m not sure if trans girls should be in athletics.” I’m like, “Okay, let’s have that conversation.” I can do the things where somebody says, “I’m not sure if somebody really knows they’re trans at five,” and I can say, “Okay, valid. It’s something that I was confused about for a long time too.” Do I think that I, as an outside stranger, have any right to say anything about that child’s life? I do not. But I’ve loved a lot of trans folks who tell me they knew as early as five. I want to listen to them.
Kristen Donnelly [24:10]:
Here’s the messiness. Guess what guys? This is all really new. This is all really new. Health insurances still aren’t paying for surgeries. This is all still really new. We’re going to figure this out together, but let’s start by acknowledging the humanity in that person. Let’s start by acknowledging that whatever they’re going through is hard. Let’s start by acknowledging that everybody wants to be heard, seen, and safe. Fundamentals of human life.
Alyssa Scolari [24:36]:
Kristen Donnelly [24:36]:
Let’s start there and then if it gets messy after that, I mean, it will, let’s just assume it will.
Alyssa Scolari [24:41]:
Right. It always does almost.
Kristen Donnelly [24:43]:
It has to.
Alyssa Scolari [24:44]:
Got to for any real effective change to be made.
Kristen Donnelly [24:48]:
Or for any real effective relationships. Think about the people that you actually claim as deep and true relationships. Are any of those relationships clear cut? They’re all messy. I love my husband and would like to throw him off a bridge a lot of days.
Alyssa Scolari [25:02]:
Kristen Donnelly [25:03]:
And not just because of dumb little habits. There are fundamental things about each other that as we’ve grown, we’ve had to continue to make that covenant. We didn’t just make a covenant 10 years ago. We make it all the time. Every relationship is like that. I hear that parenting is kind of hard. Just a rumor.
Speaker 2 [25:24]:
Right. It’s just in the rumor mill. I’ve heard it [crosstalk 00:25:27].
Kristen Donnelly [25:26]:
It’s in the rumor mill. It sounds really hard and it sounds like there are a lot of parents who don’t like their kids. There’s a lot of kids who don’t like their parents.
Speaker 2 [25:35]:
Kristen Donnelly [25:36]:
It’s because humans are messy.
Alyssa Scolari [25:37]:
Yes. I think that’s part of the reason why I love being a therapist so much is because I get to hold space for that messiness. I love working with kids because then I also get to work with their families and then it becomes so much more mess. I mean, that’s where the beauty happens and that’s where I think so much gets heard because at the end of the day, no matter where you are and no matter what your beliefs are, as you said, the goal is to be seen, heard and understood and safe. Exactly. Exactly.
Alyssa Scolari [26:14]:
I love that. I mean, I love it so much and I think it’s kind of like you said, I think it might be, again, for the listeners out there, this concept is like, it’s very new in itself and it’s very different than what I think we see on the internet a lot of days, but it’s so important. If you get nothing else out of this, I want you to just take it and I want you to chew on it. I want you to think about it because it’s really important.
Alyssa Scolari [26:42]:
I understand lots of things might be popping up for you about, well, how can we just allow this to happen and how can we just allow that to happen? But this is really the meat of how we need to … This is it. This is the framework that we need to be adopting for conversations to be had, for relationships to be had, and for all of the hatred in this world to just go away a little tiny bit.
Kristen Donnelly [27:13]:
I think it’s … Erin and I are empathy educators because we say, and that’s kind of how we frame ourselves because empathy isn’t about emotions. It’s about understanding. I will say since I started practicing empathy as my primary motivator through the world, as the mindset and the framework I used to move through the world, I’m a lot calmer. Even my doom scrolling doesn’t get me as anxious as it used to.
Alyssa Scolari [27:48]:
Kristen Donnelly [27:48]:
Nothing feels as overwhelming because in a certain way I can really quickly, I can make some decisions quicker. I can say, “That behavior I know is a hard boundary for me. Somebody engaging in that behavior is somebody I cannot be in authentic relationship with. They are still a human. They are entitled to all of that. I cannot be in relationship with them.” If I’m ever put into a position where I need to work with them, one on one, one of the questions that we will need to talk about is that behavior.
Alyssa Scolari [28:26]:
Kristen Donnelly [28:27]:
That’s it. It’s that clear cut. Around vaccines, I have a lot of immunocompromised people in my family. I was first in line to get the vaccine, first in line to get the booster. I’m just pump me with whatever you want. I don’t care. I’m not a physical scientist. Everyone on the planet is saying this is a good idea. Cool. I’m in line. Yet we all are doing life with a lot of people that see these vaccines very differently. When I discover that somebody is not vaccinated, my policy very quickly becomes I cannot be within six feet of you without you wearing a mask.
Alyssa Scolari [29:08]:
That’s your hard [crosstalk 00:29:09].
Kristen Donnelly [29:09]:
If that is not something that you are willing to do, we will need to interact on Zoom. That’s not tolerating them. That’s not saying that they’re not a good person or they’re evil. That’s simply saying you have made choices and I have made choices and this is the intersection of our choices.
Alyssa Scolari [29:32]:
Kristen Donnelly [29:34]:
Once I made that kind of policy in my life, and that’s the phrase I use a lot, it’s my policy, it’s my policy to do this.
Alyssa Scolari [29:42]:
I love it.
Kristen Donnelly [29:43]:
Life got a lot less stressful. It just did. I get more curious. My question now a lot is like, “Well, I’d look to know why aren’t you getting vaccinated?” Not judgy. Legitimately, I’m just really curious, what is your intersection of these decisions here?
Alyssa Scolari [30:00]:
Yes. The curiosity piece is so important. It’s so important.
Kristen Donnelly [30:05]:
It’s what changes the world. It’s the only thing that ever has. No one also changes, I’ll say this to you and you know this as a therapist, absolutely nobody changes their world view through shaming or statistics.
Alyssa Scolari [30:16]:
Thank you. I also would like to add that nobody changes their world view or their opinion on anything because of a fight on the internet.
Kristen Donnelly [30:26]:
Absolutely not. They might change their behavior because of shaming or statistics.
Alyssa Scolari [30:30]:
Kristen Donnelly [30:31]:
But as a therapist and as a social worker and as an empathy educator, I’m not looking to change behaviors.
Alyssa Scolari [30:39]:
Kristen Donnelly [30:40]:
I’m looking to change world views and I’m to change how people move through the planet and that never changes through shaming, statistics or being yelled at on the internet.
Alyssa Scolari [30:48]:
Kristen Donnelly [30:49]:
It just doesn’t.
Alyssa Scolari [30:50]:
Kristen Donnelly [30:53]:
It just doesn’t. Erin and I have a YouTube channel and the comments we get sometimes are hilarious, where somebody’s really coming for us and we’re like, “Okay, dude.” We want to respond back with Taylor Swift gifts and be like, “You need to calm down, man. You are bringing a lot of anger to a conversation that we are bringing zero anger to.”
Alyssa Scolari [31:11]:
Kristen Donnelly [31:12]:
Do you need a hug? Do you need a puppy? Do you need a glass of water? What do you need in this moment because yelling at us isn’t going to fix it.
Alyssa Scolari [31:21]:
Yes. Yes. Which is typically always, that’s kind of my response. So many people will be like, “How do you work with people who have such differences? How do you work with people who refuse to get vaccinated?” It’s just like, “Because I want to understand.”
Kristen Donnelly [31:41]:
We have to.
Alyssa Scolari [31:41]:
We have to. If we don’t understand than we are making no progress.
Kristen Donnelly [31:49]:
I respect that for some people, this is all overwhelming.
Alyssa Scolari [31:52]:
Kristen Donnelly [31:53]:
The idea of trying to get to know new people or new ideas is really hard. We get the question like where should I start? Our answer is that we live in such a beautiful time of facilitated curiosity, start with a Netflix show. There is a really great documentary on Netflix right now called Crip Camp.
Alyssa Scolari [32:14]:
What is it?
Kristen Donnelly [32:15]:
Alyssa Scolari [32:16]:
I haven’t heard of it.
Kristen Donnelly [32:17]:
It is about the foundations of the Americans with disabilities movement. Statistically, we’ll bet that you don’t know that whoever’s listening to this within sound of my voice might not know somebody who is affected by the ADA Act. But spoiler alert, if you have any sort of mental health issue, you are because mental health is included in the ADA. It’s a great documentary. It was Oscar nominated. It’s an hour and a half of your life.
Alyssa Scolari [32:47]:
I’ve not heard of it.
Kristen Donnelly [32:52]:
That’s the thing. You don’t know where to start. This is all so overwhelming. Pick a thing.
Alyssa Scolari [32:57]:
Kristen Donnelly [32:59]:
Pick a thing. Do the one thing. Watch a documentary, listen to a podcast, go to a cultural festival in your town and sit. Ask a question. Go to a restaurant where you can’t pronounce the food and fumble your way through it. They’re used to it. I promise.
Alyssa Scolari [33:19]:
Yes. They’re so used to it.
Kristen Donnelly [33:23]:
Pick a thing.
Alyssa Scolari [33:24]:
Pick a thing. Pick a thing.
Kristen Donnelly [33:27]:
Pick a thing. There’s no shame in not knowing unless you actively choose to ignore.
Alyssa Scolari [33:34]:
Yes. That is dangerous. That is dangerous. Well, thank you so, so much. I mean, this is like, I’m so passionate about this topic, because it absolutely pushes us outside of our comfort zone, especially as millennials. We were literally not taught to ask questions. We were taught to just truly coexist, which doesn’t help. Like you said, it just fosters greater separation.
Alyssa Scolari [34:03]:
I really love this topic. I’m all about exploring uncomfortable things. This is one topic that I can see that could make people feel some kind of uncomfortable things, but that’s [crosstalk 00:34:16].
Kristen Donnelly [34:16]:
Alyssa Scolari [34:18]:
Thank you. Thank you for sharing. Thank you for coming on the show today. I really appreciate it.
Kristen Donnelly [34:24]:
My pleasure. Thanks for all you’re doing.
Alyssa Scolari [34:27]:
Thanks for listening everyone. For more information, please head over to lightaftertrauma.com or you can also follow us on social media, on Instagram. We are @lightaftertrauma. On Twitter, it is at Light After Pod.
Alyssa Scolari [34:43]:
Lastly, please head over to patrion.com/lightaftertrauma. To support our show, we are asking for $5 a month, which is the equivalent to a cup of coffee at Starbucks. Please head on over. Again, that’s patrion.com/lightaftertrauma. Thank you and we appreciate your support.