Can We Please Move Forward?
It seems the heated discussions and rifts in relationships have gathered steam and size in recent days around systemic issues in America. It’s sad for me to witness friends and partners who, on the whole, are pretty amiable, but have turned contentious and defensive.
Too often the perspective isn’t broad enough to encompass the whole thing and I see people being aggressive, biased and overgeneralizing in the same way as those they contest, but for a different side. They don’t seem to see they are engaging in the same behavior, using slurs and sweeping statements that deny the reality that everyone is a unique individual. Instead of condemning the BEHAVIOR, too often I’m hearing condemnation of people on the whole. And beyond that, a demand for recompense from people who did not perpetrate the crime.
Many, if not most, living within these broken, inequitable systems are a product of them, if not a victim. While they, along with everyone together in a CONCERTED effort, have a responsibility for changing these broken systems, they may likely not be directly responsible for creating or propagating them. Unfortunately, that fact seems to be lost on a lot of people right now. They’re engaging in the similar behavior to what they condemn, just on a different “team”.
For example, to some it seems acceptable and justifiable to refer to “white trash” as though it’s synonymous with racist. Firstly, they’re not seeing that their use of a derogatory slur to condemn others for judging based on skin color is hypocritical. Secondly, they’re not acknowledging that, like other derogatory slurs, it’s loaded with secondary meanings — in this case: poor, uneducated, possibly racist, possibly not. The point is that any of these features can be applied to ANYONE, regardless of skin tone. Or role for that matter. Does it not take away from the message of reforming law enforcement to say “ALL Cops Are Bad” ?? Isn’t that part of the same problem? Isn’t that an overgeneralization (the ones we’re supposedly fighting to break down/out of) that denies — like generalizations/bias does — unique individuals with their own unique values and choices?
Why isn’t the focus more on specific behaviors that need to change and what we want MOVING FORWARD? I’m in agreement that what has happened in the past needs to be addressed and remedied BY THOSE RESPONSIBLE. But it’s very unhelpful to continue approaching it in this way (diminishing humanity, compassion, empathy, undermining relationships) and rather, contributing to the very same problem being railed against. Rather than moving things forward, these patterns of speech and lines of “reasoning” (justification) perpetuate the same mindset and conflict by the “opposing team” instead of leaving it all together and marching into something new and fresh. Something matured that honors each unique person.
I long to live in a world where it’s a foregone, completely obvious conclusion that there is only one race and one species — the human race/the human species. And like other species — cats, dogs, horses — we thankfully come in lots of varying shapes, sizes and colors. One isn’t better or worse than another, and beyond appearance, they have much more in common than different. We don’t carry on with the same tired nonsense applied to nature. Seems about time we could outgrow it for ourselves.
Rather than trying to stop a runaway train doomed to crash, I’d love to see a new train leaving the station with like-minded, open-minded human beings that see all as reflections of God. Some may not learn from history. The tragedies that have happened and given rise to these recent movements can continue to be rehearsed, passed down and the distrust deepened. The Turks and Armenians have been at it for centuries. Does peace come about between them by nursing and replaying the damages done at every available opportunity?
Or might it be better to decide to perceive each as an individual with their own values, beliefs, attitudes and actions and drop the categories and the blaming on ALL sides? Too often people aren’t looking for a real solution, despite professing to. They’re too caught in justifying and being right and demanding for reparations that can never be made. It’s great to raise awareness and I’m all for positive, radical change. That could come faster without those claiming to stand for that adding to the argument.