As I sit in the comfort of my own warm and cozy home, I am reminded of the violence Americans are capable of. A grand jury decided that police officer Darren Wilson was just doing his job when he shot and killed Michael Brown in Ferguson, Mo. Unhappy and angry people thought it was a good enough reason to loot, set fires, and terrorize innocent citizens in Ferguson, and across the country.
Everyone has an opinion of what they consider right or wrong, and that’s their right, not just as Americans, but as individuals. And I suppose being on the outside looking in, I can be more objective than those who happen to be in the thick of it.
For quite a while now, I have made it a habit to tread lightly when it comes to subjects that are difficult to talk about, such as politics, religion, and prejudice. But it’s time to speak up.
No one is perfect. Everyone judges. And everyone is prejudice to a degree. Whether that prejudice is in the form of racism, sexism, or perfectionism, we are creatures of habit and unless we catch ourselves when making a judgment about something to remind ourselves it’s not our job to judge, we will always form an opinion about a “thing.”
“She’s a snob….he’s bald….he’s tall…she’s overweight…he’s black…..she’s asian.”
Let’s face it. We all do it.
It’s an opinion. That’s all. It’s that little voice in our head that is constantly making judgments about the world around us. It is what we base our values on. It’s how we decide who we want to be.
But I think people forget they have the power to control that little voice. For a long time I believed that I was powerless. It was only after I took control of my life and decided that I had the power to become whoever I wanted to be, that I could step outside myself and really look at my beliefs, morals, and values. I guess you could say that I can now judge my judgments. Every day, every moment, I get to make the choice of who I want to be.
I judge. I do. Everyone does. But when I do, I get to choose a positive or a negative.
“She’s not very nice,” becomes, “She is probably having a bad day. I have had bad days. I can relate. I won’t hold it against her. I can forgive her for being rude. I have been rude before.” Not only does it verbalize my judgment about the woman, but it reminds me that I need to be aware of my actions, too.
Watching people riot on TV is sad. I understand the pain Michael Brown’s parents are going through. They lost their son and they believe the police officer was let off too easy. It doesn’t give people the right to become violent and hurt others because they are angry.
Has everyone forgotten that this young man was involved in a crime prior to the shooting? Video shows that he threatened a store owner as he was confronted about shoplifting. He is not an innocent victim as some people would like to believe.
He had the choice to be who he wanted to be. He chose to commit a crime that day He chose to confront the police officer.
We all have the choice to decide how we are going to live. Are we going to live angry, or are we going to learn from this? Do we become violent just because things don’t go our way or do we look at what we need to change?
Because we do have the power to do that.