Sep 8 2018

(In)tolerance

I’ve been thinking about resistance. I’m thinking about the things or causes that I believe in and would and do fight for. Or do my best to support.

Today added to my thinking are tolerance or intolerance and their relationship to hypocrisy. Full on sibling or half-sibling? Hmm…?

I’m thinking or wondering how does one speak their opinion of a cause without retribution, name-calling or fear.

I am not very often direct. Fully admitting to the passive-aggressive approach. That is probably a mistake. Some may disagree with that. But in the grand scheme, I am more silent than I probably should be as is evident by the many, many “drafts” in Notes, email, etc. Seriously, you should see the number count in comparison to when I have actually said something.

I was more or less direct a few weeks back and stated the reasons on a FB page why I did not support the Kavanaugh nomination. The reply from a woman in AZ who doesn’t know me any more than I could know her replied, idiot.

Anyway…I know I’m not an idiot. But I also have enough self-awareness that I can’t know enough to be so sure and bold as to put it out there the way some of you do.

Intolerance – unwillingness to accept views, beliefs, or behavior that differ from one’s own.

Tolerance – the ability or willingness to tolerate something, in particular, the existence of opinions or behavior that one does not necessarily agree with.

In my opinion, I often read people in a hypocritical argument talking tolerance while being intolerant. Slippery slope. How does one navigate that?

Why is our choice of the damnation of another where we go with our differences?

We live in a country that allows us to freely have these opinions I thought without retribution unless it breaks the law.

And does anyone think that by blasting their opinion over and over and over again will change the opinion or conversation of very large and hot point topics?

I’m not saying stop voicing your opinion but maybe it’s the delivery. Maybe it’s how you present it when it sounds like you haven’t given any consideration to the other side. And when the other side is for the most part POC and those most often disenfranchised. What are the rest of is to think about your strong opinion when there is no hint of tolerance in your opposition? Or the opinion slides into an opinion that is far-reaching and dangerous for those who are already in some cases just trying to live.

We can’t have it both ways. We can’t think we are tolerant and expect everyone to tolerate our opinion if we frame it with the vitriol and baseless foundation that much seems to be formed on.

In the documentary, RGB Justice Ginsberg says about her time at Harvard, if you were called on in class and you didn’t perform well you were failing not just for your self but for all women. Take that out of its context and consider everything that you believe to be right or just. Think about the person you are vehemently disagreeing with and where their opinion is coming from. Why are they fighting an injustice? And why are you perceiving it not to be an injustice?

Understanding takes time, commitment and I think an extraordinary effort to set aside yourself listen and feel the pain and discomfort of others. Feel it as much as you can. Remove you from the scenario. If only we could walk in another’s shoes so as to not be so short sighted of others plight.

Actually most often, you can’t actually know or understand the scenario. Often, honestly, I see the argument against a person of color or a class that is being disenfranchised by an establishment as most maddening to the person who is opposing the cause rather than the person or persons it actually affects.

Ok, so I’ll get specific. The Flag. Honestly, I don’t think of the “flag” that often because it is an object. And I feel that we have taken a singular one-track idea of what that object represents. My family has always had one. How many didn’t have one until after 9/11?

The Flag. I was going to give you the link I found in my search, then decided, you’re on the internet go Google it yourself and see what you come up with.

The flag does not mean one thing. Stripes represent colonies stars states. “The colors of the flag are symbolic as well; red symbolizes hardiness and valor, white symbolizes purity and innocence, and blue represents vigilance, perseverance, and justice.”

Here’s another; “Very often, the colors used in a flag represent the values of that country (or other entity). Black often represents determination, ethnic heritage, and/or defeating one’s enemies. Blue often represents freedom, vigilance, perseverance, justice, prosperity, peace, and/or patriotism.”

I’ll repeat part of that; Black often represents determination, ethnic heritage, and/or defeating one’s enemies. Determination comes in all forms. The determination to create a space where people like yourself truly have the freedom and equality that all have, not just a certain few.

I find it rather curious that while arguing about the flag, it’s rarely mentioned that prior to 2009 NFL players didn’t come out onto the field until after the anthem. Then the military paid for that to change. Paid patriotism. What do you do with that? So a very large organization or company pays for that thing you have an opposing opinion of and lack of unanimous approval or acceptance is seen as, well…just do it. We can’t have it both ways. Paid patriotism? Why is that acceptable?

Please disagree, don’t like this or that. But don’t tell others they can’t. Or how they should feel about something. Especially if what is happening really has no physical or economic effect on you. That’s what, if anything the flag means to me.

Maybe do something constructive to change it. But sharing a divisive article and posting your outrage on FB, honestly says more about you than what you have posted. Especially to those who see the injustice, for POC, women, the poor and disenfranchised. And just perpetuates the division.

How does one respect something or someone who will take every opportunity to disrespect anyone, anything without hesitation?

We take objects or amendments, or ideas, or ideology and add or mix their meaning as we move through and navigate the world and we forget where things came from and the history that it represents. Just like the bible and taking it ALL literally or just what fits our current argument against something we disagree with.

Another short quote from RGB, “or striving for a more perfect union.” I’ll not say more to that because I believe if you know me or pay attention to what I do say from time to time you will know what that means to me.

I don’t understand a lot of things. But I try really hard to listen and read all I can. Sometimes that reading is uncomfortable. But I feel I must read it.

I read the book Radical Dharma by, Rev. angel Kyodo williams, Lama Rod Owens and Dr. Jasmine Syedullah There were parts that were very uncomfortable. But I believe it was an uncomfortable I had to feel, I needed to feel to even try to get to a place of understanding.

Now I’m reading Mindful of Race: Transforming Racism From The Inside Out, by Ruth King who invites us to: Tend first to our suffering and confusion, listen to what it is trying to teach us, and direct its energies most effectively for change. 

She writes about and lists what whites typically say(guilty) and what POC commonly say. I haven’t finished it yet, but so far there is a lot of good in the book. For example;

“Why is white group identity important to acknowledge and investigate? The answer is simple—relatively speaking, it exists. To avoid this examination is white privilege. Most people growing in racial consciousness would consider it major progress for the human race if white people were to not only recognize themselves as a racial group, with a collective history of dominance and privilege but also to become attentively curious and diligent about how, as a race, they have become dis-membered as a group body as a result of that privilege. This inquiry would be a wholesome and healing use of privilege that supports bridging separation within white communities and between whites and humanity at large.”

“Common to all of us is the fact that we don’t see the world as it is but how we have been conditioned to see it. The delusion we carry is that everyone sees—or should see—the world as we do.”

“But when I look at you, I don’t see race.” As an African American woman, this well-meaning comment from the lens of the white individual renders my experience as a racial group member invisible, my history whitewashed, and my people at continued risk. It’s an innocence I can’t afford to have. When whites don’t see race when they look at me, they see me as an individual, just as they see themselves. In doing so, they deny my racial identity and group history—a history that their racial group is a part of subordinating. Given that my racial group identity has been historically denied respectful visibility and equality, such a statement, and many like them, is more an insult than a compliment.”

Guilty. Guilty.

So let’s be careful and not get ahead of our understanding. Or think that we have read enough to have an understanding. Let’s not question others way of dealing with the harm they feel from words, looks or even history that can’t seem to right itself to equality.

There are over seven billion people in the world. So at least seven billion opinions. How in the world will you make yours different or worthy of a true, honest respectful conversation? A. Conversation. Don’t make me define that for you.

Peace

-Jinpa Datso