Engage, with CompassionJune 21, 2020
“If you want to sit around with your students and talk about how shitty it is to be a girl...don’t pretend it’s a movement, ok? It’s not a movement if everyone’s just sitting. That's a support group.”
- Jane Ginsburg (daughter of Ruth Bader Ginsburg), in the film On the Basis of Sex
Sometimes I think about all the changes I want to see, and wonder if I'm contributing to them, or just dreaming about them.
Of course it's relatively easy, and feels good, to sit around and talk with people just like me. It feels good because at least I am doing something.
And there's nothing wrong with it.
And yet change tends to happen only when I go beyond that group, when I come face to face with those who do not agree with me, and engage with them. It tends to happen when I go through the really really difficult work of trying to see the world through the other person's eyes, to appreciate why they believe what they do, as heinous or backward as it may seem, then compassionately doing everything I can to enroll them in a different perspective.
Compassion does not have to be polite.
Compassion can be assertive, forceful and jarring.
And it starts with a courageous intent to unite, not to win or feel good.