About three years ago my family moved to Benton Harbor, Michigan. Some people who asked us if we knew where we were moving. We believe in collaboration, and I see cultural, not racial differences. It is time for us to return to making real racial progress.
Evil is a strange motivation. Most of the evil done by men do for what they consider a good purpose. On old cliche states that the road to hell is paved with good intentions.
Doing wrong in the name of doing right is often rationalized as the only option. One of the strange things about this thinking is when asked few people who did wrong actually thought it brought a positive impact.
Why do you do the things you do?
So why do we do wrong? The answers here are pretty simple; anger, fear, pride, lust, ignorance. Sure we could expand that list, but we get the idea. If we look at racial tension, we will see little of the discussion is about any emotion outside this list.
Emotions in Disguise
Scientists have a name for rationalization; it is cognitive dissonance. None of us want to view ourselves as being weakened or blinded by anger, fear, pride, lust or ignorance. When it happens, there are two paths we can take.
The first path is an old fashion concept called repentance. While it is more popularly known as a religious term, you don’t have to be religious to repent of moving in a bad direction. You do have to be humble, though, and you do have to start thinking differently.
The need to feel good about ourselves when we see we are thinking wrong is what cognitive dissonance is describing. We do that by finding a justification for continuing down a road that we honestly don’t approve of ourselves. We begin to lie to ourselves.
Heroes of Change
Let us consider a few champions of change. We don’t have to agree with everything they believed to see they had an impact. We know it was what they believed and how they thought that reached the thinking of others who came to know them.
Martin Luther King Jr.
Once Mr. King said, “Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.” We can come together if we let go of the imaginary divide we call ‘race.’
Two significant quotes the express the thinking of Gandi follow. First, “You must be the change you wish to see in the world.” The second, “An eye for eye only ends up making the whole world blind.”
What about me, not what have I done in the past. Not what will I consider doing in the future? The question for each of is is what will we do today. Today is either staying faithful to the past or it is changing for the better. Today is the greatest impact we will have on the future.
Few men have had more impact than these two men. Sure, for those of faith we can credit God for more impact but we are men. What impact do we truly want? Are we justifying revenge on one of the weaker human sides or do we want what we say we want when we claim higher moral ground?