“No one is born hating another person because of the colour of his skin, or his background, or his religion. People must learn to hate, and if they can learn to hate, they can be taught to love, for love comes more naturally to the human heart than its opposite.” – Nelson Mandela
My heart gets heavy with the weight of hate and violence felt and experienced, every day, all around the world. Sadly, fear, retaliation and hatred has been taught and passed on generation, after generation and history repeats itself again and again.
Still, I choose to focus on the good in human hearts. I choose to focus on the successes, acceptance, peace, kindness, understanding and compassion that also happens, every single day, all around the world.
I will never experience first hand the oppression, violence and hatred directed towards other peoples races, looks, cultures, religious ideologies, and sexual orientations. I can not know any other experience than my own. But, I do have a deep capacity for empathy and compassion. I do share in the suffering of my human family whatever they look like, think or do.
I have experienced white privilege and experienced the pain and suffering inhered from an Indigenous (actually… multi-mixed race, including African American) family oppressed and nearly destroyed by colonization.
I have never killed, raped, been violent or oppressed another human. Yet I carry deep shame, guilt and have felt responsible for the pain and suffering of others because of the colour of my skin and the blood in my veins… ashamed of who I am because of the colour of my skin and the blood in my veins.
This pain, guilt and shame does not make the world a better place. This energy does not help others feel better about themselves, it does not keep people safe or help the world in any way.
I / we (all skin tones, cultures, religions etc.) have the power to change this violent, hateful history that keeps repeating itself. We have the power within, to question what we’ve been taught, to reflect on our actions/ inactions, our words and experiences. It takes ongoing self reflection, inner work, it takes courage, it takes forgiveness and understanding. It is a commitment to being a better person, to uplifting ourselves and others. I work on it every day of my life and I don’t always get it right, but I keep trying to do better.
History has shown us that hate, fear and violence are a cycle. Respect, joy, love and kindness are a cycle too and they need our attention. Even with a heavy heart, I will not let hate and fear extinguish the joy and love in my heart. I want to do more to make the world a more joyful, safer place… starting with myself, with every action and decision I make.
“I am fundamentally an optimist. Whether that comes from nature or nurture, I cannot say. Part of being optimistic is keeping one’s head pointed toward the sun, one’s feet moving forward. There were many dark moments when my faith in humanity was sorely tested, but I would not and could not give myself up to despair. That way lays defeat and death.” – Nelson Mandela