This month, I am participating in a rather LARGE blogging challenge which involves writing a series of 26 posts – one for each letter of the alphabet – based around a theme. My theme is about nature and all its amazing features. The Tao Te Ching speaks often of nature and then patterns of nature are where the I Ching gets its roots.
So, today is all about Inequality. It’s gonna be a long one, so grab a cup of coffee if you’d like and settle in.
Animals have played games of power with each other since the Earth began. Many animals even kill their own kind for purposes of gaining power in the community and a variety of other reasons. But mankind is unique in the variety of ways we are unkind to each other. One way that we are unkind is by not treating each other as true equals.
Inequality is a topic that I have been wanting to write about for some time now. I’ve recently been taking a class called Beloved Conversations. Beloved Conversations is about bringing the topic of race relations to the forefront. It is about me, a white privileged woman, taking a long hard look at my own biases. I have to say – it hasn’t been pretty!
I thought that issues of race did not apply to me. Yeah, sure, I don’t have a lot of black friends, but I am not a racist, am I? If there are any parts of me that are not kind or fair, I feel that I am consciously trying to root them out. I’ve have good intentions. Good intentions aren’t enough, though, I am learning. In order for us to root out the ways that we often unintentionally hurt each other, we need to step out into that uncomfortable zone beyond our good intentions. We need to look more deeply at how we are mistreating others, purposely or otherwise. It is our responsibility to figure this out, just like it is our responsibility to know the rules of the road when we step behind the wheel. To learn more, we can follow what is happening in the #BlackLivesMatter movement or we can study what we can about white privilege and white fragility – both excellent, eye-opening pieces!
So let’s go back a few years, to a critical tipping point of this racial unsettledness in the U.S… For the past eight years, we’ve had a Black president in the U.S. There are many people that hate Obama. You could say that people just don’t like him, but there have been many presidents in the past that have been disliked, and they were treated with more respect than Obama has been treated. They don’t just dislike him, they hate him. I have seen nothing that he has done to deserve that. People would never have said or done many of the things if it had been a white guy in the White House. What is the cause of all this distrust of Obama? Is it all because his ideas are so bad or is there something else there? Something way more subtle? When I listen to Obama, I hear a man that is passionate and wise. He seems to have a solid head on his shoulders.
So what causes this level of hatred? I think that it is the disruption of white privilege. A new layer in the onion that is racism. Sure, we seem on the surface to be fine with each other, at least from a white perspective. Everyone has equal rights now, right? Problem solved… well, not quite.
The #BlackLivesMatter movement is big news right now. In 14 large cities across the U.S., the only people killed by police were black people in 2015. My local city, Minneapolis, was one of those cities. Some say that they do not approve of the way that the Black Lives Matter campaign is being run. Sure, but can you see that we have a bigger problem here? The statistics are there.
People are also arguing that all lives matter, not just black lives. In taking the Beloved Conversations course, one of the things that I have learned is that it is common “white privilege” thinking to try and be included in everything, that we see equality as us sharing the load. We don’t share the load. White people don’t get to include themselves in the Black Lives Matter slogan. No. It is NOT ABOUT white people. This movement is specifically about blacks dying – dying without any possibility of a fair trial or a chance to defend themselves. It is not racist to not include white people. White people are not included, intentionally, because our default way of involving ourselves is part of the underlying problem. It is yet another subtle way of taking over the stage. This issue needs to be addressed, and it is a difficult one because it is buried in our subconscious way that we interact with each other. People don’t readily see their own biases.
What happens when people are forced to look at their own negative patterns is that they first get angry. Look at the anger that is bubbling up in the Trump campaign. I see his campaign success as a backlash of the fear that white privilege is losing ground and people are really uncomfortable with that. Not just white privilege, but religious privilege – moral privilege. This translates as the right to tell others how to live their lives and what to believe, who to marry, etc. People are really angry about losing this privilege and they are showing up in droves at Trump rallies. It is scary stuff, but we need to have some compassion. This is a very difficult time for all of us. We are unraveling ancient patterns of inequity and it is not easy for anyone to go through this. I believe in the goodness of humanity, despite some very dark moments. We can do this. We can see the anger of the Trump supporters as people that are having some difficulties with letting go of the control they once had.
We can all relate to how hard that is… We can have faith that the goodness of humanity will result, as it has throughout history. If you look back to historical moments like the Civil Rights Movement in the 50’s and 60’s, people then didn’t want to change either. They were angry, just like they are now. But they eventually learned to adapt. They will learn again. It’s a hard road, but I believe that change will come.
Come mothers and fathers
Throughout the land
And don’t criticize
What you can’t understand
Your sons and your daughters
Are beyond your command
Your old road is
Please get out of the new one
If you can’t lend your hand
For the times they are a-changin’. ~Bob Dylan
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This post is part of a series called the A to Z Blogging Challenge, taking place during the month of April 2016. Each day is a new letter throughout the month. My theme this month is NATURE. To view other bloggers writing about this alphabet, check out the list here.
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The list so far…