Reading the Writing in Violence or Peaceful Resistance?
Some people respond to crises, trauma, and violence in kind. They lash out, express their anger in destructive ways, and in the long run, give the immoral justification for their unconscionable acts. The ones who leave me speechless with wonder and respect are those who find constructive ways to deal with what the honorable side in all of us deems, at the very least, unpleasant, but more often, horrifying.
They give their oppressors no further ammunition to justify the unjustifiable, yet through their actions, help more of us understand the unfair disadvantages they experience daily. Their words not only uplift, but bring forth enough moral outrage to ensure those who cross the line (often by miles, and with no remorse) are forced to take responsibility for their actions.
It isn’t their acts of violence that get the attention of people like me, so safely distanced from the challenges they face just to stay alive and safe. It’s the eloquent words they speak or write with quiet conviction which encourage me to, if not act outright, to at least pay closer attention. As one who spends a great deal of time in the company of words, I know how powerful they can be, not only when they’re used to incite and divide, but also when they’re used to encourage, unite, and, especially during these insane times, to seek justice.
A Segregated Society
Many are proclaiming that quiet acts like taking a knee have to be replaced by violence because it’s the only thing that gets people’s attention. I disagree. Those quiet acts may not immediately spark the desired response, but they linger in the mind, nagging at the conscience, and with each example of immorality and hate, remind those of us who are appropriately deemed “privileged” when compared to those whose lives and rights are too often ignored or dismissed that we have an obligation to speak out against the ones who seek to maintain the lines of segregation.
In my mind, segregation isn’t simply a reminder for those who were alive in the 60’s of race riots, impassioned speeches by Dr. King, and people denied basic rights and privileges because the color of their skin was somehow offensive to those who felt they had the right to look down on anyone who didn’t look or think like themselves. It is, in fact, denial of those basic rights, including the right to walk, jog, run, shop, or gather in public without fear of abuse, either physical, verbal, or emotional. It’s those invisible lines that lead a person to call the police on a member of a different racial or religious group on grounds flimsy at best.
Our society is segregated by manufactured fears designed to prevent us from recognizing, as Jane Elliott so aptly proclaims: “There’s only one race, the Human Race”. We don’t fear blacks, or Muslims, or Asians, or anyone else by nature. It’s a learned response fueled by a variety of sources. The rich and powerful make a big deal of putting the blame on certain groups to take the attention off themselves. The media (typically owned and controlled by the rich and powerful who are so uncertain of their ability to stay in power, they resort to subterfuge, and outright lies) focuses on small, petty issues that make the chosen group look far worse than they are, and ignores the truly important issues and heinous acts.
Respecting the Selfless Givers
It pains me to say it, but the American public is, as a whole, a herd of sheep walking willingly into the slaughterhouse, led easily by their emotional triggers. As a whole, they don’t care whether something is true or not as long as they’re getting their emotions stroked in the right direction. It may be fueling their outrage by turning something small and relatively unimportant into an earth-shaking issue. It might be supporting their beliefs that they’re abused and neglected although, unlike many, they at least have a roof over their heads, food to eat, and can walk in public without fear.
We, the privileged take so much for granted, and still, too many believe they’re entitled to so much more; their only justification, they were born, and continue to show up, albeit unproductively. If you ask me, you can’t be making a productive contribution to society without realizing many don’t, and many more aren’t allowed to. You can’t give of yourself if you’re busy looking around and pointing at what you think others aren’t doing.
History has proven those who truly give selflessly (and trust me, I’m not putting myself in that group) do so without regard for their own comfort or safety. In their hearts and minds, I suspect they believe it’s not only the right thing to do, it’s the only thing they can do. It would be nice if we could all be so morally elevated, but absent the strength and determination to be one of the more honorable societal leaders, we can at least take their words to heart and give them at least as much attention as we give the users and manipulators.
Taking Your Place in Implementing Change
People like me have to pull off the blinders and read the difficult stories, and dig deep for the compassion every one of us has. For myself, I have to stop the knee-jerk reaction I’ve learned by excessive exposure, and repressive reporting and read some of those long, impassioned posts to the end. It doesn’t mean I should stop doing my own fact-checking. But I need to open my mind, not only to the truth I don’t have the misfortune to see first-hand, but to find my own part in putting a halt to the ugliness.
I’ll never be a marcher or a chest-beater. I am not inclined to rally people around me and right the moral wrongs. That doesn’t mean I should sit back and let the flood waters wash me out to sea with all the rest who choose to ignore what isn’t shoved in their faces daily. It doesn’t mean I should remain silent, assuming it’s someone else’s fight. I’m learning I, too have a place in helping initiate change, even if I’m not entirely sure what it is yet. By taking the first step and opening my mind, I know my place in the new world we’re being challenged to create will ultimately become apparent.
Each person has their own place in implementing the change. Maybe the first step is simply reassessing which version of the truth you’re allowing yourself to unconsciously follow. I know my own is well overdue for serious re-evaluation. I’ve allowed myself to be myopic for too long, and frankly, my parents did NOT raise me that way. They may have taught me many things I later learned were untrue, but when it came to how every single person deserves to be treated, they were ahead of the game, probably due in part to their being only first-generation Americans whose parents fled their motherlands to escape persecution.
Counting My Blessings
My gratitudes today are:
- I’m grateful for friends who are forcing my eyes open, and, in some cases throwing the very real inequities in my face. I know the wake call is long overdue.
- I’m grateful for realizing I’m no activist, but I can still help, once I figure out my own role in the coming changes.
- I’m grateful for my skepticism which, most of the time forces me not to take things at face value. I’m slowly learning to shut down my own knee-jerk reactions and keep digging deep for the truth, no matter how unpleasant, or how much I’m inadvertently perpetrating wrong doing.
- I’m grateful for diversity. Having everyone think, and act the same would lead to an even more stagnant society than we already have.
- I’m grateful for abundance; free-thinking, opposing views, moral outrage, activists, true, self-less leaders, honor, truth, justice, peace, harmony, hope, balance, health, philanthropy, and prosperity.
Love and Light
Ab out the Author
Sheri Conaway is a Holistic Ghostwriter, and an advocate for cats and mental health. Sheri believes in the Laws of Attraction, but only if you are a participant rather than just an observer. Her mission is to Make Vulnerable Beautiful and help entrepreneurs touch the souls of their readers and clients so they can increase their impact and their income. If you’d like to have her write for you, please visit her Hire Me page for more information. You can also find her on Facebook Sheri Levenstein-Conaway Author or in her new group, Putting Your Whole Heart Forward