There is a lot going on right now and a majority of our country is screaming for change and rightfully so. Unfortunately, there is a roadblock to change and that is people of every race, color and creed are dealing in absolutes.
Over the past several weeks I have been told the following by opinion pieces in the press, protestors on the news and even Instagram:
- Because I am white I am automatically a racist.
- I cannot support Black Lives Matter and also support the large number of men and women in blue who serve and protect the right way.
- If I don’t speak up, I am complicit.
These are absolutes and when we speak in absolutes we divide people, which is exactly the opposite of what we need right now.
Absolutes stem from duality thinking. Duality thinking is either/or thinking. Duality thinking, or the dualistic mind, contrasts things like good/evil, beautiful/ugly, smart/dumb, without realizing there may be a many degrees between the two ends of each spectrum.
Duality thinking is where stereotypes are created and perpetuated. Think about autism and one or more of the following comes to mind:
- People with autism are savants/geniuses – The Rain Man (w/Dustin Hoffman) stereotype
- People with autism have no feelings or empathy
- People with autism are violent and are a danger to society
- People with autism have no language skills
- People with autism need a caretaker
Guess what? I have autism and none of the above applies to me. Tell someone I have autism and they will reply, “but he seems so normal” as if it is an impossibility. This is the result of duality thinking.
Don’t get me wrong, duality thinking is not inherently bad. We need a dualist mind to function in everyday life. In professions such as science and engineering, duality thinking is a must. For many types of decisions, we want a dualistic mind. But the lesson here is, we should not apply duality thinking to everything.
Now is the time for a little non-dual thinking. I know it can be hard to hold two seemingly opposite concepts to be true, but we have to try. We do not need to fit people into different boxes to determine if they are with us or against us.
I will continue to support Black Lives Matter AND I will continue to support the men and women working in police organizations across the country who live the ideal “to protect and to serve” every day.
I will support the men and women who don a police uniform every day to keep our communities safe AND I will acknowledge that reform regarding how and when we police is necessary.
I will support equality regardless of race, color, sex, sexual orientation or creed AND I will still care for the relative who thinks homosexuality is a sin.
The changes necessary to prove we all care that Black Lives Matter and the changes necessary to ensure people, regardless of background or origin, feel welcome and have the same opportunities as anyone else require a TEAM effort. And we need the biggest team possible. I want anyone who supports the cause to be on the team. And I don’t care if they like brussell sprouts or not…