This last week, a black person got killed by a white police officer. This resulted in peaceful protests as well as rioting in the USA and international protests.
Finally protests! Racism is wrong! Right?
This past week, I have been sitting with a lot of questions. When I lived in California, I was part of a group called Diversity Celebration which was organizing events to counter racism. Did we create change? Back then I would have said yes like so many of the other members. Looking back, I am clear that we did not create the change that we intended to.
See racism is based on the judgment that one group of people is better than another. How much racism is there in the world? My sense is that in most countries there is racism , in various forms. One form is not better than another. Racism is racism. I wonder how much the international protests allow the citizens to be blind to the fact that there is racism in their country too.
I wonder what it takes for us to get out from the entrainment that we have to fear another race, another culture. How many people are afraid of their culture being overrun by another culture? (I have witnessed that.) How many people are afraid of a representative of a culture assuming that the stories they heard are correct (whatever those stories are).
Are we willing to intervene when we see racism in action. I have wondered what I would have done if I had been one of the people witnessing the event. Would I have been willing to pull the police officer off? Since it is a hypothetical question it would be easy to say yes and I wonder? Do I have any of the fears that I talked about above? I might and I know I am present enough with myself that I would ask questions of myself if they came up.
How much are we all willing to get out of judgment? Or may be I should ask will we? As long as judgment is part of our individual worlds, racism will have a foothold. Will we be that brutally honest with ourselves to have a look at where we might have contributed to racism or still are contributing? Are we ready to be the change that we wish to see in the world to cite Gandhi?
There are 'bad apples' in any group. Will we be aware enough to spot them instead of being afraid of everyone in that group; to know that they exist and take appropriate action in order to not be at their effect without going into judgment? This is where it gets to be different from group-think, from what is considered right. This is where each one of us has to make a choice of who will I be as a person, no matter who sees me, who approves of me or not.
What if what is right now going on in the world is the invitation to look at all what we have pushed down so we do not have to be present with, have an honest look at it and change it? What if we use these events, the pent up energies of racism to really start asking questions to get out of this insanity. What is possible here?
What world would you like to live in? One with racism and privilege or one with kindness and respect? And yes, it won't be a cakewalk, it will require commitment, it will require the courage to change. Will you commit? Is it time for change?
Here is a radio show I did with John Ashford: