Putting one’s friends through a political litmus test, such as “donate to my causes, or we’re not…

Wow. Message not received. The core of her message is that her “friends” may not view themselves as bigots, but that they made no attempt to stop bigotry. Instead, they granted it tacit acceptance, thereby hurting someone they claimed to love … and millions more just like her.

The core of her message is that human beings are instinctively self-protective and will reflexively, if they have not striven to correct the habit, reject anything that makes them feel bad about themselves. Her “friends”, when confronted with the notion that something they did caused her personal (not abstract) grief, wanted her to reassure them that they weren’t part of the problem. They wanted her to make them feel good about themselves and their decisions or lack thereof.

Sometimes—often, perhaps—it’s good for us to feel badly about ourselves, to feel shame (as opposed to guilt—different emotion). Especially when we’ve hurt another human being through carelessness, or ignorance, or lack of empathy, or just a childish inability to think in three dimensions or think things through.

We should not be rescued from these situations because it’s how we learn to be better, more aware, more empathetic, less ignorant human beings. Please read her essay again. Try to understand what she’s saying and try not to just grab the low hanging (‘Aha! I can disagree with this!’) fruit.

And if, by chance, this makes you feel a little shame, be happy—shame is a tool of transformation.

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