Let’s start with this.
A smart person I know mentioned recently that it’s easier to call people names (racist, stupid, privileged, misogynist, self-righteous, dismissive) than to attempt to connect. [Note: most of us are racist, stupid, privileged, misogynist, self-righteous, dismissive in our own way.]
In other words, we will never connect with anyone by calling them names (either out loud or in our heads.) And do we really want to understand each other? Or are we happy living in enmity?
Only the sickest among us wants verbal/proverbial/actual war if you ask me.
Please watch the Sally Kohn TED Talk on the difference between political correctness and emotional correctness. It might change your life and it’s less than six minutes long.
Basic takeaway: “We can be politically right and emotionally wrong.”
In the meantime . . . this article was published recently about the long-standing racial divide in Arlington, Virginia which was my home for 22 years. I love Arlington. I love its politics. I love its walkability. I love its diversity. I love how LGBTQ friendly it is. I love that it used to be part of the District but now it’s not but if you live there you still feel like you can say you live in DC. I love how our neighbors were so interesting (our neighbors included lots of former Peace Corps workers, a professional magician who starred in TV specials, assorted White House staffers, teachers, an opera singer, several immigrant families.)
Also, Arlington County has some of the best schools in the country. Nevertheless, the high school in our neighborhood was Wakefield – also known as “the ghetto school” or “the bad high school.”
One of the problems with this article is that the white people on the north side of the country are called “pasty” which is not a helpful/emotionally correct thing to say. And it’s not even factually true. There is racial-ethnic diversity in North Arlington. There is also economic diversity.
But most of all that diversity is in South Arlington, along with all the eyesore kinds of properties (i.e. school bus garages, warehouses, etc.) It’s more expensive to live in North Arlington.
It’s also not true to describe something/someone by what we have heard and not by what we’ve experienced. Many have heard that Black men – for example – are dangerous. My experience however is that Black men are smart, kind, polite, ambitious, etc. Just like men of other skin colors. There are not-so-nice men and women of all skin tones and nationalities. It’s just that – in my opinion – men of color have been systematically profiled as dangerous. It’s not true and it’s not right.
FBC shared yesterday that when people found out he went to Wakefield High School the reaction was that he must be crazy because “people get stabbed at Wakefield” or “there are gangs at Wakefield.” This is what they had heard. The truth is that Wakefield – like every other high school in Arlington – offers an excellent education but with more cultural richness than most.
We live in a world that embraces lies as truth: Obama is Muslim. Trump won the popular vote. Republicans are – by definition – racist. Democrats are – by definition – arrogant. Christians hate gay people. Muslims are terrorists.
None of these things are factually true. When we are talking about groups of people (whole political parties, whole religions, etc.) it’s true that individuals within these groups can be embarrassments and worse.
But we have got to make judgments – if we make them at all – according to our experiences and not what we’ve heard/read on fake news/imagined.
The world is screaming. I can barely listen anymore even though I want to holler myself. All I want for Christmas – though – is a movement to become a more emotionally correct planet.
Image Esse Quam Videri is shared in honor of those in my home state of North Carolina who indeed believe it is better to be rather than to seem.