Respect Others’ Way Of Thinking

There's more than one way to make a sandwich

I love coming across messages that make me stop and think, and this was one of them. I started my Pictures With A Purpose category with the intention of collecting thought-provoking imagery, and the quote in this image has definitely earned its’ place in that category.

I really love this message! What are your thoughts?

For further exploration, here are 10 notes about considering others’ experiences:

Test Your Awareness

On Communication: Debate vs. Dialogue

On Communication: Duplicates vs. Complements

Getting In Our Own Way: 2 Barriers We Contribute To That Limit Social Change

Non-Religious Belief ≠Lack Of Morality

Treat Others How They Want To Be Treated

Putting It All In Perspective: The Pale Blue Dot

When Things Aren’t Working Properly, Invest Some Time In Unclogging The Pipes

On Internalized Racism: Moving From Anger To Compassion

Respecting Diversity In The Classroom & Beyond: Multicultural Guidelines


From Aspiring Humanitarian, Relando Thompkins-Jones, MSW, LLMSW



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Written by

I'm a Social Justice Educator and Aspiring Humanitarian who is interested in conflict resolution, improving intergroup relations, and building more equitable and inclusive communities. "Notes from an Aspiring Humanitarian" is my blog, where I write about issues of diversity, inclusion, equity, and social justice. By exploring social identities through written word, film & video, and other forms of media, I hope to continue to expand and enrich conversations about social issues that face our society, and to find ways to take social action while encouraging others to do so as well in their own ways.

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8 Responses

  1. This message is so important in today’s world. We have every trying to impose their thoughts and opinions on others. Everywhere you see, there is unrest because of a clash of opinions. Thank you for sharing this. It did make me pause and think for a moment.
    P.S – if you can, please share something about body shaming or fat shaming.

    • rossbalmer says:

      > We have every trying to impose their thoughts and opinions on others

      Why isn’t “it’s okay to impose your thoughts and opinions on others” another way of thinking to be respected? That’s their point-of-view and you just judged it and decided it was a bad thing. Personally, I would have done the same thing.

    • Hi Wandering Soul,

      Thanks for your comment, and your ask for body shaming or fat shaming. It would definitely be a benefit to share more on that topic, and I plan to incorporate it into my sharing in future notes. I would also recommend, if you have not already done so, to check out The Body Is Not An Apology blog.

  2. rossbalmer says:

    The trouble is, some people seem to think 17+49=9 too. How are you supposed to respect that? I can appreciate the ideal behind it, but some people believe things which are demonstrably wrong, even harmful. And do we in the social justice movement not already make a particular effort to point this out? Treating all points-of-view as equally valid is potentially harmful in itself. You see this played out on “Fair and Balanced” Faux News when they treat climate scientists and climate change denialists as if their claims are equally plausible. They aren’t. It’s really another way of saying “don’t judge”. Personally I don’t think judgment is a bad thing, and in practice those who speak out against it judge as much as anyone, they wouldn’t be able to navigate their lives effectively if they didn’t. What I would suggest is to judge sparingly and judge well, but for goodness’ sake don’t stop!

    • Thanks for stopping by Ross,

      Your comment reminds me of a few things. First, because of oppressive dynamics that have been set in place, privileged perspectives are often valued at the expense of the perspectives and worldviews of those who are oppressed. I think of this whenever I hear the quote “Until the lion has it’s historian, the hunter will always be the hero“.

      History, and what is deemed as acceptable belief is often defined by those in power. The stories we believe, the way we are socialized all have an impact on how we think, and what we do. Because of that, I agree that some points of view must be challenged more than others, and some must be supported more than others, and your example of Fox News programming highlights how important that is.

      I shared this image with people who are marginalized in mind. I shared the image with the understanding that although there are commonly promoted and established definitions of what is deemed acceptable, there are people who think and live differently and are able to achieve happiness or acceptance on their own terms outside dominantly established definitions.

      These same folks are marginalized not because what they are doing is wrong, but because they lack power.

      So for example, when I hear 6+3=9, but so does 5+4, I think of the dominant belief that Christianity is the superior religion. I think about the people who practice different faiths, or even no faith at all who still find fulfillment and satisfaction in their lives.

      When I hear 6+3=9, but so does 5+4, I think of the dominant belief that two-parent, heterosexual coupled homes are the ideal environments for raising children. I think about single parents, adoptive parents, parents in the lgbtq community, and other forms of family where people have successfully raised children.

      To me, there are so many ways the idea in the picture I shared challenges dominant narratives that support the superiority of some groups of people over others.

      When I read your comment about the problem of some people thinking 17+49=9,reminded me about the cycle of socialization and how each of us, even within “the social justice movement” have bought into some belief systems that are problematic; that we have bought into some narratives that have instilled a belief in our own superiority in one way or another, and we too need to unlearn some things in order to get to liberation; for others as well as ourselves.

      17+49=9 could come in the form of a self-proclaimed white ally who has not fully investigated their complicity with racism, including their conscious or unconscious complicity. 17+49=9 could be that person silencing a person of color for calling them out, or policing their tone with threats of withdrawing their support because the call out is not being delivered in a way that massages their need to be recognized as a “good person”.

      17+49=9 could be a person who is upset about class inequity, but actively perpetuates homophobia or transphobia while calling themselves a social justice advocate.

      17+49=9 could be the person who advocates for racial justice, but perpetuates ableism.

      Truth be told that 17+49=9 list could go on and on. I shared this image not as a means to say that some worldviews shouldn’t be challenged more than others, but as a recognition of marginalized voices, and as a recognition that, even those of us who say that we work for social justice, also need to remain mindful that while we may see 17+49=9 in another, there’s someone else who may also see 17+49=9 in our way of thinking as well, depending on our privilege and lack of awareness.

  3. Christina says:

    I enjoyed this message. Respecting others and their way of thinking doesn’t mean you’re admitting you are wrong or at fault. It only means you’re not judging another’s point of view. For example, co-sleeping is a mom-issue that is near and dear to me. Just because I may not have the same view on the matter as the mom next to me, doesn’t mean she is wrong. As long as we are both doing the best we can to look out for our children, then we shouldn’t be judged. Sorry, if this is off topic, but it’s one of the ways the quote spoke to me, as my most passionate beliefs pertain to my family, typically.

    • Thank you for your comment Christina,

      Right. Respecting others’ way of thinking can involve understanding that different things can be true and affirming for different people, and the way that we may do something is not the only way to do it, and even though it might be the best thing for “us”, it might not be the best for someone else, and that’s okay.

      Your comment was not off topic at all. I understand that the quote may speak to people in different ways, and I welcome those ways and interpretations in this space. I hope you return and comment again on other notes if the mood strikes you.

  1. November 11, 2015

    […] Day 7 Prompt-Let Social Media Inspire You: Respect Others’ Way of Thinking […]

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