In the opening of the 1996 hit horror flick “Scream”, Drew Barrymore’s character gets a call from someone she doesn’t know. The voice seems inviting at first, and she trusts the caller. Then it becomes more frightening as the voice begins to threaten and scare her. The scene ends when she turns around and sees the person on the phone is right behind her. The call is coming from inside the house.
Now imagine you’re in a similar situation, as a liberal. But instead of the voice on the phone being threatening, it starts to question your judgement. It starts to accuse you of being ignorant and offensive. You turn around and they’re standing behind you. They have the word liberal stamped on their forehead. The call is coming from inside the house.
It does not have to be this way. People with the same political views, or even different views, can work together without accusations, if they work toward common goals such as equality, peace and civil rights. It is simply counterproductive to work toward equality while also dismissing those who think differently than you.
While I used to be one to easily dismiss anything smelled conservative, I now speak to others with more of an open mind. Of course, I will never miss the chance to call out my local racist or misogynist, and I still identify as a proud liberal. But now I am careful to not mix up casual misogyny with a general non-degrading complement. Now, I am careful not to mistake a genuinely educated Republican with a hateful and racist individual.
A good example of how to counter this concept is represented in the podcast “Conversations with People Who Hate Me” hosted by Dylan Marron, a YouTube star. Marron is a gay, liberal man who is known for his satirically comedic videos like “un-boxing white privilege.” In his podcast he interviews the people who comment hateful things on his videos. These are people, mostly conservative Republicans, who call him awful names and don’t see the world just exactly how he does. But he is curious. He wants to know why they feel this way toward him, so he stares hate in the face, and asks them “why?”
It’s not just far-right rooted hate. In one of the episodes Marron interviews a gay, liberal man like himself who left a hate message about Marron being cruel and hypocritical in one of his videos. One might pose the question of why this happened. The two of them are on the same side. They think the same way.
It hurts more for someone on the same side to disagree with you, than someone on the other end. It feels like genuine betrayal. You think you are in this together. You think you are working toward common interests through different lenses to try to create effective change. Unfortunately, this sometimes comes to be a false narrative.
Some liberals are different from others in their lifestyle and what movement they lean toward more than others. Some are more politically correct than their counterparts. Some believe that heavy protest movements can be detrimental to progressive change. And some liberals tend to cling on to any hint of the phrase “social change” regardless of context, which can be damaging in many ways. These subtle differences snowball into a movement that simply stands still.
This is why something like Dylan Marron’s podcast is an utterly brilliant start to something that can be highly effective. Since listening to his weekly interviews, I have become more open to hear the other side.
Following this mindset is the key to creating a truly honest and efficient movement. Approaching your counterparts and asking them why they feel the way they do can be essential when trying to work toward social change. When the call is coming from inside the house, do not hang up.