There was an incident with a teacher at my school. Let me try and set the scene for this story.
Every day, a female Indian teacher would show up at the windows of the teacher's office and she would ask for a jar of pickles that were on her friend's (a Filipino teacher's) desk. Later in the day, she would return them.
This particular day, she had already asked for the pickles. The window had been left open.
Later in the day, she jokingly mentioned that the school hand recently created a brochure for the school and put only four white teachers within its pages. She made a point to joke about it but mentioned that it was unfair because she had been at the school longer.
This female Indian teacher often flirted with many of the other teachers. Perhaps her way of showing affection or feeling it.
This same day, the Indian teacher flirted with the American teacher pretty suggestively. Something about heating him up. He responded with, "yeah, only you can cool me down." His intention was to be suggestive and trying to hint "cooling him down" would be something naughty.
The Indian teacher read this as a rejection of her flirting and her. That hurt her. He intended to reciprocate the flirting but the wording allows for alternate interpretations. For him it meant, yes please. For her it meant, no thanks.
The same day, the American teacher was quoting a movie. The movie is called "Blast from the Past." The teacher in question quoted the line "A negro. My lucky stars!" The scene is quite funny if you have seen the movie. If you haven't, that word could always hurt some feelings.
The same day that the American teacher had quoted the movie, he received a text from the Indian teacher. She said that it wasn't nice to talk behind peoples backs.
Also, the American teacher heard another Filipino teacher in the office walk out of the office and say, "time for the negros to get back to work." This was done as an aside. Loud enough to be heard, but not too loud. The level of volume where you think that you have heard it, but you instinctively say "what?"
He was confused. I'm pretty good at understanding people's motivations.
So I said, here's what happened.
The Indian teacher has a habit of coming to the window each day to ask for the jar of pickles, then she would return them every day through the same window. She asked me because I am by the window.
That day, she had asked for the pickles, but she had never returned them. The window had been left open from the asking.
She had heard the quote from the movie when she was returning the pickles and made an assumption that the comment was directed at teachers in the school that were not "white." Maybe she would not have made that assumption if she hadn't been hurt by the actions of the school or hadn't felt rejected by the American teacher.
Here you have many different forces in play. This is what I see as using a holistic/big picture to evaluate a problem and create a solution.
The American's solution was to explain the scenario step by step. He told her why he said this: because he was quoting a movie. The reason that he was quoting the movie: because a conversation in the office was going on about the Russian cold war and we ended up talking about the movie because of its relationship to this. He explained step by step, in a linear fashion, how the quote came up. He also said that the quote was not directed at any of the teachers in the school nor was did he intend any harm with the response to her flirting.
She doesn't come into this office anymore. She doesn't ever ask for the pickles anymore. Nothing.
My point about justifications and all that is you can easily say that the problem was miscommunication... and the American teacher tried to eliminate the problem of miscommunication linearly.
However, the true problem was hidden under these layers of other problems. The true problem was how the Indian teacher felt due to the relationships in her orbit: with the school and the teacher.
Probably, to fix the problem, it wouldn't be so much about explaining something as much as it would be about reaffirming the relationship. Making the Indian teacher feel safe, appreciated, loved, whatever.
Men will generally say... what? I didn't say anything wrong and I shouldn't be punished for this mess. It is ridiculous. A woman might say, I'm sorry or I understand. Or you have every right to be angry. I'm angry too!
I have an ability to see this web of cause and effect. I don't think that it is linear in its nature. It is big picture, but it is still logical.