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Can We Have a Civil Conversation Without Prejudice?

Activism to help making people’s lives better is extremely good cause; but when it is driven by pure hatred, deep anger, vicious spite, bitterness, and ill will, it fundamentally and wrongfully creates a society of hostility, resentment, vengeance, and envy. Every day, we are constantly directed by something other than us how to think, what to do. We don’t have time or patience anymore. Newspapers, television channels, radio stations, social media outlets – have become the curse of information; sometimes even twisting truths, fabricating scenarios to fit their agenda, triggering explosive emotion and anger in peoples mind. A large part of the news hours is packed with murder, gunshots, protests, violence; basically some kind of negative reports. In either case, you are bound to ‘infuse your heart and mind with anger’. IS THAT THE PURPOSE of information? Sadly, this is a global phenomenon.

Inflammable anger, intense hatred is felt in everyone’s tone. Even if you chose not to be influenced by these massively monstrous and damaging reports, you can’t hide for long. Society slowly changed to a norm where people cannot speak one single sentence without profanity or abusive language. People jump onto a bandwagon routinely, without much thoughts, logic or analyzing situation. Essentially, we are conditioned to react instantly. This vicious virus has caught us, and is sure to provoke one to marinate our head in confusion, and cook in nastiness, eventually. Hate crime groups are popping up like mushrooms heads, every second, uncontrollably. There is no escape. The cancerous disease got us. So, how do we control this widespread fire that is quickly destroying our ability to even think, talk or even make a decision?

First, we need to shift our thinking through the education system. I feel that a wholesome education is important. From school teachers to college professors, our 'gurus' have tremendous responsibilities of focusing on unbiased education. Bringing up human being with compassion and love, not teach them to hate is our responsibilities. Teach one to fish, don’t fish for them, a wise man said it. Sometimes I feel, not having everything in life was a blessing in disguise. I have never seen my father blame anyone for his struggles. All we witnessed growing up was, he worked hard to educate himself and helped many. He told stories to us about his days of struggles in vivid details, so we understand life from the lowest of the lowest level possible. He taught us patience, taught us to be compassionate and to work harder to achieve whatever we wanted to achieve in life. He never stopped pushing us, regardless of our hardship. We never cried or blamed anyone, or any entities. So, why blame?

Our father taught us to be thankful for what we have, and not stop from dreaming. Perhaps, being thankful is the biggest lessons of my life. Any minute, fate can throw a twist of calamity in anyone's lives. Nothing should be taken for granted. It's all temporary...we will evaporate faster than we existed, it will be a blink in history. So, why so much ego?

People are conditioned to blame everything (except themselves) for all the issues in their lives. It does not matter, whether it is government, riches, corporates, religion, racism, taxes, climate – pretty much anything and everything under the sun possible is responsible for mishaps, downfall, and failure. So, where is accountability? We are individual contributor to own lives and lives around us, we are also co-creator of our own lives. In this modern age, media outlets have tremendous responsibilities. Media is much powerful tool for utilizing it for destruction. It cannot be the vehicle of triggering and spreading violence, but only the contrary is needed in this overwhelmingly sensitive time. Each one of us (individually, media and entities) has some responsibilities.

I know (and can certainly see, there are tremendous issues in the world), but is blame-game saving us? Look at our political system…pretty much, in every country opposition parties are ripping each other apart. You can witness the fight for power. They are willing to anything to get there. Ethics and integrity is become a serious issues. You can feel the disgust of filth, hatred, irritability and intense resentments. Frequently, people are losing friends over political, social or a gazillion of other differences. People don’t like people who are different from them. An example is classroom bullies. Often, ideas are killed before it was spoken. Fear of being rejected, bottomless efforts of being liked, peer pressure of getting accepted by a community - has controlled decision making for as long as we know. We really don't have a society of acceptance. But, from a bigger schema, doesn’t differences bring diversity? The world is rattled by dissimilarities, whether it is race, religion, the color of skin, socio-economic status, caste, age, gender, sex, lifestyle and so on. It is DARK.

“Darkness can’t drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate can’t drive out hate; only love can do that.”, phrased Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr (I will refer him as MLK in this following narrative). On this special day of memory of Martin Luther King, Jr., I urge you to look back to his speeches. In modern history, the people who had given their lives for causes they believed in, or flourished in life, did they play the blame game? Did they spread hatred?

Mahatma Gandhi chose the path of “ahimsa” – which is compassion, nonviolence, and peace for freedom of India. MLK chose to share the message of his “dreams” to people, where no one is judged by the color of their skin but the content of character, in speeches. He voiced while accepting his noble prize, "Negroes of the United States, following the people of India, have demonstrated that nonviolence is not sterile passivity, but a powerful moral force". Most beloved President of American history, Abraham Lincoln, was most unpopular at his time; and was terribly hated during his time, but he is also the one who freed the slaves. Oprah Winfrey could have blamed the people and financial situations (and everything else) for her circumstances, in her early years. Did she? We know that each one of them followed foundation of humanitarian, path of love and compassion; they instigated a “josh” [natural excitement] within people, inspired people of all generation to do better. With all the adversities in front of them, they could have automatically chosen different route. When one look at any situation from the humanity angle, hatred and anger disappears instantly. So, why chose the path of hatred or anger?

MLK also narrated, our lives begin to end the day we become silent about the things that matter. What I see in this world around today is heartbreaking and cruelly upsetting. “Love is the only force capable of transforming an enemy into a friend.”, he uttered years ago, yet the air is contaminated with rubbish, corruption, and indecency. “Let no man pull you so low as to hate him.”, he stated. Yet, love ceased to exist these days. Why do we see tweets, news, reports repeatedly mischaracterizing information? So, why not condemning these kind of information that stimulate us negatively?

This hatred-based activism must stop. And it must stop immediately. Impact of this cruelty sliding to definite push to world war three (WWIII). I can already feel the heat. We cannot have a civil conversation without prejudice, anymore? Can we bring some pleasantness back to our lives? You can have differences…we are all unique in our own ways. Life is shaped by many things, experience, education, skills, talent, value system. You don't have to agree with someone to chose to be with them. We all are in our individual ships, that are directed by our destiny and fate. So, why can't we accept these differences?

"Our life begins to end the day we become silent about things that matter", told MLK. I am inspired by his teachings. I have a request to you. Can we have a civil discussion, without taunting, trolling, threatening, yelling, screaming, name-calling, hate, anger, spite, envy, discrimination, intimidation, rudeness, offensive language, profanity and toxicity? Can we have a conversation without prejudice? Can we?

I have a dream!

Love & peace,

~Purnima Nath

Dedicated to Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. on MLK Day.

My eternal salute to you!