A quote by Ram Dass from the book Be Here Now has been bouncing around in my mind lately.
"If you're in polarity, you're creating polar opposites. You can only protest effectively when you love the person whose ideas you are
protesting against, as much as you love yourself."
Another one I learned while growing up down south has been ricocheting around in my mind as well.
"It isn't about race!"- Old Racist Proverb
I really believe the first quote is truth. But how do you learn to love someone who holds such abhorrent ideas, and views of the world? By realizing
that none of this is really us.
All these attitudes, white supremacy, racism, intolerance, bigotry, are taught. No one is born a racist. In growing up where I did I knew kids of a
handful of white supremacists, and you could see at school that they didn't really hate anyone because of their race, but as they got older, and
frankly after a few beatings from their father, they fell right in to it.
Now, some of you will say that's only an isolated incident, and I agree. I doubt that's respective of the country at large. The reason I bring that
up, is because it's an example of how these attitudes are taught. Even under the vilest racist there is still a human being, that is a person the
same as you are. When two people hate each other, it only multiplies the hate in everyone.
The solution to all of this is to take the first quote to heart. I'm not saying don't go protest, please, go and bring extra people if it's
something you really believe in. Just do it differently. I'm reminded of the photo from the 1960's of the protestor putting a flower into the barrel
of a rifle, and this was one of the images that galvanized a nation. To protest effectively, you have to return their hate with love.
It's about realizing there is a person behind the ideology. It shouldn't be about silencing the person, no matter how abhorrent their views seem to
you, it should be about changing them. Don't throw rocks, generate discussion.
Be cynical and call me naive for talking some 1960's pie in the sky version of protesting, but it worked then, and it would work now. Because the
love/hate dynamic will always be the same with people.
At this point, I think a little pie in the sky would do us all some good.