For so many of us, in order for us to be right, someone else has to be wrong. As a society, we have a difficult time with there being more than one right, a problem with different being equally valid. Even those of us who believe ourselves to be above such traps fall into them occasionally. I know I do. Hell, recently I was on the receiving end of a blunt, well-phrased and definitely deserved scolding from one of my editors (it wasn't me - ed.) for falling into said trap myself. Had I thought the article was offensive at the time I wrote it? Of course not. Yet, did I realize it was, once it was shown to me from a different perspective? Although it’s embarrassing to admit, I have to say yes. It probably was.
This either-or dynamic gets played out in such ways everyday. In little ways, as in my situation. In big ways, as in the current presidential run. Every single one of us can point to a time when we have been seen and treated as less-than. But, if we are truly honest, every single one of us can point to a time when we have seen and treated a person or group as less-than, as well.
I doubt we’ll ever be perfect and maybe that’s okay. Growth can’t come from perfection. At the same time, we can – all of us, including and starting with myself – stay aware and try to be better. Not out of a sense of privilege-based guilt or status-based victimization but because it’s an appropriate thing to do. If nothing else, both-and is more interesting than either-or. Any day.
Until next month, Poppets, take care of you – and each other.