It’s very impressive to see the public displays of remorse as police officers, celebrities, politicians, and regular white folk kneel before African-Americans and ask for their forgiveness. But looking at the past tumultuous two weeks in the US, has there been any real rapprochement? Are the factions any closer? Are the gaps narrower? No, not really. The gestures, as genuine and impressive as they truly are, will not quell the hatred.
Violence degrades the victim; kneeling degrades the offender. Neither achieves equality. And without equality, the power struggle will continue.
Achieving equality requires something else: a new goal that the vying parties feel is higher and more worthy than their loyalty to their own faction. If the sides could, even slightly, shift their attention from themselves, and see the harm that the struggle itself causes to all of society, they would rise above their distrust and join hands in building a better society for everyone!
COVID-19 and the protests over the killing of George Floyd indicate that local solutions do not work since the society has become interconnected and interdependent throughout the country and throughout the world. Realizing this fact is the first step toward finding a sustainable solution.
Acknowledging the interconnected nature of the world we live in requires a conscious effort to learn. We must learn that human ethnicities and races are not above or below one another; they are varieties that together form the beautiful fabric of human society. Just as all of nature would be dull and unsustainable were it not for the myriad creatures that make up the global ecosystem, humanity would be deficient and lame if even one of its elements were missing.
We need to change our approach from seeing the other as a hindrance, to seeing the other as an asset. If we consider what is best for humanity, we will realize that what the other can contribute to humanity, I will never be able to contribute. But because that other person, race, or color, gave this to humanity, I, too, can benefit from it. In the end, my happiness and sense of fulfillment depend on the happiness and sense of fulfillment of every person in the world. If only we had realized it sooner…
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