Fighting ignorance with compassion rather than anger

25 Feb

The world is full of a lot of pain. Deep rivets of fire in the very fiber of our being. Festering wounds full of so much agony, nearly anything can trigger the flashback to what harmed us.

Everyone has something that carves out their gut, every single time they’re reminded.

At least, I’m assuming so. I know I’ve got my wounds. My regrets. My pain.

I imagine that’s what causes so much anger. Every time we encounter something that dives under our skin, it’s so hard to control those emotions boiling right below the surface.

It’s so hard to think when all we can do is react. Everything inside us is too raw. With the internet and Twitter at our fingertips, the easiest thing to do is lash out.

We’ve all been there, our fingers hesitating over our keyboard or phone keypad. We’re quivering we’re so angry, so hurt, so outraged. We can barely contain the bile that wants to vomit out of our throat.

Yet we don’t see it as negative. We see it as positive because we are right. We are good. We are fighting for equality. We are fighting for safety. We are fighting for World Peace.

In our passion: we shout, we rage, we hurt.

In our need to rebel against the words spoken, we create a backlash all our own.

With anger, there is harm.

No matter what side of the battle we fight for, none of us are without responsibility.

A heavy way to start. But believe it or not, this is another one of those hopelessly optimistic posts.

We all carry our burdens. Some of us better than others. There are some days I lose the battle to fear and regret.

But I dream of a world that fights ignorance with compassion rather than anger.

The reason I dream this is because I grew up in a relatively small town. I was coddled in ways I couldn’t comprehend until adulthood. That is the very meaning of being coddled. You’re so engrossed in your own safety you don’t even recognize the possible threats.

Now, that’s not to say my town didn’t have its troubles. We had our losses, our own sorrows, our pain. Maybe not on the scale of the big city, but it was there, nonetheless.

If I offend you, it’s not because I want to. It’s because I’m not educated enough to understand why that particular subject would hurt you.

As much as I’ve tried to expand my horizons, I will always be constricted by my upbringing. I will always be a product of my past.

Unless I throw myself into the middle of nowhere and build myself up from scratch, I will never comprehend what that’s like. As educational as that promises to be, we can’t ignore that we’ve established responsibilities in this world.

Just because we aren’t throwing ourselves into a new environment to learn, that doesn’t mean we don’t want to grow. With the internet, the gateway is open.

Enlighten me. I am here to learn. The barriers are down, and I don’t have to travel halfway around the world to read about someone living there.

The world is valuable because of its diversity. But there is so much diversity that it’s impossible to relate to everyone. It’s impossible not to offend someone.

As the internet, we should come together as a community, but respect we’re all different.

There are people in the world who live to offend others. Although it might be naïve, I sincerely doubt the average person spends the time required to be that offensive.

A lot of what hits the news nowadays is thoughtless words founded on lacking education.

Just because someone believes something that hurts someone doesn’t mean they’re passionate about those beliefs. It doesn’t mean they aren’t sympathetic to your plight. It doesn’t mean they’ll never see your truth. It might simply be they’ve never been exposed to your beliefs.

I dream of a world that fights ignorance with education rather than anger.

There is already too much antagonism, too much pain. Even if we’re trying to do the right thing, let us not add to the burden. Let’s not allow the wound to fester.

Some people are stuck in their ways. They don’t know the definition of equality because they qualify it with their own beliefs.

Equality has no qualifications.

Those people might never change.

The leaders of hurtful groups are yelling the loudest, but that doesn’t mean everyone they represent is the same.

Show us the story of your journey. Show us the journey of your plight. We might decree one thing and justify it because of our upbringing.

But if you show me an emotionally charged editorial on the opposite side of an argument, I will be moved. You will change my heart, my thoughts, and my worldview.

There are people who will never be swayed, never be moved. Don’t believe that’s everyone. Don’t believe words mean nothing. They’re the most powerful tool of all.

Speak your truth. Some people will rage, but others will listen.

Let’s stop allowing the loudest voices to win us over. Let’s listen to the whisper of compassion.

Kinley Baker (@kinleybaker)

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10 Responses to “Fighting ignorance with compassion rather than anger”

  1. Gilliad Stern February 25, 2013 at 1:53 pm #

    The whole time I was reading this I kept going back to the fact that knowledge is power. Ignorance is just an excuse to be lazy these days. You can find information about any topic on the internet today, all at the touch of your hands. Try to figure out the plight of the person or situation before you jump to anger. I try to do this, but it is definitely easier said then done.

    Great post! Gets you to thinking.

    • kinleybaker February 26, 2013 at 2:46 am #

      Thanks, Gilliad! I agree. It’s definitely easier to say. Following through is harder. I just wish we had a little more cushion room. Sometimes people genuinely don’t know what’s offensive.

  2. Susan Jaymes February 26, 2013 at 1:13 am #

    Wow, Kinley. Great Post. It gets one to thinking.

  3. Diana Beebe February 26, 2013 at 2:02 am #

    Such a thoughtful post, Kinley! I love your optimism, too.

    • kinleybaker February 26, 2013 at 2:50 am #

      Thanks, Diana! I have a weird blend of optimism and pessimism. I think the optimism is more positive so I try to embrace that side.

      • Diana Beebe February 26, 2013 at 3:24 am #

        That’s a good plan. 🙂

  4. Lena Corazon February 26, 2013 at 6:54 am #

    Oh, this is awesome, Kinley, and so thought-provoking. It makes me sad (and angry, and frustrated…) that with our technological advances, many people entrench themselves even further into their preconceived notions of the world and refuse to change. It’s easy to get stuck in one’s tiny corner of the interwebs, where everyone agrees and shares the same opinion… It takes courage to branch out, listen (or read, or whatever) to what others have to say, and to really *listen*. I’m an educator, so I am a huge proponent of changing the world through critical thinking. Getting people to strive towards compassion and understanding, and to see others as fellow humans and NOT as adversaries, is definitely a huge step in the right direction, IMO.

    • kinleybaker February 26, 2013 at 3:01 pm #

      Thanks, Lena. I agree it takes courage to seek out information beyond your safe zone online. More than once I’ve pushed myself too hard, too quickly, and I realize I have to take a step back and not lose myself in tradegy I can’t change. I’m completely onboard with your calling. 🙂

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    […] went positive and optimistic after the negativity of the internet got to […]

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