When I meet someone new, I try to learn something about them. I try to listen more than I talk. When I ask questions, I’m seeking to understand, not judge or change or convince. I’m a firm believer that everyone has something special about them. We are all part of the same human race. Therefore, we all have many things in common as well as unique experiences that make each one of us who we are.
Your opinion is valuable – and, I’d like to hear it – even if I disagree. Your thoughts are worth expressing – even if (and especially if) they are different than mine. I am not interested in changing anyone’s mind. Today though, I just want to express my opinion and hopefully learn from yours as well.
I have no control over anyone else. I do, however, have the ability to control myself (and am sometimes successful). I hope to set a good example by my behavior – but, I don’t think I’m better than anyone else. I try my best to contribute to society in a positive way.
For those reasons, I am having difficulty understanding why there seems to be a trend to change society based on the offenses of some small groups. I understand that certain words and images offend some people and I can certainly empathize with the feelings of those groups, but I have difficultly accepting what I call the ‘victim’ mentality.
Of course there are things that happen to all of us which are outside of our control. There are individuals who don’t act with respect toward others. Yes, there is a long list of horrible behaviors in our history. It’s how we deal with those things that determine how we interact with the world. A victim mentality blames these things on other people or circumstances outside of themselves. It perpetuates a feeling of hopelessness.
Once hopelessness sets in, it’s difficult to realize that there could be way of perceiving these things differently.
For instance, if I don’t like something I see on TV, I change the channel. I don’t immediately think that I have to restrict that from being shown any more. If I don’t like the name of a sports team, I wouldn’t watch them play or buy their paraphernalia. The thing is, it’s not up to me to make everyone else conform to what I think is right. If enough people (a majority) agree that there is something offensive, then there are processes to change it. Societal change is slow and cannot be legislated, in my opinion. When the government forces all of us to think the same, most of us will push back – because we are all individuals and have a right to our own opinion (as long as it doesn’t hurt someone else).
I really never took much notice of any statues around my town, but if I did find one that offended me, I would either avoid looking at it or I would use the appropriate procedures to determine if there were enough other people who were offended by it and have it removed. I would think that, if it was considered offensive when it was erected, it would have never been put up. Perceptions obviously change over time.
I’m appalled at the violence happening around our country – and, the victim mentality that espouses the “right” to do such things. The individuals and businesses who have suffered these actions against them have had no part in the offenses that spurred the attacks. It just doesn’t make much sense to me.
Our history is fraught with behaviors that are found to be offensive today. I’m not trying to justify any of it, but society was different back then. Erasing those things doesn’t change them. Why don’t we learn from them instead?
I’d be very interested to hear what you think. Please comment below!