Now that we are all living through a social reckoning, there are several people who claim that if people just understood a different perspective, we would all be sympathetic and make space for that mindset. For many, that is truth, because the mindset involves one where everyone maintains personal autonomy and others should not be forced to endure vulnerability as a sacrifice to egos. However, because we are “confused” and refusing to adapt, too many people believe that portions of society should continue to compete for personal autonomy and that we have “earned” forced vulnerability. Most “leadership” and “elite” are maladaptive in their belief that by serving as gatekeepers for the rest of society’s peace, they are being generous.
I grew up in a predominantly white community where I never had to fear my neighborhood schools closing, never had to live near a power plant, and lived adjacent to public recreational facilities. When I saw that a bakery from my childhood had burned, I was immediately sad, remembering all the times that I had enjoyed eating croissant while waiting for choir practice, and thinking about how close it was to the hardware store that was my father’s second home before the rise of Home Depot. Then I went for a walk past the boarded-up apartment complex that could house everyone living in tents in my entire zip code, and my sadness for a 40+ year business evaporated, because I understood that while no one is entitled to run a healthy business, everyone should be entitled to safe place to live.
The gift of the global crises is that more are starting to recognize that seeing everyone as a person does not require self negation. While billionaires keep launching their emotional terrorism through sympathy ploys and media manipulation, they are gaining fewer followers and even their enablers are coming up short in their justifications–instead, we avoid the “news.” The latest attack on the public has been the misery that billionaires feel, and how we should pity their positions as some kind of benevolent dictators. Similarly, throughout the nation, people are protesting against history because they think they are entitled to live in a bubble while everyone continues to supply them with oxygen. These people are convinced that if everyone would return to blaming ourselves for the behavior of others, society would be restored to “normal.”
One thing that people need to stop and consider is that the top should be lonely because no one should be there, no matter how many accolades that person has received or how “intelligent” one is perceived. Everyone should be capable of recognizing flaws and working to correct them, even if those flaws have been enabled for long periods of time, and no one has to comfort people through recklessness at our own expense. Change requires legitimate, substantive change–anyone continuing to “explain” why oppression and inequality should exist is dangerous, and people should start distancing themselves from such attitudes and practices. After all, if someone is unwilling to change harmful behaviors while expecting everyone to work with a problematic perspective, that person is not seeking unity, but control. We cannot function with “I’m never wrong” and “I know, but I won’t fix it.”