My heart hurts for our country. I feel the pain of injustice, systemic racism, and implicit bias. And I also feel the fear and the pain of being misunderstood.
I want to be a bridge, but a bridge has to be strong enough to bear the weight of connecting two sides.
We live in a society of hashtags and headlines. We care enough to blast someone with whom we disagree, but we don’t care enough to listen, to get curious, to do the research, to watch the entire video, or read the entire article.
We are aware of our own feelings, but unaware of how our lack of empathy toward others and our behaviors, create the very things we oppose.
We live in paradoxical times:
Those who value peace are persecuted for being silent. They are judged. The assumption is they don’t care or they’re “tone deaf.”
Perhaps their silence speaks volumes, but we don’t have the ears to hear. Perhaps there’s just not enough emotional safety for some to speak authentically and find their voice.
Because if there is an opposing view, we need them to change it now.
We struggle to meet people where they are so that a bridge can be crossed.
We want them to “get educated” and read the books that will enlighten them. But we refuse to read “their books” or try to understand their thought process.
We can only see what we want to see and hear what we want to hear.
We don’t have the conflict capacity for anything that makes us feel what we refuse to feel.
And when we don’t like what we see, hear, or feel, we reach for instant pain relief: Social shaming. If we pick the right hashtag or headline, others will gang up.
The tweet goes viral, and there’s that five minutes in the spotlight. You got social proof you were seeking, but you didn’t bring anyone over the bridge with you.
We are playing a dangerous game of black and white that’s not about race. It’s the game called “you’re either with me or you’re against me.” You either agree with me 100% or not at all.
“And if you don’t agree with my ideas, and don’t see my point of view, well then, your privilege is showing. You’re a traitor. You are a racist. Or maybe you’re just a Karen.”