August 31, 2009

It's not really about race

What would constitute a true dialogue on race? I'm of the opinion that it would be a civil discussion and presentation of all points of view on issues surrounding problems arising from interaction between people of different racial backgrounds, in an attempt to come to a meeting of the minds.

The problem this thought creates is that we are far too argumentative in nature, today labeled as dramatic, for this to take place. We have the ability to do this with ease. Yet, we lack the discipline to accomplish such a simplistic goal. Human beings are the same regardless of race. We all want to live in peace while we traverse trough our daily lives. Within us we hold teachings of past lives, some of that wisdom that has become outdated.

Opinions are controlled by stereotypes that have plagued us for centuries. The simplest way to overcome such ingrained thought is to ignore it by creating a truly level playing field. Take race out of the picture completely and it no longer is an issue. To achieve this we must first accept what is true and what isn't. To do this you must only look at your life, personal accountability. This is as far as it needs to go.

The first rule of all rules is that there are exceptions to each and every rule. These exceptions are present in everything, yet they are something that has to be visited when the time is at hand, and can be afforded to collaborate for an appropriate course of action. Evaluating yourself honestly is something we rarely do. You know what your faults are, and you know how to repair them. There isn't any fix that can be purchased, although we try. From physical appearance to mental anguish, we know the causes. Peace isn't something that can be achieved in the form of a pill, or in some half assed vengeance we may seek to sate a desire for retribution of past sins visited upon our fathers. Indeed, who among us can afford the time to even begin to list the things that were done to those that lived in our past. My own family tree consists of Irish, Scottish and Cherokee ancestors who's predecessors were sold into servitude and bondage for a litany of reasons historically written about for centuries. Every race can make the same claim.

To define hatred or prejudice isn't necessary either. We all know what we are talking about. Each of us have seen it, heard it, handed it out, and experienced it at some point in our lives. There are many ways to look at crime statistics in order to attempt an understanding of which groups need to be addressed. Yet all groups are represented, leaving us with only one viable option, everyone needs to be addressed. Yes, we all treat each other like shit....

Each race can be broken into groups that hate each other, each group can be further broken down into segments that again, hate each other... All the way down to the individual. That is why the first step must be taken by you. A realization that you are the same as everyone else is step one. Step two consists of admitting your personal transgressions to yourself and recognising them for what they are, your responsibility. Clean your own house before you attempt to clean someone else's.

Each person has the same rights that you have. Their opinions are different than yours are, yet they have the same guarantee to them that you have. Think for a second about your passion for your religion, the comfort it brings you, the certainty you have that it will be exactly as your holy text tells you it will be, that indeed, God's word is law, and it is the truth. Now.. come to the startling understanding that the person next to you doesn't believe what you do, they believe something entirely different.. They were raised another way, taught something completely opposite of what you believe. And... They feel the same passion about their theology that you feel for yours, whether you believe what they do or not.

Within this understanding lies the only way to move forward as a society. You want to be comfortable in your world, we all do. Understanding that we are all different, yet the same over all is the key to this comfort. The key to this understanding is tolerance, that's it. The way to learn this is written in many forms... The golden rule.. we all know it.

Set the foundation for yourself carefully and with purpose. Keeping it simple, using honor, character and personal responsibility. You are where you are in life because of the decisions you have made, and you are the only one who can change this, or keep it as it is if you are happy. Discipline is the only way to accomplish this. There is a karmic truth involved here. When you have set your life in order and include nothing foul in it, life becomes simple.

For every injustice that can be shown befalling a group, an equal mistreatment can be shown by the group accused of that injustice. Having a competition about who is treated worse doesn't accomplish anything. The acceptance that everyone has been through it at some point in history levels the field, and then we can move forward. Discussions at this point in history should be geared toward topics like making requirements equal for all in gaining access to a school, a profession, a club or a group. For a desired goal such as these, all requirements should be the same for both genders and all races. Want in this school? Make these grades.. This job? Meet these requirements... Play this sport? Run this fast... Are you going to be offended? Sure you are, we all are... There is no document that guarantees anyone the freedom from being offended.

When a white person can look at a black person and see only a human being, or a black person can look at a latino person and see only a human being, or a straight person can treat with a homosexual and not feel strange about it, or when groups from all religions can realize that most of the holy books preach love for everyone... In other words, when people can stop listening to rhetoric and start learning from the past, start to find things out for themselves instead of listening to what others have to say and taking it as the truth without investigation. That is the moment that differences of all types become a non issue.

When you consider these points you come to realize the reasoning behind it all. It's really not about what race people are. It's the human condition that you are up against. You have to overcome what it is that you have been taught. Regardless of what has been implanted in your psyche, you know what is right and what is wrong. Understanding that your right and your wrong are ultimately different from the next guy's not only opens doors to you, it allows you to learn about people from all over the world. There are lines that you will not cross, hold these close to you and keep them with honor. At the same time, show other people that you respect their boundaries. Be considerate and polite, or simply be quiet.

As you grow older you come to see that there simply is no place in life for dramatic uselessness. It really is all about love and respect. Hold these things near to you, at the same time you have to protect them with deadly precision. When someone crosses lines with you, hold your beliefs and stand behind them. Simply do not allow another person to affront you, when you do you give them power over you. Not only your daily life, but your emotions and your mental well being become affected. Remember that these people have no control over you, the only power they have is the power you give them. So put them out of your mind completely and allow them to exist and wallow in their misery, floundering through life in a small mean way. If they attack you, seek justice through legal channels. If you are ignored while attempting this, make a decision to let everyone know about it or forget it. Look that person in the eye and let them know that you forgive them and if they need any help, offer it to them. Or simply stay away from them, it's that easy. When these things can be done, you grow because you truly see that there is actually only one race, and we are all we have.

"We need also to recognize that many great thinkers of the past-- whether in medicine or philosophy, science or economics-- labored not simply to advance whatever particular group they happened to have come from but to advance the human race. Their legacies, whether cures for deadly diseases or dramatic increases in crop yields to fight the scourge of hunger, belong to all people-- and all people need to claim that legacy, not seal themselves off in a dead-end of tribalism or in an emotional orgy of cultural vanity." - Thomas Sowell


Jules said...

I feel like Pooh bear and his "think, think, think". So much to ponder and turn over in my mind. I have to say that moving to the south was a shock to me. I had little or no experience with any of this. I lived in a large urban enviroment and everyone was different and in a sense that made us all the same. I still find myself stumbling when this issue rears it ugly head. It baffles me.

wendy said...

We need to teach our children it's ok to not be like the next person. That should be a lesson we learn by example from birth.

"Is it so bad, then, to be misunderstood? Pythagoras was
misunderstood, and Socrates, and Jesus, and Luther, and Copernicus,
and Galileo, and Newton and every pure and wise spirit that ever took
flesh. To be great is to be misunderstood."~Ralph Waldo Emerson

Dana said...

I've got a kid who has always been champion for the underdog, and that is one of the MANY things I love about him. He doesn't see race, disability, differences, but instead identifies with the heart.

We could all learn a thing or two from our kids!