I genuinely think this is it, plain and simple.
Fear is something that we all understand. We are all scared of a lot of things; the dark, spiders, being exposed, death…people who look or act different from us. There has been SO much suffering in our nation and nations abroad over the past few months. So much to grieve, to mourn, to pray for. We get upset, shake our fists, and take to social media to cry out to the world, “How can this happen?!” But the truth is, the path to hate is an easy road to travel. And it starts with fear; especially if you leave it unchecked.
Different races, ethnicities, and sexual orientation scares people. And when people get afraid, they quickly become angry. No one likes to feel afraid, because when you are you begin to feel vulnerable and exposed. That quickly leads to becoming angry, angry at whatever makes you feel afraid, or whoever. Then you grow to hate it…or them.
And we all know what hate leads to, we’ve seen all over the news.
I have some wonderful teachers in my life who have reiterated time and time again the importance of naming my emotions. If I’m feeling angry or frustrated; what am I feeling more specifically? Am I feeling taken advantage of? Ignored? Deceived? Inadequate? That helps me determine the true origin of my feelings. This helps with fear too. Why do you feel afraid? Where does the root of your fear come from?
Honestly, I feel we are living in a big circle of fear. Fear of people not like us, fear for our own safety, fearing the things you don’t believe in, fearing the worst will happen. If we can just have more hope. More optimism. And listen, I get it… I feel myself becoming more cynical by the day. But we have to fight it. We have to attempt to see the best in people. We need to walk on the side-walk, crossing by an African-American man, and not clutch our purse. We need to see the police officer and assume he is there to help us. We need to see a gay couple holding hands and not assume the worst about their lifestyle. We need to smile more and judge less.
Because skin color, what you own or don’t own, or your sexual orientation doesn’t define who you are.
In The Door Keeper, I was purposeful in making my protagonist’s race ambiguous. She could be African-American, Latino, Indian, or Caucasian with a dark tan. I did it for many reasons, the main one was so any woman could relate. (Unless you happen to be an Irish redhead. 🙂 Another reason was simply because it doesn’t really matter. What this particular world perceives about Eden, or her skin color, doesn’t factor into what she believes about herself. Nor should it any of us. That is one of my favorite things about her; I wish I were more like her.
I wish we all were.