Today in America, we face intense divisiveness every day. In particular, it appears news media overwhelmingly develops its narratives to create sides and divide Americans. Why? Probably for a number of reasons, some of which might be truly sinister, and some of which might be simply driven by the particular company’s bottom line. But what if news media focused, at least for a few minutes, on challenging its audience to develop creative ways to unite with their fellow Americans? That is what I would prefer to focus on. I’d like to explain for a minute what I did today, instead of watching Fox News or CNN. My goal is to encourage my fellow Americans to ask themselves what they could do instead, and then act.
Over the past few months, I learned that the Black Community in America claims they have been harmed by racism more frequently and more brutally than I ever cared to realize. Instead of running to Fox News or CNN to reinforce my pre-existing beliefs on the matter. I decided to stop, listen, and try to learn. I called a Black Friend, and asked him what I should do when a White Friend of mine says something that makes me uncomfortable, could be “racist,” but could also be explained away as “not racist.” My Black Friend said, “Oh, you mean a racial microaggression?” I said, “I guess?” He gave me some profound advice. He said, “I have always responded to racial microaggressions with the goal of making the person who said them as uncomfortable as they have made me.”
My Black Friend’s advice was not perfect, there is no such thing. But it did help. More importantly, it allowed me to develop a better understanding of how unfortunately practiced he had become at dealing with racial microaggressions in his daily life.
A Fellow Citizen