New Ask Amy: How can we learn what’s really going on?

The latest Ask Amy video, from my spiritual guide and hopefully one day best friend/surrogate mother Amy Poehler, is about how young people can watch the news and figure out what’s really going on, and how they can engage in productive conversations about the things they care about. So basically I think that she should turn it into a compulsory workshop for all American adults and a daily seminar for all American lawmakers. “If you can speak about what you care about to person you disagree with without denigrating them or insulting them,” she says, “then you may actually be heard. And you may even change their mind. Or they may change yours.” A good thing for children to learn, and a good thing for adults to remember.

Transcript below the jump!

Hi and welcome to another episode of Ask Amy.

This question comes from Bobby. Dear Amy: I see the news and I hear adults talking about what’s on the news, and then my friends and I pretty much say whatever our parents say. It doesn’t seem like anyone’s really doing their own thinking but everyone thinks they are right. How can we learn what’s really going on? How can we learn from each other?

This question was timely, I thought, because the news is so divisive right now. I would suggest to you, Bobby, first of all, embrace a cool thing that’s happening to you, because your curiosity is a really excellent thing. As you’re growing older, you start to define what you care about, and you start to define your idea of justice, and fairness, and love, and friendship, and part of growing up is separating from your parents’ views and looking at them individually as your own and deciding what ones you want to keep and what ones you want to maybe discard. So, the news is a good place to get interested in stories, and any story that you’re interested in, that gets you thinking, I would just encourage you to learn more about it, read more about, talk to people about it, figure out how you feel about it. And a big part of figuring out how you feel about it is trying to look at the other side and see why it feels so different for you, because at the end of the day, we all want the same thing. We all want our children to be safe, and we all want to be free and protected, and we want to be loved and we want to be happy. So, there are things that divide us, and they can feel like they are bridges that are just never going to be crossed. But education is the key. If you can educate yourself, I mean, Malala just spoke at the UN, that amazing girl who survived that gunshot from the Taliban, and she’s so right. Education is power, it changes your whole life, it can create a life for yourself, and so the more you learn about what you care about, you become a more caring person. And if you can speak about what you care about to person you disagree with without denigrating them or insulting them, then you may actually be heard. And you may even change their mind. Or they may change yours. So. Watch less local news and read more. Ok, thanks for watching Ask Amy.

New York, NY

Chloe Angyal is a journalist and scholar of popular culture from Sydney, Australia. She joined the Feministing team in 2009. Her writing about politics and popular culture has been published in The Atlantic, The Guardian, New York magazine, Reuters, The LA Times and many other outlets in the US, Australia, UK, and France. She makes regular appearances on radio and television in the US and Australia. She has an AB in Sociology from Princeton University and a PhD in Arts and Media from the University of New South Wales. Her academic work focuses on Hollywood romantic comedies; her doctoral thesis was about how the genre depicts gender, sex, and power, and grew out of a series she wrote for Feministing, the Feministing Rom Com Review. Chloe is a Senior Facilitator at The OpEd Project and a Senior Advisor to The Harry Potter Alliance. You can read more of her writing at chloesangyal.com

Chloe Angyal is a journalist and scholar of popular culture from Sydney, Australia.

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