I’ve got a better idea. How about we don’t?
Let’s take a look at their side. There are certainly people who are simply unabashedly bigoted. But for the most part, the reasons that they hold their beliefs are some of the same that we have for ours. It may be what we’ve heard or felt all our lives. It’s congruent with the teachings of our dogmas (whether it be religion, civil rights, etc.). We feel that society has suffered because people believe otherwise. And a future ignoring our beliefs makes us feel frightened, angry, and oppressed. And we will fight tooth and nail for our side.
In order for someone to change their mind on this issue, they’re going to have to turn those beliefs upside-down and see a whole new perspective. And as allies, it’s our job to help them do that. How is that conversation going to go when you start out completely lacking respect for them? Isn’t that comparable to people who say “If you don’t believe in Jesus, I’ve lost all respect for you”? How excited to continue the conversation would that make you?
You don’t have to believe someone is completely right to respect them. But in order to have a civil, real conversation and to make an actual impact on a person, we have to treat them as we’d want to be treated. So let’s keep that respect for people who are different from us, for the sake of our cause (and for just being good people in general). Here’s a simple list of things you can do instead of/in addition to ignoring/losing respect for people (scanned from a Safe Zone training packet).