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?
To read more about NVC, see: Improving Communication/ImprovingRelationships, See also: Getting Past the Hate, to Have More Love.