The Art of Compassion: #BLM
When I was younger, I would have opposed BLM.
Not because I was racist, but because I felt discriminated against myself.
There is a great show on Netflix: "Mr Iglesias," an accurate depiction of the racial diversity I grew up around. But I was also a socially awkward kid, incredibly intelligent, and that coupled with the fact that I wasn't a minority, or an athlete, made me an outcast.
As a kid my family also couldn't afford college, and according to my teachers, all of the scholarships available were for minorities, white kids (like me) need not apply. (No one encouraged me to do more independent research. I was simply taught that I didn't qualify for assistance because of my skin color, and ancestry. White=Bad)
My high school had every pride club imaginable: Black, Asian, Hispanic, Gay, Straight... But not white. Those people are racist. Don't be one of those proud white people. Don't be proud of who you are. You don't deserve pride, only minorities get to be proud of their heritage. You're no good because you're white.
If BLM had been a movement that occurred my senior year in high school, I would have spoken out against it. I would have raged against it. I would have screamed "ALL Lives Matter" as loud as I could because I wanted to my life to matter too. I needed help too. I was a smart kid, all I needed was opportunity, unfortunately my skin color disqualified me from opportunity. Those assistance programs, and those opportunities to really do something with your life, they were only for the minorities. I already got all I ever deserved as a poor white kid. I got to be white. I didn't deserve assistance to help me escape poverty too.
The very real effects of racism run deep in the United States. I was not unaffected because of the color of my skin.
If people attacked me back then the way some of my liberal friends rail against anti-BLM individuals today: Accusing me of being the problem because I was offended, because I was hurting... Because I was white.
It might have broken me beyond repair.
As it is, it took years; including a marriage to a Mexican citizen in the US (the cost of the immigration paperwork was more than we spent on our wedding), a move to Canada (more immigration paperwork), and working as a door 2 door salesman with African immigrants knocking on doors in white suburban neighborhoods, to fully recognize the very real effect the color of my skin has socially, compared to that of minorities.
I really had to do the work to fully grasp the weight of my white-privilege.
I support BLM because the system is broken. Systematic racism is a real thing. It is true that as people we become subconsciously prejudiced because of the media we consume when we aren't paying attention. I witnessed the resulting reality of people always calling the cops on the black guy and never the white guy.
I have an advantage gaining someone's trust because of the color of my skin. That's a reality that's not in my control.
But what I can do is work to educate people, encourage people, and work to be an active member of my community: supporting my neighbors to the best of my ability.
I cringe when I see judgmental posts on Facebook that condemn people for their beliefs because I understand how someone might "be part of the problem" not because they are evil, but because they are broken, wounded and feel abused.
Attacking a wounded person doesn't empower them to heal, it causes them to recoil further into a defensive position.
I was broken, and had to do a lot of work to grow and heal before I could understand the truth. I had to swallow my pride, be willing to admit that I can't know what I don't understand, and begin the work by offering healing to others even as I sought healing for myself.
If we offer compassion, with patient perseverance, I am confident others will be capable of discovering the truth themselves!
Be blessed friends. Remember to love your neighbor today!