George Floyd Anniversary
I have been deeply moved by the state of the world this year and by this event. On the anniversary of George Floyd’s death, today, we have an opportunity to see how this unfortunate event has changed the minds of Americans, challenged the political establishment, changed the narrative of our history and the implications it bears on our chances at a future that benefits everyone.
Black lives matter. I have always believed this, and never not believed this. George Floyd mattered, and may he rest in peace, may his family find comfort and justice in their quest. The fact that he was murdered in police custody, is known. What is not a fact is that he was the victim of racism. Police brutality, yes, racism has not yet been proven.
Let me just share that upfront, clearly that his life mattered. Human lives matter. Here. In the world, in Palestine and Israel, in Belarus, in Afghanistan, in China, in our inner cities and in our prisons. Lives matter.
Today, I do however believe to the core of my being, that the movement bearing this name and other political movements are going about this in a way that is detrimental to the rights of all Americans, the safety of all, and has fanned the flames for more racism. It now seems that everything is focused on race.
Everyone as a Victim and Anxiety
Unfortunately for many, the detrimental view that the BLM movement is taking is that we are all victims. We are victims of our history, both black people who were victims of slavery and white people who are victims of systematic indoctrination and destine to be oppressors, and anyone and everyone of any race here in the US and in the world. Truly, this is marxism.
Victimhood causes anxiety, which is at its highest because we can never predict when we might be victimized. To be a victim is to remain a victim and to see oppressors all around.
The truth is, we are not victims. Being community and service-oriented humans is the way forward to peace, and equity with equal opportunity for all while maintaining our freedoms and liberties. We are each responsible for our own results. That is the mindset that frees us from victimhood and anxiety.
Do things outside of our control happen to us? Absolutely!
Clearly, that was shown not only in these Coronavirus times but also in the #metoo movement, of which I am a part, being sexually abused at four and raped at fourteen. Clearly, there are many people who have been victimized in this movement. But choosing to be a victim is different. Living life as if this bad thing defines you only produces pain and anxiety.
Nearly everyone can say they have been victimized..
Down through history, every school kid had been gas-lighted by adults or peers, has been treated in abusive ways, been ostracized by peer groups, teased, disappointed by lost opportunities, neglected. Yet, does that mean becoming a victim? Hardly.
Choosing to be responsible for my life and my results is empowerment and frees me from the anxiety and fear of victimhood. It allows me to freely take positive actions in my life.
Too often, victims want revenge, restitution, and validation over their own happiness, freedom, and safety. Today, this is seen in riots, looting, and calls to defund the police. Police who provide at least some level of checks and safety in the world. Defunding them only supports criminals.
Reform is a good thing. I am for reform and better training for police, community service personnel, first responders, and educators. I believe in a reformation of the prison system and the bail system. Our systems should constantly be improving the lives of our people. I am proud of educators all over the country who continue to research best practices for learning and pedagogy that support learners worldwide. I believe this is so in all of these systems.
Nevertheless, seeing ourselves as victims doesn’t give us the tools for change, however. Only seeing the future outcome and striving to reach that, gives us the focus and proper tools to mend the systems for the benefit of all.
Safety and Fairness for All?
Sadly, victims often turn around and hurt those who they feel are their persecutors and adversaries. Envy develops because one group gets better results.
Case in point, some people think that Asian minorities are responsible for keeping colored minorities out of private and higher education, as well as causing the coronavirus. Hate crimes have increased against Asian minorities and institutions are going backward to affirmative action practices and getting rid of merit-based entrance requirements to solve the problem.
Some city governments are giving scholarships and financial assistance to black-owned businesses, which is unfair to other businesses who may need the financial assistance just as much.
Shouldn’t fairness go to businesses with needs? Regardless of race? So we swap one unproven inequality for outright inequality and that provides support for people, or does this fan the flames of racism?
Fanning the Flames of Racism
Critical Race Theory CRT is a controversial idea found in the 1619 project that supposes that America was founded on slavery, instead of the idea that America was founded upon individual freedom including religious freedoms. CRT teaches every student to consider their own race and those around them and to score their level of oppression.
This is victim think in a large way! States, parents, and communities are arguing about this theory’s place in our schools. It teaches people to hate their country and to hate each other. I fail to see how this is helpful to inclusion and diversity in any way.
Indeed, none of this would be what the great Martin Luther King Jr. would have wanted us to focus upon in order for people to rise to their own ability in a fair system that values a person’s character above the color of their skin.
An Absurd Example
A few months ago after reading and then posting the full 95-page Georgia voting law, in its entirety for people to read, someone commented, “I don’t think it’s up to us white folk to decide whether or not it’s racist. Many people of color are speaking out against the bill and if they can discern racism in it, than I feel it’s up to us to back them up.”
This is a perfect example of how we have more racism. According to this commenter, I am not able to think about racism, nor read and form an opinion about the fairness of a law after reading it, because of the color of my skin. I have to, instead, leave my opinions up to someone who may or may not have read the actual law, because of the color of their skin.
Solutions are Pro, not Con
Solution-based thinking is always pro. You can’t solve problems by causing more problems, nor by using the same thinking that caused the problem. Rioting and looting may have gotten more press, but it didn’t solve anything. Burning businesses, courthouses, and police departments, throwing Molotov cocktails at police cars, didn’t change people’s minds. It causes more problems.
Being pro-reform will begin to solve things. There is momentum to create change. Parents in Oakland have started a pro-change movement called Oakland REACH, that will help their kids gain access to better education. That is a pro movement and a positive step to get these kids better access to education, better results and into higher education fairly, without the need for affirmative action.
Years ago, I read the controversial book that Ta-Nehisi Coates wrote, “Between the World and Me.” I looked up all of his references and thought about it for weeks. Afterward, I warned my colleagues, in our book club, that the mindset of this book creates victimhood around race that is dangerous and disempowering to young people. I also shared a more PRO approach to race in the work of Angelica Das.
Angelica Das is the creator of Humanea a project that shows that humans have all variants of skin tones, because of our humanity, not our race. We are all a part of the diverse human race.
Her project speaks deeply to our unconscious about skin tone and humanity. It is pro awareness, pro-diversity, pro-empathy. It taps the soul of the matter, that we are more than the color of our skin. Not as flashy maybe as violent protests.. But deeply life-changing, nonetheless.
The Danger of the Great Filter
Recently, I have been reading about astrophysics and our universe from Avi Loeb. There is a theory about why there have been no encounters with other alien species from space called the Great Filter. Robin Hanson published an essay about it in 1998. It states that when a planet becomes technological enough to reach the stars, it annihilates itself with its own technology. Are we headed to annihilation?
I see hatred and wars on the news in every corner of our globe currently. I see China spending trillions on military build-up, economically imperializing and polluting Africa and the planet with coal electric plants, whilst committing human rights violations to its own people and arrogantly vowing that they will be the economic superpower on the planet.
That should make us quake. I think we would if we weren’t so busy at home fighting on all these other fronts.
Israel and Hamas are now in a ceasefire, thankfully. Yet, I still see news of hate crimes against Jews for this war. Hamas sent 4000 rockets targeted at Israel’s civilian population and people still hate Israel for their response. We’ve learned nothing from the holocaust?
Will we annihilate ourselves before we reach space? Before we create world peace and a world that works for all? I am not sure, but I do know that we are headed that way.
How do we solve things?
Blame shifting leaves no one blameless and everyone pointing. I don’t have all of the answers.. Yet I can encourage you to be Pro, not Con.
Be pro a world that works for everyone. Seek solutions that provide wholeness, consensus, values, and fairness to everyone. Seek solutions that start with the mind, and empower others, not make them victims.
Be focused on what you want and what you can do for humanity, for your community and for others, not what others can do for you. By focusing on what you can do for others you will get rid of your own self-focused anxiety.
Be focused on growth. “Nobody escapes trauma,” says Dr. James Gordon, who researched trauma in war-torn children. His team of teachers created techniques to heal traumatic stress turning it into post-traumatic growth. You can read about it in his book, “Transforming Trauma.” To heal trauma, you can focus on empowerment and transformation, not blame and victimhood.
As our world opens up after the virus and we begin to focus on losing our pandemic pounds and whitening our teeth.. We can also be focusing on ways to make things better. Solutions we can provide and ways we can empower each other for the good of our planet.
Each of us has something to give of ourselves, give that. Focus on that. And if you pray, pray for peace on our planet.