Objectivity When Learning About Conflict

It’s super easy to fall into the trap of bias especially when surrounded by those who feel similarly to you. Nonetheless, it is immensely vital when learning about conflict to consider both sides of view and to be objective.

Hand-painted street murals in Northern Ireland that are on one side of the peace walls, they all have various sayings and represent specific causes from the past and present

It is very difficult to completely eradicate your bias because much of it goes unnoticed, however playing Devil’s’ advocate challenges you and allows you to empathize with those who are mere victims no matter what side they appear on.

When studying the Northern Ireland conflict our excursions allowed us to see both sides of the conflict. We travelled to both Protestant and Catholic areas and saw how they dealt with their struggles and past. It was also helpful and rewarding to have a professor who was neutral and gave us resources that did not lean in any particular direction (if they did we got a balanced amount of resources from each side).

Along with biased civilians that you will encounter, you will also be surrounded by students of all different backgrounds who have varying ideologies. The key here is to accept that other people have their own opinions and even if they don’t correlate with yours, they are entitled to their beliefs as you are to yours.

What I have found has helped me the most is the beauty of civilly talking to someone who disagrees with you. If you find an individual who is willing to have an intellectual and calm conversation, then it is actually possible to learn from one another. By understanding someone else’s point of view, you may have more respect for how they got there.

The truth of the matter is, in life everyone will not feel as you do. Although a cliche, it is accurate. Rather than let this impede your learning process, allow it to make you grow and realize that this will be what you encounter in the working world and probably for the rest of your life.

Being told your wrong is not the easiest thing to come to terms with ( no one likes it!) however, it allows you to question everything, keep an open-mind, and even to strengthen your own opinions with fact!

There are always multiple sides of a story and rather than sticking to just one, it’s safer to at least know them all so you don’t place yourself in the confines of a box.

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