Author Topic: Hops' Thoughts on Bigotry (ref. Mel Gibson) on Salon.com  (Read 3017 times)

Hopalong

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Hops' Thoughts on Bigotry (ref. Mel Gibson) on Salon.com
« on: August 02, 2006, 11:01:18 PM »
[It might be presumptuous to post one's own writing here. Please let me know if a chorus feels that!]

Bigotry Basics

At some point, it's unproductive to dissect biogtry's many faces, I think. The process (often fact-based, I'm sure) seems to go off the rails into escalating piles of points and counterpoints.

But it might move us forward to recognize instances like Mel's as illustrating something tragic. Destructive and perniciious, absolutely, when it's promulgated, as with his crucifixion film. And anyone is free to hold a bigot accountable in whatever legal way they like. But the problem is also tragic for each individual bigot. It is such a cellular loss, to hate.

Since none of us, individually, can do anything about large groups of people who carry or spread biogtry, what CAN we do? We could try to challenge at a deep level how we, ourselves, respond to any bigotry that intersects our lives.

Everybody knows a person who's tormented by the hate-worm, and its main symptom the blame-worm.

We all know someone. Could be the bigotry is hung on politics, sexual identity, gender, war, race, money, or the cross. When it turns violent, prosecute and lock it up. But most of the time it's not. It's just carried around in the psyche and vented one scalding or subtle gesture at a time.

Where to start healing, I think, is in sitting with that person and loving them. No drama needed, nor dialogue. But compassion.

What if we don't just satisfy our legitimate need to respond by challenging our brains to do smart analyses of bigotry's manifestations?

What if we each challenged ourselves to take it on at a different level, next time we encounter it?

Humans can literally generate a spacious and gracious compassion that is as palpable as a change in temperature to someone in our radius. If you're not sure about that, because it doesn't feel rational, don't worry. It is a harmless experiment.

No position statement needed. And no need to telegraph either condemnation or agreement. Just sit or stand with the person, intentionally soften your eyes and gentle your physical stance. Look at them without challenge. Maybe tilt your head toward them. (That doesn't mean nod in agreement, does it?) If they will talk, listen, with all the neutral gentleness you can summon from your soul. Not agreeing, not disagreeing. Listening right past the words to the wounded person. (People know when someone is doing that. They can just tell. At some point, the rage of bigotry begins to yield to fear.)

Keep doing it. Don't look for "results"--you're not fixing anything. You're choosing something abnormal. To be present. To listen to the person expressing bigotry. Listening is not agreeing. It's respecting the personhood of the bigot. (People know when someone is listening to them without agreement, but with respect for their humanity. They can just tell.)

There may be no gratifying catharsis. But as actually as any retribution, you are planting a moment in that person's mind. A moment that feels...different.

The moments are cumulative. At some point, in the majority of human beings who are responded to this way, the worm turns.

Not sure?

You could try it. You don't have to tell anybody.

We can't all catch a plane to Lebanon or Iraq to fix things, right? So start where we are.

(Moral evolution can be strangely contagious.)

-- Pax
"That'll do, pig, that'll do."

Stormchild

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Re: Hops' Thoughts on Bigotry (ref. Mel Gibson) on Salon.com
« Reply #1 on: August 03, 2006, 08:29:26 AM »
How timely our earlier racism discussions were! Isn't that amazing! And this is excellent, excellent, Hops. Thank you for bringing it here and sharing it.

And for turning on the lights. It is always about fear. Any kind of suppression of others... always about fear.
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Sela

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Re: Hops' Thoughts on Bigotry (ref. Mel Gibson) on Salon.com
« Reply #2 on: August 03, 2006, 08:57:18 AM »
Excellent writing Hops!

Thanks for sharing this.  Very accurate description:

Quote
But most of the time it's not. It's just carried around in the psyche and vented one scalding or subtle gesture at a time.

One thing that is really bothersome is that once the scalding or sublte  psyche releases it's poison, one or two drops (gestures) at a time, that poison gets absorbed by others.  Once the words are said and reported with gusto by the media, yes, the person who said them shows their bigotry to the world, and non-bigots can choose to lose respect or feel compassion for that bigot, but the worst is, those words get taken in, believed and remembered by other bigots, and new potential bigots, and maybe even those who might not have otherwise become bigots.  It's like chemical warfare only it starts and spreads by word of mouth!   Another example of how once words are spoken, they can not be undone.  Makes me want to duct tape his lips together, to be honest, but you're right.  That anger only fuels more of the same, from a different perspective.  It may simply perpetuate the spread of disease.  Maybe compassion is the real medicine?

I love this Hops:

Quote
Humans can literally generate a spacious and gracious compassion that is as palpable as a change in temperature to someone in our radius. If you're not sure about that, because it doesn't feel rational, don't worry. It is a harmless experiment.

In your case, it's more like a proven theory.  ((((((Hoppy))))))

 :D Sela

Hops

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Re: Hops' Thoughts on Bigotry (ref. Mel Gibson) on Salon.com
« Reply #3 on: August 03, 2006, 10:06:14 AM »
Thanks, guys.  :oops:
It's 2 cents, but Salon reaches lots of people, so if I'm sure I'm writing from a good place, seems worth doing sometimes.

Hops

Plucky

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Re: Hops' Thoughts on Bigotry (ref. Mel Gibson) on Salon.com
« Reply #4 on: August 03, 2006, 11:05:25 PM »
Quote
It's like chemical warfare only it starts and spreads by word of mouth! 
Good article Hops, although I think I will focus more on sending positive thoughts out to the victims of the bigots.
Sela, I tend to think about bigotry as the type of poison that needs to be exposed and dissected in order to counteract its power.  Sort of like the Andromeda Strain.  Better this, than to keep it bottled up.  While new people may be exposed to  these 'ideas', many more who might be harbouring them will see the outcry and disdain most of the world expresses, at least publicly, for them.  I think that is the usefulness of the media frenzy.
I also think it was useful to really see what the director of the Passion really thinks.  I had heard that some thought it was anti-Semitic but didn't see it myself.
Plucky