Re: I get it. Really I do,
> We need to *talk* to each other, rationally.
In relation to this, there are so many examples I can offer.
Once I worked with this Indonesian bloke who turned out to be virulently anti-semitic. I asked him if he'd ever met a Jewish person before and he said "no", so I replied "Well, now you have" (in fact there was two of us at the workplace, a Muslim country btw). He really liked me and he really liked his boss, a Swedish guy who, like me, could speak Hebrew. To this day we stay in touch and consider each other good friends.
Once I was with a Polish friend of mine who was utterly shocked at seeing two men kiss each other outside a bar in Poland. I explained to him that they're probably a couple and that was a display of affection, as people do (although public displays of affection are not very common in Poland, generally speaking). It took him a few days but now this lad is perfectly comfortable mingling with male homosexuals. He also used to have a bit of a problem with immigrants, until I pointed out that I, one of his best mates and living there at the time, wasn't exactly Polish myself.
I used to avoid ultra-conservative religious types like the plague, until I had to start talking to them while accompanying a friend of mine doing his PhD research. I came to realise that they can actually be just as tolerant, if not more, than many of us, as long as they don't feel threatened or seriously disrespected (just like the rest of us, what a surprise.) I found they even have a sense of humour and can take and dash out quite a bit of banter, sometimes quite off-colour for a supposedly fundamentalist type.
There are probably a hundred more examples I could think of but the gist is there. If you find yourself in a dispute, talking to / acting towards the other person in a non-confrontational manner tends to be the most productive approach for everyone involved.