“I refuse to accept the view that mankind is so tragically bound to the starless midnight of racism and war that the bright daybreak of peace and brotherhood can never become a reality… I believe that unarmed truth and unconditional love will have the final word.” – Martin Luther King, Jr.
It is so very easy to judge, isn’t it? So easy to allow fear, anger, and the blame game to take control. I am so disturbed by the ongoing penchant to blame China for the present pandemic. Memes on social media scold the country for eating “gross, contaminated sh*t” . Let’s take a step back, shall we?
Let me tell you a little bit about me. I was born and raised in Newfoundland & Labrador – Canada’s most eastern province. I grew up in a rural area on the island of Newfoundland. Visitors (tourists) to the province were often surprised by local culture, especially cuisine. Many would perhaps say that some foods are “gross”. While many people who visit my native province thoroughly enjoy the hospitality, music, and the sense of humor that is unique to people there, others cannot understand the culture or the way of life. Back in the day there were many jokes that denigrated the people and the province, labeling us as “stupid Newfs”. So, perhaps that has made me more sensitive to prejudices of any kind – including those that disparage the Chinese people, having experienced unfair and untrue labeling myself.
Labels are something I resist mightily. I believe we are all one race – the human race, regardless of what we call ‘home’. I believe we are all connected and we need to face this pandemic together, after all it is no respecter of borders or false divisions such as the color of our skin or our religious leanings, or whether we practice any particular spirituality at all. As my mother would have said, “try walking a mile in their shoes”. When we refuse to practice empathy or compassion. When we are unkind. When we allow racist statements and ideas to take root, we ALL lose. That is a more dangerous contagion than that of the virus itself. It leads to hardened hearts. It leads to hate. It leads to divisions and ultimately to fighting and to war.
Let us focus on fighting this pandemic. Let us have faith in the ingenuity and intelligence of human kind, and in its inherent goodness. Let us have faith in a power much greater than our own, a higher power.
“Faith is the strength by which a shattered world shall emerge into the light”. – Helen Keller