What do lines of division achieve? Besides magnifying our differences and keeping us all unnecessarily apart, it entrenches the "me versus them" mentality. Can a simple shift from 'Me versus them” to “What's in it for us” change the racism trajectory? Many people spend the bulk of their time in confrontational thoughts about the other side, which is both unproductive and unnecessary. Human beings are inherently concerned about their personal context, without consciously considering how it may affect others.
Me versus them is a negative outlook that continually keeps many divided and allows little possibility of reconciliation or resolution. This unhealthy mindset is one of the shackles tethering society to racism and the negativity it breeds. If we could change our filters and replace it with “What is in it for us”, as a society I believe, many constructs such as racism could be addressed.
Have you ever wondered why we need sides at all? Who does this thought pattern serve? It creates confrontation and causes opposition. Let’s take the Black Lives Matter movement. I have witnessed a handful of individuals picking a side and attempting to defend or excuse the actions of those with whom they share a similar skin tone. There is an unwillingness to view the other side as having a valid stake in events. Make no mistakes; this "me versus them" mentality is not exclusive to a particular group; it is not only found amongst blacks or whites. This mindset can arise even without the perception of competition. There is a mystification at a personal, social, and cultural level when society considers the "me versus them" thinking. There can be a lot of blame sharing going around and nothing about taking responsibility.
This way of thinking can keep society stuck on the same plane, the same spot, battling the same issues even after many years. To move past this spot, where frustration is all we have, collectively, we must begin to find connecting lines and not dividing ones. We must find ideas that can unite us and create meaningful relationships on which we can all stand to view each other; as more than the opposition.
To break free of this, collectively, we must shift our mindsets and change our outlook to include more than what we currently allow. The perception of racism changes when people from different races are empathic. When we shift and consider other people's experiences we are taking a step towards empathy. Of course, there are many issues in the world, not just racism. By making a shift from what's in it for me to what's in it for us can go a long way, to connect us to those who have suffered under many diverse veils.