Racism + Revenge | Week 27 | Confidence Revolution
I grew up in a predominantly Mexican town and so there -- I was the majority. Everyone could say my name, Cah-thee-yah. And it took me getting out of my hometown and going to college to see and feel racism.
Maybe it’s because I am one, but I have always had a soft spot in my heart for minorities, in whatever form they come. Everyone is welcome for pancakes at my house.
About a month ago, I started hearing rave reviews about Ezra Edelman’s 8 hour ESPN documentary, OJ: Made in America and so I recorded it and watched about half. It was about much more than the OJ Simpson case. It was about the dynamics of race, police behavior, expectation, the theater of the court system, and media relations in the US leading up to and during the early 1990s. Riveting is an understatement. I mean, I am a busy woman and I found FIVE hours to dedicate to it.
The film stirred something inside of me and made me want know more about what racism ACTUALLY feels like.
A few days after I wrapped up the OJ documentary our friend came over for dinner. He’s intelligent, accomplished, kind, a great conversationalist, and he’s also African-American. We got to talking about politics and graduate school and then we got to talking about race.
And after 13 years of have an outsider’s perspective on racism toward folks who are black, I garnered the courage to ask. “What does racism feel like to you?” “How does it manifest?” “Tell me about it.” I sat and listened with curiosity and a barrel full of empathy. It was not easy to hear his answers, but they were true and they brought us closer together.
We can theorize and hypothesize about what others are going through OR we can actually ask and listen. Yes, it will be uncomfortable. Yes, it will be weird. But it will enlighten us and it will close the divide.
One of the OJ jurors said she voted ‘not guilty’ as pay back for what Rodney King had gone through years previous. She said, “Now you know how it feels,” implying she inflicted hurt on the white community because of the hurt they inflicted on Rodney King.
If there is a statement we can remove from our language it’s, now you know how it feels. Now you know how it feels, implies, you hurt me and now I’m going to hurt you and I’m glad you’re hurting.
Revenge is fueled by anger. And sure, anger hurts the person it’s taken out on, but it hurts the person it lives in much more. The more we live with anger, the more we perpetuate hurt and disrespect and negativity. The more we seek revenge, the longer the life span of revenge.
When someone hurts us, we have the option to continue the cycle of pain and violence OR to absorb it and stop it. We have the power to take revenge out of play, we have the power to stop the cycle.
But why would we want to stop the cycle? They hurt us!! At the very least, we can do it so that it stops knocking on our front door looking for us. Or maybe we stop the cycle so that our children won’t experience it down the road. Or maybe we’re feeling extra magnanimous and we stop the cycle because we don’t want others to hurt anymore.
Find ANY reason that works for you – a cycle of revenge and hurt can only continue to weigh us down.
And don’t we want to fly?
love and grace, catia
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