The Wrong Way To Get Rights

4 Mar

Disclaimer: This is somewhat of a ‘stream of consciousness’ post.  I haven’t weighed every sentence to make sure it’s ‘PC’.  I jump from point to point.  If you feel like my comments are offensive, I’m sorry you took them that way, because that’s not my intent, but remember that offense is subjective, so before you just assume I’m an ass, remember we most likely come from entirely different perspectives – any offense is based in ignorance, not intent.  You are welcome to post opposing views or share with me why you feel something I intended as a positive was actually a negative -I’m very open-minded- but rudeness will not be tolerated.

When I first watched this video, I was irritated.  I had many thoughts similar to several of the objections in the comments [of the video].  I WASN’T LISTENING.  I was too busy reacting to listen and GET the point.  I was so busy focusing on what she was doing that I didn’t think was right, I was unable to hear the message.  Which was her first message.  If you’re thinking of how YOU feel about what someone is saying or doing, or how you want to respond, YOU ARE NOT LISTENING, and if you can’t at least listen, you’ll never get it enough to make a change, in yourself or anyone else.

The blonde with the eyebrow ring wasn’t listening either, because she was so busy thinking about how her suffering was being ‘belittled’.  She missed the point that if you can reach a place where you are able to wrap your head around THIS issue (racism), applying it to every other area where discrimination occurs (not only racism, because that is only one small drop in the ocean of discrimination that humanity pours out on one another) will come naturally, of its own accord.

The video did not show whether the teacher made a point to ALL of the students that the color of skin is only one discrimination.  Sexual orientation, religion, gender, age, nationality, even political leanings, ANY time that you judge a person on any basis other than who they are, instead of what they are, you are no different than the ‘racists’ the teacher refers to here.  If any of those students, whether they wore a green collar or not, walked out of that room without the understanding that the exercise was so much larger than ‘understanding what it’s like not to be white’, then they missed the scope of the exercise.

I honestly don’t think anyone got the true point of that exercise, because not ONE student in the ‘brown eyed section’ stood up and asked the teacher to stop.  Not one person in the ‘brown eyed section’ took a stand when the girl that walked out was visibly upset.  The fact that she was missing the point of the exercise is honestly moot.  She was another human being, under attack, and they all did nothing.  They are as guilty as the ‘racists’ they are complaining about.

If I were the teacher, I would have told them all that they had failed the exercise.  If you want to see change, you have to fight for HUMANITY.  For people because they are people and everyone deserves to be treated with dignity and respect before everything else, including ‘learning a lesson’.

The entire premise of her lesson is wrong, if imparting that knowledge is not her goal.

You can’t teach ‘whites’ what it feels like to be ‘black’.  You can’t teach a straight person how it feels to be a homosexual.  You can’t teach a man what it feels like to be a woman.  You may be able to open the door for empathy and a general understanding, but they will never understand the full scope of what it truly feels like, because they will always filter it through their own identity and understanding of reality.

No, I don’t know what it’s like to be black or brown in a society that favors whites.  I don’t know what it’s like to grow up homosexual in a Christian-based household or society.  I don’t know what it’s like to be YOU in YOUR LIFE, and I never will.

When we segregate rights into things like color, sexual preference and gender… we create the very division we fight against.  The ‘us vs. them’ mentality that started it all in the first place will never be the solution .

As long as there’s someone fighting for black rights, everyone will lose.

As long as there’s someone fighting for gay rights, everyone will lose.

As long as there’s someone fighting for women’s rights, everyone will lose.

As long as we battle against a portion of society, or battle for a specific group, we will always be fighting against another portion or group.  I know this seems obvious, but obviously no one understands the consequences of this, or it would have changed already.

If you’re fighting for your rights, you’ve already lost my interest.

We live in a society based on a ‘scarcity’ belief system; the belief that there’s not enough to go around.  This creates in us the belief that when someone else gets something, there’s less for me to have.  So, if you are fighting for ‘black’ rights, and I am not black, I will automatically feel that if you get more than what you have at this moment, I will get less, because I am not a beneficiary of the gain, so the scarcity mentality says if I’m not part of the side getting something, I must be part of the side that is losing something, because for someone to win, someone must lose.  That is the scarcity mindset.

Many of us have been taught this belief system from birth, and don’t even realize we have it.  Our parents didn’t realize they had it, theirs didn’t realize it, and so on, all the way back through time.  There are a few enlightened souls that have realized this is not reality, simply an illusion we have created for ourselves, but the majority of us have no idea why we feel the way we feel, only that we do.

It’s why so many white people don’t feel like they’re racist, but they may say or support things that cause others to accuse them of being ‘racist’.  It’s not that they dislike or want to hold back ‘non-whites’, they are simply locked into the mindset that for one person to succeed, another has to fail… and no one wants to be on the losing side.  When you pick and choose a specific group that will benefit from a cause, you are most definitely creating ‘sides’.

I’ve seen so many conversations about racism where people call others racist because they don’t see their ‘white privilege’, or they don’t want to give it up.  It used to make me soooo angry.  I would sit there fuming, furious at their idiocy… but when I had this realization, I realized that these conversations are actually quite funny, because neither side is wrong.

I’ll stop here for a moment and let you catch up. 😉

Now I’ll explain.

Those people who say ‘whites’ don’t realize the privileges we’ve had over minorities… they’re right.  We don’t.  We haven’t had to experience coming from an underprivileged ethnic group.  It is not in our scope of experience, and we will, quite frankly, never ‘get it’.  If you’re waiting for us to ‘get it’, you should plan to be disappointed.  It’s simply not possible.  I will not because I cannot.

They also say that we don’t want to give up our ‘white privilege’.  Right again.  If someone handed me a $50 bill just for being me, would you really expect me to be happy about giving it to you, just because you didn’t get one?  No.  And in the mind of society as a whole, for you to have what I have, I have to share what I have with you, therefore I will have less.  Who wants less, when I’m happy with what I have right now?  The truth is, we need to realize that the problem isn’t that I got the $50, there wasn’t anything wrong with that.  The problem is two-fold.  First, if you try to take what I already have from me, I am going to fight to keep it, the second being my assumption that for you to get more than what you have, I must lose anything at all.  Who ever said that $50 was all there was?  Who says that we can’t both get $50?  Scarcity mindset, that’s who.

This is about the time that these ‘debates’ start getting pretty vicious and personal.  Anger vibrating palpably from both sides, indignation rising, and insults flying back and forth faster than a ping-pong ball in a world final match; because the person being accused of being racist A)doesn’t think they’re privileged, because they’ve never experienced what it’s like to be less privileged, and B) is being called a racist because they don’t want to give up something they don’t realize they have in the first place.  You can tell them all day long that they have it, but until they can see it for themselves, and grasp even an idea of what it is like, they will never, ever see any truth in your argument… and though her methods are questionable, I have to say that the teacher in the video definitely gives the other side the opportunity to  see truth in the argument.

It’s like if the bank makes an error, and somehow someone else’s money got deposited into your bank account.  You didn’t ask for the gain, someone else created it.

Scenario A:

I (the person whose money was taken) come to you, and accuse you of stealing it from me.  Not only do I blame you for my missing money, but I insist that you apologize, give me my money back, and also give me some of your money, and when you don’t like that idea, you’re the bad guy.

You’re going to be understandably upset… and you will fight against me because you feel like I’m taking something from you that you don’t want to lose.

Scenario B:

If I come to you and ask you to give me my money back, and ask you to help me fight the bank because I got overdraft fees, late fees, etc. as a result of their mistake, without blaming you for my loss, you may or may not help me in my fight against the bank, but you won’t try to stop me, you’ll probably even wish me good luck.

You might not actually do anything to help me, but you won’t hold any ill will toward me, and will truly wish me well on my endeavor, because you consider it fair.

Scenario C:

But… if you and I have a joint account, and our money was together in the bank, and the bank took it. Suddenly, I am going to be more than willing to help you fight the bank because I, too, have a vested interest in making sure they right their wrong.

The problem with the way we approach fighting for rights is that we are all fighting for our own ‘ bank accounts’.  If I feel like you are going to cause me some sort of loss (scenario A), I will resist you and actively work to undermine your cause (the person who is most often called ‘racist’ today isn’t really ‘against’ anyone, they’re just operating from a scarcity mindset, and they are focused on who they fear are going to cause them loss).  If I feel as though I will suffer neither gain nor loss from your fight (scenario B), I may or may not help you, but I won’t work against you, either.  It is only when I feel as though I will suffer loss if you suffer loss, that you will gain my active support for your cause and we will be united.

It’s not just race.

Let’s ‘pick on’ gay rights for a moment, and give the race card a little breather.

You are the bi/homosexual fighting for your rights.  I am the person who will either help or hinder you.

In scenario A, I am a radical Christian conservative.  I am fighting against you because I fear that if you win, I will lose… something.  I don’t know whether any Christian has ever taken the time to truly study what loss they fear will occur if they no longer stand in the way of who has sex with whom, but I think it is something along the lines of moral decay, rampant immorality and living in a society that does not revere their God.  Please excuse me for being the one to break it to you but… too late.  (Let me be clear here, I was raised in a Christian household and consider myself to be a Christian, as well as a conservative… but I am also a realist, and I believe that if God Himself gave me free will and allows me the choice to live the way he wants me to or not, I would be an arrogant S.O.B. to take that same free will away from someone else– and I’d be a little afraid of what God would have to say about it, to boot.)  I also think it has something to do with — bollocks.  It doesn’t matter why, I’m veering into a whole other post here.

Back to my point.

In scenario B, I am… me.  As stated above, my personal belief is that you have the right to do whatever you wish, sleep with whomever you wish, love whomever you wish.  I don’t care.  I think it’s sad that you are being excluded from the ‘perks’ that heterosexual people enjoy, but I feel no need to actively assist you in your cause.  I do wish you all the luck, however.

In scenario C, I am… who?

If you want me to fight for you… you must first show me the humanity you want me to fight for.  If you want my help in your cause, don’t tell me why it’s personal to you, make it personal to me.  ‘Black’ rights, ‘Gay’ rights, ‘Women’s’ rights… these labels only call to arms the people who already identify or sympathize with that group.  If you want to start a real movement, find a way to call everyone to stand up.

I know how to do that.

Do you?

Until everyone who fights for positive change in the world unites beneath a single banner, we will never win.  Until we can remove the ‘us vs. them’, until we stop segregating ourselves, until we stop focusing on who should gain something and start focusing on personal loss, we will never win.

When we use our differences as the reason why we should gain anything, we are drawing a line in the sand; separating ourselves from the rest of humanity.  Stop fighting against groups, and start fighting for individuals.  It’s only when I no longer have to defend myself against you that I can defend you against anyone else.  When we focus on how injustice is being perpetrated on a human being, when we take the labels off of our causes and replace them with faces, we become the wave that washes the dividing line away.

If we can start looking at ourselves and others and see human beings foremost,  if no matter what color your skin is, what gender you are or identify with, how tall or short or skinny or fat or whatever else you are, if no matter what you are on the outside, no matter what you are on the inside, we learn to look at others and SEE them as human beings, and make sure that we are all receiving the basic human rights of dignity, respect, life, liberty and pursuit of happiness (just to name a few), then the rest will fix itself.

But the moment it becomes about WHY a right was denied, instead of WHAT right was denied, you immediately tell others WHY it isn’t their fight.   When you make something about the why, race or gender or sexual preference or religion or politics or whatever else, you are giving those who don’t identify with the group claiming the injustice a reason to believe it isn’t their fight after all.  Not everyone can identify with being denied something because of the color of their skin, or their sexual preferences, but everyone can identify with being denied something for an unfair reason.  It’s not the why that matters, it’s the what, and until we stop segregating ourselves into ‘rights groups’, fighting for ‘us’ against ‘them’, and begin uniting for human rights, real change will never take place.

Don’t fight for groups, for labels that exclude a huge percentage of the population, fight for PEOPLE. We’re all people.

Stop handing me excuses to sit out the fight, and start showing me the reasons to jump in.

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