Why do our differences scare us vs. make us curious?
Hello, my name is Brian and I'm a middle class, white, college educated, white collar, heterosexual, southern, republican, Christian, happily married father of two.
Let all of that sink in. Based on all of those descriptors, I would love to get some comments or feedback about what your first assumptions are about me. I am not well-traveled. I am not overly enlightened. And I have not been exposed to much of what the world has to offer. I am quite naive. All of that said, I am curious to what makes people tick.
We all wear lots of labels. I've shared a number of mine with you, but there are many many more that I haven't. All of us have thousands of labels that describe us. Some were self-selected, others were given to us at birth, but all of them make us who we are. As I sat watching the tube last night, seeing the chaos that was/is Ferguson, I was saddened. In this case, race is the primary driver for the tension, but there are so many more layers that can be peeled back to truly understand what everyone is feeling.
I can't begin to explain all the layers, because I'm not there. I haven't lived life with the people of Ferguson, and any commentary I provide on why and how and who's fault it is does more damage than good. I do live in a community that is very segmented in a lot of ways. Our demographics cover both ends of most every spectrum - race, wealth, age, education, political, faith, life experience and opportunity.
I can't tell you why things in Ferguson are happening the way they are, but I can tell you that I don't want that to happen here! And I hope that you don't want it to happen in your home. As is the case with most everything in life, the solution is very simple to understand and very difficult to execute.
We have to accept that we all carry different labels. The sum of my labels make me completely unique. Noone else has my exact set of labels. The key is understanding that our labels aren't inherently something to be scared of or something that should be steered clear of. I am curious person that gets bored quickly. I like different. Different makes me curious. Different can be better or it can be just different.
If we want to prevent this kind of thing from happening, we have to be curious about our differences, not scared or anxious. We have to try and understand our our differences influence how we live life. We have to look for opportunities to live life together. We have to let our collective differences make us stronger. Again, I'm quite naive, but I do belive that the solution is simple. We have to live life together. We have to learn from each others differences. We have to resist the temptation to judge or be scared and try being curious.