Donald Sterling Who?

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“When another person makes you suffer, it is because he suffers deeply within himself, and his suffering is spilling over. He does not need punishment; he needs help.”
– Thich Nhat Hanh

Apparently this Donald Sterling thing is pretty big right now. I don’t feel comfortable with such a bright spotlight being precisely adjusted onto a single individual. Though, I understand why racism itself is an issue, of course. In America, racism has diminished greatly in general thank goodness, but it still exists. I think we need to wear down the edges before attacking all the layers of the source. I think one of our issues as Americans or maybe humans all together as an entirety, is that many ideas are thrown out of proportion or exaggerated, either because we have trouble remembering that others have varying thinking processes and varying upbringings, or because we hear what we want to hear in order to propel our passionate mission against racism. Having a mission against racism is a great idea, but often our approaches are structured poorly and we focus too much on our own ways of perceiving and breaking thoughts and actions down.

There are many little underlying factors unaccounted for that are anthropological or psychological that are hardly touched, which is an article or blog post in itself. You can’t know all the layers of a person or all the layers of a person’s opinion unless you are them. This is basic elementary assessment, correct? Well that’s okay, a rotten foundation is the ultimate err in most life situations, but the awesome thing is that we can eventually rebuild these things better every time with the more introspection and practice we have. Speaking of factors unaccounted for, someone I know brought up statistics recently that prove that white people empathize with lighter-skinned people more than darker-skinned people. I think some people may be looking at this in the wrong angle, I’ve seen this brought up before on another website in the past and made the same conclusion.

First of all, let me add that this research does not at all prove that the average person is incapable of empathizing with those of the same skin color, but that it is simply easier to empathize with someone who has the same skin color as ourselves. This may be exaggerated into the most narrow ways, but people who are easily perceived to be more like ourselves in general, no matter how insignificant or obvious the characteristics, are easier to empathize with and relate to. This trickles down to more than just empathy as well, it’s natural for us to establish positive feelings of any sort to those who simply seem more like ourselves, nothing more. Hopefully we can put all that behind us now and continue chipping away at racism.

My opinion is that doing something as simple as using someone’s skin color, something you can’t even control, in a sentence with negative implications qualifies you as a racist, which is what Sterling did. Though, people like this need our love and patience the most. A friend of mine asked me if Sterling should have his position taken away from him and cease to be the manager of the L.A, Clippers. Well, there are lots of bad people in charge, everyone has flaws about them, everyone sins, so you might as well demote nearly everyone who is in charge of anything in my opinion. It depends on if he’s causing harm or not. If these are merely his opinions of certain people that just happened to be caught on tape because he was sharing with someone close to him, then it shouldn’t be blown up like this in the media. Many of us keep awful secrets to ourselves, people can go an entire lifetime knowing someone without knowing some of their friend’s or their leader’s awful truths. If he showed his blatant racism through actions, that would be a different story.

Donald Sterling is not racism. Racism is racism. Now, let’s keep focus on entire ideas or actions that threaten our lives, not on silly individuals. Let’s inform ourselves and educate peacefully. 🙂

Don’t Gather Into The Coagulated Mass

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We might want to reconsider a common phrase of ours… okay, quite a few phrases of ours, but we’ll get to the rest eventually.  This specific one I’m tackling is overused usually around election time and has been phrased in various ways.  So, maybe we should tackle it as an idea rather than words because we all know how empty words can be.

I often witness someone puff on their cigar through a cheesy grin while they run their thumbs back and forth underneath their tattered suspenders as they say something along the lines of, “”Whoa! My political opinion just changed because of what you posted on Facebook” – said no one ever.”  This is a massive issue that needs addressed within ourselves.  You cannot gain true knowledge or wisdom without fully opening every vessel to your mind.  Where did we adopt this idea that we should filter before knowledge even looks our way?  Let’s soak up every perspective at least partially, prior to filtering it out and sweeping it under a rug.  Can you honestly say you can genuinely grow otherwise?

May I also bring to the surface that it seems that according to a couple studies, many of us are indeed moved in some way by our social circles when political issues are presented to us?  According to my research, it completely depends on the way the majority of us are approached.  One approach may lead us down a newly paved political road, while another approach will completely backfire as we psychologically cling onto our beliefs even tighter.  Either way can hold the exact same data or knowledge, but it’s all in the approach according to the Pew Research Center and the University of Michigan.  This does not infer that we have to be limited by even this much though if we as a human race continue working on ourselves

I believe an Unknown fellow laid it out best, “You’re under no obligation to be the same person you were five minutes ago.”

We can’t possibly believe that every single thought or idea outside of our own, even ones that we haven’t yet reached, is inherently wrong in every way.  I, along with many others throughout this world are walking proof that we can step out of our little black and white box, pat the prideful lint off of our sleeves, straighten the obnoxiously stubborn creases out of our trousers, and progress.  I have altered my views politically quite a few times when proven wrong or when I have been enlightened further.  I have also done some fine-tuning with my spiritual/religious beliefs within the past few years as well.  This is all okay, I came out alive, even more-so.

Yes, naturally, it would have to take a heck of a lot for me to let anything new in that doesn’t at least somewhat fit my belief system.  I have my priorities, and no human should be able to shake your priorities or your core.  There is a difference between cleaning and straightening up stitching and tears through re-upholstery compared to taking a sledgehammer to your roof, walls, flooring, & plumbing.  🙂

http://www.pewinternet.org/2012/09/04/politics-on-social-networking-sites/

http://www.dartmouth.edu/~nyhan/nyhan-reifler.pdf

Is It Just America?

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Is it just Americans who are blinded by media?  Is it just Americans who are too caught up with their daily lives to realize what horror stories are developing around them?  I’m one to habitually seek knowledge of other cultures & religions, but I think this is something I could not truly know until I lived in other countries myself for a while.  Either way, we are stuck between a rock and a hard place.  Why do I say this?  

Well, how informed are most of us Americans when it comes to the unpopular war or the real-life horror stories that aren’t so popular?  I’d say a large fraction of us are decently informed of what’s going on in Syria, but only when it comes to the basics.  I will get into that another day though.  Let’s just use one example for now that I believe most of us know next to nothing about because it deserves attention, Ukraine:

View image on Twitter

http://disinfo.com/2014/01/maybe-orwellian-text-message-governments-ever-sent/

What do we do about such a situation though?  America has the biggest international “Savior complex”. We feel we are the solution to every country’s problems, which is honestly too much to juggle, we can’t even take care of ourselves very well, but it’s also too difficult to just sit there & let it happen. Stuck between a rock & a hard place.  Maybe I think that we should never intervene whatsoever as a government.  What?  I didn’t say “should never intervene as America”?  

When “the American people” intervene, it is never just the American people.  It is always driven by our corrupt government that is getting itself & everyone else involved for less than honorable reasons.  What we should do instead is literally leave it to us American people to volunteer.  Is it not best for us individuals to volunteer in sending food packages & supportive letters to those protesting in Ukraine than for our government to intervene which will not only take attention, resources, & money away from the needy people in America but also add to America’s debt?  Sure, our government intervening would result in something more noticeable & in more efficient ways, but the question is, is it worth the damage it will do to us?  Is it truly in everyone’s best interests to let history repeat itself?  Maybe I’m partly talking out of my ass, maybe there are exceptions.  Let me rephrase that, I honestly believe there are always exceptions.  Where can the majority of us agree to draw the line on these exceptions?  

When the majority of us can settle on an answer to this is the day we will have the resources to make a great impact not only within ourselves but on the rest of the world.

So Many of Us Shifting The Blame

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http://positivepsychologynews.com/news/steve-safigan/2012051622128

One of my concerns is over this quote I’ve been seeing float around the internet frequently. It has its rounds where if one person shares it on Facebook or Pinterest, then several of their friends relate to it & share it as well. Every once in a while, this is one of the most popular quotes I see. Something is sorely wrong here.

Let’s begin by chewing on the fact that when many people find a statement with quotes around it, there’s this mindset that they ran into a golden idea. Quotations insist that their must be some sort of golden credibility or common sense to the statement right? How about if we place the quote on a pretty background, doesn’t this give the idea some official seal? What moves us to be so accepting of an idea that is decorated & merely seems powerful at the surface?

All that is necessary is wiping the glitter off the surface to expose something that will mildly improve one’s self. Even though it’s just a step to preventing grime from collecting on ourselves, this is more appealing than smearing the grime all over the ground we all walk on. The grime of these rotten ideas, insults to true knowledge & wisdom, are spread so thin on the ground we walk on every day by the media, corporations, & ourselves that we don’t even realize for quite some time that we were even walking on an unclean ground. Usually by the time we’re somewhat aware, the grime spreads to our legs, our hands, our eyes and mouth. We become blind & start spitting out some of the grime back onto the ground or even into other people’s faces until they obey or until our children learn to respect & appreciate it.

Oh, you might think this is an exaggeration. The thing is, ideas are one of the most powerful things a human being could hold. There is no such thing as a scanty idea, only ideas that have yet to be fully developed and implemented. We often underestimate how rapidly an idea we hold can either develop us into something monstrous or into something worth knowing in multiple aspects.

“Don’t get confused between my personality and my attitude. My personality is who I am, my attitude depends on who you are.”, is no golden thought or idea. Neither your personality, nor your attitude have any relation at all with any other person. It’s an illusion, it’s an easy way to shift the weight. We need to cease this infatuation with what’s easy. The right thing is hardly ever within the vicinity of easy & this isn’t new. We should feel empowerment through kicking this grime off of our soles, not by shoving our foot, this grime, in other people’s faces & then puffing out our chests as we walk away while leaving a fragment of our integrity behind. I don’t need to tell any of you any of this though. All you have to do is take that extra step of wiping the coat of glitter off the grime yourself. 🙂