An honest dialogue about love, life, and everything in-between...

Saturday, June 20, 2015

For Charleston

And Ferguson, and Texas, and Baltimore, and New York and others never mentioned and those yet to come. . .

Once again our nation is faced with another racial tragedy. Something that seems to come more often than not these days. While the media will continue to try and turn the facts of this event around and around in our 24 hour news cycle, we have to remember as viewers that there are facts and there are conjectures. And those facts are that this white boy went into this SIGNIFICANT historically black church and killed 9 people. Period. And much like all of the other events that have been happening all over the country there will be those who try and rationalize and justify in a sense (but never excuse - oh no that's never what they supposedly try to do) what has happened. But there is nothing rational about fear and hate. While the media will go on with their rhetoric and the black politicians and civil rights leaders will stand up with their typical rhetoric we have to be careful with the rhetoric that I think is the most damaging to race relations in this country: "We are all one race: Human".

Now while it's a great sentiment and it's a true statement, in my opinion it does way more harm than good. Typically this statement will come at the middle or the beginning of a discussion about our differences and do you know what usually happens? An audience claps, the people will agree, and the conversation will stop and turn to something away from the issue at hand. It's a silencer statement.

People we are not all the same. And failure to be able to talk, discuss, ask questions about things that are different, things we may not understand is what leads to assumptions, which lead to misunderstandings, which lead to leads to fear, and it breeds hate. We have to make it safe to ask questions, be curious, and want to learn about people's differences. We have to acknowledge that no two people's life experiences are the same. Our differences are what make this life unique, rich and beautiful.How boring would it be if everyone was the same?? We have to be OK to be different.

Failure to talk about these things also breeds this false sense of equality and makes it easy for people to continue to do dishonest and unfair things. It keeps women from making an equal wage. It keeps politicians to be able to write, rewrite and remove laws that were meant to keep the system balanced. It keeps people in "non-traditional" relationships from being protected under the same laws that protect people in "traditional" relationships. Why? Because we're all human right? There's no need for gender, race, sex specific laws. "We are all human" is a dismissive statement.

So let's stop with this "we are all part of the human race" mess! I am different! She is different! He is different! They are different! And you know what?!? THAT'S OK!!!! We all have a right to live this life in whatever manner we see fit. However we do not have the right to impede on someone else being able to live theirs. I have absolutely no problem sitting down and discussing my culture, my beliefs, my history, my thoughts, my opinions. BUT I REFUSE to have to continue to justify my RIGHT to exist.

Open and honest conversation is a strong equalizer but it has to be a conversation. It has to be an equal exchange of information. It has to happen between people willing to engage in the discussion. It has to be done with people willing to participate in the receiving and delivering of information.It is then we can begin to heal some of this.Telling people we are all human is basically telling everyone to shut up. Think back to the last time someone told you to shut up... what happened next?