Recent occurrences in Charlottesville, removing statues, government outbursts and fractured global relationships weigh heavy on our hearts. Hegemonic “isms” reflect ignorance, wreaking exclusion. Such behaviors indicate a disconnection from our innate well-being. I’ve been thinking about how a 3P understanding cultivates unity. Thus, as a Collaborate Associate, my project with Center for Sustainable Change is to facilitate a webinar focused on diversity and our common self-identity.
(UPDATE: Audre’s webinar went well, please sign up for the recording here.)
With a 3P awareness, conversations about the power of thought, its effect on mental health and the way we label and perceive each other, could foster understanding, unity and inclusion. Although the term, self-identity, has been interpreted as ego, self-image or personality, a 3P understanding defines self-identity as our kind, inborn, instinctive nature, the tender, unconditional love and trust that infants exhibit.
I certainly respect and even honor words people choose to identify themselves, i.e. by culture, ethnicity or nationality. However, as we’re all human beings, we DO have something in common!
One issue that has deeply enhanced my relationships is my 3P understanding that words we use can foster unity or division based on different personal connections between language and thought. As an example, I’ll share one of my experiences with self-identity and the power of thought. As a child I was labeled as niggah, colored and negro. I felt very hurt, worthless and angry because of my thoughts about those racist, mean words! During the sixties, I identified myself as African-American, then Black because of my darker hue. It was also a way to glorify my rich heritage, since Africa had been identified amongst the “third world,” inferior to the “first” and “second” worlds. However, now I also acknowledge my Native American, Cuban and Portuguese bloodlines. Another label that’s been offered for my use is “woman of color.” Well, perhaps that’s pretty accurate, because according to my birth certificate, my ethnicity is “colored.”
While conversing with a white woman at the dog park, when she learned I was from New York, she said that I would soon be a “CRACKA” like the rest of them!! Immediately, I felt a twinge of discomfort! I understood “CRACKA” meant red-neck racists who “cracked the whip” on those enslaved. Previous to my 3P understanding, based on my thoughts about and experiences with racism, I would have reacted angrily. I understood, however, this woman used the word innocently. Thus, I listened calmly and then told her my personal association with the word, which was totally different from hers. A few weeks later, waiting for a massage in therapist’s office, I was conversing with a white man who expressed excitement about refurbishing his “CRACKA” house! Again, as I listened, I learned “CRACKA” was also an architectural style. Hopefully, we all learned something new.
A 3P understanding about psychological innocence reminds us that deeply listening to each other with compassion and non-judgement disintegrates anxious thoughts bred by bias and ignorance. This fosters peace of mind and nurtures our common-unity.