The difficulty of being the “woke” police

It depends on your story.

Monroe Bergdorf. Bless her heart.

She’s been the topic of wild criticism of late, having offended an entire race of people. Some within that race are more open-minded to her criticism. Others, less so.

I can see her point. I can also see her critic’s points. Everyone has a story. Each is valid for the person holding it. So, how do we as a species, as a group of people, get along in the wake of all this story-making, much of which has to do with pointing fingers at what we dislike or disagree?

If everyone is telling stories and those stories are creating evidence confirming it, is it possible for us to all get on the same page? Is it possible for all white people to acknowledge their in-born privilege? Is it possible for all black people to acknowledge their victim mentality? Is it possible that you, or I, can tell a person he’s wrong, when the world is providing him evidence which confirms his stories?

For me, what matters is this: Are you happy in your personal life?

Whether you are trans, or cis, male or female, that question can be a guiding light for you. Answering that question doesn’t have to involve anyone else. For if you can find personal happiness, and tell stories from that place, your life will shape over time in favor of those stories. As that happens, people inconsistent with the happy stories you’re telling will fade out of your life and those who are “in tune” with your happy stories will fade into your life. It all begins with the stories you’re telling.

finger pointing hardly ever works
finger pointing hardly ever works

I worked several months with a person who defined himself as an activist, much like Munroe. The problem with being an activist is, it’s not a very happy life. This guy I worked with one-on-one was trying so hard to right the wrongs of society – in the areas of class warfare, wealth inequity, racism, sexism and more – all he could see when he looked out into society was a pandemic of problems, problems that, no matter how hard he tried, he acknowledged he was making very little progress in abating.

Ironically, he was making himself miserable! He was depressed, pessimistic. He had little hope for humanity. And, if matters for him weren’t bad enough, he was miserable over his eyesight which was increasingly failing on him. I find that situation ironic too: The more he focused on seeing all the negative in the world, the worse his eyesight seemed to be getting…

It’s one thing to want to make the world a better place. But you can’t do that telling stories about how wrong people are. Nor can you do that with your actions alone. All you do is make people defensive. You make them dig into their already negative stories, thus creating more of what you think must change. Not less.

Is there a place for activism? You bet. But there’s got to be a better way than throwing blame around claiming to have the high ground on woke.