Every profession, every community, every family has good people and bad people and people who make mistakes. How many of those people (good, bad, human) will stand up and say, “I was wrong”? How many of those people (good, bad, human) will listen to the complaints of their critics and really reflect in order to change? How many of those people (good, bad, human) will stop and think before they react?
Few people are all good or are all bad. Few people are taught the importance of admitting painful truths. Few people can humble themselves enough to say, “I was wrong” or “That was wrong”.
It’s hard to offer solidarity and support to people who need it sometimes, because we don’t know the story and we don’t have enough information to tease the truth out of conflicting stories.
The world is filled with nuance and pain and cruelty and kindness and racism and social justice and fear. We are all raised with a set of “watch out for” rules set down by the experiences of those who came before us. It is on us to learn, to listen, to do better. It is on us to learn from the collective past and the personal past. It is on us to make better choices and to behave with more compassion toward others.
The things we are taught to fear, the people we are taught embody that fear, can be hard to release. Dealing with our fears can take lifetimes. We owe it to our ancestors, our descendants, and our contemporaries to try to do the right thing, the compassionate thing each time we are given the choice.
We will sometimes fail.
We have to keep trying.
We have to listen.
We have to stand with those who are victimized.
We have to see the whole picture, especially the parts that make us uncomfortable.
We have to learn.
We have to own our mistakes.
We have to do better.
We have to give others the chance that we would want—to live, to apologize, to learn, to speak, to change.