Is there a point where we as people actually allow for forgiveness and growth? There are a bunch of people who talk about how “Woke” they are and how they won't entertain questions about how they reached their various levels of woke-ness. Referring people to Google who ask pretty simple questions and simply want more context. But I am concerned that in this age of instant information from yester-year, and social media draggings, we aren’t actually allowing people the opportunity to not only own the shit they said, but we aren’t allowing people to think, process, apologize, and make amends. Please understand, I am not saying that we forgive foolishness with no boundaries or that we don’t consider every facet before accepting an apology. What I am saying and seeing is that if someone we have agreed with on many points, says one thing we don’t agree with, without giving them time to explain their stance, or the happenstance around it, we publicly drag or humiliate them, then proceed to throw them away.
Maybe it isn’t seeming that harsh, so consider this. I had the luxury of growing along side technology without all the instant gratification. I had to know the Dewey Decimal system (never learned it though) and I had to get dirt on people the old fashioned way, note passing in class, and 3 way ambush phone calls. These days, someone says something in 1993 that was recorded and that shit is being brought up and thrown in their face in 2017 as if they said it yesterday! Can you imagine some of the things you said as a child or adolescent being thrown in your face now? As a child/teenager, I hadn’t achieved the level of growth, understanding, wisdom, or separation from my parents, that I have now. I was someone else with entirely different opinions. My thoughts were shaped by what my parents said and did, what I saw on tv (and took in as the truth), the world and time we were in, and my very limited view of the world. I was not “woke,” though if you asked me if I knew everything, I would have told you YES, unequivocally. Even now, with more growth, understanding of self, and presumed knowledge, I am still growing, still changing. I will probably hit a whole new level of being WOKE before 2018 arrives! To be done growing, to be done learning, is death. I am not dead and so I continue to change, learn, and evolve. You probably aren’t dead if you are reading this, so I give you the benefit that you are still changing, learning and growing—in whatever direction that may be.
So, I ask, think back to the person you were at age 16 (when we all thought we knew it all), 18 (when we were considered adults), 21 (when you knew or thought you were grown), 25 (when things kept changing and you realized the gravity of your actions for the first time--with a full prefrontal cortex), and now, at whatever age you may happen to be. Have you grown in the last 5 years? Have you grown in the last year? Really reflect. What about your worldview has changed or evolved? How do you feel about religion? Racism? Sexism? Rape culture? Colorism or texturim? How have you changed with regard to your thoughts on politics and families, on the foods you like and the combination of liquor to water to juice? Have those things changed for you? If so, then why do we crucify people and hang them out to dry because they aren’t as WOKE as we are? Why can’t we understand just like there are aspects of ourselves that we love and loathe, there will be aspects of others that we may agree and disagree with. I am all for being sensitive to the needs of others, but I am not for the dragging up of shit from many moons ago without evaluating who that person is today and what they may have or not have done to try and evolve from that person that they were.
Everything you say isn’t up for public consumption, with witch hunters out to condemn you and tie you to the stake. Consider that most people are likely to say some fucked up shit when they are nervous, angry, anxiety filled, depressed, etc. OR WHEN THEY DON’T HAVE ALL THE FACTS..like most people don’t. It doesn’t make it right for them to be linguistic assholes, ‘cause words can and do hurt. If you are smiting people left and right with your words, then you should have consequences, but also consider people’s actions before you light your torch. Remember that people grow and change and often regret both the things they say and don’t say. Allow people to grow, allow people to disagree with you and level up their WOKE-NESS factor. If you don’t allow folk to grow and change are you really growing into the person you want to be? Or are you just another person intolerant of people who don’t do what you would do, say what you would say, or believe how you would believe? Context is everything.
What to do instead:
Know the facts, as much as you can gather
What did the person say or do?
When did it happen?
In the past year, what have they done that may be different? Same?
Reflect on what YOU think about all the stuff in #1?
Think about how it impacts you personally
How does it impact your work? worth? or the lives of your loved ones?
Then, take whatever action you deem necessary.
I am only asking that we give a bit more consideration. In this day of internet gangster’s it feels like there are waaaaaay shorter moments between the words on the screen and the sharing with the world. I’m asking you to consider taking a mindful moment.