If you have been to this blog before, you must have visited the ‘about‘ section at least once. This is not a lifestyle or some other type of blog. It’s a journey by someone written and shared with another. Not for votes, sympathy, or attention. Its a journal purely on experiences and observations.
Why? Because in sharing your journey could lighten it depending on who’s on the receiving end. Other times, it encourages others on similar journeys, bring you in the face of cruel fire and importantly might make you look back and appreciate how far you came and renew your determination to be better and go further for more than just yourself. Your future and the universe is counting on it.
My experiences are mine and my expertise is in them. Although I might identify with you or, because by nature I am more empathetic than sympathetic that does not make me an expert or an authority in yours. It would be highly insensitive of me to invalidate yours just because, I experienced it differently from you. I must first empathize with you to actually be able to hear and feel you then understand your reaction.
The value of life or validity of an experience can never and should never be up for debate. If you are not doing a thing to help ease the pain or identify the need you have no business commenting on how one should have rather acted. For example, when my mom passed on if you came and told me how exactly I should mourn, how long that should be, how I should celebrate her or our interactions posthumous, just because you maybe went through it before or you feel a better expert on emotions, depending on your approach, we just might never agree.
I might keep quiet walk away and you would never hear from me again. At the time , if you told me I could reach out if I needed anything chances are I never did probably never would. But, I realized for those that showed up and actually sort to do whatever it was they could to ease my world regardless of our physical distance their actions had me feeling much more appreciative especially for the smallest things because to me those simple things bring greatest joys. It sent a simple yet absolutely powerful message. ‘I don’t know what you might be going through, though I have been there (or not), I do not know what can make it better but I can come and serve, I can come just seat or call and hear you reminisce have us talk about other things or whatever. I hear you and I feel you‘.
You see, humanity is about empathy. Being able to identify even if you are not there. If you have been there, to respect that your paths are different. You could share and be there but you cannot dictate anything.
In the case of race and class, you do not get to say you did not hurt someone else when they clearly say they’ve been hurt by you. You can’t reason with racism, justify injustice, or rationalize people’s pain. You must first reconcile and you can’t do that unless you address the issue and that begins with talking about it. Saying just forgive and move on already is insensitive and will never ever cut it. True reconciliation begins by addressing the matter. Separate the issues from the people then you can deal with the issue effectively with full respect and consideration to the people.
If you want to turn a blind eye or treat symptoms and discuss side effects over the root cause, what’s the difference between you and the men in the story of the good samaritan who did not bother to address the matter because they pretended not to see? Pulling pictures of good acts and saying ‘see we embraced but the media would rather show you the anger’ is also being passive and insensitive. No one is disputing we need more ‘chicken soup for the soul’ stories. Lord knows world over we need heartwarming stories. We are all being battered in some type of way but if we do not expose it or talk about it we would never solve it.
Here are a few lessons I learned from this fantastic conversation. We did absolutely nothing to earn our race or class. Growing up, I never felt I truly belonged anywhere even now, I often feel very alien. I might share common beliefs and faith background with some people but that does not necessarily mean I feel at home either way. I have always been obviously different and treated like so sometimes subtly and other times outright on our faces and it hurt deeply.
As a result, I avoided many things and situations for decades just to protect my already brutalized and hurt young soul that always had to be vigilant because hell, you never know what’s going to happen. It could by people you consider ‘your own‘ which usually hurts more. You know, the silence of friends hurting more than that of strangers? So I grew up knowing the world is cruel and people treat each other differently.
I will be constantly judged and profiled for my name, how I spoke, the fact that I don’t sound like the majority or can speak a certain language, where I probably schooled, the honest hard stands our family took standing tall for what we believe is a just cause. Wherever we were, people are not exactly fond of vocal people plus the system sort of favors specific characters, groups, and classes over another for whatever reason I will not even begin to dig into.
I knew my exposure and experiences from early life left me with permanent scars like tattoos so deep in my soul my greatest grandchildren will definitely know about but hope never to feel. These also put me in a place where I looked at life very differently compared to my peers. Making my choices purely on survival, what is an absolute need, sacrificing for the greater good, and refusing to live life on a youthful whim of YOLO. I saw and experienced too many times how our lives could have ended literally and figuratively for one or another reason. Learning very young to know who and what to avoid without being told because – this thing living species are known for called self-preservation.
I was told, heard, and felt things a child should never have. Do I miss never having the opportunity to worry about things children in a normal environment should be having? No. Do I ever want to go back and re-do? No. I have learned this is life. The people in it have treated some of us with the brunt hard side first. And through it all when our family would seat together to talk about it and pray, we would remind ourselves who the people are and who God is and we each have roles. That no one should make me feel less human or does anyone do anything to earn a right over another. My human dignity and valuing other people regardless of where I am or where they are is important.
This has had me very quickly being able to empathize with people going through all sorts of situations. Very much able to almost instantly understand and hear them out without me ever sharing a single thing about me. We might even have different stories. I might never share mine in any details and we might never know each in person or beyond name, countries, age, gender, and shared faith background or a shared value. And sometimes, that is not even the case but none of these stops me from identifying with the person. For the simple reason, they are human first. Just hearing them out. Sometimes they do not need your solution but you as a soundboard will get them there and restore faith and hope in humanity.
Knowing that we can do absolutely nothing to earn anything we have or find ourselves at birth including whatever faith we may have been born into which carries a large part of our identity; in whatever space, someone will always have something to say. In so far as I am concerned, if they can’t see me as a human being before flipping their daily ‘Handbook Reference Guide for All Stereotypes’ it’s their loss. They do not know me nor my story. They cannot determine how I feel or react, my advantage is knowing my story and where I come from. Here’s an interesting video on the race of life you want to check out after this read.
It’s interesting because it’s easy to speak or do just about anything when you do not know a person. However, if you ever place yourself in their shoes you would not do a thing of what you do. You begin to think of the repercussions and place yourself in their shoes. How about thinking that way all the time? When you are the cop, the judge, the nurse, the politician, the neighbor, the friend, or better yet the fellow human if the same act was done to you or your loved one what would you do?
It absolutely won’t lose you a nail, tooth, or heart whatever you hold precious to be human before your profession. And unless your career or job serves people first, for the greater good, it’s of no use. You can pack and go home. If you chose the course of justice then leave the ‘irony’ where it belongs and actually deliver justice not in relativity but for what it truly should be with some decorum at the very least.
My power is treating others in a human way because I know exactly how it feels to be treated in certain ways and even if I do not, I can be an exception and act better. Because awareness is not enough. I need to speak up. And while it might not be my fault for as long as I am or considered ‘privileged‘, I must stand up for others. However, what is important is my response must come from a point of humility and humanity. At the very least, I do not need government policy, religious manual, or otherwise movement to give me permission to be and act human. Because chances are the system is not exactly broken but specifically designed so and because it should not be normal it would always appear broken. But you must do better because broken is not how it was meant to be.
Justify no evil. If you think these are just ideals nice on paper hard on the practice, for sure it would not always be easy but please issue your soul a search warrant. Since we are our biggest critics if found guilty of acting inhumanely convict yourself. They say the metal bars are for reform do one on yourself. Refuse to be complacent. Guard your soul against being indoctrinated as against fellow human beings. Everyone’s story is different none becomes the rule but none should be dismissed because yours is different
Lastly, do I think setting separate groups and ‘cliques’ because we are of the same race, mix, class, or school of thought is the answer? No. I think that is avoiding the issue. While it is great to have spaces where one feels like they could speak in whatever language and still be understood, diversity groups are a great measure of maturity especially if both can celebrate each other. It is true healing and reconciliation. That we can be in one platform and not feel the need to sound politically, socially, religiously, or otherwise correct, and no one is offended because another sounds, approaches, or even believes differently. That you can be you and still be us among all of us.
I raise a similar argument when sharing my thoughts on the question of gender. Until we can seat on the same table and not judge how I eat because you prefer folk and knife complete with a formal dress to have your french fries and I just want to dig in with my fingers and deliver justice to my plate without either of us feeling embarrassed about the other, we have not addressed anything.
Instead, we will have simply increased the rift making it us versus them instead of this is all of us on one team and that’s the issue let us solve it. Otherwise, you might end up repeating the same old bad cycles among your ‘own kind‘ because without the obvious differences you are blinded from the obvious blemishes in your own ‘color’.