I took some time away from the world of social media (and media in general) this week after the story broke on the church shooting in South Carolina. I had far too many thoughts and emotions to deal with myself to filter what was coming through on my various timelines. In truth, I’m still not ready, but I read something that my amazing aunt wrote in response to this tragedy and remembered that I too have a responsibility to my people to speak truth to power.
(Check out her article at this link: http://www.nbcnews.com/news/nbcblk/essay-we-cant-feel-no-ways-tired-n378676)
Fact 1: Bigotry, Racism, Sexism are still issues we struggle with in America. We cannot simple wish or pray them away. We must ALL accept the work of eliminating these cancers from our culture because they are killing us as a people as surely as the cancers we throw billions of dollars at to extend life.
Fact 2: “Feeling is in the knowing,” is a phrase that I keep hearing in my head. It is much harder to make generalizations about someone you know and understand. Do you think the murderer of those nine souls in Charleston knew the people whose lives he took this week? Did he grow up with them? Go to school with them or their children. How was hate allowed entrance to the harbor of his heart. How can we protect ourselves from this hate and root it out of our minds and hearts? This is the discussion I am ready to have.
Fact 3: This is not an isolated incident. Every community has challenges with relations between the majority and minority cultures. I use culture rather than race because it is a conflict of how people choose to live their lives. As a child, I was blessed to be exposed to many cultures different from my own so I did not learn to fear what was unfamiliar to me. As an adult, I have come to learn that it is much more common for children to grow up isolated within one dominant culture and taught to defend against outside influences. Other is bad or to borrow a phrase from a popular TV series, “Anyone who isn’t us is an enemy.” Why take this approach when walking the path of knowing helps bind us to our brothers and sisters.
I believe that we are better together. Humanity will not progress nor step into its full potential until we accept one another as equal brothers and sisters. We must deal with this part of our nature that is drawn to divisions and live as one human family if we are to embrace the fullness of who we are.