Understanding Our Own Triggers - Ex. Humboldt Broncos
Now before I even start I want to preface this with the following - if what I channel through as perspective angers you, please spare me the comments when you are in a triggered/activated state. If you get triggered, you need to be responsible enough FOR that trigger to sit with it, figure out what it's really about, before going off half-cocked and responding in a triggered way. Deal? Okay, on we go.
When the Humboldt Broncos bus crashed on April 6, 2018, and so many people died and were injured, it was and is a horrible tragedy. Outpouring of emotion came quickly as many people were posting in social media and the topic was covered internationally. Whenever things like this happen, I immediately see what I can get out of SAM as far as 'why' this would happen. Would all of these Souls have chosen to exit in this way? Why? Why would this happen to a bus load of hockey players? Why would they need to die when they had such a promising future? They wouldn't answer any of these questions, and in fact, still won't.
Instead SAM gave me 1 statement as a response - "Would there be the same level of outcry if it was a bus full of indigenous hockey players?"
Whoa. That was their response? That was a loaded response. They were inferring that we here in Canada, would not be as upset or do as much in grieving or even attempts at Go Fund Me's, if these boys were not white. I didn't know how to respond to that. So i sat with it. For days. Silently.
Then Nora Loreto this week tweets, "I'm trying to not get cynical about what is a totally devastating tragedy but the maleness, the youthfulness, and the whiteness of the victims are, of course, playing a significant role."
And people lost their shit. I mean LOST IT. She has received rape and death threats. People have called for her to be fired from Maclean's even though she is a freelance writer and self-employed. When I saw her tweet, and saw the response, I could understood why people reacted negatively. It felt crass. Coming at a time where news was still coming in about people from the crash dying of the injuries in the hospital and the death toll was rising, it felt ill-timed. Families and loved ones still reeling from the news and how their lives will be ever changed. As a tweet, to lay that out, it can come across as lacking compassion, or callous. I think to tweet something like that, rather than give it a full article, perhaps was what made the attacks on her so vicious. Everyone could assume what she meant by that with their own interpretations rather than giving her full perspective a chance. Lesson learned. Don't tweet potentially triggering messages that need more context.
However there is truth to her words. Truth in the sense that people are relating to this tragedy so much more than other tragedies, because they can connect on so many levels:
- the times that they too sent their child on a bus with some sports team, an identification with the tragedy because this as easily could have happened to them
- identification with hockey itself as Canada's sport and thus people commenting on social media this is a 'Canadian tragedy'
- the fact that these boys were young and had their whole hockey career potentials ahead of them, which a person could relate to as a person passing away before they had a chance to make their claim in life (how many people feel like they don't get a chance to fully realise their dreams or that time is fleeting?)
I could go on. You get the point. What Nora Loreto was picking up on, was the double standard. And she spoke about it. And vitriol was the response.
So just give SAM a chance here, to see this from a different perspective. If you're already frothing at the mouth over what you're reading here, all the more reason to keep reading, assuming you pride yourself to be someone who opens yourself up to new perspectives. Yes, you do? Great...stay with me here.
It is a common level of consciousness where we as people, are most able to empathise with what we know and have experienced ourselves. Hockey in Canada, we know. People wanting to realize their dreams, we know. Being youthful and having your whole life ahead of you, with promise of a great career, we can empathise with.
So it's natural that because we can empathise so clearly with this (how many of you have said, 'That could have been my kid on that bus!"), it will affect you more deeply. This is human nature.
So, now take away some of these factors where you see yourself in these families who are grieving, or teens and coaches/therapists who died.
In a hypothetical new tragedy, now the victims are not the same race as you. Immediately, unless you have a connection to the race in question, it can be harder to 'connect' and empathise. What you don't know well, is harder to connect to. If you know someone of this race, and know their culture, it will be easier for you to connect with their race because you have an anchor to that race or culture. This is why people always talk about how important talking with 'the other side' would be. If you can get to know the person, see their perspective, understand where they are coming from (i.e. empathy) you are more likely to lessen your hatred/discord with them. Example - watch America Inside Out with Katie Couric where she attempts to get black and white people to sit in the same room with each other and after a few minutes the white men admit their perspective has changed on the problems of a black man in their culture once hearing him out. (I saw this clip when she was interviewed on The View regarding her documentary a few days ago)
On we go with our hypothetical musing. Now not only are the people of said tragedy of a different race (potential disconnect), but you don't have hockey in common. Now it is a group of gymnasts on the bus. Or a group of elderly shoppers going to USA to shop at Target for a weekend trip. Are you as equally triggered about the tragedy of 16 lives lost? Are you still thinking, 'That could have been my mother or father on that bus?"
Maybe you are. That would be so if the elderly story triggered you as a daughter or son, with the empathy of how you would feel if you found out your parent had died that way. What if you didn't have parents in your life as they had died years ago? Would an elderly bus crash still trigger you then if you didn't have an immediate personal experience to empathise with? Perhaps not. What Nora Loreto was alluding to (perhaps in a triggering way) was the fact that depending on 'who' the people were that were in a crisis, we will respond differently. SHE IS RIGHT.
We are funny humans when it comes to race. "Playing the race card", "race baiting" is often thrown around as soon as someone comments on race. Let's take race out of this equation for now. Let's just focus on 'common factors'.
There were just 23 children that died on a bus crash in India. Where is the go fund me 8 million dollar campaign for that? "Well that is in India, that's really far away..." Right. Less compassion or empathy, because it feels like it is something happening 'out there to someone else'. Some will relate to it on the level of children have died, and so that may be their empathy anchor. Others may relate to it because they have travelled to India recently, know how lovely the people are there, and thus would feel more connected to the incident. Thus, that would be their empathy anchor.
Nora Loreto, was commenting on the irony of our lack of consistency in our empathy for all people. You can't deny there is truth to this. Should it have been tweeted without context? Maybe not. But is it truth? Yes there is Truth to it. Since we connect with what we know, people are claiming this Humboldt Broncos tragedy as theirs. You have identified with it in some way, and for some of you, this self-identification has been unconscious.
Yet, do you have the same level of compassion for the Syrians who have just been chemical gassed? (https://www.cnn.com/2018/04/11/middleeast/syria-chemical-attack-500-affected-who-intl/index.html )
Or these 23 children that also died on a bus in India? (https://www.nytimes.com/aponline/2018/04/09/world/asia/ap-as-india-school-bus-plunge.html )
If you are feeling indignant right now, as you are reading this, that is because you are realising perhaps that you have not responded with the same level of grief, compassion or anguish to some of these other tragedies. You might even be angry with me/SAM now, and getting ready to write some nasty comments with the indignant cry of "How dare you say I don't care about everyone equally!!!".
Slow down there. Just SIT IN THIS for a bit. What if you don't care about everyone equally? Does that make you a bad person? Or simply one that is responding to your own empathy anchors? If you don't relate to a situation in a deeper way, is this not okay to not have the same level of empathy if this is truly where you are at with your own stages of empathy? Who's judging here? Are you embarrassed or humiliated at the idea that you may not have the same level of empathy for everyone?
That is YOUR trigger. Your trigger to own. The fact that maybe you do respond differently to different crises, based on your own connection to the circumstances - THIS IS HUMAN. This is normal. It is a raise in consciousness both for yourself and others when this can be discussed, without shame attaching to it. The goal is to see past this state of self-identifying compassion to reach the consciousness level state of compassion for all.
We are what we know. The experiences we have shape our reality. Thus, we will respond with deeper emotion to experiences we understand. If you have been raped or sexually assaulted, you will have more of a response to the #metoo movement. If you have PTSD from some deep crises that happened in your life, you will have more empathy for others with PTSD. If you have been an alcoholic and have gone through rehab/recovery, you will be more empathetic for those struggling with alcoholism. THIS IS NORMAL.
What isn't normal, or shouldn't be normal, is our reaction to someone calling this truth out. Though one could criticise Nora for her timing or perceived lack of tact in what she was saying, she was witnessing from a higher level of consciousness this lack of consistency. She does not deserve the attacks. And for those of you who have attacked her, or would attack her if others didn't know who you were, can you sit in that for a few moments?
What has she triggered in you? The awareness that maybe you aren't as empathetic of a person as you thought you were? Where does that fear of judgement come from? Can you lose that judgement and realize you are human? Can you accept the fact that maybe it is true that you aren't empathetic consistently to all races, all tragedies, all situations? Can you live with this Truth for the time being?
You gain empathy and become a more empathetic person by learning to have compassion for any situation. If you were to sit for the next 15 minutes reading all the articles to do with the bus crash in India, read accounts from grieving parents, saw pictures of the tragedy, you would connect with it and then perhaps have a deeper response. If you were to focus on these chemical gas attacks in Syria, again, you could gain empathy. Instead, if something pulls out fear in us (fear of this happening in our country), our first instinct is to avoid it or not think about it. So when you feel less empathy for certain situations sometimes it is a coping mechanism because you yourself can not 'go there' because then you will be in too much fear.
Okay, so you're considering that maybe you do respond differently depending on the situation. Great! The 1st step in change is to be aware of what needs to change. Can we go a step farther? Why is it that this Broncos tragedy has already raised 8 million dollars in funding and yet there are so many other local tragedies (within Canada) that go so unfunded? Is it that you aren't as empathetically or emotionally connected to them? THIS IS OKAY. It's where you're at. But then the remedy, is to CONNECT with these tragedies, research them, get to understand them. CONNECT with them in ways where you gain empathy. Work on gaining more empathy, for all people. See it as part of your self-growth journey.
An article standing up for Nora Loreto was written and I add it here because we're talking similar perspectives here. Mathieu Murphy-Perron has the facts on some of the specific examples of ways we are not consistent, even as Canadians. Why IS it that we as woman in Manitoba or Canada are not as enraged for all the missing and murdered indigenous women, as one example? If all of a sudden a community filled with white women were murdered, would we be doing more?
These are questions we have to ask ourselves, without judgement. If you want to grow as a person, you have to be willing to ask the tough questions. To just get on your high horse and say, "How dare you call me a racist, I of course would be just as upset whether the woman was white or indigenous..." then I ask you this. Then why is this community still struggling to be heard? Why is more not being done? How has this become 'an Indigenous problem' rather than our problem? What have you done to help them on their journey to solve these murders that are still happening? Where is the Go Fund Me campaign for that? And is it at 8 million dollars? You can check here to see how the funding is going for missing/murdered indigenous projects. https://www.gofundme.com/mvc.php?route=category&term=missing and murdered indigenous women
We have a long way to go. For those that deny this, that is because you fear judgement. Perhaps even through the religious dogma beliefs you may carry that there is a deity that would judge you if he/she knew that you felt differently about a certain race or culture than another. Don't kid yourself...any 'deity' you believe in would know your thoughts and know you already feel this way through your actions so who are you hiding this from? Let it out into the light. You don't have to speak it to anyone else at this point. But just consider for yourself this question:
Do I treat everyone and every tragedy equally in my compassion and empathy for it? And if I don't, why not? How could I change this and become more empathetic and compassionate in the future? How could I raise my consciousness in my ability to feel empathy and compassion for all?
You may just discover some beautiful growth with your own stages of empathy and compassion as a result.
Maureen & SAM
copyright Source Within 2018. All Rights Reserved.
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