I’m not required to respect you.

In instances of insignificant opinions- such as the preference of food or a favorite color- differences are what make us all unique.  The combination of likes and dislikes that I have make me the person that I am, and differences in preference fuel conversation and debate. However, when it comes to things like politics, human rights, and morals, I am not required to respect your opinion.

The best example begins like this- a republican that I’m friends with on Facebook shares a link or a post that I don’t agree with, and I comment with my opinion or stance on the issue (or they’ll comment on one of my links with their opinion). Granted, I’m not always nice about it.  I’m met with a response, which usually contains some variety of the phrase “you should respect my opinion”.

If you’re sharing your viewpoints on topics that I don’t agree with, that’s fine. You are more than welcome to do that; you are free to form your own opinions and express them in any way that you want to. However, when your opinions put people in harms way, when your opinions are hurtful, hateful, or derogatory, why in the world would I respect you?  The beliefs that I have about the things that truly matter to me- politics, social justice, feminism, racism, etc- make it so the other side of the spectrum does not make sense.  If you believe that feminism is unimportant and misguided, I don’t respect that.  Voicing an opinion that contributes to the oppression of women isn’t respectable, and to tell me that I should be more “tolerant” of your stance on the subject is an asinine request. Me, a feminist, should tolerate your view of the movement being unimportant?  Why?

There are times where I will listen to your opinion, respond, and open up a dialogue. It’s important to share ideas and communicate with other people about topics you’re passionate about. However there is no part of me that will find damaging ideals respectable, and I do not owe you respect for having a differing belief if that belief is in any way offensive.

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