Race Relations take a different tone under each presidency. So what happens next and how can we engage with it?
Less than a week ago Joe Biden was sworn in as the 46th President of the United States. No small feet considering the political turmoil America is in after the Capital Hill Riot, COVID19 ripping through America, the extremism of the Trump Presidency and the streets burning from the angers of racial division. Yet when Biden stood up, the themes he focused on were a stark contrast from the cultural narratives of the day. Unity. Empathy. Healing. Biden’s theme of turning to light and not darkness, hope and not fear have been central to his campaign and mark the spiritual core of his burgeoning presidency.
For Positive Identity, we support all sides of the political spectrum and yet we are in alignment with the message that Joe Biden espouses. Our core mission is to create positive race relations by unifying Americans of all different backgrounds, ideals and dreams. We seek to heal people by creating and sharing positive content of people of all races doing good things for each other and America. The same way President Biden called for Democrats and Republicans to work together, we also see ourselves as supporters of all sides looking for a way to bring people of all political persuasions together.
Since we focus on Race and Identity for Positive Identity we ask… what will race relations be like in a Joe Biden America?
Empathy is the primary goal of the among mentioned ideals and it should be the first one to be aimed for. Reason being is why do we ultimately care? Why should we help those who are not like us? The answer is that every person has empathy and that empathy drives us to do so. But empathy is a nebulous term that needs specifics for us to take action. So how should we be empathetic to each other?
Think of America as one big family for a moment. Most of your life, you’re essentially forced to live with your family and you can’t easily get away from them. But your family has nurtured you and been with you through a lot. Also many of you have had bad experiences with your family, many times there has been a family member that has been a destructive force for you. But these family relationships are a core part of building our empathy. Being forced to be with each other teaches us how to be better to each other. To care about each other outside of ourselves. With a family, you must make listening a priority, share your feelings, make yourself vulnerable and take action and offer help. We aren’t a bunch of different families together, but one big American family. When we see people of all races as part of our “American family” and we take the steps of empathy, we lay a foundation to begin following the rest of the steps.
After we hone our empathy, the next step is healing. Many have proposed nationwide healing programs to begin doing just that. But what does healing mean? Healing means to confront the problem and then find ways to fix it. If you are cut, the only way to fix it is the recognize the cut and then take appropriate measures to mend it. It’s an uncomfortable process but it is the only way to fix and heal those that hurt. Who have been hurt by systems, actions or words. Everyone has been hurt. Some more than others in some ways. Some far more than others in some ways. Even further we might know the answer right now for how to solve that hurt. Nor will we agree on how to solve the problem. But in recognizing that Joe Biden would want people of all sides to come together even with all of this, what we will aim to do is be empathetic for each other and to take action try to heal the wounds the other feels. Even a small action helps. To heal a problem requires both sides to want to heal the problem and both sides start taking steps to do just that.
Lastly we come to Unity. Unity for race relations is both easily attainable yet a mirage. Asking someone to be friends with a racist or bigot, to work with someone they are morally opposed to is an impossible goal. Or at least not realistic or even right. But Unity does mean just that. American history is filled with groups of people who were morally opposed to each other yet they saw themselves on the same side fighting a greater evil. To be pragmatic, we have all done evil in some way or another in our lives. Yet we find people on our side all the time. That’s the Unity we should be looking to achieve. Yes that means coming together with people who we are morally against in some way. But we come together because there is a greater enemy to fight against. The greater enemy are the forces that want to turn us against each other and destroy what we have achieved. We must face pain when it comes to race but we must face it together.
Again we don’t know what the future might hold, but for President Biden his vision of an empathic society that focuses on ways to heal and come together in unity is our political guiding light for these next four years. For us at Positive Identity when it comes to race we’re looking to be and see at our best and are proud to align with the President in many ways. A vision that all political perspectives can support. The question will be, can we do it? We’re optimists and believe where there is a will, society will find a way. Let’s work together to create that will.