Saturday, August 16, 2014

Humanity's Deepest Wound

In light of the most recent events in Ferguson, Missouri, please think about and consider this. When a crime is in the news, so often this what is thought about those involved:

Hispanic: Illegal   (the entire culture)
Arab: Terrorist   (the entire culture)
Black: Thug, gang   (the entire culture)
White: Mental Illness, troubled, lacking support  (the individual)

Nearly weekly we hear of the killing of young black people, unarmed, often at the hands of law enforcement.

I realize we "other" fellow humans and see them as less than for a multitude of reasons beyond their behavior: race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, religion, economic status. Certainly white, heterosexual, Christian men can be discriminated against, systemically and institutionally, because of their economic status, for example.

Yet it is simply a fact that being white, or even perceived as white, makes a difference. I know many bristle at this because they also feel slighted or abused in some way in our society. And even though there are always exceptions, it is simply a fact that the default privilege and preference in our institutions and systems is still for white people (especially white, straight, Christian men)...and non-white persons are treated, sometimes overtly, often subtly, as less than in some way. This may be the deepest wound humanity has yet to heal, imho.

I don't want anyone treated as less than. I want everyone lifted up, to be recognized as worthy. We're all connected, and we're all in this together.

The following is a perfect example of the pervasive prejudice which I'm able to point out when I hear it.

Whenever there is an event, like the travesty in Ferguson, Missouri, I hear: 

"I don't know why they have to loot?" (I also heard a similar comment after Obama was elected: "I just hope they don't all get crazy and start rioting now." Okie dokie then.)

Who is they? ALL black people? ALL of the black people in that community, in this case Ferguson?

There are criminals and douchebags in all segments of society. The vast majority of citizens protesting in Ferguson are trying to STOP the crimes and vandalism. I've posted examples of how citizens are going around painting over graffiti, etc. Yet when many people hear about "looting" when the crowds involved are primarily black people, they cast their judgment on all black people, or certainly the black people in the community in question.

We've seen riots in the US and other countries, especially since the recession, in which a lot of white people, especially young men, are rioting and vandalizing. WTO protests were a great example of when we saw many young white faces in confrontation with police and rioting. Sports events are a common cause of riots!

I didn't hear anyone say, "Why do they have to loot?" Because "they" didn't have a label or prejudgment against them.

The entire white population was not judged based on the actions of a few; the entire local white population was not judged based on the actions of the white people rioting. 

Check yourselves.

There are so many wonderful articles and commentaries floating around these intertubes right now, with a few links for recommended reading below.

Here is an excerpt from the article - "A Mother's White Privilege":

"To admit white privilege is to admit a stake, however small, in ongoing injustice. It’s to see a world different than your previous perception. Acknowledging that your own group enjoys social and economic benefits of systemic racism is frightening and uncomfortable. It leads to hard questions of conscience may of us aren’t prepared to face. There is substantial anger: at oneself, at the systems of oppression, and mostly at the bearer of bad news, a convenient target of displacement. But think on this." 

Why White Moms Need to Care About Murdered Black Children

11 Things White People Need to Stop Saying to Black People

To Be White and Reckon with the Death of Michael Brown

PRACTICAL COMPASSION | Sharing thoughts, ideas, and visions of a more compassionate, collaborative, joy-filled world.

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