A black sportsman made an advert with Nike and some white people are pissed. So pissed they’re burning their shoes. Some even while wearing them. They’re so mad there is no time to waste removing their shoes first.
They’re being applauded but of course, protest is only good when you agree with the method of protesting. Quietly taking a knee is deeply offensive but burning something that could easily be donated to a homeless person or a charity working with veterans is entirely appropriate it seems.
We are deeply divided.
Indeed, when some say that the world is not black and white they are correct. It is black or white. One or the other. It can’t be both. We firmly plant our feet on one side and see everything on the other as dangerous or illegitimate to our good Christian American ideals. We’re so stuck that we can’t move our feet to go and see what it’s like over there.
Today you’ll see posts about 9/11 and rightfully so. But many of these posts will use this as a way of attacking others. 9/11 united a country in grief and today it is being used to widen the already deep divisions in the country.
Twitter and Social media are not to blame for this, they’re simply allowing it to be exposed. Could this be a good thing?
You’ll be asked to choose who you consider a real hero. And choose you must.
Like soldiers or people who died on 9/11 or celebrities who dare stand up for injustice or even Jesus. But why does it have to be either/or? Two different experiences can involve a sacrifices, both can be legitimate, both can be painful and be righteous.
Who decides what a real hero looks like? Is it the solider who died on the battlefield defending his country, the Millionaire footballer who can’t bear watching another person experience injustice and violence simply because of the color of their skin or the mother who works three jobs just so her kids can be free to concentrate on school and have something to eat when they get home?
Some people would believe that there is a hierarchy but maybe there are just different experiences. Maybe they are all important and valid in their own unique way.
When an experience that is foreign to you threatens your own beliefs and ideals, it may be time to take a deep look inside and ask why. What are you afraid of?
The divisions in this country or any country or group of people for that matter won’t heal until each of us begins to stop and breathe and just for a moment not see the other side as the enemy. To pause before sharing a meme. Sharing such things don’t change opinions or beliefs and maybe we don’t really want to.
If we want to hate Kaepernick we will, even when we are confronted with the valid reasons why he is protesting in the first place. We’ll bring up the fact that he is a Millionaire and doesn’t know the meaning of the word sacrifice or American in order to prevent us confronting our fear and therefore racism.
If we want to hate all conservatives, we will. Even when confronted with the realisation that 45 does not represent all conservatives or Republicans any more than chocolate represents all sugar.
This reason we don’t want to, is because doing so would cause us to to confront our own individual pain. It may even lead to healing and it may even lead us to see others as people which will mean we will have to let go of our anger.
What would happen if we considered that there is more than one type of hero and maybe all experiences can be valid? My father died when I was 11 but that doesn’t mean someone whose father was around but experienced a painful and fractured relationship, has no reason to complain.
But of course, maybe deep down we don’t want that.
And like all problems, maybe the first step is admitting this.
And maybe those who can, are the real heroes we need.