Love, Tolerance

Why We Must Reject White Nationalism

The United States has seen an increase in White Nationalism in recent years. It is made manifest in the Alt-Right movement, an increase in hate crimes, and an uptick in hate and bias in schools.

Just because White Nationalism is on the rise though does not make it proper or correct. We must reject White Nationalism due to the fact that it is based upon a false premise. White Nationalism assumes that some group of factors ascribed to someone’s appearance makes them somehow superior to others who look differently. This is absurd!

Take skin color for instance. We know based upon scientific fact that melanin determines skin color. The more melanin you have in your skin the darker your skin color will appear. End of story. We can’t ascribe any attributes to a person based upon their skin color other than they have more melanin. The amount of melanin in your skin has nothing to do with your intelligence, your values, or anything else. I am a white male and to say that I am somehow superior because I have less melanin in my skin is preposterous and – frankly – silly. Therefore, White Nationalism or White Supremacy of any kind is simply wrong-headed.

We must all own the fact that all people are generally the same. No matter what our skin color, religion, sexual orientation, or anything else, we all want and need food and shelter, we all want to love and be loved, and we all want to be respected and to be free to live our best lives. We are not so different. We should love everyone no matter what they look like, where they come from, whom they love, or  what their religion.

Look for the similarities in others. Find ways to empathize with everyone with whom you come in contact. I promise you will find that we all have a great deal more in common than we have in difference. Open your mind and heart to loving all people and you will find that we are truly one great sibling-hood of humanity. 

I say all of this and I must add that I do not and will not hate White Nationalists and White Supremacists. They’re not unredeemably bad people. They’re simply wrong. I believe that with time and with enough love we can change their hearts and minds.

Over time we will prove that we are all quite similar. Peace is possible. But it will take time and a great deal of love. So keep loving! Keep extending respect, empathy, compassion, and kindness to all people. The world will be the better for it, and so will you.

Matthew Vasko

Founder & CEO, Century of Compassion

Acceptance, compassion, empathy, kindness, Love, RECK, respect, Tolerance

Why RECK Pact?

It feels like eons ago now, but way back in 2005 I had the desire to create a new vision for our young century. The 1900s had been the bloodiest and arguably most violent century in the history of the world. There were more deaths from war and genocide than ever before in the world’s history. We were only half a decade into our new century and things weren’t looking much better. The United States was fighting wars on two fronts and many parts of the world were in conflict.

My plan was to help people take on a new vision for our young century – for them to envision a century defined by compassion instead of violence. This is how Century of Compassion was born. After several years working on Century of Compassion and sharing my vision, I realized that compassion alone wasn’t enough to change the ways in which people interacted with one another in any significant way that was going to lead us toward a brighter and more peaceful future.

I spent several months in the summer and early fall of 2017 reflecting upon what had been most effective in the ways we interacted with people through our Century of Compassion events. I came to realize that the crucial ingredient that helped to spark positive interactions with people was respect. It’s amazing. It doesn’t seem to matter who the person is or what their station in life might be, being treated with respect always seemed to elicit a positive reaction. Through respect, you can create immediate connections with people. I also learned this through my classes I have taught to school children. As early as ages 5 and 6, respect is a hot-button issue with people. Everyone desires to be respected and to be treated equitably.

Next, I considered what allows us to go deeper with people when we are developing relationships. This led me to empathy. People love it when you “get” them. Everyone wants to be understood. And to truly meet people where they are you must empathize with them. Empathy deepens relationships and leads to a clearer understanding of one another.

This led me back to compassion. After you establish respect and empathy with people, then you begin to have compassion for their suffering. Everyone suffers. This is a basic fact of life. I truly believe that it is impossible to have genuine respect and empathy for people and not have compassion for them as well.

Finally, I noted that interactions and relationships would inevitably fall apart if there was not also kindness built into the scenario. Ultimately, all of our relationships hinge upon the kindness and love that we share with one another. This sustains relationships. Without loving kindness, indifference develops and things eventually fall apart. Kindness begets kindness and thus our relating go on and on.

Tolerance and acceptance of one another also play a role in our relatings and relationships, but I tend to feel that these develop over time. They have to be built upon a foundation of genuine respect and empathy. Ultimately, everyone desires to be accepted for who they are. Everyone wants to be loved for their whole selves – for the good in them and in spite of that which they themselves see as bad. Everyone needs this kind of acceptance. And, starting from a place of respect and empathy heading towards compassion and kindness gives us a path to get there.

I realized that when I put the words in order by first letter I came out with the acronym “RECK.” When I looked up the word reck in the dictionary I was pleased to discover that it means “to have concern or regard.” It is the root word for words like “reckless” and “reckon.” How perfect that the word that stands for respect, empathy, compassion, and kindness means to have concern or regard! For truly, if we have concern and regard for other people then we should treat them with respect, empathy, compassion, and kindness.

I launched a bit of an experiment by starting a RECK Pact Page on Facebook. Here, I call people to pledge to treat all people with respect, empathy, compassion, and kindness, regardless their differences. I also provide daily doses of inspiration to help people uphold their pledge. Please check out our RECK Pact Page and like it if you wish to agree to treat all people with respect, empathy, compassion, and kindness.

I still believe a century defined by compassion is possible. And I believe RECK Pact is the path to get us there.

Thank you,

Matthew Vasko

Founder & CEO, Century of Compassion