Aug 1, 2012

Polarized, divided, extreme, all or nothing…these are all terms that best describe our politics, government, and even our daily social interaction with one another.  Compromise, diversity, common ground, and just plain ole getting along have become dirty words and unfathomable ideas.  There is no middle ground; there is no gray area or neutral for that matter.  To be FOR x means to be AGAINST y.  If you are not my friend, then you are my enemy.  Why is that?

After reading a comment about Oprah’s response to a critic on Twitter, I yet again thought why is she anti-man because she was pro-woman?  She just endeavored to empower what has been an oppressed and disenfranchised population.  Same thing with race.  To be pro-black means anti-white, in the minds of some people.  When President Obama was elected, a huge fear was that he would have this black agenda that would render white people helpless and without opportunity.  A fear that the tables will be turned lingers in the mind of some.  I will not go off topic and get into why I think that is an irrational fear.  That is another subject.  Anyway, giving to one means taking from another.  Advocating for the poor somehow equates to dissing the rich.  To acknowledge the pride others have in their country means that somehow I lack pride in mine.  WHAT?!

Being pro-black does not equate to anti-white.  When the President said that if he had a son he would look like Trayvon, extremists took that to mean he would have rather that a white teenager would have been killed.  Through the lens of polarization, sure I understand the “logic.”  However, the fact remains that it is not a logical conclusion whatsoever.  The President has had the unfortunate experience of being consoler-in-chief where many whites, among others, have been the victims of mass shootings and natural disasters.  No one is reveling in the tragedy of another.  I happen to be proud of who I am and my heritage but I do not have an ax to grind with those that do not look like me.  Two aspects of my identity happen to fall into that of historically oppressed and disenfranchised groups (HODGs) in this country.  HODGs had been led to think that they were good for nothing.  To realize now that we have worth; to now to have (in fact struggle to have) a healthy level of confidence, esteem, efficacy, and pride about who we are and our heritage--the same level of pride, esteem, efficacy, and confidence that our oppressors seem to have, by the way—means that we seek to be superior to those that are not a part of our group.  As Bill Cosby has said, come on people!!

Leveling the playing field, evening the scales, pointing out injustice/unfairness, is not whining, playing the race card, looking for a handout, nor exacting revenge. Our society seems to be a walking insecurity that really needs to get over themselves.  We have a serious problem here.  So what’s the solution?  How do we come together when reaching out is shunned?  How do we communicate when seemingly no one wants to listen? How do we speak openly when people seek to put a negative spin our words, completely ignore the context and demonize us? Is it even worth the energy to, as the President says, take the world from what it currently is to what is should be? I sure hope so.


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