I am dismayed, heartbroken, and saddened at the recent events going on in the world. Part of me feels that it is a little pointless and self-serving to add to the general social media knee-jerk reaction of posting something heartfelt right after a tragedy to solidify my credentials as “someone who cares,” but I also have to express myself somehow. So I decided to just write this on this blog, which very few people will read anyhow.
I want to express grief for the human tragedies that the Black population in the United States have experienced, and continue to experience. This also goes for Muslim and immigrant populations in other parts ofthe world. In a way, it is hypocritical for me, as a White male who is in some way complicit in, and benefits from, the “plunder” (as Ta-Nehisi Coates puts it) of black people by white people in this country. What good is it to complain about inequality when I’m sitting here parked on top of the pinnacle of society, with all the unequal benefits and resources that entails? It’s still important to me that I put this in writing. I don’t want to spend too much time going over the problems in society, or the sad fact that many people, in the USA, Europe and the Middle East, are grappling with these problems by resorting to violent, divisive tribalism.
Instead, I wanted to talk about a conversation my friend Tom and I just had. We were discussing ways that deep-seated problems like inequality and environmental degradation could be solved. We decided that it is pointless to focus on the biggest problems head-on, which would only lead to fatalism. The solution, in my opinion, is first to tackle smaller issues that can work towards the bigger goal piecemeal (this is why people who speak out against microaggressions and small manifestations of privilege are doing the right thing). The other part of the solution is to exploit people’s tendency to want to identify with a group—the trick is to make the group encompass as much of humanity as possible. If the use of social media and smartphones spread around the world in a few years, boosted by the increased social status that users gain, shouldn’t it be possible to enact positive changes in the same way? I would welcome anyone’s opinion on this.