Archive for culture

Forgiveness, revenge, release

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , on May 3, 2011 by bosquechica

“I mourn the loss of thousands of precious lives, but I will not rejoice in the death of one, not even an enemy. Returning hate for hate multiplies hate, adding deeper darkness to a night already devoid of stars. Darkness cannot drive out darkness: only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate: only love can do that.” —MLK

These words, from Martin Luther King, Jr., have been traveling around the internet ever since the news of Bin Laden’s death came out on Sunday. It’s interesting, I think, that vengeance and redemption and forgiveness seem to be a part of the collective conversation at this moment.

I have been reflecting on what Laurie and I have often observed about human nature, which is that forgiveness is at the top of our brains. The flowering of human endeavor lies in our ability to forgive, to care for and nurture our fellow humans, our animal cousins, the very earth and water and air. It is also true that war, tribalism, retribution and violence are hard wired in the core of our brains – these are survival and crisis responses, and as such, we are relieved and in some ways satisfied when we hear that a Bin Laden is dead. And yet, every time someone rises above those impulses – as MLK did, as any number of spiritual leaders have done – it is a gift of grace. This is a good time to focus on grace, and to start to release the anger, fear and division that have driven us as a culture and a nation since 9/11.

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Bigotrometer

Posted in community, gay, politics, Uncategorized, writing practice with tags , , , , , , on February 2, 2008 by bosquechica

Prejudiced? Bigoted? Intolerant? Carrying around benign but silly biases?

Take this simple test to find out: 

Fill in the blanks: 

1. I don’t mind ___________________, I just wouldn’t want one marrying my (brother/sister/child/etc). 

2. Some of my best friends are ______________________. Estimate how many and write the total here = _____. 

3. Everyone knows that ______________________ are _____________________. 

4. _____________________ can’t be trusted. 

5. _____________________ are lazy. 

6. _____________________ are always late. 

7. I frequently say something like “Well, what do you expect – all _____________ are liars?” 

8. I will not go to this activity or place if I expect _______________________ to be there. 

9. The world would be a safer place if ________________ would leave/disappear/convert/etc. 

Matching:

Recombine the words in the left two columns with the words in the two right columns that you associate with these groups. Mix and match as you like (Your person with mustache could be a tense power-hungry female – for example.)

White
Black
Hispanic
Asian
Republican
Democrat
Liberal
Conservative
Jewish
French
Gay
Lesbian Christian
Muslim
Libertarian
Teenager
Atheist
Immigrant
Female
Male
Elderly
Politician
Pop Star
Talk Show Host
Priest
Minister
Dentist
Lawyer
Southern
Canadian
Person w/mustache
Athlete
Person w/disability
Nascar fan
Cheap
Stupid
Mean
Violent
Dangerous
Educated
Irrational
Pretty
Strong
Dirty
Rude
Greedy
Intelligent
Selfish
Wise
Practical
Pushy
Weak
Generous
Creative
Smart
Dishonest
Polite
Evil
Power-hungry
Tense
Elite
Stylish
Arrogant
Simplistic
Drug-addled
Insincere
Promiscuous
Foolish
Damned 

 Multiple choice: 

Most likely to start a war:

  1. Americans
  2. Arabs
  3. Homosexuals
  4. Homemakers

 Most likely to vote:

  1. Women
  2. Men
  3. Rock stars
  4. Convicted felons

 Most likely to help out in a natural disaster

  1. Republicans
  2. Democrats
  3. Libertarians
  4. Random strangers

 Most likely to share what they’ve got

  1. French
  2. Atheists
  3. Artists
  4. Programmers

 Most likely to pay taxes

  1. Christians
  2. Rich people
  3. Poor people
  4. Musicians

Please feel free to add an “other” line to any of the above multiple choice questions. 

How’d you do?

This is a score-it-yourself test. Remember those? On a scale of 1-5, with 1 being not at all and 5 being maximally bigoted: 

1. Full of love for all humankind – medicated and ready for world peace.
2. Some minor biases, but I try to see things with an open mind.
3. A little bigoted – I hadn’t really thought about it before.
4. Somewhat bigoted – that’s just how things are.
5. Absolutely bigoted, and proud of it.