Over the last few years, as we’ve seen more protests over Black lives being taken at the hands of Police, I’ve noticed heavy dialogue on online through comments on news and blog sites and Facebook and Twitter. The comments are often riddled with opinions, experiences, as well as judgment. It’s really difficult for us as communities (and as a nation) to work diligently at overcoming systemic racism, racial divides, economic disparities, poverty, and other inequities, when we do not allow ourselves to have open, honest and empathetic dialogue with one another in order to then work toward changing these systems. It’s especially hard when we attack each other and distance ourselves emotionally from one another.
I’ve seen so many harsh dialogues and have to admit in experiencing one myself, it is not easy. But what I’ve also noticed in the midst of this, is name-calling and or un-friending. People get so emotional/hurt/frustrated/angry that they lash out or even un-friend people who they once felt the desire to connect with. I’ve seen it on numerous occasions, and not just around issues of justice but also issues related to theological and cultural differences.
And I have questions:
- What does it say about us as people if we can’t hear each other and respect our differences?
- How can we work toward open dialogue and understanding?
- Should we really distance ourselves from people because their opinion and way of being is so counter to our own or those whose group we are a part of?
- How can we work toward a greater good and really challenge the status quo?
- Can we be real life friends and social media friends with people we differ so vastly from on issues we find important?
- Are famous quotes and inspirational pictures enough to communicate our beliefs and feelings about tough issues?
- Is it really that difficult to empathize with someone who looks/appears different from you?
- What are the real obstacles that prevent deeper relations?
- Are conversations enough? If not, how must we go about doing work that benefits the under served and us all?
This is all hard work. But it must be done. What are your thoughts on how we relate to one another? What can we do to bridge the gap?