Obliterate Hate, RECK

White People: This Work is Ours to Do

One of the projects of Century of Compassion is the RECK Pact page on Facebook. The page is meant to inspire people to treat all people with Respect, Empathy, Compassion, and Kindness (RECK). I serve as the moderator of this page and create many of the posts that appear there.

On Saturday, I typed up a post that seemed innocent enough. I had done a few posts encouraging White people to empathize with Black people during this time in which protests have been happening all around the country and even in different parts of the world (Black Lives Matter protests). I had even shared a blog post from this blog there. My idea with this particular post was to dream of a future in which all White people treated People of Color with RECK. It seems highly factual to me that we simply aren’t there, yet (see below for more on this).

The post looked/looks like this:

White People RECK Positive Change

The broad variety of responses to this post have been educational for me. The first round of comments the post received seemed to imply that I was a racist for mentioning White people specifically, instead of saying all people. So, I commented that I was a White person speaking to my fellow White people, and that seemed to help ease that concern.

Still, the most persistent comment I’ve continued to receive is “it goes both ways.” This, I believe, is fair to say in the broad view of nurturing positive change in all aspects of society. However, I feel that within the context of what is happening in our nation right now, it kind of misses the point.

Please allow me to explain. I certainly don’t mean to upset anyone. What I’m trying to express, and what I meant with the original post is that changing the systems that are harming people of color is work that we White people must do. It seems like People of Color could be as absolutely respectful, empathetic, compassionate, and kind as humanly possible and it’s not going to initiate the kind of systemic change our nation needs so that we will stop harming People of Color, most specifically, Black people. After all, that’s what these protests are about: helping to save the lives of Black people.

For me, the emphasis of this post was on positive change. Again, it seems highly factual to me that not all White people treat People of Color with respect, empathy, compassion, and kindness. I believe that thinking of all people as equal is a step in that direction. I believe that rejecting White Nationalism is a step in that direction. These are things I’ve written about in the past.

Of course, no one should have to be familiar with all of my writing in order to “get” one of our RECK Pact posts. Still, I believe that positive change is something we all want. And in order to get that kind of change regarding race in the United States, then we White people – all of us (if we haven’t already) – are going to need to change the way we think about and treat People of Color.

Here’s why. Let’s use a slightly different analogy. For example, in order to prevent sexism towards women, we men must learn to think of and treat all women with RECK. That would make a HUGE difference! The reverse cannot be said. Even if all women treated all men with RECK, it would do little to change sexism towards women. Men must do the work of preventing sexism against women and White people must do the work of preventing racism and oppression against People of Color.

This is work that White people can’t and probably shouldn’t do alone. We should do it in partnership and community with People of Color. Personally, I believe that it would be really positive if President Trump would meet with Black leaders right now. I think that would be highly respectful. Of course, no one is asking for my opinion about what the President should be doing.

Here’s the thing, folks! There is no “us” and “them.” There is only one human race. We are all siblings on this big, beautiful, blue/green orb. We need to ease our feelings towards one another. We need to let go of hate and do our best to love one another – even when we are working hard to try to improve things.

It would be my dream to have everyone who reads this post say, “Wow, you know, he’s right.” But maybe some people aren’t ready to hear this message yet. So, I will leave you with this: Work to soften your heart. Do your best to empathize with everyone – even people who are very different from you. Love yourself and try your best to others.

Peace.

Matthew Vasko

Founder, Century of Compassion

compassion, empathy, kindness, Love, Obliterate Hate, RECK, respect

The Antidote to Hate

In my last blog post, I made the argument that we humans as a species need to evolve beyond hate. Hatred simply does not serve us anymore. It causes death and destruction, and ultimately holds us back from ever achieving any kind of lasting peace.

When it comes to finding ways to reduce hate, we must be students of respect, empathy, compassion, and kindness (RECK). When combined, these values can help us to reduce the hatred within ourselves and between individuals, societies, and cultures. RECK can, essentially, be an antidote to hate.

Let’s start with respect. While it is true that humans often respect their enemies, that kind of respect comes from fear of an enemy’s power. That’s not the kind of respect that I’m referring to. I’m referring to respect for life. We must first acknowledge that all life is sacred. All life has value. It is wrong to kill. We must have a basic level of respect for all human beings that makes us respect and value life. We must be able to say that everyone has the right to live in peace – even people with whom we disagree. This level of respect will help us reduce our hatred by at least a little bit, by at least enough that we don’t want to kill our enemies or those for whom we feel hatred.

Next, we must tap into our empathy. We must try to empathize with people for whom we feel hateful feelings in order to try to understand what it is about them that makes them perhaps hate us or feel malice toward us. Often, when we stop to think about why someone might hold negative feelings towards us, we think that surely it must be because they misunderstand us or our intentions. Perhaps we misunderstand them too! Perhaps if we got to know them better then we would not hate them. Upon reflection, we would probably conclude that they are ultimately not that different from us. They probably want many of the same things we want. Things like peace, life, love, happiness, security, and well being for themselves and their loved ones.

Now, we move on to compassion. Surely, we can recognize that all living beings suffer. And if we suffer then the people we feel hatred towards surely experience suffering too. Think about what kind of suffering they might have. It may be possible that we have done something to cause their suffering. We need to search within our hearts, and through our empathy connect with the suffering people with whom we disagree might be feeling. Our compassion can move us to want to relieve this suffering. Perhaps there is something we can do to help this person or these people so that they will not suffer so badly. If we help to reduce their suffering then they might no longer feel malice towards us. Or at least not as much. Compassion can help us to feel less hatred. Compassion can help us turn hatred into love.

Finally, let’s look to kindness. There is an interesting quality to kindness. It is this: when we are kind to people it makes us like them more. Have you ever noticed this? It’s true. When we behave kindly towards people we dislike or even hate, we come to like them better. Also, when we are kind to others it increases the chances that they will be kind to us in return. Kindness begets kindness. And so it goes, on and on, and kind acts build relationship and good feelings.

This is how RECK can serve as an antidote to hate. We must teach our children to have RECK for all, and by doing so, we can help them to love all people and help them not to hate. Also, if we practice RECK, it might help other adults to practice RECK in turn. And over time these positive acts will grow and multiply. Over time… years and even decades… we can continue to reduce the hate in the world until we have wiped it away for good. It will take time and practice, but it can be done.

Practice RECK for all. And you will see positive results in your life and in the world around you.

Peace.

Matthew Vasko

Founder, Century of Compassion

Love, Obliterate Hate

Obliterate Hate!

It’s time for the human species to evolve beyond hate. Historically speaking, there was probably a time when hate made sense as a defense mechanism. When we were tribal cultures, hate against our enemies probably helped to keep us vigilant and thus safer. Hate generated safety.

But now, when hate drives us to the brink of nuclear annihilation, I must ask quite simply: What’s the point? Hate seems to produce nothing but suffering, death, and destruction. In the interconnected world in which we now live, hate quite simply makes no sense.

Now is the time to turn the page on hate. It’s time to make it a thing of the past. Because the truth of the matter is this: If we can’t end hatred, then we will never have peace.

Differences can be resolved. People with dark intentions can be counseled and educated away from that path. There is no reason to go on hating. If we have problems with others, then let’s work them out. I mean this interpersonally and internationally. Let’s work our shit out!

Come on people! Let’s be honest. Hate is absurd. What good does it do you to go on hating others? Let it go! Find some inner freaking peace for goodness sake. There are 7.7 billion of us living on this blue marble and hating one another simply isn’t making life here more tolerable.

So, search your heart. Search your soul. Find ways to love through difference. Find ways to work it out. Because hate won’t do. Hate doesn’t get it done. Hate fixes nothing.

We need to turn to love and keep turning to love until all hate has been obliterated. And not just in others, but in our own hearts and minds. We can do this. We can build a better and brighter tomorrow.

Love to you. Always.

Matthew Vasko

Founder, Century of Compassion