© 2015 Bill Eddy, LCSW, Esq.
n Part I of this 3-part blog, I shared some random thoughts about how America’s race problem appears to be caused more by daily alienating behaviors in the present than by history. In Part II I explained how I thought an African-American president became a convenient scapegoat for many people who lost ground in today’s economy. In this final part, I share some thoughts on what we can do. WHAT CAN WE DO?
First, as individuals, we can act as examples by watching our own comments about anyone, so that we are not promoting disparaging, all-or-nothing thinking – even about those we strongly dislike. We can and should make more racially inclusive decisions in our work lives and personal lives.
Second, we can speak up about the inappropriateness of intensely disparaging remarks of others – including the news media – and insist that we won’t watch those who allow and encourage such alienating public comments.
Third, we shouldn’t be intimidated by the loud negativity of many in politics today. Positions that are maintained by loud, emotional and all-or-nothing thinking are not sustained by logic and will generally be overcome by the larger rational population.
For example, despite loud and absolute opposition to gay marriage, to the affordable healthcare act, to legalization of marijuana and to tobacco restrictions (years ago), official policies were suddenly reversed after enough time in the spotlight. This will become true of other issues, such as restrictions on assault weapons, after enough political pressure comes from the 90% of the public which supports these efforts, and renewed efforts are made to protect and assist African-Americans more specifically.
Fourth, of course, people need to elect representatives who truly represent the American public, not just well-funded candidates who are indebted to the wealthy 1%. This includes candidates who speak up about racial prejudice and for gun control.
Fifth, we must be aware that now is a dangerous time. When high-conflict people feel that they have lost status and power, they attack back. After the approval of the Affordable Care Act and Gay Marriage by the Supreme Court, be prepared for some new extreme behavior and don’t gloat. We need to form alliances with those who are struggling and have been manipulated to blame the wrong people.
Can America overcome this problem of racial alienation? I think we can. As John Lennon said: “You may say that I’m a dreamer. But I’m not the only one. Perhaps someday you’ll join us. And the world can live as one.”
Bill Eddy is a lawyer, therapist, and mediator. He is the co-founder and Training Director of the High Conflict Institute, a training and consultation firm that trains professionals to deal with high-conflict people and situations. He is the author of several books and methods for handling high conflict personalities and high conflict disputes with the most difficult people.