I’ve been reading a lot of hate-filled articles and posts today—on all different topics—and it makes me sad. I love people. All types of people. I believe we choose hatred. It’s not something that happens to us while we are helpless victims. Even if society at large teaches hatred (sometimes under the disguise of love), at some point we see the result of what it is to hurt someone and that is the point the choice becomes clear. Do I continue with this horrific behavior or do I change?
Changing is work. I know. But it’s work that’s worth the effort.
I was taught to hate. I knew it was wrong even as a child, but even when I knew all the way to my core that those things were wrong, I still picked up on prejudice commentary. These things became part of my narrative and have affected my ability see things clearly at times. Or even speak about them and relay my feelings.
I try hard to say what I mean and mean what I say, but it’s not always easy.
This is why I try so hard to have compassion before judgment. I seek first to understand, then I engage with the, “Have you thought of this?” conversation. Because overall, I feel most humans are good. I think most try to be at their best. A feat that becomes more difficult when we get stuck in our old patterns of belief.
For a long time I didn’t understand the Black Lives Matter statement. While I completely agree with that statement, I operated under the all lives matter belief. I have friends all over the world. I’m sent pictures of children from worn torn countries. The kids are wrapped in bandages and often times missing limbs. It’s horrific, and when I would hear the saying, “Black Lives Matter,” I wanted to say, “So do these children’s lives, why are we only focusing on one area?”
What I didn’t realize is that by thinking and saying that, I was minimalizing people. I was saying, “Your plight doesn’t matter because these people suffer too.”
This was a wrong way of thinking.
Blacks struggle because of the color of their skin. The children I spoke of earlier struggle because of the faith they were born into. And these struggles—while both real and both deserving equal attention—are vastly different and don’t deserve being lumped into the same category.
They deserve our attention in separate and equal measures.
Just as gays deserve our attention. People with disabilities deserve our attention. Women and girls dealing with sexism deserve our attention. Poor people deserve our attention. Transgenders deserve our attention. People with non-white skin deserve our attention. Fat people marginalized for their weight deserve our attention. And so on and so on. And amongst these, there are sub categories that deserve attention as well. Gay people growing up in the big city have a different experience than gay people growing up in the Mormon church.
I’ve learned that by lumping groups into categories, I am part of the problem.
Individuals need to be heard as individuals.
I can go on about the things I’ve dealt with. Many of my readers know what my childhood held. The kinds of things that happened to me at church and with family. How I was sex trafficked and sold for sexual acts. There were powerful people involved. People that frightened me because they were supposed to be positions that good people held. I shouldn’t have feared officers. Yet I did most of my life.
While I can share many things, I have no idea what it’s like to be an Asian women forced into sex trafficking to work off my debt to come to the US. I have no idea what it’s like to be Black and fear a run in with an officer. While I have related fears and experiences, they are not the same. They are vastly different in fact. My story doesn’t equal others’ experiences and vise versa.
So while at one time I thought, “Yes, I know what it is to fear police,” the reality is that I only know what it’s like to fear police in a small town where terrible things are happening. I don’t know what it’s like to walk into a mall and be the target of harassment because of my skin color.
I’ve always seen myself as an open person, not racist or sexist or judgmental and critical, yet it’s taken me many years to understand something so simple. And this comes with me having a husband who dealt/deals with racism while we are out together. This comes after experiences of being shunned because I have biracial kids.
I just didn’t see the full picture.
I feel that’s a lot of the issue I’m seeing today. People thinking, “Life isn’t fair, suck it up.” Or, “Yes, we all have problems…” These statements aren’t wrong. There are many times I tell myself to ‘suck it up’. But this is wrong when it comes to others and their suffering. It’s wrong to say that to others.
It’s not okay to say cruel things period. And this goes both ways.
What I mean is that some of the hatred I read today was aimed at majorities. Lumping all white people into a category, or all cops into a category, or all cis people into a category, and that’s not okay either. According to a comment I read today, by this commenter’s definition of ‘majority experience rules’ I *could* lump all officers into a category of ‘abusive and untrustworthy’ because that’s what the majority of my life held with them. There were many of us, in fact, that had this same experience with cops. But I disagree with that mentality. Even if most my experiences led to abuse with officers, that does not mean that millions of officers are abusive. It does not mean I should label them all as such.
Hatred is hatred. No matter which side it’s coming from. This kind of lumping into categories doesn’t allow for people to be heard as individuals.
It doesn’t matter where this hatred is coming from. I just want it to stop. I’m tired of people hating on one another. And why? What’s the purpose?
I know hatred comes from fear and most of us have heard the popular saying, “We fear that which we don’t know.” So wouldn’t the solution be to stop being afraid of one another? Talk to each other. Listen twice as much as we speak. Hehem, two ears.
I rewrite my narrative all the time. It’s not always easy, but I do it. And I continue to work on rewriting my narrative every day. Even for simple things. Again, this is work. I know. But it’s work worth doing.
Even this post may get me a backlash of comments and that’s okay. If someone has a legitimate argument and their point of view helps me to improve my narrative even more, I’ll certainly do so. Because that’s what growth is. That’s what being open means. It means I don’t take it personally when someone corrects me. It means I listen and seek to understand.
I say this with one exception…
If your commentary promotes hatred, judgment, prejudice, sexism, bigotry, or anything even close to this, I will not add your words to my narrative. I will still love you, because that’s what I do, but only words that align with acceptance and understanding and love will make it into my narrative.
I love people. I wish some of you wouldn’t make it so hard to do so. But that is the way of things. I’ll do my best to keep on loving, even when so much of what I’m seeing and reading is about the opposite.
I choose love.
**image by sunshizzle at freeimages.com**