The purpose of this parchment is to share my musings with you; for promoting discussion, reflection and critical thinking; to evoke emotion and empathy; and to prompt answers and action concerning global change in suffering humanity. Humans cannot be disconnected from their environment.
I am frustrated, angered, and saddened by oppression, discrimination, racism, prejudice, classism, ageism, and all the ‘isms’ in the USA and afar. I’m appalled by hate crimes. Genocide wounds my heart and soul. War, even for noble reasons, confuses me. I try to make sense of why people hurt each other but it doesn’t make sense. Why do we throw red stones at each other? Why do we make each other bleed? Why do we kill each other with our words, our fists, our guns?
I admit to possessing an ostrich mentality for the racism in my own backyard. I resided in my white middleclass neighborhood in my white town with my heterosexual family and friends and attended a white church. I did not bash minorities and I voiced human rights and equality for all but lip service prevailed in my plastic bubble of unawareness. Empathy from a distance is not beneficial to humanity or individuals.
Aren’t we more alike than different? Can our similarities outweigh our dissimilarities on issues of basic inalienable rights of the human family?
How quickly the disease of apathy metastasizes as Americans turn the channel from world news to humorous sitcoms. Count the number of minorities portrayed in American movies, commercials, and programs. Television is still a tool of racism. Visit department stores and see how many minority dolls line the shelves. How many African American, Native American, biracial, Hispanic, or Asian Barbie dolls do you find?
Alas, family members throw stones at each other. Nuclear families, blended families, adoptive families, nontraditional families. Spouses and partners abuse each other physically, verbally, emotionally, sexually, socially, spiritually, and economically. Parents abuse children and adult children abuse elderly parents. Universal human rights apply to families as well.
I have tried to empty my pockets of judgmental stones via unlearning and relearning. I want to dig out any embedded pebbles and the tiniest of hypercritical granules of hypocrisy. I desire to embrace the intrinsic value of each individual without looking at her/his differences in ethnicity, race, gender, age, religion, sexual orientation, culture, subculture, physical, mental, or learning disability, political platform, class status, intelligence, education, physical beauty, fame, fortune, talent in sports, art, music or other dissimilarities.
I aspire to eradicate my envy or at least diminish it and slay the green-eyed monster of jealousy and attitudes of self-righteousness and entitlement. I throw stones when you fall off your pedestal and do not live up to my expectations of what I believe you should think, feel, or do. “Even heroes have the right to bleed” is a lyric line referring to Superman. Heroes are people first. Leaders are people first. People are people first. Humanity is made up of individual people.
It is my goal to embrace multiculturalism and diversity; to role model pluralism and peacefulness; to seek justice and give mercy; to practice humility and kindness; to give acceptance and empathy; to show compassion and love; to begin each day with gratitude and to take inventory at the end of each night.
But, I too, am a member of flawed humanity being frequently susceptible to self-absorption, egocentricity, and I-me-my-mine mentality. I am genetically and environmentally programmed to increase pleasure and decrease pain. I throw stones as a defense mechanism to protect my self-image and remain in my familiar comfort zone.
The best way to throw away stones is to be in relationship with individuals who are different from you. I remained clueless about multiculturalism and diversity until I made new friends from other lands across the oceans. I asked what they thought and I listened to their stories of tragedy and triumph.
We have no choice but to gaze into the future with hope for humankind and to diligently strive and struggle for a better way of “being” and “doing.” To give in and to give up is not an option. Human beings are worth saving — humanity is worth saving. You are worth saving — I am worth saving. Humanity is global. We are the human family.
I invite you into my worldview. I am not motivated by a desire to step on toes, produce guilt, call names, or parade personal propaganda. My viewpoint is sewn together by threads of experience acquired by daily living on planet Earth. I continue to be a work in progress and so do you. I continue to change. And I am one of many who desire to throw away red judgmental stones. What about you?
Melissa Martin, Ph.D., is a self-syndicated columnist.