BEFORE WE SAY ANYTHING ELSE…
Play along. Write down (or just hold in your brain) the first three things that come to mind when I describe a person.
-He is a white, conservative male.
-He was raised in small town (rural) America.
-He was raised with christian values with an evangelical bent.
Did you do it? Did you write down or think about what the first three thoughts about this profile were?
For some, the list, whether it be mental or physical, had positive associations, and for others, the list had negative associations. Guess what? If you had any thoughts about this individual strictly based on the facts above, you based them on stereotypes.
Relax. We ALL are influenced by stereotypes. It is how we respond to our stereotypes that matters. I am not judging or shaming anyone in any way. I am just trying to get us to hold up a mirror before we say anything else. We need to understand ourselves in order to come together with others.
Deep down we all want to be understood and accepted. That is common ground; let’s start there.
You are tired of people not accepting your view. You are tired of not having a voice. You are tired of being blamed. You are tired for a lot of reasons, but mostly you are tired of others viewing the world with closed minds and anger in their hearts.
I imagine that at least one statement there resonated with you.
I hope you will keep the mirror up as I continue. You see, many of us are circulating articles and making statements in response to the election. One side of the conversation out there is obviously divisive and widely discouraged. However, the side I want to highlight is the one that is accepted in public view.
My hope is that those involved in this conversation do not intend it to be divisive and think of it as an effort to unify. My second hope is that we can be honest enough with ourselves to effect change in order to create true acceptance and safety for all. Here we go….
I have read many articles (some from reputable news sources) that are being widely circulated and accepted. These articles make claims like:
-Conservative Christians refuse to accept others and promote division.
-Rural America is close minded because rural people simply don’t have experience with minorities.
-Rural America voted conservative because it is anti-progress.
-(On the more extreme side) People that voted for Trump are uneducated, racist, homophobic, xenophobic, etc. or at least condone that thinking.
-Trump supporters need to take responsibility for their votes and do something to prove they aren’t those things in the last list.
In my heart of hearts, I don’t think they are meaning to do it, but people writing these articles and people circulating these articles are creating division. These articles are making claims about people based on locale, political view, and religion. These articles are taking the stance that anyone who does not line up with a particular ideology is ruining our country. They are doing the very thing they believe they are trying to stop. They are devaluing anyone who thinks differently from them.
The new accepted majority isn’t unified by race, sexual-orientation, or social class. It is unified by ideology. The new majority is anyone who is open minded and liberal enough to accept all lifestyles.
There are some in that majority who are willing to accept all lifestyles….well, except for the lifestyles that have a set of standards which make claims of right or wrong. The exclusion of these people is acceptable because some people who have those standards of right and wrong don’t show love to all people. They should, but they don’t. So it is okay to call them and anyone else from the same background regardless of their actual actions ignorant bigots, right?
Unintentionally, many in the new social majority are discriminating against anyone they view to be close minded. I hope we are honest enough with ourselves to see both the truth and the irony.
So, what can be done?
We can understand that we are all flawed individuals with the right to our opinions and views. We can disagree with each other while still loving one another. We can stop claiming that anyone who thinks differently than we do isn’t educated, good, cultured, or worth giving a voice.
Remember, we all have stereotypes. The problem is not that they exist. The problem is how we respond to them. We can recognize our stereotypes and set them aside as we interact with people… actual people. It is time, America, to look in the mirror and ask ourselves if we are truly willing to love and accept ALL people without agreeing on everything.
I hope the answer is, “Yes.”
6 thoughts on “BEFORE WE SAY ANYTHING ELSE…”
Thanks, needs to be said. We have more important things to do than hate one another. (Psalms 75:6-7) (1 John 2:9-11)
People overlook the pendulum swings in both directions and although that is sometimes painful to half the people, we move forward. Just compare that to life under a dictator! On my blog I ask us to communally pray for all leaders and not forget the local level. I also pray for us to break down our individual barriers so we can know one another. Right now, we are so divided.
Very insightful article Rebecca. I was one who couldn’t bring myself to support either of these candidates but I understand why lots of people went for Mr Trump. Be blessed
Hi Rebecca, I see where you are going and I agree that we have to be more accommodating to those whose ideals are different from ours. The kicker is to agree to disagree with love being the motivating factor, something more easily said than done when you are dealing with heresy as an example or pro life versus pro choice as another. We have to remember to balance our refutes, if they are necessary, with love. I think one of the keys is learning to listen again and trying to put ourselves in the shoes of the other person before we instantly respond. I am trying this approach with an atheist friend and it is much more time consuming but the result is no anger statements. Hard hard lessons to learn. Thank you for the reminder, sincerely appreciate. Blessings.
Hey Rebecca! First it is a pleasure to meet you!
It is hard these days for a lot of Americans, because they are scared–and rightfully so–of things on both ends of the spectrum. I can’t say that I liked the Republican side of things in this election, but I am thankful that it created a great amount of discourse and conversation among the people of our country. And I agree with you whole heartedly! Whether you voted for Trump of Clinton, Republican or Democrat, the rhetoric that divides is us that of resentment, hate and bitterness on EITHER side. Honestly, I wish more people on both sides would see that for what it is.
I do firmly believe, as a man of Christ, we are meant to stand for Christ centered ideals, reject hate, bigotry, racism and the like. But also, like you, I think we need to have hard looks at ourselves in the mirror and take actions to better not just ourselves, but everyone around us through our example. 🙂
Thank you for liking my comment in the other blog, and it is a pleasure to meet you!!!
It is nice to meet you too. I enjoyed reading your thoughts.