Some weeks the noise of society overshadows everything, such as the noise of reaction from the Connecticut school shootings.
By MICHELLE T. JOHNSON
Special to The Star
I call it noise because its passionate and intense and sad and angry and many times attacking, and because its hard to sort out your own thoughts and feelings amid the relentless barrage of others.
This particular shooting and tragedy hit a major artery because of the fact that little children too young for even the most hardened and indifferent heart to blame and their educators were killed.
No matter where you work or what you do, this tragedy filled your workplace Friday, this weekend if you worked or had company parties to attend, and carried over into this week.
Such emotional assaults on our sense of security and hope dont stay neatly out of the workplace.
If you make the mistake of looking at Facebook, Twitter and comments on the news stories online and on the air, its all made worse.
This becomes a diversity issue in that diversity and inclusion boil down to how you view others, how you treat them, and how it affects the workplace.
Fresh on the heels of a bruising, contentious election that relationships still hadnt quite mended from, reactions to this shooting touch on many hot button issues in American gun control, mental health, violence against women, the media, the politicians, prayer in public schools, etc.
Some want people to shut up and focus on healing. Others want people to speak up louder and focus on change.
And we all want to find a bad guy. A guy to blame. A guy to attack so that the solution seems clear.
At least with politics, even when the conversation got intense, and even personal, there was a point at which people knew it was not cool to fight. They did anyway, but they knew.
With this tragedy, however, the grief of a nation seems to make everything fair game.
Im no grief counselor but I know the obvious: Tragedies such as this affect everyone differently, so when youre discussing this with others at work, remember that there is no fair game.
That for every opinion you have on how this should be looked at or addressed as a nation, theres a good chance you will cross paths with someone who doesnt agree.
What that means is strong opinions, no matter how strongly motivated by compassion felt for parents and fear felt for your own children, cant override the civility and professionalism that must go on.
The tempers and emotions and passions for most Americans will be tempered over time, but the viewpoints expressed wont. But if were willing to be civil, and listen as well as talk, we have a much better chance to keep workplace dialogue constructive, and eventually transform tragedy into something that moves us forward.
Send questions to Michelle T. Johnson on Facebook at www.facebook.com/diversitydiva.