by: Kathy Best, June 6, 2020
Since the George Floyd tragedy occurred a few weeks ago I’ve been reading about companies that are finally beginning to address the detrimental impact of racism and racial inequality. In the past we’ve seen many prominent people offer lip service to the disparity and injustice suffered by African Americans and we know from prior experience that throwing money at some charity or initiative will not bring about the change that desperately needs to be implemented. This country has a long, disgraceful history of intolerance, violence, and inequity toward any person of a different color. It started with the Native Americans. According to historian David Stannard, over the course of more than four centuries “from the 1490s into the 1890s, Europeans and white Americans engaged in a continuous string of genocide campaigns against the native peoples of the Americas.” Stannard wrote that the native population had been savagely decimated by invasions of European plague and violence. By around 1900 only one-third of one percent of America’s population–250,000 out of 76,000,000 people–were natives. He calls it “the worst human holocaust the world had ever witnessed”, and it leveled off because “there was, at last, almost no one left to kill.”[Stannard 1993, pp. 146–47]₁. That paved the way for acceptance of the brutality and inhumane treatment of Africans for over 200 years. Then there was the shameful internment of the American Japanese during WWII. Let’s not forget how hard and long African Americans had to fight to be treated as human beings after the official end of slavery. Native Americans were not given the legal right to vote until 1924, but it took another 40 years for all 50 states to allow them to vote. Even after that, Native Americans suffered from the same schemes and tactics, like poll taxes, literacy tests, fraud and intimidation, which kept African Americans from exercising their legal right to vote. What about the backlash American Muslims and Arabs experienced after 9/11. Discrimination and hate crimes soared for these cultures in America.
The United States is far from alone when it comes to the hate crimes, abuse, torture, and annihilation of human beings and it’s been going on for much longer than a few centuries. For most of recorded history, all over the world, genocide or gendercide has been perpetrated to destroy cultures, ethnicities, or religious groups purely based on fear, greed, ignorance, intolerance, and unjustified hatred. In 13th century BCE the Israelites killed every male Midianite. Women and children, (except for female virgins), were later killed at the command of Moses according to the Book of Numbers. According to the Hebrew bible, Moses and Joshua annihilated the Canaanites (Numbers 21:2-3; Deuteronomy 20:17; Joshua 6:17, 21) and Saul annihilated the Amalekites (1 Samuel 15). Genghis Kahn exterminated half of the Mongol tribes. In 1393-94 the Turko-Mongol conqueror Tamerlane slaughtered all of the Christians, Jews, Shi’ite Muslims, Arabs, Persians, and Turks he could find. From 1885 to 1908, Leopold II of Belgium controlled the Congo Free State in central Africa and was responsible for up to 15 million deaths among the Congolese people due to slave labor, abusive punishments, murder, disease, and exploitation. In Ethiopia during 1889-1913 military conquest by Menelik II, torture, mass killings and slavery accounted for up to 6 million deaths. The Crusades, the Great Irish Famine, the War of Three Kingdoms in Ireland, the Black War in Australia, WWI, WWII – the Holocaust death toll was 5 to 6 million Jews, including over 1 million children, the Armenian Genocide, the Greek genocide, the Assyrian genocide, the White Terror in Russia, the Russian Civil war were all acts of extermination by humanity against humanity. 10 million died during the Holodomor, or Ukrainian genocide, in 1932-1933. The list goes on and on.
The point is humanity, as a whole, has an extensive history of atrocities and persecutions. Why have we spent thousands of years torturing, enslaving, and murdering one another? What truly rational justification can there be? Why do we continue to repeat the patterns of violence, hatred, and oppression? These atrocities, injustices, and persecutions cannot be healed by giving a speech, paying reparations, or creating bills and initiatives. Only time and a complete and utter transformation of the way we treat one another and interact with one another can possibly heal the physical and emotional damage that has been inflicted upon humanity’s brothers and sisters.
We as a worldwide nation need to start making an effort to get to know each other across cultures and behind labels. Hatred and racism are not inherent in humanity. They are learned and taught based on fear, inequity, lack of empathy, and unwillingness to understand or relate to anyone who does not look or act like ourselves. Unfortunately, religion has played a major role in this coldhearted pattern. We have lost our ability to empathize with our fellow human beings if they don’t fit into our criteria or religious dogma. Technological advances have enable us to further distance ourselves from one another making it even easier to disassociate, disconnect, and desensitize ourselves. The internet, video games, streaming, and social media have created a worldwide culture of social distancing and a humanity that has forgotten how to truly connect on anything other than a superficial level. We’ve become a nation of stone throwers who project the sins of the past onto innocent descendants or pass guilty verdicts on entire cultures because it’s easier to condone violence against the many when they are all guilty by association.
Likewise, police brutality is a learned behavior or reaction brought about by an ego-based system of power and control where the ability to desensitize oneself in the face of horror and inhumanity is considered self-preservation. The ability to stuff down or disassociate from all of the violence and dreadfulness officers see and experience, daily, is a requirement and considered an asset instead of the detriment it actually becomes. Every police officer should be encouraged to utilize counseling and therapy services on a regular basis to help them develop healthy coping skills for the brutalities they experience daily. Those that live and work in areas where poverty and violence are rampant should be required to undergo regular psychological evaluations and counseling. Regular, hands-on charity work should also be mandated for every police force from the top down, to balance the negative mental and emotional effects of such a hazardous career. There should be a mandated quarterly immersion experiences wherein officers attend therapy sessions for incarcerated individuals of various cultures to help them understand what drives and motivates crime and violence. People are not born killers or criminals. Circumstances, experiences, and mental and emotional dis-ease are all part of the foundation that leads to violence, hatred, rage, abuse, torture, and murder.
Families and schools need to teach and exemplify how to empathize and relate to people of all races, cultures, and economic status. The golden rule is the simplest place to start. Treat others as you would have them treat you. Understand that disrespect, anger, unkindness, violence, and abuse come from a place of deep woundedness, which can be healed with a forgiving, understanding, benevolent approach. High schools and colleges should incorporate regular, ongoing community service and charity work as part of their curriculum. Communities around the world should be establishing regular social gatherings that encourage interest and interaction of the diverse population, gatherings that enable people of all cultures to meet and have open, considerate conversations with one another about one another. Call it “Friendship 101” and offer tools and practices that enable people to actively listen to and be heard by everyone. Offer questions and topics for all age ranges to help get valuable conversations started. Provide uniform clothing for every participant that makes them unidentifiable, thereby leveling the field and creating a more balanced, neutral environment. Bring in people from all walks of life – doctors, lawyers, fast food employees, nurses, veterans, police, firefighters, teachers, recovering addicts, prostitutes, cancer patients, welfare recipients, entrepreneurs, orphans, retirees, small business owners, corporate CEO’s tradesmen, unemployed, grocery clerks, the homeless, children, parents, college students, high school drop outs……. Bring in Indigenous people, multicultural people, Spanish, Peruvian, Indonesian, French, German, Hattian, Brazilian, Mexican, Australian, Russian, Lebanese, Greek, Italian, British, Indian, African, Iranian, Israeli, Norwegian, Mandarin, Japanese, Korean, Bosnian, American, Arabian, Tibetan……homosexual, bisexual, transgender, transsexual, heterosexual…… Islamic, Baptist, Jewish, Catholic, Buddhist, Agnostic, Unitarian, Christian, Wiccan, Hindu, Gnostic, Atheist, Shamanic, Sikh, African, Taoist, Shinto, Pagan……….
We all need to find it within ourselves to have compassion for people who have experienced such ugliness in their lives that they know no other way to live than to perpetuate what they have experienced whether externally or internally. This is not to say that we condone or accept violence or any other form of abuse or cruelty, but we need to find better ways to deal with and correct such proclivities. There but for the grace of God go I. It’s easy to pass judgement on another person’s inexcusable behavior when we have no frame of reference or experiential perception of what brought that person to believe that their very survival depends upon their hard-heartedness, aggression, and total lack of regard for life. We all originated from the same Source and we will return to the same Source. Every path, however different it may appear, leads us on a journey of Self-discovery and Self-actualization. Each and every one of us has a core of kindness, compassion, and integrity within us. We have evolved enough to know that we have the power to choose how we show up in this life, each and every day. We can choose what meaning we give to each and every event and circumstance in our lives. We can let them define us or we can redefine ourselves using our experiences as opportunities to develop our core gifts. We can choose to be a victim of life or a master of life. We can choose to forgive and forget or we can wallow in misery and martyrdom. We can choose to let our mind control us, or we can take control of our mind and use it for our highest good.
We now stand on the precipice of the greatest opportunity for monumental change this world has ever experienced. The first step is choosing a new direction. In order to end racism, hatred, and inequality we need to make the unknown, known. Fear is behind every vile, cruel, deceitful, vengeful, dishonorable, abusive, heartless behavior and deed. Mystery, misunderstanding, misinformation, misguidance, and miscommunication breed hatred, violence, intolerance, bigotry, discrimination, and injustice. We need to consciously seek first the core of our humanity in all interactions using our intuition and heart to guide us instead of our ego intellect and erroneous programming. We must choose to be willing and courageous enough to have the meaningful conversations that draw to light our indistinguishable similarities instead of our apparent differences. The only way life will ever change for the better of all humanity is when we as a whole decide to make definitive changes to the way we think, act, live, work, govern, educate, celebrate, cohabitate, subjugate, communicate, participate, collaborate, cooperate, discriminate, arbitrate, incarcerate, and rehabilitate. It will be difficult and it will not happen overnight, but it will never happen if we never begin. It simply takes conscious willingness and effort. We are all made of flesh and blood, skin and bone, organs and cells, atoms and subatomic particles, energy and vibration. At the heart of every human being is the desire to be seen, heard, wanted, needed, appreciated, respected, and unconditionally loved exactly as they are. The more compassion, kindness, support, appreciation and understanding we can show ourselves and one another the more we inspire and intensify the desire in each of us to become valuable, generous contributors to the whole of society and the planet.
I leave you with this clip from Charlie Chaplin, whom I never considered a humanitarian, but whose words and emotion, in his “The Great Dictator” speech, exactly encompass our current situation and what needs to change. (I would substitute the word “fight” with “unite in our current circumstances. Fighting is what perpetuates the cycles that we need to break once and for all.) I also share the fifteen most important principles that all religions share which would be the foundation for a conscious, compassionate society of equality for all humankind.
15 Great Principles Shared by All Religions
- The Golden Rule / Law of Reciprocity – The cornerstone of religious understanding. “Do unto others what you would have them do unto you.” – Christianity
- Honor Thy Father and Mother – Knowing them is the key to knowing ourselves. The day will come when we shall wish we had known them better.
- Speak the Truth – “Sincerity is the way of heaven, and to think how to be sincere is the way of a man.” – Confucius
- It’s More Blessed to Give than to Receive – Generosity, charity and kindness will open an individual to an unbounded reservoir of riches.
- Heaven is Within – “Even as the scent dwells within the flower, so God within thine own heart forever abides.” – Sikhism
- Love Thy Neighbor / Conquer With Love / All You Need is Love – Acts of faith, prayer and deep meditation provide us with the strength that allows love for our fellow man to become an abiding part of our lives. Love is a unifying force.
- Blessed Are the Peacemakers – When people live in the awareness that there is a close kinship between all individuals and nations, peace is the natural result.
- You Reap What You Sow – This is the great mystery of human life. Aware or unaware, all are ruled by this inevitable law of nature.
- Man Does Not Live by Bread Alone – The blessings of life are deeper than what can be appreciated by the senses.
- Do No Harm – If someone tries to hurt another, it means that she is perceiving that person as something separate and foreign from herself.
- Forgiveness – The most beautiful thing a man can do is to forgive wrong. – Judaism
- Judge Not, Lest Ye Be Judged – This principle is an expression of the underlying truth that mankind is one great family, and that we all spring from a common source.
- Be Slow to Anger – Anger clouds the mind in the very moments that clarity and objectivity are needed most. “He who holds back rising anger like a rolling chariot, him I call a real driver; others only hold the reins.” – Buddha
- There is But One God / God is Love – Nature, Being, The Absolute. Whatever name man chooses, there is but one God. All people and all things are of one essence.
- Follow the Spirit of the Scriptures, Not the Words – “Study the words, no doubt, but look behind them to the thought they indicate; and having found it, throw the words away, as chaff when you have sifted out the grain.” – Hinduism
All credit to Jeffrey Moses. For a full list, please visit http://www.onenessonline.com/
- Stannard, David E. (1993). American Holocaust: The Conquest of the New World. Oxford University Press. p. 139. ISBN 978-0195085570
Kathy Best is an Intuitive Living expert, who combines her 17 years of experience and knowledge in nutritional therapy, spiritual development, Reiki, Quantum Touch, Ho’Oponopono, EFT, compassionate communication, angelic guidance, emotional healing, and personal development coaching into individualized programs that help her clients recover their emotional, mental, physical, and spiritual balance so that they can claim their divine gifts, redefine themselves, and recreate their lives into the glorious, happy, vibrant, fulfilling masterpieces they were meant to be.