Close Your Eyes and Envision ///
Close your eyes…
Close your eyes and envision a scenario; figuratively, of course. Envision you own a white car. This car is a good car. It gets you from point A to point B. Your family gets to vacation destinations. The car is paid off and insurance is cheap. You keep this car clean and in good shape. No need for a new one. Maybe an upgrade or two.
There is one thing about this white car. It has a speed regulator. You can’t drive more than 75 miles per hour. That certainly isn’t a problem though. You are on the highway and the speed limit is 50 MPH. All other cars on the highway with you have a similar regulator. Some are regulated at 75, others at 50, with the occasional 100 MPH car.
But, on this highway, all the cars look similar. They are pretty evenly spaced out. And the opportunity to go faster is there but not that common.
The parallel road…
To this highway, there is a parallel road. Envision, the road isn’t as nicely paved. This parallel road has cars of all kinds. They appear to be pretty dingy and beat up. They don’t look like your nice, clean, white car.
But, at least they are on a different road. They are regulated at 35 MPH, so you really don’t see them that often. And certainly, they aren’t passing you.
The government has done a great job ensuring that the cars on your highway are the “right” cars. And they have made certain that the cars on the parallel road are kept on that road. Certainly don’t want too much cross over. And, on the occasion there is, at least they can’t drive as fast. So, they won’t catch up. You can always look at them in the rear-view mirror.
Suddenly, someone in the government decided that the situation isn’t right. The reality is, the cars on the other road aren’t that beat up. In fact, there are many cars that are potentially faster than yours. Faster, with better fuel efficiency, and more upgrade options.
The biggest difference between your car and those cars is the speed regulator. Your capped at 75 while those are capped at 35. Why should either of you be capped? That government someone, realizing this, said we should remove those regulators. Let’s take them all away. Now, every car can reach the speed of the car without an arbitrary cap.
For you, this doesn’t make much of a difference. After all, you aren’t driving much faster than 50 MPH on your highway. And, those cars are still on the parallel, dilapidated, unmaintained road.
But the thing is, your highway is bigger. It has more space. It has newer pavement. And, now we also need everyone to be on the same road. If there is opportunity to go faster, let’s maximize that opportunity.
The experience of being passed…
Keep envisioning…you are still driving your comfortable 50 MPH. You have a lot of similar looking cars doing the same. Until one of these cars from the parallel road passes you. It passes going 75 MPH. Then another passes at 85 MPH. Then another, and another.
It’s not that this hasn’t happened before. It is just happening more frequently. And, it isn’t just cars that look like you. It’s those “other” cars that were no longer regulated. Not only are their more cars passing you, the highway is getting more congested. More and more cars competing for space.
You have been comfortably driving 50 MPH for quite some time. All of a sudden, you aren’t driving fast enough. You aren’t comfortable going faster. But you need to. You need to keep with the flow of traffic or there may be an accident. All because of some government “someone” who said these “other” cars don’t need regulation.
And, the thing is, they have been regulated so low for so long. Now they have an opportunity to drive faster and they are. They are taking advantage of the opportunity. An opportunity you had for a long time but chose not to. Now, even with the new opportunity, it is harder to accelerate. It’s hard to get comfortable driving 85 when you are so used to driving 50.
Instead, you feel slighted. You feel angry and unsafe because the comfortable world around you has changed. For many, changed for the better, but not for you. This isn’t a highway you can drive on anymore.
You can open your eyes now…
This is what I believe is a big part of the current racial and gender conflict. The western world has been driven by one type for so long. It has been controlled and managed by one demographic. And within the last 100 years, woman got the right to vote, Jim Crow ended, and we got a Black president. Refugees yield approximately $80 Billion of surplus to our economy.
Many people don’t want to compete. That competition means someone has to do more. More than they had to do for so long.
Not every person uncomfortable with this movement hates the people passing them. They just hate being passed. Hate being forced to keep up because the world is changing. And there are many people who used to drive 100 MPH (because they had the special connection) that are now being passed at 125 MPH. That, then, creates a power struggle. And people start getting run off the road. More often it is the new cars getting muscled off the embankment.
While I certainly don’t think everyone driving 50 is just uncomfortable going faster. I think the reality of going faster just makes some people uncomfortable. Empathizing with that helps me process their discomfort. Ultimately leading toward a place of consultation rather than scorn.
A friend recently said to me, “I believe fear gets confused with hate”. When you re-frame someone else as being afraid rather than hating, it’s easier to have empathy. EASIER, not necessarily easy. It creates an opportunity to open a dialogue. Maybe, just maybe, you can help someone with their fear. It’s much harder to help someone with their hate.
I firmly believe if everyone helped one person overcome their fear then we would have a lot less hate. We would see fewer cars getting “muscled off the embankment”.
Close Your Eyes and Envision
Keith's blog this week is his genius homegrown analogy to explain what he see's as a big problem in the US (likely the world) right now. He provides an astute observation on what white America (and frankly many industries) are experiencing these days. It's not really a right or wrong thing - it's a great look at what's happening and "a" if not the cause backlash felt by so many (black, brown, women, gay, immigrant, etc..) today.
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