Some takeaway messages
- Writing about controversial topics requires
studying others without judgement. This means putting forth your best effort to
really hear what they are trying to say and to recognize what they are
feeling-even if it is poles apart from what you believe. Try to put yourself in
the shoes of those you may find hardest to deal with. Understand that there
aren’t as many monsters out there as we think.
- Consider how you yourself may have changed or modified
some of your views over the years. Try to recall what, or who, helped you be
more open to various interpretations and opinions.
- Neutral questions to ask can include “Tell me
where you heard that.”, “What does that mean?”, and “What can we do about it?”
- Remember-any true societal change requires all
types of rhetoric, not just the prevailing point-of-view.
- Maybe you can’t change the world, but you also
can’t not try to!
The writing process:
- Don’t settle for less than your best writing. Revise
until you get it right!
- Use either a narrator, or a character who may
be more like your readers, as a bridge between different types of people and
- If you feel compelled to tell a story about a
group that’s not yours, go for it! Just make sure you do any necessary research
- Model for the reader both the behaviors you
want to see in the world, and also what it means to forgive.
Johnson’s memoir, The Song and the Silence: A Story about
Family, Race, and What Was Revealed in a Small Town in the Mississippi Delta
While Searching for Booker Wright, is next up in my book queue. I’ll let
you know how I like it!