We Can’t Compromise with Bigots and Haters, Liars and Criminals
In case you don’t know me or my social identities and background, here I am: born and raised Reformed (liberal) Jewish, but not observant by choice since 1970, as a 3rd-generation Ashkenazi (Eastern European, white) Jew; southern and mid-western American; mostly cis-gender female (she/her), but/and bisexual and somewhat varied in my gender displays over the decades (I’m now 66); feminist since age 3; anti-oppression worker and educator/trainer since the 1970s; meditator since 1972, and Buddhist (Tibetan Vajrayana) since 1996); partially disabled (injury-induced mobility issues) for about 25 years (1972 – 1997), and since then, cautious and somewhat limited, physically (due to other injuries and illnesses); Zionist (in favor of Israel’s existence) but anti-Israeli government’s oppression of Palestinians; politically, left of Liberal, voting Democrat, Green or Independent/Progressive in every election since 1972.
I am/have been active in/believe in:
— anti-nuclear power and arms movements
—pro-choice and pro-ERA passage
—pro-justice and -school reforms
—pro-active union membership and support
—pro-USA universal healthcare passage
—pro-Democrats in the majority, especially in the USA Senate, for 2022 and beyond
—anti- incarceration of all non-criminal and minor immigrants and minorities, women, disabled, other targeted groups
—anti-capitalism & democratic socialist
—pro-guaranteed annual income and anti-poverty
—pro-forgiving ALL student debt and making USA higher education FREE
—pro-decriminalizing ALL drugs and -releasing all incarcerated recreational drug users and -erasing recreational drug sales convictions
—pro-allowing felons to vote
—pro-changing our environmental policies and other regulations to reduce Carbon emissions and avert worsening Climate Change
—pro-animal rights (e.g., pro-treating animals better, pro-eliminating factory farming, pro-stopping inappropriately housing animals in zoos and theme parks)
—pro-Indigenous peoples’ autonomy and rights
—pro-HUGE police, military and law enforcement reorientation and reform, especially with regard to encountering minorities and women, with harsher penalties and expulsion for those in positions of authority who are violators of human rights.
Hope that gives you a clearer picture of my perspective and intentions, here
So much is wrong with the ways we treat each other, particularly in the USA, since FOREVER, that I can’t possibly cover it all, here. But, I am trying to provide a starting place for those new to social justice and/or looking for reasons, resources, support. Begin by putting your efforts where they most will count.
We must all begin with changing OURSELVES, then widen our scopes. But, some causes and people are not worth our time. Be choosy.
Maybe you’ve seen these studies: altruists have enlarged amygdalae (the part of our brains that engender compassion, generosity, empathy and kindness, which have a primary role in the processing of memory, decision-making and emotional responses of all types, including fear, anxiety, and aggression), while psychopaths’, narcissists’ and other sociopaths’ amygdalae are shrunken and deficient. Abigail Marsh‘s research was pivotal in this area. It “has yielded more information about the amygdala, showing that in altruists, the amygdalae tend to be larger, and in psychopaths it tends to be smaller.” This brain part is responsible for determining one’s emotional intelligence (EQ), so it’s no surprise that those adults with long-standing low EQs are usually damaged beyond repair.
For children, there are ameliorating or mediating repairs that could occur: trauma-informed care has many options and some are quite effective. But, for those well into an healed adulthood, not so much can be done.
We can’t negotiate with damaged brains. This means some people are beyond the reach of dialogue: these confused thinkers can’t be persuaded or have their views altered through rational discourse or multiple examples, or even their own experiences. They can’t unlearn their conditioning; they’ve been brainwashed.
But, most people aren’t lost causes. We/they can learn, change for the better, develop into better humans.
We need to put our energy into helping those we can help, and give up on the rest. I mean it. I have spent most of my life ‘trying to help,” with some success. BUT, everyone who attempts to effect change has to know when to give up. There are times to surrender.
If you already know about the ADL (Anti-Defamation League), good. If not, keep reading:
“ADL is a leading anti-hate organization. Founded in 1913 in response to an escalating climate of antisemitism and bigotry, its timeless mission is to stop the defamation of the Jewish people, and to secure justice and fair treatment to all. Today, ADL continues to fight all forms of hate with the same vigor and passion. ADL is a global leader in exposing extremism and delivering anti-bias education, and is a leading organization in training law enforcement. ADL is the first call when acts of antisemitism occur. ADL’s ultimate goal is a world in which no group or individual suffers from bias, discrimination or hate….
“In 1913, our founders understood that America would only be safe for its Jews if it was safe for all its people.
“And, since then, we have defended American values like dignity. Equality. Justice. And Fair Treatment for us all….
“We will expose bigotry for what it is, whether it’s cloaked in political rhetoric, academic theories or calls for boycotts.
“We don’t care how you vote, but we do care what you value.
“We are principled, not political.
“We choose action, not sides.”
FMI, please visit, here: https://www.adl.org/
For those of us and those we know who ARE teachable and willing, here are some ways to discern who is who, and to determine when to discontinue efforts vs. when to utilize resources. Need some methods for making those choices? Here you are:
Excerpts below from a great article, “Civility Won’t End Racism,”
by Alex Zamalin for YES! Magazine
March 2, 2021
©2021 Creative Commons
“Not only is civility ineffective, but, more often than not, it’s dangerous….
“The first reason civility doesn’t work is because it substitutes the goal of unity and respecting both sides of the aisle over directly confronting systemic racism. This only empowers reactionary forces who want to maintain the status quo….
“The second reason civility doesn’t work is because it provides ammunition for reactionaries to more enthusiastically stifle anti-racist protest. The language of civil and uncivil, good and bad, sets the stage for purported uncivil actors to be punished….
“To reject civility isn’t to embrace violence. Far from it. It’s to anchor your political claims in an unapologetic criticism of bad policies and use disruptive public action—strikes, marches, protests—to support emancipatory ones….
“Civility doesn’t work. Justice does.”
Best national resource center for understanding, working to rectify discrimination and collaborate for social justice is the Southern Poverty Law Center: https://www.splcenter.org/ 400 Washington Avenue, Montgomery, AL 36104
“Civil rights lawyers, Morris Dees and Joseph Levin, Jr. founded the SPLC in 1971 to ensure that the promise of the civil rights movement became a reality for all. Since then, we’ve won numerous landmark legal victories on behalf of the exploited, the powerless and the forgotten.
“Our lawsuits have toppled institutional racism and stamped out remnants of Jim Crow segregation; destroyed some of the nation’s most violent white supremacist groups; and protected the civil rights of children, women, the disabled, immigrants and migrant workers, the LGBTQ community, prisoners, and many others who faced discrimination, abuse or exploitation.”
What about unlearning racism, and other oppressions ingrained in many of us? “Unlearning requires that we rid ourselves of something that we previously learned that may no longer be serving us or that might truly be hurting us (or others).”
Here are some options and resources that lead to others.
First, and best, is Peggy McIntosh‘s article, “Unpacking the Invisible Knapsack of White Privilege”:
—White Privilege: Unpacking the Invisible Knapsack Peggy McIntosh