It is true that we fear and resist things we do not know. And it is true that we sometimes fear changes to the way things have always been. And it is true that some will potentially think that equality and the elimination of prejudice means a lesser piece of some imaginary pie for themselves.
But it is also true that these reasons do not stand a chance when facing up to the light of intelligence. And as stupid as we seem sometimes as a human race, we still are intelligent beings. And even though in the moment when one is confronted with the gender equality movement or the animal rights discussion, they may resist or reject, the truth should finally settle on them when they are in the safety of their own home or the sanctuary of their own thoughts.
Intelligence will eventually dawn and all false excuses should melt away eventually. So, why doesn’t it?
What is the reason that a person will hold on to racist sentiment, whilst denying that they are in fact being racist? Why do we humans insist that we love animals and yet manage to resist the animal rights movement? And why do men who have had nothing to say about domestic violence suddenly proclaim, ‘not all men’ as soon as someone expresses their concern about rising male violence on social media?
The reason we do this is because of a feeling of guilt or shame, and having to face our pasts. We will at some point realise inside ourselves that we have done wrong, but afraid of owning up to it, we deny what we have done was, in fact, wrong at all and we entrench ourselves in our current position.
We find it difficult to accept and come to terms with the fact that something we may have said, done, or witnessed was unkind, cruel, or needlessly violent. The individual human has the capacity to feel and sense this, and even though the subconscious is aware of the injustice, the conscious mind finds it difficult to accept blame or acknowledge any fault straight away.
People do not like being watched while they change their character, and find it embarrassing to evolve swiftly in front of an audience.
The racist does not actually enjoy the state of being a racist. To continue being racist is painful, it is hateful, it is uncomfortable and it causes sickness of the body and of the mind. That amount of irrational hate erodes the capacity to focus, to learn, to enjoy life, love and even maintain healthy relationships. Love and joy and happiness cannot dwell in a heart so full of irrational fear. So why do it?
Because we find it difficult to accept that we have ever done anything wrong. Humans in general, we fear to admit mistakes of any kind, and we do everything we can to avoid feelings of shame and guilt, for these feelings break our hearts from the inside.
Coming to terms with our own past mistakes, even when alone in the privacy of our own space, is a heartbreaking thing to go through. It is more painful than the experience of someone else’s wrongdoing against us. So we avoid it as much as we possibly can. It is an intimate and deep inner breaking of the heart and we flee it.
Not because we do not want to do the right thing, but the exact opposite in fact; it is because we are ashamed and embarrassed to admit ever having done the wrong thing.
This is why vegans cop so much hate, and this is why racists carry so much of it. It is because our mere existence is a reminder of a feeling that people don’t want to feel; shame.
To avoid coming to terms with having laughed at racist jokes in the past, or having objectified women or watched porn, or that we have been complicit in the harm of animals, we will resist the full dawning and acknowledgment of the injustice of our actions in the present, and by doing so we project the wrongdoings of our past into our future.
This cannot be overcome with more hate…
Look at the pain and the fear in this kid’s face. We cannot make a terrified racist any less racist by hating them; they already hate themselves enough. We will not convince anyone to stop eating animals by being antagonistic and self-righteous, and if we lead with shame, guilt, hate or more fear, we will only meet resistance.
Social justice should not be made to be about making anyone feel right or wrong, but it should be about social justice. If we actually give a fuck about the world, we have to be able to acknowledge when our ego is getting in the way, and when our own hurt is interfering with the process of building peace.
The racist is not to be overcome, but to be melted, by the warmth of an understanding heart. To be accepted and shown the love they never received at home, and it is for the changemaker to stand in the line of fire without retaliating with the same venom but trying to understand the root cause of the other persons fear and hate, and to help them relieve themselves of their heartbreak.
This is beyond race, religion, politics, it is about the future of this planet and ending the senseless violence of this world as quickly as we can.
If we cannot love other humans enough to put our own pain aside and understand that they too are in pain and that is the reason for their behaviour, then we are not changemakers.
The world is guiding us towards moving above and beyond conflict and adversarial politics. Look. Listen. Witness the pain that we are all in, and try to comprehend how to bring peace to people’s hearts.
The world needs us to present our best version.