So this morning at the gym the "news" shows were all a buzz over the President using the n-word in an interview. And not "n-word" but THE n-word. And oh my gosh, how could he? And what does it all mean? And....well did you listen to what he actually said, because he was pretty clear in what he meant. Here let me quote the CNN article about the podcast:
"Racism, we are not cured of it. And it's not just a matter of it not being polite to say nigger in public," Obama said in an interview for the podcast "WTF with Marc Maron."
"That's not the measure of whether racism still exists or not. It's not just a matter of overt discrimination. Societies don't, overnight, completely erase everything that happened 200 to 300 years prior."
That seems really clear to me. But I know that for a lot of people they will stop at the use of the word and then make their own left turns and try to argue points that weren't made.
But the thing that had me nodding along was the idea of change coming not in what we say in public. That isn't where true change comes from. True change comes from what we say in private. What we say when we think only people who agree with us are listening. What we really feel. It's like the questions people ask, "If you knew you could get away with it would you...." If your answer is ever yes I would to that sort of question then you know what you truly feel. Because doing the right thing shouldn't be predicated by the audience.
You get a glimpse of it on Facebook. When people like a page, a meme, make a comment, that they don't realize is on a public setting so it goes to all of their friends. So you see a glimpse of them that you wouldn't otherwise. The things they would never say to you. The things they only feel comfortable saying around other people who feel the way they do. The things that let you get a glimpse at their true heart.
It's not what we've learned is and isn't polite conversation that marks true change, it's when we wouldn't use it at all. When it is completely out of the realm of possibility for you to think that way let alone say those things...that's when change has happened.
You name the issue and I will tell you that knowing how to act in public doesn't mean anything until you change how you feel in private. One might hopefully lead to the other, but it doesn't always.
So ask yourself, what are you saying in private? Or to people who you know think the way you do? What are you saying in those instances and are they things you would feel comfortable with sharing in an open forum? Face to face with someone who doesn't feel that way. And if you aren't, if you have two sets of words, two sets of attitudes, ask yourself why.
And then fix it.
That's when true change happens.