The other day I listened to a podcast by Glenyce Hughes called “BEYOND Racism”. It discussed the concept of activism, which has been a small part of my life for the last 15 years. You aren’t ever going to see me on the front of the paper, but I have been involved in politics and been to a protest here and there. I have many friends and family who are very involved in activism and politics, so it is very close to my heart. But have we been doing it right?
What do we do when we don’t agree or like something? We boycott it. We fight it. High level of emotions get involved. Sometimes we get mean, nasty, and name call. Does any of it really work? We like to think so and sure, sometimes there are small differences made. These differences can be immediate and then they fade away or take an extremely long time to happen. Or, do these actions just give permission for the other side to keep doing what they are doing? Do these actions just build a stronger opposition against your side? When you are accused, isn't your first reaction to defend yourself? We are creating barriers, not lines of communication, cooperation, and educational opportunities.
We take highly judgemental stances when we create barriers. We are not living in allowance and functioning in awareness, nor are we living in the question. Instead of asking questions to open up more opportunities within a situation, we walk a line of hard conclusions. How do things get better from this stand point? How does progress and change occur without questions?
What else happens when we boycott and fight? There is no one left to say “NO”. We have created such separation between sides that there is no one left standing there to say that this is wrong. For example, if we aren’t in a store that mistreats people, how can we say “stop” when they do. How can we ask for better? Who is the bystander sticking up for the mistreated?
We also need to be cautious on how we say “stop”. We need to learn to be in awareness and use language and actions that are going to be heard by the people to whom we are speaking to and that is most impactful. When we just speak from a place of high emotions, we are missing out on a huge opportunity to actually be heard and make meaningful change. We can ask “what does this situation require of me?” And then follow the energy.
I guess all I am asking is, does negative politics and movements really work? And, what can we do to make meaningful change in our societies?