I am writing this piece with images of the January 6th insurrection at the Capitol still very fresh in my mind. It is a huge stretch to think of those brutal, sadistic, remorseless thugs and imagine summoning an iota of compassion for them. But others of their ilk--and many psychologists and researchers--say that’s precisely what’s needed. They call themselves the “formers”: former Klansman, neo-Nazis, or generic white supremacists or other racial extremists who are now devoted to guiding those who’d followed similar paths to come to a better life.
Having recently expressed my alarm at the negative impact of social media on us as individuals and on our society, I feel moved to show one of the positives that has affected me profoundly.
I noted in my previous post that the title I used above was a response from my friend, an African American woman, to my efforts last year to encourage dialogue on race in America.
She sent me her reactions to the events described in Wednesday's post (which she liked) via email, and I feel her words are yet another important message for us white folks to hear. We hear them, but do we really hear them?
Can we feel them? Can we picture ourselves in the situations she describes? And how will--or will--any of this affect our actions going forward?
Can we transform the outrage we feel now to effect changes, staying the course, because it won't be quick or easy?
Here's my friend's response:
Well, sure: the holiday season is, ironically, a time of stress. But we know there are high levels of anxiety that have preceded this supposedly joyous time and will surely follow us into the New Year/decade.
I don’t have to itemize the list: it’s as close as your newspaper or electronic device. All sorts of problems and calamities—natural and manmade—have been occurring just about everywhere.
We can’t change the world, but we do have some control over how we view the world and our place in it. And if enough of us exercise that control, we can make a difference.
Three women, strangers, seats 23D (aisle), 23E (center), 23F (window).
One soybean farmer, one blogger, one psychotherapist.
Flight delayed by weather at destination.
10,000 feet above ground, swiftly nearing landing.