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Kindness Is the Antidote for Prejudice and Discrimination
by Aleasa Word, FAACT’s Vice President of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion
We are living in very heated times. There is a fire in the belly of those who have discriminatory or prejudiced feelings towards others, and it can be frightening for the rest of us who choose love and peace over division and hate. Sadly, social media has become a platform for many of these people. Hate speech, bullying, and desperation to be heard, seen, or always be right have morphed into an online contagion.
It fills me with concern. Yet I know there is more to this story.
I have helped numerous people navigate their emotions while working on my own emotional GPS. Life has a creative way of making us either laser focused on our emotions or wanting to stuff them away like holiday bulbs at the end of December. Compartmentalizing our feelings does not make them less real. We feel what we feel, and we can choose what we want to do with our feelings. Unfortunately, not everyone chooses healthy ways to process these feelings.
When hatred rears its ugly head, there is an antidote that also has the ability to spread like a positive contagion. This fix is not quick, nor is it always easy. Sometimes it can be filled with heartbreak, angst, and feelings of being taken for granted. Despite the downsides we may perceive, it is the best and most potent option to cancel the effects of prejudice and discriminatory practices. The recipe has a few parts to it. The largest ingredient is kindness, followed by patience, compassion, empathy, and love.
Some people may think it is not possible to love those we don’t know. I’d ask them, even if you don’t FEEL love for strangers, are you willing to show the love inside of you to them? Others have embraced the fullness of the recipe, choosing to be an example of how good humans can be when we set our minds to it. Wouldn’t it be grand if more people exhibited these behaviors on a daily basis?
So how do we get there? We start with kindness. A kind gesture toward everyone around us, whether we know them or not can make a world of difference. Even walking away from a heated exchange without adding fuel to the fire can be an act of kindness. This key ingredient can be shared EVERYWHERE you want it to be, but it takes intentionality.
In the coming days, ask yourself what you can do to pass on kindness. Have conversations you’re your family about what kindness means and how we can face those who aren’t grateful for our kindness with empathy and compassion. Humans are the sum of all our parts. Let’s be sure the part we play is one that is filled with true hope for a better experience for all humanity.