July 16, 2020

How to Have an Effective, “Woke” Conversation About Injustice & Racism.

Social unrest has always existed. 

Spoken in whispers behind closed doors, it lives in the shadows, until it reaches the boiling point and needs to break out.

We are experiencing this conflict right now. A light is shining upon long-buried and suppressed issues. People have taken to the streets and onto social media spreading their viewpoints and concern often with vitriolic anger and righteous indignation.

People like to take sides, doing so allows us to channel our energy into a greater whole. It makes it feel as if we are a part of something bigger than ourselves. I get it. 

But, friendships are dissolving, and families are disintegrating because of current affairs.

I’m guilty of taking sides too. I hear comments of utter insanity (in my opinion); I want to delete them and unfriend the person who posted it. Yet removing the comment does not make it nonexistent.

By seeing things from one perspective, we have become divisive and polarized. Instead of debating the issue, finding the pros and cons by looking at the whole picture, we only perpetuate the opinion that reaffirms our agenda. It is easy to categorize what is bad or wrong if it is not how we think. Yet, it is rare that something is all bad or all wrong.

I fell into the polarization early on with the Black Lives Matter movement. I viewed it from my point of view and had many preconceived ideas of what those were. Many close and dear friends dialogued with me, and as I listened to their viewpoint, I was able to take in a larger picture.

With divisiveness, we have lost our ability to just listen and refrain from the “But, what-ifs,” and the “Yes, however.”

To keep our mouths shut, allowing the other person(s) to talk, stop our minds from wanting to make the retort, refrain from the judgment, and the bias we are feeling; just listening is hard.

Hard, perhaps, but not impossible. It only takes practice.

Reflect first. Then, to better understand the issue, ask a question, not a retort, not a comeback.

There is a strength in the restraint that comes from not responding reactively. To allow the opinion of someone to be spoken and heard is a gift to have and to give.

To listen doesn’t mean we need to agree, but listening may elicit some knowing into another’s mindset. It may reveal the thought process or uncover the underlying hurts and scars that are triggered.

And to hear, we must let go of our need to be right and make our point. Life is unfolding into new territory, but the tools to navigate are those we all possess.

Be kind to those with differences and show command in the words you use to communicate.

Walk away if you are confronted with an energy you cannot condone. Stop engaging with those whose blinders are on so tightly they only see through the tunnel vision of their learned behaviors.

We have a lot of work to do in this #staywoke era. The action begins with the ability to hear all sides of the concerns.

The issues we are now facing have been the flaws within society for generations. Now that they are exposed, a discussion can ensue. Excellent!

To resolve, it only takes an alternate way of regarding them.

There is a Japanese technique called Kintsugi or “Art of the Golden Repair.” Once an item is broken, instead of tossing it away, the crack or flaw is repaired with precious metals (usually gold or silver). Turning the fault into the focal point enhances and strengthens the piece. The once perceived weakness now becomes an attribute.

If we take Kintsugi’s philosophy, instead of hiding injustices and wrongful actions, we highlight them. By acknowledging they exist and then identifying solutions, we are, in essence, adding precious metal to the break. By drawing consideration to the concerns, we add awareness and attention, thus taking them out of the shadows. Addressing these flaws in society can become our strength in moving consciousness forward.

It is through strengthening our deficiencies that the overall becomes more valuable.

Raising the country’s vibration cannot happen if we sink to the gutter of the lowest common denominator. Rise to the highest level, and the vibrations will rise with us, spreading good collective consciousness.

Become not blind to color, but accepting of it, open to the differences and united in similarities we all possess, for we are but one race; the human race.

“I am absolutely opposed to political correctness. You cannot confront hate speech until you’ve experienced it. You need to hear every side of the issue instead of just one.” ~ Jane Elliot


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