Ubuntu means shared humanity, knowing we are all connected in the world.
In some ways, we are all responsible for 9/11, for the war on Iraq, for the failed dikes and appalling response to the crisis in the South, for our country’s pitiful world image. We are still a democracy, though tattered. If our voices are not heard, we are not shouting loud enough. I know I didn’t shout loud enough during the last election. No one has found a better political system than the United States. Let’s turn up the heat and boil off the poison.
We are all looters. We loot the world, quietly rape the planet, then tell everyone to leave us alone. As a country we are deluded in thinking this can continue any longer. We smile and say we are doing our best. Would you give up your roomy house and car tomorrow if everybody in the world could be fed and housed? I know I wouldn’t. Not without a fight.
That’s the fight we’re in. A fight inside each of us. Personal responsibility for the future. There’s so much blame going on right now. Why don’t we point that critical telescope at ourselves? Ask yourself difficult questions. What is the planet worth? What sacrifice will you make toward preserving what we are now destroying faster than it can heal? What are you doing to make poverty history? What did you do toward any of these ideal ends today? Think big, act in small ways.
Trying to summarize the complicated, serpentine issue of blame and its twisted misuse:
Some of us â€“ those who still have the luxury â€“ just canâ€™t deal with the sickening horror of the idea that perhaps we do not have full control over our experience, so we defend the notion that we do by blaming others who experience, or admit, powerlessness.
And she finds this hypocracy hiding everywhere:
Itâ€™s even in our syntax.
â€œMistakes were made.â€ What mistakes? By whom? Presto: one neato passive construction and both consequence and responsibility are neatly evaded.
â€œA woman got raped.â€ By whom? A phantom? She GOT raped? Like, got herself raped? Where is the rapist in the sentence? Nowhere. We donâ€™t say â€œA man raped a woman.â€[…]
These are not linguistic coincidences. These are reflections of our values in our language that allow us to retain privilege, distance from responsibility, strip the powerless of their humanity so we donâ€™t have to identify with them, or blame them for what happened to them so we donâ€™t have to concede it could also happen to us.
In summary, after a firey review of other socially presumptuous language, we are presented with:
The inequities of this society are ubiquitous. That doesnâ€™t mean we arenâ€™t responsible for them. And magical thinking and blaming the victim, while a comfortable habit of generations and generations, has yet to effect change.
She ends with a wake up slap.
And aggression almost always begins in our words.
Worthy reading if you care to pop over there.