Compassion is a word that we're all familiar with, but we don't usually allow it to cross boundaries. We're compassionate with family and friends. We're compassionate with the less fortunate and the sick. We're even compassionate towards the stranger we see on the news or social media, who has endured a challenging life event. Yes, we all know how to be compassionate. But just like a faucet with running water, we've subconsciously learned how to turn it on and turn it off.
We are all human and while some may feel like this is an excuse, it's a fact. We all come from different backgrounds and have different ways of behaving, seeing and feeling things. We all have unique beliefs and unique preferences. There is absolutely nothing wrong with that and this makes us all individuals. But in the midst of individualism, we must be sure that we can be compassionate and respectful – even when we don't understand or when we disagree.
One hot topic in the world today is racism. We know what it is, but I'll define it for the sake of this conversation. It is "a belief or doctrine that differences between racial groups make one superior over the other." Or another description says, "hatred or intolerance of another race or races."
Whether directed at you or not, the fact is that it's an ugly reality. It must be viewed for what it is and not allowed to permeate through us; our conversations, responses, and ways of thinking. Yes, we know that racism exists, and many people are angry about ideologies birthed through this issue. However, as a society, we could do well if we could learn to be compassionate instead of discriminatory. We must learn to be compassionate instead of ready to give a response based on emotions. We must learn to be okay with the discomfort and look at the roles, the blindness and willingness many have chosen when looking the other way.
It is no secret that racism has stripped the peace, security and lives from many. So what do we do? Do we respond in anger? Do we jump on every bandwagon that leads to a lack of solutions? Do we believe everything that we hear? No, on the contrary. We show compassion. Individual facts can shock us. Certain encounters with others can leave us nearly faint with anger, shame, or fear. Many of us have learned to develop some degree of familiarity with or tolerance to experience and learn about others.
Compassion goes far beyond the blurred lines of Black and White; we have to start somewhere. Why not here? Every one of us has the innate ability to dislike or discredit what we don't understand. We must learn to race towards compassion instead of hate. If we're going to hate anything, let's beware of lies – together! Let's beware of confusion – together! Let's be aware of division – together! If we want to be guilty of anything equally, let it be our disdain for racism and how it tears down the mind and spirit and life of many.
We can learn so much from each other. All we need to do is respect, honour, and have open conversations about what we don't understand. Any one of us could be subject to "hate" something. But every one of us has the responsibility to mature our thinking and choose a different path. Can you listen with your hearts to the suffering of others? If the answer is yes, let's make compassion popular and overtake racism together!