Shaming, even when it works as an cosmetic deterrent, seldom changes the heart. In fact, it’s more apt to harden the heart of the shamed than move it in a positive direction. People can outwardly fake their concern for remedying sensitive issues — provide the requisite lip service in a half-hearted attempt to assuage those being harmed — without necessarily being genuinely motivated to do so at the core of their being.
Good and effective communication involves far more art, skill and savvy than most people realize, especially if some form of conflict is at the root of the need to communicate and/or negotiate. Good communication seeks to move the heart, not just the mind.
There’s also a tie-in with the notion of emotional intelligence, which presently seems to be in profound shortage these days. The rampant over zealousness that now overwhelms EI creates a negatively charged atmosphere in which little, if anything, constructive occurs.
As a white male who strongly believes in the concept of inclusion, I often feel cheated these days by the current groundswell of bashing inflicted upon us. Cheated in the sense that we have had, over the course of this nation’s history, contributed much good to the development of it. For example, whom do you think fought the Revolutionary War, which lasted over eight grueling years? This country would not exist were it not for the sacrifice made by these white men at the outset.
Who established the constitution as a framework for building this country? Truth be told, this framework was originally established with the belief that it was mostly speaking about white people coming together despite their various origins. But the framework itself was constructed in such a way that it must be seen as more malleable than originally intended, so as to include all people, not just whites.
There’s even a line in the constitution about forming “a more perfect union,” which speaks to process, not product. The U.S. is a work in progress, an experiment that involves not only having freedom, but also assuming the social responsibilities that come with making it work for all. It’s about preserving a healthy individualism under the auspices of a national identity.
Imperfect as this adaptation process has been thus far, we have marched inexorably forward to advance it, as exemplified by events such as the Civil War, the Civil Rights Movement, Affirmative Action and considerably more. In the interim, we’ve seen this nation’s diversity grow in size and scope, to the point where whites will soon lose their majority position. It begs the question, how could white people have done so poorly and yet make it so inviting?
For some whites, for many, this is cause for apprehension because they don’t know what turning over the reins to others will look like — will they do better, or worse? Will they use their newfound power to exact revenge against white people for perceived wrongs — looking only at what went wrong to the total exclusion of what went right? Should white people be fearing reprisal?
Because of this, it’s not uncommon to hear or read comments like the one I found in this post: “The only thing that should be shamed is this article. All you’ve done is write down a bunch of SJW buzzwords. We get it, men are bastards and white people are dogs.”
The very same people who call for greater tolerance, the ones who aspire to be such change agents, frequently assume a position of intolerance on one level or another when it comes to treating whites with fairness and balance (as though we are one monolithic entity, all alike, and all mean-spirited), which causes the paradox of sending a mixed message, and that in turn fuels the distrust I spoke of earlier. They seem to be talking at white people or making demands of them, rather than helping to form an environment of civil discourse that promotes a healthy exchange of realistically grounded ideas.
How can this not be unsettling to a good many white people, even among those who believe in the concept of inclusion? After all, we too have a very deep and vested interest in what happens next.