Monday, November 04, 2013

How Violence Becomes Attractive

I recently viewed this video of Marshall Rosenberg talking about making requests.

I find requests to be the hardest part of Nonviolent Commuication (NVC), and I really appreciate Marshall's clarity.

NVC teaches us that we can transform situations – including violent situations – by using language. The way we communicate can be transformative.

Of course, violence occurs in all communities. But Black people, people of African heritage,  have systematically been abused and subjected to extreme violence for centures, and this has had an effect on us which must be healed.

Marshall makes the point that we often make requests in terms of what we don't want, rather than what we want. He gives the example of trying to stop children from breaking windows. “How can we stop children from breaking windows? Kill them. Research has shown that dead children break no windows”.

Of course this is an extreme example, but there are loads of real-life examples to rival this. Like this one involving a pastor or this one involving the son of a hip-hop mogul.  When you read these, think about  how, when we think in terms of what we don't want, violence becomes attractive.  

When I read blogs and articles like these, my heart sinks. There are always real-life stories about the level of violence in Black communities in the States, in Britain and in many different places in the world. However, we can change this.  

When we think in terms of how to stop someone from doing something, violence becomes attractive.  

Why do we want someone to do what we want - because of fear of violence, intimidation or punishment?  Or because they want to, to meet their own needs as well as ours?  What are our motives?   


Nubiagirl said...

A very good discussion on how to prevent ourselves from habitually engaging in violent behavior, although I think that the examples you give show what happens when people focus unduly upon what they want (sex and vengeance) rather than what they don't want.

Zhana21 said...

Thanks for your comment. Interesting point.

I think the man who shot the pastor was angry with the pastor for attacking his wife (what he didn't want).

I believe the other young man attacked his girlfriend because he was angry with her, although sex may have been involved as well.

Either he was focusing on what he didn't want, or what he could not have (not getting what he wanted), which is a form of what he didn't want. Those are my thoughts about this.