Pedro Serrano

Radio Host, 88.7 fm WRSU

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Have you learned from those with apposing views? How can differences combine to solve problems in the community, and improve communication?

I have a role in a community that's made up of people with very different political views. The punk rock scene you'll find anarchist, radical leftists and folks so conservative that when they walk out of a chicken franchise under there left arm is a bucket of right wings.
This has provided me with some opportunities to learn about how I see the world and how folks can work together.
I remember walking with a local skinhead. The week before there was a discussion on the death penalty. At one point he said, "I don;t think that many innocent people would be killed."
I didn't say anything. What I thought was that he was willing to live in a world where some innocent people would be killed as a cost for a society with less crime.
Would I be willing to live in a society where there would be more violent crime to avoid innocent people being killed by the state?
I was reminded about this while listening to Mr. Haidts' talk.
There have been other examples where I was able to make comparisons and contrasts between me and those who label themselves as conservative.

Here's an example I provide as an example of the value the local skinheads had.
Some of the crew and I were hanging out at a local cafe'. There was a young punk with blue hair standing about 20' away from me with an upside down American flag on the shoulder of his denim jacket.
Three skinheads walked up to him and asked, "What's up with the upside down American flag?"
I thought to myself, "Damn. Here we go."
I heard the punk kid say, "It's the international sign of distress. Don't you think America is in distress?"
The skinheads agreed and they had a discussion on what they both felt what was wrong.
This kid knew that he was going to have to explain himself. He didn't live in a leftist ghetto. He either had to prepare himself to explain or to get a beat down.
I've been praised by both Punks and Skins for the content of a zine I put out as well as taken to task. There waiting for the next issue.

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    Mar 24 2011: One of the most important things I have learned from people with opposing views is that they usually have solid reasons for their opinions. I do not always agree with their conclusions from the evidence but listening closely enriches me and either refines what I believe, changes my mind or reminds me why I believe what I do. I have also learned to ask questions phrased in a noncombative and polite manner. It gets me further and opens the door to dialogue. Most people are willing to give you their time and opinion if you are willing to listen and earnestly want to understand.
    Sounds like you are doing good work, Pedro. Keep it up!
    • Mar 25 2011: Well said. The voice of reason. Put so succinctly, such seminal skills that are so sorely needed by so many... Articulated in a perfect little nut shell.
      This is the sort of practical wisdom more people need to be exposed to and and you hit the perfect pitch.. concise...