Posts Tagged With: fear

THE FEAR FACTOR


Be the change.

Although I’ve been relatively silent on social media the last couple weeks or so, I have not been idle. I have been having conversations, both online and offline. Great conversations. Hard conversations. Conversations full of awkward silence, along with moments of beautiful insight and revelatory sorrow. But in all of them, I’ve seen progress. I’ve seen us pushing things forward… together.

In looking back over the events of the last few years, one of the recurring statements that often preceded a POC’s loss of life by an LEO was that the officer “feared for their safety”, or the safety of someone else… a neighbor, a store owner, a colleague. While we can endlessly debate the validity of that assertion, we can and should look at the part fear has played in the history of violence against people from different cultures.

It seems the from the very beginning, white Americans (and to a lesser degree, Americans in general) have been conditioned to fear those who were different from them. Or at least view them as what I call “necessary adversaries”. It reminds me of the quote, “Nothing brings people together like a common enemy.” I remember playing “Cowboys and Indians” as a child. And although no one sat me down and said, “The cowboys are the good guys, and the Indians are the bad guys” It was just understood that this was true because everything we saw reinforced this belief. From toys to books to TV shows… the kids were upset when they had to be the “indian”. When I go back and watch “Old West” films, I find that they’re rife with the indoctrination of Native American savagery. “Indians” steal food and livestock. They rape and kill and have no concern for what’s fair or honorable. A false narrative.

Conditioned to FEAR.

In much the same way, the portrayal of African Americans in media (television, film, books, advertisements, etc.) has served to reinforce the stereotypical dangerous stranger. No one may have said it straight out. But to look around is to understand that “Here are the many reasons you should be afraid of black people.” We are gang bangers who live to terrorize communities and kill indiscriminately for sport. We sell drugs to support our own drug habits, and will kill family and friends if they interfere in this process. We steal women from other races and dominate them in defiance of the authority and superiority of other races. We are lazy, seeking only comfort and convenience, to the detriment of our futures or concern for anyone other than ourselves. Another false narrative.

Conditioned to FEAR.

For too long our country has been living in denial of the underlying traditions of xenophobia that support our current racial divide. Until we acknowledge the truth of our own biases, we cannot effectively address the immeasurable damage of this “fear” that has rippled throughout history.

How then do you retrain someone to no longer fear those of whom they’ve been repeatedly told to be afraid?

In some of my conversations, I’ve heard people say that education is not the solution. To a degree, I agree with that statements. We must understand that education was never meant to fix the problem of discrimination or systemic racism. But education provides the light that exposes an issue, so that we can fully understand and see clearly what it is that we’re attempting to fix. EDUCATION becomes the antidote to fear.

The solution then becomes replacing fear with COURAGE and DETERMINATION.

Embrace COURAGE.

Show DETERMINATION.

Together we can be the catalyst for CHANGE.

Categories: commentary, current events, opinion, personal | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Conditional Pity


Here’s a confession…

As I hear more and more about police shootings and other types of violence against youth, I sometimes find myself sliding frighteningly close to the edge of CONDITIONAL PITY. See, CONDITIONAL PITY occurs when an individual or group feels sorry for what has happened to someone else, but believes that, to some degree, the victim was simply at the wrong place, or with the wrong people, or doing the wrong thing. And that somehow, if maybe they’d been in the right place, or with the right people, or doing the right thing, this tragedy could’ve been avoided.

I admit that I’ve fallen into that mindset on occasion. I’ve had to actively steer my thinking away from trying to make some sense out of violence that is in many instances all too often a senseless act. Perhaps the reason this happens is because to do so provides us with a false sense of security. Unfortunately, to rationalize the behavior of a criminal in hopes of protecting yourself from becoming a victim as well, not only trivializes the situation, but demeans the victim, and offers no real opportunity for commiseration.

Perhaps the biggest fallacy of CONDITIONAL PITY is that as long as you (or I) relegate victims to that space, you are using victim blaming to effectively convince yourself that it could never happen to you because, you know… you avoid those types of people/places/scenarios, right?

Wrong.

It’s been 11 years sense my nephew was gunned down in a drive by shooting. He was in a car, in the driveway with his cousins, preparing to go to the movies. He wasn’t in the wrong place, or with the wrong people. He was targeted for no reason that he himself could’ve changed or avoided.

I still think about him.

And it still hurts.

It’s only when we allow ourselves to recognize and acknowledge the innocence of these victims, that we can then understand and accept that no one, myself included, is truly safe. Because, as much as we’d like to think otherwise, the world is not safe. And that reality scares people. I understand that. I get scared sometimes too. But CONDITIONAL PITY is not the answer.

Instead, let us use this truth as a call to action. Safety begins at the moment of clear perception. It’s when we decide that participation is more important than observation. Be more than a spectator. In the moment one person decides to move forward, everything around them is changed. How much more so when 100 people decide to move, or 1000?

So I’m moving forward. Maybe in seeing me move, 99 others will be inspired to join me. Maybe if you move, you’ll inspire 999 others. Wouldn’t that be worth the effort? Shouldn’t it?

Opinions welcome.

Categories: commentary, opinion, personal, relationships | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Just an observation…


Most of us, if not all, would agree that we can demonstrate the existence of love even though it is intangible in and of itself. Our relationships reflect it. Our behavior is motivated by it. Certain types of love even have financial implications. But it cannot be held in your hands, bought from a store or traded on the stock exchange.

Yet, we know it exists.

Nevertheless, we cannot accurately measure love’s depths or variations by any benchmark or standard of behavior established by mankind. For we have seen both the most beautiful and horrendous things occur in its name. There is no way to anticipate its affect from one person to the next. Nor does everyone define or describe it the same.

Yet, we know it exists.

Some people embrace it. Others fear it. But we never question its functionality or how deeply embedded it has become in our everyday lives. We accept that it is because of the preponderance of evidence that supports it. And when I think about all of these things, I come back to the same simple conclusion…

God is.

Categories: personal, religion | Tags: , , , , , , | 3 Comments

DOVE NOTE #37: Are You Commit-Able?


There are many people who adamantly believe that most, if not all, marriages are destined to fail and will end in divorce. I don’t agree. I believe that in many cases, divorce is simply a byproduct of the failings of the people involved. Allow me to explain…

From an informal survey, these are just some of the reasons I’ve been told why people get married (as opposed to people who just choose to live together).

  1. Financial Security: Among other things, a combined income increases your ability to purchase a home. Some want to enjoy the spoils of being married to someone wealthy.
  2. Fear: Some people are afraid of being alone.
  3. Low Self-Esteem: Many settle for less than they actually deserve because they honestly don’t believe they deserve or could ever get someone better.
  4. Children: Along comes an unplanned pregnancy and some think marriage is the answer.
  5. Love: Real love. Not infatuation, obsession or lust.

One glaring omission from this list is what I believe to be one of the most important reasons of all to get married: COMMITMENT.

First of all, falling in love is a CHOICE in the same way that you make a DECISION to get married. What I’ve observed as the seed of destruction for many marriages is they’ve somehow failed to understand the real meaning of commitment and how it applies to being married.

When you agree to commit yourself to someone else for the rest of your life, it means you are bound and obligated to work together on making the marriage successful (obviously, there are exceptions for instances of abuse or infidelity). There is no giving up. It’s not about growing tired of someone. It’s not about holding on to The Ewwies (unspoken expectations) and then complaining to others about those expectations not being met. It’s all about two people who’ve agreed to communicate honestly about what does or does not work, what makes them feel loved, what makes them feel rejected and rehearsing all of the reasons life is better together.

A recent study contends: “When [people get] married, they don’t [do so] for long love. If they [start to believe] love and family [no longer] offer them happiness and safety, they choose to divorce. They [no longer] think about the family or the children because they [hold] themselves as the center. That means they love freedom [over] stability.”

I’ll leave you with my Bulleted Personal Observations:

  • Work out any major issues before you get married. Marriage will inevitably amplify existing problems
  • Discuss finances, religion and how you’ll raise your kids BEFORE-hand as well
  • You can never say “I Love You” too much
  • Figure out his/her love language and work to express your feelings toward them in that way
  • Use the Upward Spiral Method. The more you love your spouse, the more they love you back and the more you want to love on them, etc, etc
  • It’s okay to disagree or get upset. An argument does not imply imminent disaster.
Categories: Dove Note, marriage, relationships, Series | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Blog at WordPress.com.

%d bloggers like this: