Math and science or arts and humanities? Right wing or left wing? These distinctions often miss an essential element of what it means to be human: the middle ground.

Identities are intersectional. I am a caucasian male. I am also a millennial. That differentiates me from a caucasian male from the baby boomer generation. What does a millennial caucasian male act like? What are their beliefs? Do you have an idea? What forms that perception in your mind? Do your ideas of what a millennial caucasian male is match with who I am as an individual? Probably not, because there is far more to a person’s identity than their age and race.

I know that people will continue to divide over anything and everything, but division does not need to be the focus of our worldview. With the challenges that face the world today, we really don’t have time to divide. I waste so much time arguing about social issues with people on Facebook. I become so emotionally exhausted by those arguments, and I feel anger toward people I argue with. After all that time and frustration the social issues still exist and I’ve done nothing about them except piss myself and someone else off.

On the reverse, often times when I talk to people out in my community we have positive discussions. We talk as friends first and don’t jump straight into issues. We establish a common ground, and when discussing issues—even if we have a difference of opinion—the dialogue is more respectful.

I think before we can have informed discussions and take actions based off those discussions we need to establish two things: respect and community. Respect and community is the middle ground of difference. Without respect and community we cannot know truth. Without respect and community we cannot know each other, and we cannot know ourselves.