The more I read and explore the human atrocities committed in the US and worldwide the more I realize the root of evil lies in peoples demand for ‘others’ to fall in line with their decided ideal. Be that race, gender, religion, land boarders or otherwise. When a group large enough decides their way of being is superior, EVIL shows up dressed to the nines to enforce holy hell on the 'others'. And historically we've let this happen over and over again for extended periods of time. Until of course it gets just a little too messy and uncomfortable or maybe some blood spills onto our own walkway and we certainly can’t have that! So, in march the backup singers to demand justice and peace. That is of course until we do it all over again because apparently lessons of slavery, mass slaughter and abject discrimination require repetition.
When it comes to the rule of law, business, and basic dignities it seems money, power and skin tone still play the biggest part in deciding who gets what. The most egregious part about this is that most everyone agrees the disparities exist, yet no one seems to be at fault. Everyone you talk to loves all races and genders the same until of course it comes time to put them in positions of power, lend them money to buy property, support their business ventures or share your privilege. No no, to that you say we all have opportunities you must pull yourselves up by your bootstraps just like I did (puffed chest proud as you say it) utterly failing to acknowledge the systemic oppression and centuries long injustice puts those so call opportunities lightyears apart based on color, wealth, and social class.
In the many conversations I’ve had the ones that irk me the most is when it is unquestionably obvious that someone understands discrimination, trauma and how past events can greatly impact their own life but refuse to acknowledge that others can’t simply ‘Rise Above’. I’ve begun to realize those who are most adamant about rebuking change, the ones who refuse to acknowledge their own contributions to a derelict society are of two classes: 1. They are deeply hurt and cannot see past or through their own trauma and thus don’t possess the capacity to understand others. 2. They see it, they know it and they refuse to change because they know that their own class or standing is seemingly safe as long as they don’t make waves. They are unwilling to share in the wealth of privilege and opportunity because they couldn’t possibly imagine having to give an ounce of their own away. They weren’t taught to share, and the egocentric nature of these people is proof. The ones with the lowest levels of adaptability are the ones who have the most natural privilege and pretend to be the strongest and most superior yet would likely fall flat on their face if ever truly forced to look in the mirror. The resounding question here is can you handle the truth of history, face your role, and engage in corrective action to create a positive future narrative and in my experience many cannot.
I heard someone say many years ago that it is impossible to hate someone if you truly know their story. In my experience this is the truth. It doesn’t mean we’ll be best friends but the human ability to have compassion is one of the most unique and amazing characteristics we possess. Maybe if we can just focus on learning someone else’s story before judging them based on our own we might realize there is more common ground than not. Then we’ll understand the real evil that exists is one we fight together.
I’m doing my best to live by example and learn out loud. It’s been a bumpy ride and I have so much to learn but I will continue to share this journey via brain dumps like this and via the podcast because I truly believe we have the capacity to be a better more inclusive society and world. In the end I would rather chance being wrong in every venture than being right just once while propped politely in a neat and tidy box of agreeable makings.
Until next time - check your bias and keep the conversation going.