The Best Ways To Deal With Controversial Speech Topics
Writing about a touchy topic in an accessible, relatable manner can be challenging for even the most talented of writers. How do you strike a balance between portraying the issue fairly, exploring it at length, and not offending any of your readers? Many writers are so daunted by the prospect that they avoid writing on controversial topics entirely. You do not have to go this route! Keep the following tips in mind when writing about controversial subjects, and you can avoid offense and fully explore your ideas.
Research All Sides
Every issue has multiple valid and understandable perspectives, and controversial issues are no exception. You may have a firm stance on a touchy issue, but that should not keep you from studying up on both sides of the conflict. It is important to understand the views of opposing sides so that you can do them justice in your paper. You will also have an easier time avoid offensive phrases and opinions if you can relate to the opposing viewpoint.
Use Language Delicately
You should be diplomatic in your word choice, and not use phrasing that favors one side of the issue over another. For example, if you are writing or giving a speech about abortion, you should not refer to one side as “pro-abortion” and the other as “pro-life”. In both cases, you should use the label that each side of the issue has chosen for themselves, rather than cherry picking and only giving this consideration to the side you agree with. Call the sides to the issue “pro-choice” and “pro-life” instead.
You should also conduct research to find out which terms are deemed offensive by various groups and contingencies of people. Many people do not realize which terms are considered to be hostile by other groups, and mistakenly using one of these unfamiliar slurs can cause huge misunderstandings and reader offense.
On some controversial issues, it may seem clear that one side is correct and the other is wrong. Even in these instances, you should afford consideration, empathy, and respect to the side you perceive as incorrect. Never mock or malign the group you disagree with, and provide evidence and rhetoric from both sides, even if you think one side clearly has stronger support for their position. Allow the reader or listener to form their own view, don’t advocate and stuff a position down their throat. If both sides can walk away from your speech thinking you have accurately and fairly portrayed their stances, you’ve done a good job.