We are in the most tenuous times the recent generations have seen. We KNOW there’s a problem if former grand wizard of the Ku Klux Klan thinks the majority of America is now “with him” and is running for US Senate.
We don’t need to love everyone – that’s a farce of possibility; it’s be great but really, what are the odds of that ever happening? So what can we do? Exactly, what can each of us do to help make America and what it could be and far greater than our forefathers anticipated?
If we all were just able to do a few things:
1. Admit we fear the different
Likely since the beginning of time, people feared those unfamiliar to them. I’m certain cavemen were extremely leery if another unknown cave dweller came around his cave. We haven’t changed that much at all. The evolution of Man deals nearly solely with physical attributes and mental capacity. Evolution has changed nearly none of our emotional conditions and responses; only with the desire to evolve emotionally do our emotional conditions and responses change.But as Humans, we tend to hide from ourselves that which we fear. In other words we think fear is a weakness and we really don’t like weakness. And guess what, the desire to emotionally evolve really only arises from a person’s quest to understand his/her role within their world. But unfortunately, most people don’t encounter the desire for this quest unless they have had the desire evoked within due to trauma, travel or education. And tragically, many encounter this only upon the deathbed.I believe it was Mark Twain who said, “The cure to bigotry is travel and education” – or something like that. I could look it up but am too engrossed in the moment – somebody will tweet me the correction I’m sure.Whether we are discussing the recent accelerated racial tensions within America or the continual battle over the Holy Land in the Middle East, it’s the same element at play. We fear different.
But the question should be: Do we need to fear different in looks, attitudes, beliefs or religions? Or should we have already evolved to the point of understanding we should only fear actions taken by one against another?
Fear loses all power when we acknowledge its impact upon us. Under it all, we all fear the same – DEATH and TAXES; everything else is just circumstance.
2. Be willing to understand the perspectives of any oppositional opinion, not agree but understand from where they come
Do you hate me because I’m Black or are you just unsure how to communicate with me? Do you hate me because I’m Middle Eastern or are you just unsure how I pray? Do you really hate me because I’m a woman? Or are you a little bit afraid of my impact on you? You get the idea.
Start the conversation with a member of a minority group to try to understand from where they come. Start the conversation with a member of the majority and try to understand how he feels his world is changing. Start the conversation with a woman to try to understand what it feels like to be oppressed by all groups. You don’t have to agree with their perspectives. And don’t even try to defend yourself in opposition and don’t place blame, because neither of you are the basis of the difference. But you can be the beginning of the change.
NONE of the origin of the strife is the fault or blame of anyone still living – so avoid blaming and we can start to grow together.
3. Acknowledge the possibility that our parents, their parents and so on – could have been wrong.
Whether we acknowledge it or not they impacted our belief systems. 96% of Republicans think they are Republican because of their beliefs – don’t kid yourself, it’s not. It’s because we were either trained to be a Republican to emulate our parents/caretakers or we rebelled their ideology as part of our independence in adolescence and rebuffed them as Democrats. And of course it works in reverse as well
This phenomenon is extremely common in all areas of life. Whether it’s politics, religion or sports – it’s the same. It’s also the same in bias, prejudice, and bigotry. Our parents pass on their biases to us – period, end of story. But it’s not their fault is it? Heck no, their parents passed it on to them, and so on and so on.
You can test it out yourself. Don’t try on yourself because we as Humans have a very difficult time acknowledging stuff like this within ourselves. But you can try it on friends. Pick a few friends or people you know who are fanatics for a sports team. 8 or 9 out of every 10 will have adopted their caretaker’s sports allegiance or they root for the exact rival.
I call this Carried Generational Deficiency; it’s not a deficiency that our parents and grandparents passed these elements upon us, merely that we are under the impression we have chosen the belief systems ourselves and that we have rational justification for them. But here’s the thing – we don’t have any rational justification for carrying on our parents’ beliefs; it’s simply because the beliefs were theirs. And emotionally and unconsciously, we feel that if we were to change our beliefs or reject the beliefs of our parents or grandparents, etc. then we would be performing an act of emotional betrayal to our family. Much of this is unconscious but then again, most of why we do anything is based on the unconscious.
There is ZERO blame to place upon those previous generations, they were all taught the same – we just have to be able to acknowledge that it’s possible that their antiquated beliefs would no longer exist IF they had the knowledge, education and facts that you now have.
After all, it was less than 100 years ago that scientists were still trying to measure intelligence of races and cultures by the size of the skull!
Don’t worry about loving each other – just learn of each other.