Checklist for Self-Awareness
- Is there prejudice and malice in my words and actions?
- Do I speak the truth and not by the incentive to inflate my ego?
- Am I doing this for pride?
- Are the acts of my violence and hatred protect my biased view on race justified? And NO, it is never ok to commit violence towards an innocent human being.
- Am I going against what is right?
Perhaps the greatest failure of mankind is not by the advancement of civilization, but rather coming from a place of ignorance that very few people are reluctant to address.
To be honest, I am not the best person to speak on behalf of a growing and powerful racial movement, however I do know ignorance and hatred when I see it.
Moreover, what makes me qualified to even write about a history of enslavement and oppression?
Through the experience of those who have lived through and continue to deal with the continuance and aftermath of a shameful legacy.
I found myself today flipping through the numerous movie suggestions for the #BlackLivesMatter campaign, but this question keeps popping up in between ads and comments…What exactly is the message that media is trying to convey?
First and foremost,
How do you even begin to capture the devastating and deep-rooted racial ambiguity towards the color of one’s skin in a span of two hours? Especially in a country where there is pride in liberty and freedom, but justice seems to also lack in its degree of social influence.
I found that if you listen to those who have quietly and just as passionately stood their ground amidst centuries of racial hatred, you begin to ask the questions that is the core of racial inequality.
So I sat down and wrote the following questions that plotted out the trail that racism has left behind:
How have we fallen from social justice?
Why have we failed to embody basic compassion for others?
More importantly: Why must hate be the answer to the indifference that African-Americans have faced after decades of civil rights movements, boycotts and demonstrations?
How can we take the first steps towards a more justified and humane society?
Yes, as you can imagine, mercy and justice (if properly addressed) breeds the allowance of mankind’s morality……if you talk to the right people.
Here’s what I mean:
As I sat down and wrote down the measures and budgets that most people are experiencing due to the economic downturn that COVID-19 has caused, I received a call from a peer warm line.
Having the stress of COVID-19 weighing in on my mental health, I gave this warm line numerous tries and this had always held me together.
As I tried to stand on my own, I realized that the bulk of my conversations were that of those who had survived the horrors of the Civil Rights movement and how its aftermath continues to shape America’s love affair with protest and justice. However, this cause is more than justified.
I find that I only came back to the calls as a way to understand just how much distress there was going on in this nation.
Some of the responders talked about how they could not get the food that they needed as panic buying rose again. I heard the frustration of people as prices soar for amenities and that regular people are trying their best to lead lives as similar as possible before the pandemic hit. Of course, everyone is troubled.
What stood out the most for me was a man whose first words for me were,
“You made my day. I come from a family of writers and you are one, but most of all, I love how soft-spoken you are.”
How could my experience of uncertainty and anxiety had made this man’s day?
“It’s simple really. When you speak softly, people listen. When you scream what is in your heart, people listen. And most of all…words are powerful! Therefore, people will listen!”
What had this man meant?
As I listened to his story of how he had stage fright because of his job as a mental health first aid worker. He told me about how opened his mouth and just started talking and how he got better and people began to notice. He lamented that not many young people take the time to listen and ironically though I had dialed the phone to listen, instead I listened to a man who loved the idea of a gentle opposition to society’s domineering influence.
He started to spell out that YES racism and hatred have always been present, but this pandemic was a type of blessing that was unique for times like these.
WHY? WHAT IS SO SPECIAL ABOUT THIS FIGHT FOR RACIAL EQUALITY?
He took a deep breath and said,
“Some things we can’t run away from, but sometimes this can do a lot of good.”
“Simply put, now we have NO distractions.”
A lot was left for interpretation as he encouraged me to write and that like everyone else, we have our faults and shortcomings. He told me how the capacity of another human being’s words can literally change the world.
Funny how after he had told me all of the possibilities and potentially powerful changes that the world could experience, he ended the call with one last response to me.
What do you know? After all this ordeal?
I left with a quiet homage that actually brought balance back to my mind:
- I do not come from a place of ignorance.
- There is freedom everywhere, especially in the last frontier which is one’s mind.
- As Desiderata stated, “the world is still a beautiful place.”