In remembrance of my friend Sundance
Happy people don't spend their time trying to hurt other people.
A person's right to an opinion is not the same as having an educated opinion.
People love to cite their right to freedom of speech. Can you say whatever you want? Sure. But saying it doesn't mean it's true or even valuable. For example, just because something was posted on social media or broadcast in the news doesn't guarantee that whoever said it researched and fact-checked it. Quite the opposite--some people purposefully make statements full of lies in the hopes that others will help them spread their propaganda.
And no matter who this person is--whether they're in a position of power or famous or should know what they're talking about--this does not guarantee that what they wrote or said is correct.
When you repeat something just because it sounds true or it fits with your opinion, it's you that looks like the fool when it's debunked. So do your homework, and think for yourself. Don't let others form opinions on your behalf.
Also, don't be so convinced that something is correct that you ignore blatant clues to the contrary. Most particularly in the past few years, I have observed a trend of willful ignorance. People want so badly to be right about a person or situation that they choose to close their eyes to opposing evidence that is right under their noses. There are huge consequences to this behavior that will affect us far into the future, including other countries looking at the United States as a huge joke for how we behave. This country is not so all-powerful that it can withstand poor relationships with other countries indefinitely--other nations' opinions of us also affect our economy and safety.
So if you can't verify something as accurate, don't repeat it, and don't let it seep into your brain and become something you agree with.
Labels are a form of bias.
Ignoring something you don't like doesn't make it go away.
- Do more research. There are many groups out there that can provide you with more knowledge and recommended actions.
- Be a good listener. If someone affected by racism has something to say about their experience, pay attention. Ask if there's anything you can do to help them.
- Withdraw your support from people and organizations that don't align with your ideals. You can also go a step further and send them a message about why you will no longer patronize their business, vote for them, donate to them, etc.
- Be thankful for any advantages you may have. Share the wealth if possible.
- Love and kindness, first and always.