Needless to say, especially if you are from the United States, there has been a lot going on over the last week or two. This post, obviously, is not the regular type of post I make on here but as with a lot of my other posts this post is largely for myself but if it is helpful for the community all the better. I would also would like this post to serve as thowing my voice into the many, many voices out there already speaking against the injustice in our world. I understand I am ignorant to many of these issues but I am trying to learn more.
First thing I learned that I would like to apply to this post. Talking about race can get awkward and messy. It can also lead to people saying well intentioned things that land in such a way that the good intentions don't come across. I have also seen many ways people handle being confronted with mistakes made with these discussions. Being a messy and awkward topic I don't blame people for the misteps that are made (honestly some of them I looked at and said, "Yeah there is nothing wrong with that statement" until reading some responses and realizing, "Oh, didn't see how that could be taken") but it's important for us not to get defensive when presented with these misteps and learn from them.
Something I didn't learn. That Black lives manner. Honestly previous to this last few weeks I had heard this phrase but it was more of a "Well yeah cause no one person's life doesn't matter because of the color of their skin." That just seems obvious. Like, "Don't be a bad person," a statement we can all get behind (now that particular statement has a problem in that "bad"'s definition will change from person to person but I digress.) I have seen though why that statement is unfortunately needed currently in our society to put a spotlight on injustices happening in the world.
Related to the above point, I have learned a lot about "color-blindness" from observing the conversations surrounding the recent events (although really much of the conversation revolves around Black people's whole lives (not just recent events), a lot of us have just been slapped into paying extra attention recently). Honestly "color-blindness" has kind of always been my goal and how I was raised. I honestly do believe I have succeeded at accomplishing it. From my research it seems like it largely started from white people taking Martin Luther King Jr.'s words, "I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character." I never considered it could be harmful. The way that I see it at this moment is that the stance of color-blindness is potentially where we would still want to end up but does a disservice to us in not allowing us to see inequity if we can not see color. If there was no inequity, I feels like, it wouldn't be bad to be "color blind" cause that would mean everyone got treated the same regardless of the color of their skin. Although that may be considered sweeping history under the rug. Remember how I said this discussion can get messy, this is one of the examples. This is an area where I continue to research and am striving to figure out more.
Echo chambers are a real thing. Due to the different groups I have interacted with in my life I have been able to watch my friends, family, and aquantences react in very different ways. The crazy part, and something that shouldn't be shocking, is how much these groups ended up just bouncing around with the same ideas without ever even interacting with contrary positions. I have had a friend on Facebook post a video of some police officers roughing up some peaceful protesters and labelled it with, "Wow, no one is talking about this." and I was just sitting there thinking to myself, "I have seen dozens of hours of much worse events over the last week." We see this same thing in our technology circles. We can get very ingrained in our particular technologies or niche and can unfairly not consider the views of others and other schools of thought.
Something else on the other side of the coin I learned from my daughter the other day. It had been a stormy day but as a the clouds cleared and the sun came out a huge rainbow appeared. We took our daughter out to see it and, sure enough, it made her day. Watching her skipping and giggling was a very needed event. All this to say, although we can't just turn a blind eye to injustice and stick our heads in the sand, there is much beauty in the world. We need to look around and recognize that and enjoy it. Take some mental health time to enjoy these beauties of the world.
This is all way more complex than I have considered in the past. It doesn't get fixed all at once but we can make the begining steps in new directions. I appreciate the leaders out there that have listened to the voice of the people. I see many of them responding along the lines of, "We have no idea how this going to work to make these drastic changes but we want to figure it out together." I think we all need to be willing to make those leaps of trust with each other. No matter the topic of discussion I think it is healthy to give the crazy ideas a look. That's how many of the great advances in the world have come about, people crazy enough to dream that there may be a different way.