I believe, every time we see an injustice being committed, there are only two appropriate reactions: be appalled, and be compassionate.
We should be appalled because we are human beings. Because every single time one of our kind threatens the safety of another, it speaks about our failure as a whole. It speaks about how our education, religion, government, media, families, and friends have failed horribly at forming another wonderful human who is capable of making this world a better place for everybody. It speaks about how we at some point took part in the influencing of another person to be hateful. We should be appalled because ultimately, the person who decides whose influence he will accept is himself, and he believed those who are hateful as well instead of teaching them that it’s not right. We should be appalled because we know deep in our hearts that we could be better than this, yet we are not.
We should be compassionate because we are human beings. We are capable of seeing the beauty in the smallest things, yet we have allowed injustice and corruption to permeate our society and ourselves. We are capable of true love and goodness, yet we choose to hate and harm. We are capable of standing up for other people; standing up against the system that breeds violence and ignorance like a virus, yet we choose to simply do nothing. We are angry until it’s inconvenient. We are angry until the protests cause traffic. We are angry until the injustice is committed against a certain sector we don’t agree with. Too many people have died because of bullying, entitlement, greed, gender inequality, selfishness, ideology, ignorance, and even recklessness. What is this world coming to? What are we doing about it?
Aren’t we tired yet? Aren’t we tired of the racial slurs and other hateful remarks? Aren’t we tired of putting the bullets in the gun of the next killer? We say, “I’m racist but at least I don’t kill people”, or “I’m entitled but at least I don’t rape people”. But every time we make a racist comment, we are committing murder; we are killing the good things in the identity of a certain person, and we are killing their individuality. Every time we make a sexist remark, an ableist remark, or any remark that is oppressive, we are not contributing to the goodness in this world. Every time we use someone’s gender or race or disability or religion to put them down, we are putting an entire sector down, and we are adding another bullet to the gun.
We are human. Have we forgotten what that means? Or have we gotten so used to using our humanity as an excuse for all our failures, that we chalk up all the horrible things that have been happening around us – and all the horrible things we have committed – to our humanity? Our humanity should be the driving force that would help us help each other. It should be the driving force that makes us wake up every day to go to school so that one day we could know enough to stand up for someone else. It should be the driving force that makes us go down on our knees and pray to whatever Being we believe in, to ask for guidance and forgiveness so we could stop destroying this world. It should be the driving force that makes us ashamed of ourselves whenever we take part in the culture that creates rapists and humiliatars and child abusers. It should be the driving force that makes us protect the oppressed from the oppressor. Because we are human, and that is both a description and a responsibility.
So what are we doing about it? Are we just going to sit around, apathetic, until we are the ones who are harmed? Those two emotions I talked about aren’t supposed to just be felt and let go. They should be felt, and they should compel us to move. They should compel us to educate ourselves and other people; to listen to different sides and opinions and engage in intelligent discourse; to extend support and kindness for the people who have been victimized, and help them demand for justice. How can we call ourselves civilized? How can we call ourselves human when all we do is turn a blind eye and choose to neglect?
Before all the divisions we decided to create, we are first and foremost human beings. No belief system or opinion could destroy that. We should hold onto it and protect it, and do our best to educate ourselves and the next generation as to what that truly means. And as the Jesuits would say, we are “men and women for others”. I believe it’s time we act like it.