Lawrence, KS - Events Local News Groups Contact
What Social Change Activists Can Too Easily Forget
What Social Change Activists Can Too Easily Forget
By Tim Hjersted /

I often think about this quote from Malcolm X. It's a point that really can't be made too often.

Having become socially conscious to a certain degree, it can be easy to fall into the trap of condemning or judging those who aren't as awakened as we are, forgetting that there was a time when we weren't as informed as we are today.

I've also found that shaming people for their lack of knowledge or perspective doesn't work. It may offer personal catharsis, but yelling on street corners or via social media things like "wake up America!" doesn't help wake people up.

Thinking of the masses as unthinking sheeple too stupid or lazy to know better cuts off the part of our brain that can look deeply and empathize with the deeper environmental circumstances that have created the mass-awareness crisis that our civilization faces.

In my experience, it was by random luck that I was born into a family that encouraged me to think freely and didn't teach me that there was only one true source of knowledge and all other sources are heresy. It was by random chance that I was exposed to books and magazines like Adbusters outside the mainstream consensus that sent me on a new path of learning. It was by chance that I grew up and met certain people that exposed me to alternative ways of seeing the world.

So from this vantage point I have a lot of compassion for the children that were born into situations that weren't so lucky. They grew up in a more rigid religious family, went to schools where the teachers and students are raised in similar environments, exposed to the same white-washed versions of history and social perspective, exposed to the same corporate media which homogenizes thought. And of course the mass media, which imparts a selective status-quo point of view to millions of people, is itself a product of the miseducation of our youth by an educational system which was also itself designed by people who were miseducated with the often subtle or not-so-subtle racist, sexist, nationalist, capitalist, religious views of the dominant culture.

People growing up in this society need our compassion and empathy, not more condemnation.

The point for me is that creating a relationship with someone from a place of empathy vs a place of judgement will create two different relationships and two different outcomes. From my experience, adults, like children, learn and grow better when the relationship is built on the former.

There are certainly a lot of adults who are 'too far gone' - indoctrinated into the cultural views of their environment - to be able to transform. I'm thinking of people like Bill O'Reilly, or maybe one of our older family members.

And when I think of the 5 year old Bill O-Reilly, before he was taught to be filled with so much hatred for others, I have a lot of compassion for the loving child that was long ago killed by the world he grew up in. I don't know what to say about adults like this, other than to find ways to minimize their harm to others.

Most of my energies I want to put towards those who are still on their journey, who still have an open mind, and haven't been so damaged by our world that change is impossible.

Focusing on media and education for the youth of the world is possibly our best chance to transform and break the cycle of miseducation. Because if we don't do anything, in 20 years time, we will have more wounded souls perpetuating the wounds they inherited from our society.

4.4 ·
What's Next
Trending Today
Dinosaur explains Trump policies better than Trump!
8 min · 26,727 views today · Donald Trump is actually the corporate triceratops, Mr. Richfield, from the 90's TV show sitcom, "Dinosaurs". 
Your Lifestyle Has Already Been Designed (The Real Reason For The Forty-Hour Workweek)
David Cain · 26,362 views today · Well I’m in the working world again. I’ve found myself a well-paying gig in the engineering industry, and life finally feels like it’s returning to normal after my nine months...
Noam Chomsky Has 'Never Seen Anything Like This'
Chris Hedges · 8,476 views today · Noam Chomsky is America’s greatest intellectual. His massive body of work, which includes nearly 100 books, has for decades deflated and exposed the lies of the power elite...
Three Massive Mergers - Millions for One Bank and a Disaster for Food, Water, and Climate
Wenonah Hauter · 3,543 views today · In addition to advising on all three mega-mergers, Credit Suisse is playing a big role behind the scenes of the Dakota Access pipeline.
And After the Election, The Reaction
Ret Marut · 2,991 views today · Could there be any better illustration of the shortcomings of representative democracy than this year’s Presidential campaign? For months upon tiresome months, the whole world...
Today I Rise: This Beautiful Short Film Is Like a Love Poem For Your Heart and Soul
4 min · 2,615 views today · "The world is missing what I am ready to give: My Wisdom, My Sweetness, My Love and My hunger for Peace." "Where are you? Where are you, little girl with broken wings but full...
Heartbreaking Animation Reveals Plight of Animals Under Threat of Extinction
3 min · 2,524 views today · This stunning and heartbreaking animation gives voice to animals under threat from human activity. Made as part of the Wildlife Conservation Film Festival, it features a...
No Moral Superpower: Arundhati Roy, Edward Snowden, and the Crimes of Empire
Jake Johnson · 2,455 views today · When Arundhati Roy was preparing, in 2014, for a trip to Moscow to meet Edward Snowden, she was troubled by two things. One of them was the fact that the meeting was arranged...
'The Climate of Fear Is Unacceptable' - Ken Loach on I, Daniel Blake
6 min · 2,408 views today · Ken Loach’s Palme d’Or-winning film I, Daniel Blake tells the story of a man who is denied disability benefit after a heart attack and who is then subsequently caught in a...
A Beautiful Reflection on What It Means to Be Human
8 min · 2,076 views today · Hello! We are Oh Wonder, a musical duo from London. We believe that everyone is equal. We are all human. We all deserve the world. And we can build that equality by sharing...
How Big Banks Launder Money and Get Away With It
9 min · 1,912 views today · 'I wrote about how money laundering was actually done... they spiked it.' Parliamentary Candidate David Malone was a popular second choice in the UK Green Party leadership...
What Makes Call-Out Culture So Toxic
Asam Ahmad · 1,696 views today · Call-out culture refers to the tendency among progressives, radicals, activists, and community organizers to publicly name instances or patterns of oppressive behaviour and...
Why I Didn't Vote Trump or Hillary
Joe Brewer · 1,679 views today ·   This is my ballot. It arrived in the mail where I live in Washington state — and I’ve already sent it back to the elections committee. Note how I didn’t vote for either...
Speaking Out Against Australia's Unforgiving Refugee Policy
42 min · 1,543 views today · The Forgotten Children: More than a hundred child refugees are stuck in asylum limbo on the island of Nauru as a result of Australia's harsh and unsympathetic border policies...
Social Geographer Shows How Much of You is Determined by Where You're From
3 min · 1,430 views today · The Professor of Geography examines social inequality and the geodemographics of the UK, using maps created by Oliver O'Brien (UCL, CASA) in 2012 and updated in 2015. You can...
John Lennon's "Imagine," Made Into a Comic Strip
John Lennon. Art by Pablo Stanley · 844 views today · This is easily the best comic strip ever made.  Pabl
Grow Heathrow: Residents Resisting Eviction Over 3rd Runway
4 min · 706 views today · On March 1st 2010 Transition Heathrow members swooped on an abandoned market garden site in Sipson; one of the villages to be completely tarmacked to make way for a third...
Schooling the World (2010)
66 min · 653 views today · If you wanted to change an ancient culture in a generation, how would you do it? You would change the way it educates its children. The U.S. Government knew this in the 19th...
The White Man in That Photo
Riccardo Gazzaniga · 620 views today · Sometimes photographs deceive. Take this one, for example. It represents John Carlos and Tommie Smith’s rebellious gesture the day they won medals for the 200 meters at the...
10 Quotes From an Oglala Lakota Chief That Will Make You Question Everything About Our Society
Wisdom Pills · 618 views today · Luther Standing Bear was an Oglala Lakota Sioux Chief who, among a few rare others such as Charles Eastman, Black Elk and Gertrude Bonnin occupied the rift between the way of...
Load More
Like us on Facebook?
What Social Change Activists Can Too Easily Forget