When We Believe We're Different
The attached photo was taken a few days ago, in Texas, and the people there are apparently “different” enough from us that:
Our government and law enforcement cage them under bridges, surrounded by razor wire, subjected to a rain of pigeon shit from the ledges above them
Our media paints a picture that should engender outrage among US citizens, and
The public does a collective “yawn” and goes back to pretending it can’t happen to “us.”
The photo reminded me of the internment camps during WWII, in which we forcibly held Americans of Japanese descent as prisoners of war. Or the death camps established in Europe during that same period to extinguish Jews and other undesirables.
The photo reminds me of our treatment of African Americans for centuries, the “profiling” of people of color today, and mass incarceration of those men a symbol of racism we cannot yet atone for.
These genocidal tendencies allowed us to kill, poison, and incarcerate (on so-called reservations) Native Americans for centuries, while carving up their traditional lands and giving them away, free, to white settlers.
In the face of this, we individuals seem desperate to navigate our own lives of conflict and bias while while engaging a more active conscience.
Confronting our own “shadow” does ask us to look at our own tendency to classify things, and people, as “different”.
Finding success at that, can we also see ourselves as a work in progress, as opposed to hopelessly lost or, conversely, irrefutably without flaw?
Can we then learn to surf on the face of an endless wave between peaks of great insight and compassion, and troughs of blindness and cruelty?
There are dozens of effective methods for transforming this psychology of difference. Some are spiritually based, others behavioral. Any of them can work, if we employ the following :