7 thoughts on “Handling conflict without contempt

  1. This is the most reasonable response I’ve seen thus far to the Kappell controversy because it offers a path to an actual discussion among the parties involved. All too many of us responded by taking one side or the other. It is a ‘first stone’ situation that requires self-examination (as the writer points out).

  2. I appreciate the link to the collection of Dr. King’s sermons.

    I confess I am struggling to reconcile my instincts to agree with this article with the awareness of how my white privilege might be influencing my perspective. I wonder whether it might feel like tone policing, whether it might read like an invitation for oppressed people to respect their oppressors…

    That said, I agree that reflex to punishment squandered an opportunity to build bridges of understanding. I wish Jeremy Kappel would engage in dialog with those who were harmed, and share some public self-reflection that could build evidence to support his “not-racist good guy” self-image, instead of entrenching himself in a victim narrative. Is anyone in our community reaching out to him to facilitate this conversation?

  3. Completely agree that what has been missing in the community response to Mr. Kappell is an opportunity for real dialogue through something other than the outrage engine of social media.

    As you suggest, it would be great if there were a way to hold a public town hall-style meeting that would allow Mr. Kappell to apologize in person, so the community could see what kind of person he really is, and to enable our diverse community to see and hear each other. Such a meeting should be open to the public, with particular efforts to include Mr. Kappell, WHEC, Mayor Warren, and any other community groups and leaders who have been deeply affected by this.

    As the recent events regarding Covington Catholic High School illustrate, things are not always what they seem. And given the existing, highly polarized climate, feelings of hatred are too easily manufactured, manipulated, and used to create worsening division.

    We need to cultivate a calmer, more compassionate approach to seeing and understanding each other, and to practice valuing each other as the diverse sisters and brothers that we are. This is an opportunity for Rochester to take a meaningful step in that direction.

  4. Dialogue is the missing link in this whole situation. Thank you Kit for this view of a better way. In a restorative circle, Mr. Kappel could also be helped to see how his “apology” also missed the mark by casting a shadow on anyone who was offended. Instead of being focused on his racist statement, it focused on their fragility for being offended.

  5. Thanks Kit. I agree that it’s not too late to bring the parties together as Kit not only suggests but is working on. The bottom line for me is did Kappelgate demonstrate “what would love do?” Did the dialogue leave us in a better or worse place? Of course there was no dialogue which has mutual meaning, mutual purpose, and mutual respect as it’s foundation. You know that it’s missing in the silence (withdrawing/hiding/politicking) or violence (monologuing/labeling/attacking) that dominated our airways.

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