Here's a thing I've noticed in myself. Maybe it's a white person thing, maybe it's a privilege thing, or maybe it's a me thing. But I've noticed it most specifically coming up when I have conversations around race-related issues.
Here's what happens:
1) Someone corrects or calls me in about something. This could be because I genuinely stepped in it, using the wrong terminology or making an assumption or forgetting to account for another experience, or it could be a simple misunderstanding.
2) The correction includes the slightest error in the thing I actually said, so while the spirit of it is absolutely correct, the specifics of it are off.
3) I accept the correction but also get all caught up in that itty-bitty error. It becomes really important they know that I actually effed up by saying X when they thought I effed up by saying Y. I still effed up!
Sometimes, if it was a genuine misunderstanding, it might help to articulate my original meaning and how it really lines up with what they're saying. But even then, it's probably better to just say, "Yes, that's what I was trying to say, thanks for helping clarify," and let it go.
It's the forest versus the trees. If you agree with the intent and overall message of a correction, then there's no real reason to get hung up on little details.
The funny thing is that I learned this lesson IN PUBLIC years and years ago when an organization I ran was very publicly called out for issues of systemic racism. The open letter that circulated about us had some errors in it, but I knew at that time that if I focused our response on correcting those errors it would turn into an argument. Instead, I focused on where we agreed, the need to address our lack of racial equity. Because of this, we were able to get somewhere instead of nitpicking about these little details that were, ultimately, besides the point.
Isn't it fun how you can learn a lesson in one context and then six years later realize that it applies to the rest of your life?
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