The Beav according to Beav

Still crazy after all these years.

Thursday, July 28, 2016

Judge Actions, Not People

People are people, with all that entails. They are amazing, and beautiful, and flawed. They are capable of astounding achievements and unspeakable evils.

It isn’t helpful to say that “he is a racist.” It can advance the conversation to note that “that comment was racist.” It obscures the truth to say “she was a great woman.” It is inspirational to say that “she performed a great deed.”

I understand that the difference is largely just a matter of tone, and that there may be ample (and more than ample) justification to put this label or that on one person or another. But, to what end? To me, the only end is to improve - for us all to be better. We cannot learn or move forward if we are just calling each other names. No matter how well-earned, that leads to defensiveness and digging in and no movement. If we can focus on the actions, we may be able to teach and learn and get better.

And maybe we can get past the idea that someone is a “great person” or an “evil person.” We just might be able to get to the truth that everyone is great; everyone is evil; everyone is everyone. A person is much too complex to boil down into one word, unless that word is human.

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