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Restore the Dream

by Kimberlain O'Driscoll, MBA, M.Ed 6 months ago in goals · updated 6 months ago
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Perspective

When I watch the news these days, I see so many stories focused on racial tension. What I’m about to say will probably raise eyebrows for many people. This is my perspective based upon my own experiences. When I was little, I lived in a racially and ethnically mixed neighborhood. I was just a small child during the civil rights movement of the 60s. I grew up in a world that had been remolded based upon the struggle and sacrifice of those who were involved.

I can remember the days of my childhood when the color of someone’s skin or the origin of their name wasn’t important. All that mattered was that their mother would let them come out and play. Children aren’t born with the biases and prejudice that plagues some adults. Because of this I admit that I cannot relate to anyone who passes judgment on someone based upon the color of their skin be they black, white, or something else.

Being kind should not be reserved for certain people. Being kind should be a reflection of who you are. The problem is not that people cannot get along. The problem is that social media has convinced people that they cannot get along. The stressors that have led to current tension between people seems to have started when tabloid talk shows became popular. Shows such as Phil Donahue, Geraldo, and Jerry Springer rely on sensationalism. I had a friend of mine who was an actress. She appeared on Jerry Springer multiple times. She played characters that were portrayed as real people. The more bizarre she behaved, the more times she was invited to come back and play another character. She also told me that much of the audience was made up of actors whose job was to behave in a barbaric way so they would incite the rest of the audience into behaving like animals. This was intentional.

Using this format, exaggerated stereotypes were presented as a false reality. The average person tuning into the show didn’t know this. What they saw when they tuned in each day became the standard by which they would judge others. This caused a lot of damage to the dream of those such as Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

When I look at video of Dr. King many speeches, I see a multitude of white people who came to see him. His message was powerful and appealed to all, not just a few, and not just to blacks. This is what made him dangerous. Had he not been assassinated, I am certain you would have been elected President United States. He was a true unifier. It saddens me that so many of those who were in his close circle forgot his message of unity, and instead campaigned in favor of racial division.

The best way that we can honor Dr. King’s memory is to embrace his dream. He did not want us to turn against each other. He wanted us simply to be kind. He did not want any group to be elevated, given special privilege, or be subjugated based upon their appearance or where their ancestors came from. This is something that I have strived for my entire life. It is not new.

Do not let television networks, social media or any other source harden you. And if you feel that you have already embraced a bias, get to know those who you feel prejudice against. It might amaze you could discover that you have more in common with people that you might not otherwise associate with than you realize.

So what am I going to do to foster kindness and inclusivity in 2022? Absolutely nothing different. I have already embraced the dream. And my dream is that others will do so as well.

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About the author

Kimberlain O'Driscoll, MBA, M.Ed

My stories come in the form of vivid dreams. The challenge is putting them to words. I'm medically a retired navy veteran and nurse, world traveler, artist, lecturer, and past journal reviewer with 5 ferrets who keep me very entertained

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