A Limitless Capacity to Achieve Goodness

I wrote this Facebook post on November 26, 2014, two days after the Ferguson decision.

Yesterday my Chinese fortune cookie read, “Man has a limitless capacity to achieve goodness.” It was just what I needed to read in the wake of a lot of disheartening news this week.

Monday’s decision and the repercussions of the fallout have left me feeling disturbed. How do we address an issue of this magnitude? People are angry, terrified, and confused. Ultimately, another young life was lost in less than comforting circumstances, and we must first and foremost remember that there is a grieving family who will never get to hug their child again.

It’s hard to know when it’s appropriate to discuss these difficult matters, especially when it has to deal with race. I am acutely aware that I am very privileged. Through some random dice roll of fate, I was born a white, able-bodied, upper middle class, straight, English speaking American female who never had to worry about the quality of my education, where I would sleep, or whether or not I would have food on my plate. What was assumed for me is not the case for so many others. I strongly feel that if we want real progress to occur, it needs to start with this: please, please recognize your privilege. By doing so, you are more cognizant of certain oppressions and barriers others have had to face that were predetermined at birth. It’s no one’s fault, but it’s something we all must acknowledge and be sensitive to.

I am also troubled by the lack of accountability in this case, and in our country, on so many levels. Everyone is guilty of this. Assigning blame and justifying cause are not helping. Too many people think they have the right answers. Not enough people are asking the right questions. It can’t be, “This is wrong.” It has to be, “What can I do to make this better?”

Be empathic for the plight of others. Be responsible for your choices and their consequences. If we want real fundamental change, it starts with us, the individual. At the heart of these institutions that are the cause of so much social strife are human lives. The optimist in me really, really wants to believe we all do have a limitless capacity to achieve goodness. I’ve witnessed it so many times — I KNOW it exists. Let’s stop picking sides and start playing for the same team. Because in the end, we all want the same things: security, happiness, opportunities, and to live a life of dignity and purpose. When our collective actions and mindsets begin to align with the objective of making the world a better place for everyone, I really do believe we will start to see meaningful and significant change.

On that note, I want to wish you all a very happy and healthy Thanksgiving holiday. I hope you know my post was not meant to offend, but to make you consider. I am lucky to know so many of you and I’m excited for our shared future. Let’s be the change makers, people.

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