WITH EACH BREATH, I EMBRACE RADICAL EMPATHY: November 18, 2020

I breathe in the incomprehensible loss we have suffered as a species
“the 11 million people killed by the Nazis; [the millions of indigenous people annihilated, ]the three-quarters of a million Americans killed in the Civil War over the right to enslave human beings; the slow, living death and unfulfilled gifts of millions more on [or the survivors of] plantations[, slavery, sharecropping and other systems of forced labor] in India and [the United States].”

I breathe out the innovations and creativity we lost as a species,
and breathe in the hope that future generations will be free
of the illusions that imprisoned
all of our ancestors.

I breathe in the possibility
that we will all be given the freedom and full support to bless the planet with our genius, our creativity, and
breathe out the improvement
of our support for one another,
without prejudice, racism or hatred
of any sort.

Quoting Isabel Wilkerson, from CASTE

Can you breathe a new strength on a foundation of love, liberty and justice for everyone?
Celebrate the music excerpts at iTunes, JULIE TRUE, MUSIC TO JOURNAL BY, VOL. 13, Heavenly Light and Living Water

“In December 1932, one of the smartest men who ever lived landed in America on a steamship with his wife and their thirty pieces of luggage as the Nazis bore down on their homeland of Germany. Albert Einstein, the physicist and Nobel laureate, had managed to escape the Nazis just in time. The month after Einstein left, Hitler was appointed chancellor.”

This raises the question,
what if he didn’t make it?
It also raises the related question:
what about all of those other Einsteins
who were never given the opportunity?

Quoting Isabel Wilkerson, from CASTE

“‘The worst disease is the treatment of the Negro,’ [Einstein] wrote in 1946. ‘Everyone who freshly learns of this state of affairs at a maturer age feels not only the injustice, but the scorn of the principle of the Fathers who founded the United States that ‘all men are created equal.'”

Quoting Isabel Wilkerson, from CASTE

I breathe in the awareness of which William H. Hastie, the first black federal judge in the United States (appointed in 1937), wrote: “Democracy is a process, not a static condition. It is becoming, rather than being. It can be easily lost, but is never finally won.” 

I breathe out the inclusion
of everyone in a Democracy
of radical empathy, truth,
respect, and empowerment
of all people.

“A few years into [Einstein’s stay in Princeton – not be confused with Princeton University, where he was not on the faculty but had an office as he awaited the construction of the Institute of Advanced Study], the opera singer Marian Anderson, a renowned contralto born to the subordinated caste, performed to an overflow crowd at McCarter Theatre in Princeton and to rapturous praise in the press of her ‘complete mastery of a magnificent voice.’ But the Nassau Inn in Princeton refused to rent a room to her for the night. Einstein, learning of this, invited her to stay in his home. From then on, she would stay at the Einstein residence whenever she was in town, even after Princeton hotels began accepting African-American guests.”

Quoting Isabel Wilkerson, from CASTE

 Marian Anderson is known for her civil rights activism. When the “Daughters of the American Revolution” refused to allow Anderson to sing to an integrated audience in Constitution Hall in Washington, D.C. on April 9, 1939, she moved her performance to the steps of the Lincoln Memorial and sang before an crowd of more than 75,000 people of all ethnicities, backgrounds and beliefs.

I breathe in the breath of all of our ancestors who have suffered
and breathe out the promise
of generations to come
to embrace love, inclusion
and well-being for everyone.

In order to express radical empathy, Einstein co-chaired a committee to end lynching, joined the NAACP, spoke out on behalf of civil rights activists, and lent his fame to their cause. At a certain point in his life, he rarely accepted the many honors that came his way, but in 1946 he made an exception for Lincoln University, a historically black college in Pennsylvania. He agreed to deliver the commencement address and to accept an honorary degree there.

“The separation of the races is not a disease of the colored people,” Einstein told the graduates at commencement, “but a disease of the white people. I do not intend to be quiet about it.”

Isabel Wilkerson, from Caste

I breathe in radical empathy,
and I breathe out the compassion, patience, empowerment, and truth
we all owe to each other.

In Caste, Wilkerson says that “Germany is living proof that if a caste system—the twelve-year reign of the Nazis—can be created, it can be dismantled. We make a serious error when we fail to see the overlap between our country and others, the common vulnerability in human programming . . . ‘the banality of evil.'”

“[R]egardless of who prevails in any given election, the country still labors under the divisions that a caste system creates, and the fears and resentments of a dominant caste that is too often in opposition to the yearnings of those deemed beneath them. It is a danger to the species and to the planet to have this depth of unexamined grievance and discontent in the most powerful nation in the world.

Wilkerson quotes a philosopher who says “What’s most disturbing about the Nazi phenomenon is not that the Nazis were madmen or monsters. It’s that they were ordinary human beings.”

She says “it is the actions, or more commonly inactions, of ordinary people that keep the mechanism of caste running, the people who shrug their shoulders at the latest police killing, the people who laugh off the coded put-downs of marginalized people shared at the dinner table and say nothing for fear of alienating an otherwise otherwise beloved uncle. The people who are willing to pay higher property taxes for their own children’s schools but who balk at taxes to educate the children society devalues. Or the people who sit in silence as a marginalized person, whether of color or a woman, is interrupted in a meeting, her ideas dismissed (though perhaps later adopted), for fear of losing caste, each of these keeping intact the whole system that holds everyone in its grip.”

“We must make every effort [to ensure] that the past injustice, violence and economic discrimination will be made known to the people,” Einstein said in an address to the National Urban League. “The taboo, the ‘let’s-not-talk-about-it’ must be broken. It must be pointed out time and again that the exclusion of a large part of the colored population from active civil rights by the common practices is a slap in the face of the Constitution of the nation.”

Isabel Wilkerson, from Caste

“Radical empathy, on the other hand, means putting in the work to educate oneself and to listen with a humble heart to understand another’s experience from their perspective, not as we imagine we would feel. Radical empathy is not about you and what you think you would do in a situation you have never been in and perhaps never will. It is the kindred connection from a place of deep knowing that opens your spirit to the pain of another as they perceive it.”

Isabel Wilkerson, from Caste

I breathe in the work,
the study,
the commitment
to truth,
and I breathe out the love,
the peace,
the light,
the power
that comes with change.

One Comment Add yours

  1. CHARLES RUFF says:

    An excellent commentary!!!

    Chuck Ruff, GRI, CRS, CRB Global One Capital Group Realtor  Consultant   Developer globalonecapitalgroup.com charlesaruff@aol.com Skype charlesaruff WhatsApp 8036003015 803-600-3015 (c)

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