There’s some bad“isms” floating around out there like racism, sexism, anti-semitism, and terrorism and they’re all bringing us down. Then there’s the euphemism. Not visible but still dangerous as it swaps out the real meaning of words (like “the poor”) for less unpleasant sounding ones (like the “economically disadvantaged.”) Or as the comedian, George Carlin famously put it, “soft words that get the human pain completely buried under jargon.”
So, I’m wondering: What if we dig up the dirt and just call these isms what they are – Hate. Pure,simple and evil. As the police departments don’t report them as “ism crimes” I figure we’re onto something. What if speaking what’s true, even if it’s an inconvenient one, can help set us free?
It will for sure help keep me saner as I don’t want to hear those softer words one more time. Especially delivered with the same breath that announces a 55% increase of violent incidents in New York alone this year in just our first two months!
If not as an “ism” we’re identifying with it could be a “phobe.” Like homophobe or Islamophobe, or xenophobe. Or maybe a misogynist or a group who hate the handicapped or hate rich people and the people who dig them tunnels to escape the hated mobs of “trailer trash.” Overwhelming? Sure is. Especially if we act like this just started yesterday. And don’t only point a finger at the President. We’re all in this together regardless how or if you voted. These ‘interesting times’ have just put a face on what we couldn’t believe still existed in our techno sophisticated times. Hate’s placed dead center stage. It’s under stadium lights that won’t burn out before this old paradigm finally dies. We better pace ourselves.
Let go of hate and maybe you have to deal with the pain of what’s been buried underneath. Who doesn’t know that’s tough, tough work? To see who we truly are with eyes open. Hate is not something you’re born with. It’s something you learn. For most it can go generations of pain deep.
Maybe buried underneath it all is our fear of really loving ourselves. Of letting go of our own self-hate and shame we’ve not been able to identify. I don’t have the answers but I experienced one yesterday. It was in a story on CNN about a couple in Georgia that in 2015 rode with a group of folks waving the confederate flag, pointing guns and making threats at an outdoors birthday party of an African American child. Now the accused couple had just heard their court sentence of 20 years. The woman stopped and turned to the victim family.
“I want you to know that’s not me,” she said sobbing. I am so, so sorry. Who I really am would never walk up to you and say those words”
And I got it. She had just woken up. And I believed her. How could any of us really believe who we are is hate?
I can’t. Because the last ism I could ever personally sign on for is pessimism. As discouraging as many days may feel. But I’m not here to make hate go away. I don’t have to fight racism if what I speak of instead is equality. I don’t have to speak against inequality when my words speak for diversity, expansion and joy for all. Those aren’t just soft words. Those are the power house words who I really am know are eternal. And that I know, spoken daily, will help collectively bring down the old stadium lights.