The New America

An 18-year-old gunman killed 21 students and teachers in Uvalde. The Supreme Court overturned Roe V. Wade. Covid-19 is still rampant as people let down their guards. Catastrophe after cataclysmic catastrophe, we are reminded of how divided we are and how slow change is to come by. Some of us are protesting for change after seeing the devastation that has befallen us. Some of us think this is status quo and par for the course all the while claiming that our country still needs to be great again. No one is happy where we are and as such, we all suffer. The truth is that it is not laws that will change our nation, but rather our notions about equality. If half of us are okay with people dying and living in poverty, then our laws will never change. Laws are useful, but even more horrifying is the thought that many of our neighbors don’t want to see change because they don’t want to see others benefitting before them.

Many times, we ask why there isn’t meaningful reform and change, but the reality is that this future has been engineered by men in the shadows whose vision has lived long beyond them. This is their America. They planted a seed before many of us even took our first breath. They shifted minds to believe Unions were not beneficial and that abortion is not medical health. They let Whites believe racism was made up and that slavery was not as bad as it was. They led many to believe that anyone could pull themselves up by their bootstraps if they just tried hard enough and this resulted in: redlining, gerrymandering, exorbitant campaign donations, and school districts being funded by local neighborhoods, creating richer and poorer schools that benefitted those who lived in certain neighborhoods.

The issue is not the laws. The laws are the result of the seeds that were planted many years ago. The true, underlying issue is many of us grew up believing in individualism and that big government overreaches unless it’s for the things we want. All of this is predicated on a fervent hatred of otherness. They have conditioned our neighbors to believe that the America they once knew is gone and at risk of getting more liberal and they must harness their hatred to make sure it doesn’t change. Things are literally going their way. Roe V. Wade was overturned. There are currently no meaningful gun laws, and yet, they still believe they are under attack and liberals are all to blame. The reality is they can never be content because they wouldn’t have their hatred to fuel them anymore.

Change is on the horizon, but our deep-seated racism, which we refuse to acknowledge, will always bubble up if we don’t teach actual history and instead bemoan that Confederate monuments built by the United Daughters of the Confederacy are being taken down. If we don’t tackle mindsets and beliefs first of White Nationalism, bigotry, hatred of LGBTQ, and more, those beliefs will continue to live on and become the new America.

Remembering 9/11 as a Minority

Remembering 9/11 as a Minority

I distinctly remember that infamous day in American history when two planes crashed into the World Trade Center. I was 18 and happy to finally be an adult away at college. I was working in the library early in the morning when my boss came in to tell us that a plane had crashed into the World Trade Center. I was in disbelief and shock. I didn’t know how to react because nothing of such magnitude had ever occurred on American soil in my lifetime. I remember still going to class, but being in a fog as everyone didn’t know what to say or do in the aftermath. People worried about the stock market and my roommate said her father had told her we would be okay as long as everyone stayed calm. I remember seeing Maya Angelou on the news and remembering why? In this moment of great fear, even the news had no idea what to do, so they put someone comforting on. Nothing made sense in that moment.

What was also on my mind was xenophobia. After the shock and worry subsided, my mind wandered to the hijackers. In my heart of hearts, I hoped they wouldn’t be Asian. Because if they were, I knew my life would no longer be the same. When I found out they weren’t, I was relieved, then felt guilty because I knew someone else would be the target of American hate, and they were. I heard stories of neighbors seething and vengeful as they stood outside of Muslim and Indian-born citizens’ homes. I read about a Sikh man who was mistaken for Muslim, who was targeted and killed. And I’d heard that a Hmong teenager had made an off-hand comment that no one Hmong cared that 3,000 people died because it didn’t affect us, and the deep-seated racism that had been so carefully concealed came out. Because of one young individual’s comment, people were emboldened to be racist towards people like me. It seemed this tragic act had resurrected a long-simmering hate that barely boiled beneath many American’s blood and they felt as if they were doing their duty by accosting those they deemed responsible for the fear that permeated their lives.

That is the fate of a minority who lives in a country where the majority of it’s people are White. I don’t blame White people in general, but I hold them responsible for not understanding that as the majority in control, they also control the narrative of who belongs and who doesn’t, and through this experience, I knew I would never belong. I would always be an outsider. I was not free to only mourn what had happened, but as a minority, I knew immediately that there would be consequences and I feared what would happen. For months after, I read about stories of Muslim women who did not wear their headscarf because they feared retaliation, even though they had nothing to do with the crashes. Looking back, I see how unfair that was for me. I knew that even in the midst of a national tragedy, I still had to worry about my own safety and those around me because they would never consider me one of them.

People will always act out of fear because it is who we are. And it’s easier to root our fears in racism than it is to dismantle what we’ve been told and believed all of our lives about who the enemy is. It’s been 20 years and I wonder if we’ve learned any lessons from the past. Are we any different than who we were on that fateful day? I honestly don’t know if we are and perhaps we may never be, but I hope we can change.

Photo by Aaron Lee on Unsplash

Who is Abortion for?

Who is Abortion for?

Who is abortion for? Recently, with the bills passed in Texas, abortion has become a hotly contested issue again as women’s rights to their bodies are once again challenged. If women can’t have the choice to choose abortion after 6 weeks, they are then forced to have the child regardless of their circumstances, which could be rape, incest, a birth anomaly, or the safety of the mother’s life. Some pro-life people say we should be thinking about the rights of the unborn child, but are they thinking about the safety of the mother? Or are they simply looking to control the narrative about what women can and can’t do? There are varying reasons why some are anti-choice and that may include: their religious beliefs, their political leanings, or simply pure misogyny.

On Facebook, a man commented that it’s not the baby’s fault that women decided to open their legs for a momentary pleasure while thinking they didn’t have to deal with the consequences of that act, completely denying that a man was also involved in that transaction. In that comment, what he is implying is that a woman is solely responsible for when she has sex, regardless of if she was raped, coerced, or unconscious. He is stating that women are responsible for their pleasure, while men are not. If this isn’t good old misogyny, I don’t know what is. I once had a talk with a man about abortion, where he got belligerently upset because I said that sometimes it’s a mistake and women need a choice. He, very red-faced, asked me if it was a mistake he decided to have his children instead of aborting them. Like really? Did you really just make a women’s issue that didn’t affect you at all about YOU?

And so I ask, who is abortion for? Let me tell you about my mother. My mother is a devout Christian who once chastised a young girl for having an abortion. She believes deeply in her faith and does not believe in abortion. She believes abortion is the act of killing a baby. However, when my mother was in her older years and pregnant with her 7th child, she thought about it. She THOUGHT about it. She decided not to go through with it, but she thought about it, and that’s who abortion is for. It’s a choice and and I’d hate to think what situation my mother would be in if she didn’t have that choice. Abortion is for everyone and everyone should have the option, regardless if they are going to choose it or not. For more often than not, even those that fight fiercely against it, like my mother, need it more than they care to express.

Photo by 🇸🇮 Janko Ferlič on Unsplash

Why Don’t We Care About Each Other?

Why Don’t We Care About Each Other?

There is a housing market boom right now, where prices are skyrocketing. The house we bought in 2018 is now valued at an extra $30,000. I don’t know if we could’ve afforded the house then if at that price. Then, I decided to look at what one bedrooms were renting at in our area and saw them going for $600.00. I paid $450.00 about 5 years ago. Of course, I have to expect that prices will go up, but I worry still. I worry about twenty-something me that worked two part-time, minimum-wage jobs after she moved home after the 2008 recession. How could she have afforded rent for what she was earning? Would she have been able to save anything? She already didn’t have that much to begin with. And I worry about people like her who are currently in that situation.

Every day, I see new apartment buildings made of concrete and glass rise from the ground and I know they were not designed for those who are living near the poverty line. Instead, the poor have to rely on Section 8 housing, which some see as a hand-out. What the detractors don’t realize is that landlords must agree to the vouchers in the first place and many do not. Where does this leave a city that is growing and prospering, but leaving its poorest behind? I myself live very comfortably and now have a great job that I love, but still, I worry about that girl that I used to be. She wasn’t lazy. She didn’t take hand-outs. She worked her ass off and barely made it. It’s easy to generalize the plight of others when we don’t personally know them, but sometimes, what they genuinely need is help.

Housing is a crucial element of life and we have been reduced to the haves and the have-nots. The haves scorn the have-nots and tell them to get a job, get a degree, work harder, and to get off employment, while the have-nots cannot wait until they can tell those that come after them the same thing. We, as a society, are sorely broken and it’s much harder to fix than just policies and laws. The policies that are enacted may help those who need it, but it does not help those who continue to feel that those who are poor deserve it. What have we become when we don’t care about hungry children and homeless parents? There is a problem and it is us. It is our entitlement.

Entitlement is not the belief that we are owed housing, health care, and mental health, but rather, the issue is that we think we’re entitled to the wealth we’ve gained and earned, making us feel as we belong in a different caste. Entitlement is asking where our tax payer money is going to when it could be helping our next-door neighbor who just lost her job. It is telling others to pull themselves up by their bootstraps when we forgot the struggles we had to get where we are. It’s in the way we talk about those who need help and those who want to help them. We say they are bottom-feeders and leeches, giving them no sympathy. When we differentiate ourselves from them, we feel entitled to our own situation and dehumanize them in the process.

If we don’t care about each other, there will be no one left to care about who we are. What is our legacy going to be at the end? What will they say about us? They were selfish until the very end. The human race died out because they couldn’t pull themselves up by their bootstraps. The bootstraps were never the problem. The system is most likely to blame. However, it all comes down to the common denominator of caring for others that are not us. If we don’t realize that we’re all in this together, we’ll see ourselves splinter more and more and we’ll be the ones left behind.

Photo by Jordy Meow on Unsplash

What Cardi B Taught me About Feminism and Racism

What Cardi B Taught me About Feminism and Racism

I used to not like Cardi B. She’s loud. Ostentatious. Overtly sexually suggestive in her lyrics. But what was it really? I didn’t like her because deep down, I felt as if she didn’t deserve to be where she was. She was just a stripper who happened to have one hit song and now, she was a mega-star. And then it all changed when I saw her in a live session. She talked about her haters. Especially the women. Women like me. She asked why did we hate her so much. She said instead of hating me for getting here, why don’t you see that if I can do it, you can do it, too? And that changed my whole perspective. She was right. Her words forced me to look introspectively and really examine why I disliked a woman who was simply trying to make it in a world that was not made for her. Why I couldn’t support someone who talked the way she did, dressed the way she did, and made money the way she did. I realized that I didn’t like her because subconsciously, I thought I was better than her.

Deep down, I thought I was better than her. I thought that since I didn’t strip, reveal my body, and sexualize myself through songs that I was somehow better than she was. And if I was better than she was, I deserved more than her. I felt it wasn’t fair that that someone like her could make it and I couldn’t, but her words made me realize my thinking was inherently wrong. I wasn’t better than her. I was simply different, but that didn’t mean I had to demonize her for how she portrayed herself. That’s the thing about feminism sometimes. Sometimes, we pigeonhole who we are and exclude those that don’t fit our view about who we believe is a successful woman. Megan Fox stated this as she said she didn’t feel welcomed by feminists and this resonates with me. Feminism is not just about fighting for women’s equality amongst men, but fighting against our own biases against other women. This freed me in a way that I never felt before. I could look at women like Cardi B and Megan Fox and just appreciate them for who they were instead of what my idea of a strong woman should be.

I then made the correlation between my sexism and racism that was profound. I realized that racists are racist because they also feel as if they are better than the minorities they hate. They are looking at successful minorities and angry that they themselves are not at that level because deep down, they feel as if they are better than them. This core belief of thinking that we are better than someone else is primal. It’s not only confined to sex, race, ethnicity, or sexual preference, but can include a multitude of things that we are not aware of it. It’s natural to assume that the group you belong to is the superior group because you belong to it and this belief causes us to segregate others and elevate ourselves in the process. What we need to do is to acknowledge that we can work through them. To deny these notions is to deny feelings that predate who we are. We need to acknowledge that it’s okay to feel resentful and angry, but the next step is to talk about them. Racism and sexism are never going to go away because they are a part of who we are, but to deny that we are no longer these things perpetuates the myth that there is no real problem.

I have so much more sympathy for Cardi B and women like her now. When I see her, I feel joy. When I confronted my own feelings of inadequacies, it allowed me to be able to support women that were different from me. I don’t always agree with everything she does, but it doesn’t affect my support of her. We are never quite done learning as long as we know we can keep an open mind. And in doing so, we also need to forgive ourselves for what we’ve condoned in the past. Change can be mercurial, but change is always bound to come our way. It’s just a matter of if we accept it or not.

American Monster

American Monster

I just finished Netflix’s American Murder: The Family Next Door, which tells the story of the murder of Shannan Watts and her two children by her husband, Chris Watts. The documentary is told through Shannan’s own voice as we see old Facebook videos of her and text messages that were provided by her family. The opening scene is especially heartbreaking as you are there in the shoes of a police officer who is initially performing a welfare check, knowing she is dead as an audience member. We see Chris Watts rush home and play the part of concerned dad and this time, we know for sure he is the killer. How can a man kill his wife and strangle his children whom he had just tucked into bed the night before?

At the end of the documentary, it states that the suspect who kills their spouse and children is usually male and it is almost always premediated. Chris cheated on his wife and was in love with another woman, so he decided to kill his family to start a new life, but it’s not as simple as it sounds. Some people believe Shannan was bossy or ‘bitchy’ and she herself states she wore the pants in the relationship, leading some to think she caused Chris to cheat on her. I would say otherwise. Chris decided to cheat with another woman who also seemed very strong-willed, so I think he is attracted to ‘bossy’ women, so it wasn’t that aspect that led him to cheat and devise a plan to kill her.

It seemed he did love his mistress and refused to have sex with his wife or call his children when they were on vacation. So why not just divorce them? He was leading a dual life, but he wasn’t dual in nature. This was a man who prided himself as being honest, hard-working, and a good citizen. That is why he agreed to talk to the police, take polygraphs, and talk to the news. He believes himself to be a good person, and that’s what good people do. Good people also don’t cheat, so he could never admit it to his wife no matter how many times he asked. That is the reason why he killed her and the kids: to assuage the guilt he felt as he was not a good person. However, if they simply disappeared, he would never have to answer those questions.

Instead of being honest with his wife, he lied to her time and time again because he could not be honest with himself. He could not admit to himself that he was a cheater and a bad parent. He could not see himself as the person who tore apart his family, so he did everything he could do to make the problem go away. He randomly asked why he couldn’t save his own kids, but the moment he put them in the back of his truck with his wife’s body, he no longer saw them as children. You place children in the backseat in their car seats, and he did not. He had already distanced himself from them. He knew exactly what he was doing when he drove to that site.

You could see in his demeanor and his words that he was not a good actor. Even his neighbor noted that he was not his usual self. He was in the process of distancing himself from the murders so he wouldn’t have to reckon with the idea that he was not a good person. His whole identity rested on the notion that he believed he would always do the right thing and he didn’t have the strength to admit that he had made a mistake. He didn’t want to see or acknowledge his mistakes, so he brushed them under a rug where he didn’t have to deal with them.

He was a person who was eager to please and perhaps because his mother was controlling, he sought out women like her and did not voice his opinion when he was unhappy. This led him to suppress his true desires and needs. When he met his mistress, it all came to the surface and he finally felt alive again. He felt seen. Acknowledged. And still, he knew what he was doing would devastate his wife, so he lied. Not because he didn’t want her to find out about the cheating, but because he didn’t want his facade of being the perfect husband and father to come crumbling down. He just couldn’t live with that idea. Instead, he choose to do the unthinkable.

In murdering his family, Chris did what he never wanted to happen: let the world know that he was a terrible person. It didn’t matter how much he acquiesced to the police or reporters anymore, because they all knew who he really was. And why are we so fascinated with him? Because we never expect the all-American family man to commit such a heinous act? If we can’t believe that, it will be harder to believe the victims of such crimes and what has been perpetrated upon them. There are no monsters walking among us, only broken people who are afraid of the truth and it’s time we realize this can happen anywhere.

An Asian Reviews Mulan: The Live-Action One

An Asian Reviews Mulan: The Live-Action One

As an Asian person who lives in America, I am always excited to see big-screen movies that come out with an Asian-led cast.  Representation matters because minorities should be able to see themselves as leads in movies.  When there is little representation and we are sidelined as sidekicks, we see that our narratives are not as measured as important as others are.  When Mulan was announced, many that I knew were excited about the prospect of a live-action movie with characters that looked like them.  We can actually see ourselves in them as Doua Moua is of Hmong descent.  Simply based on this, this movie helps to celebrate who we are and how we fit into the realm of American movies.  However, the movie falls flat of actually empowering Asians through its narrative.

The movie itself lacks candor, strong relationships, and character growth.  They decide not to include any humor, songs, and magicality in the movie, leaving behind a mostly dramatic movie that lacks any of the charms of the original.  And to add insult to injury, they do not develop Mulan or her relationships with anyone, leaving the audience to not care for her struggle.  In the new movie, she is already a force to be reckoned with at a young age and must shed her lies to reveal her true self, meaning there was no character development.  We do not see her overcome anything and there is no dramatic weight to the film because we are never made to feel as if she has a strong relationship with the romantic lead or her father.  Even the coterie of soldiers do not feel like a band of friends because they do not do anything together.  Although all the actors were Asian, behind the scenes, many of the decisions were made by a mostly White crew, which I felt did not do the movie justice.

The movie had four White writers, and this may have been a reason why the movie didn’t have a strong Asian feel to it.  Does every ethnic movie need to have an ethnic writer behind it?  No, but if there are four writers, why is not at least one Asian?  I think the writers failed to really embellish on what an Asian fantasy movie could be.  They did away with the ancestors and Mushu of the original, but opted for a phoenix that only Mulan could see instead, which held little cultural significance.  There is a lot of wonderful mysticism that is deeply embedded in many Asian cultures and none of this was brought out.  Instead, we got a white-washed version of honor, family, and truth.  The music that is supposed to imbue us with feeling is painfully non-Asian, showing that this movie was really made by White people for White people.  When the writers, the costume designer, the music composer, most of the producers, and the director are all white in a movie that is supposed to celebrate Asianess , how can I see myself in it?

The New White Americans Are Proud

The New White Americans Are Proud

There’s a new breed of White Americans in town who do not want to be labeled as racists and are also zealously proud of their whiteness.  America has come to terms with a new landscape since the shootings by police of George Floyd in Minnesota and Jacob Blake in Wisconsin, resulting in days of rioting, protesting, and destruction.  All these acts then further divide the nation as we try grapple with what we perceive is right and wrong and ardently argue for our rights.  What has emerged is a new set of White Americans who may condemn the shootings, but still wholeheartedly support the police, condemn the ensuing violence, and also refute the movement of Black people, who are trying to change things.  In the landscape of the Midwest of Minnesota nice, how is that the these very people who smile at strangers can’t have compassion for the minorities who are being killed in their backyard?  What is happening in the heartland that race relations and communication between the police and the community have broken down?  Well, the New Proud American may assert that the fault lies with the criminals and those who break laws and not anyone else.

While the Midwest is supposed to be known for being overly nice, is that what minorities have encountered?  I have heard stories of New Yorkers who are unused to the ways of the Midwest, where we say hello to strangers in the street and hold doors for others.  This is mostly true for most of the Midwest, but there is also another layer when you are a minority.  As a minority, I’ve been told to go back to my own country, mocked for speaking my own language, and physically threatened all for being Asian.  When I relate this to my white counterparts, they believe me, but some of them do not believe it is a prevalent or systematic issue.  As most of them have grown up in a mostly white community, they have never encountered what it means to be “other” so they can only rely on what they hear and if they do not have many minority acquaintances, the voices in their community will not be as diverse.  Instead, they rely on Fox News talking points and listen to Black Republicans such as Candace Owen, using her words so that they are speaking through a minority and they do not feel as if they are treading over other minorities because a Black woman said so.

Who are these Proud, white Americans and how did they get to be that way?  Proud Americans are almost exclusively Republicans and typically grew up in a society where they felt blamed for crimes they never committed.  They are made to feel as if it is their personal fault that slavery ravaged this country when their ancestors never owned slaves.  They feel as if they are losing out on opportunities to minorities through Affirmative Action and fear those that are invading their land.  They feel as if their rights are being taken away such as their guns, and they feel it is unfair that Black people can use the “N” word when they can’t.  Far-right news meida then uses these things to stoke fear and anger in them, urging them to agitate for change and to fight for their right to also be proud of who they are.  When they talk about white privilege, they are indignant and state that they were able to pull themselves up by their bootstraps, so anyone else of any other race should be able to as well, ignoring systematic racism.  To counter systematic racism, some of them believe it simply does not exist, because if it did exist, they would have to reckon with how they have been helped because of it, and they simply can’t.

In a nut shell, Proud Americans do not think things are fair.  If Affirmative Action benefits minorities solely on the basis of their skin color, that is not fair to them, even though it is trying to correct years of oppression for minorities.  If they can’t say the “N” word, no one should be able to, even though Black people are taking aback a word that White people used as a slur.  If Black people are able to say they are proud of their skin color, they should also be able to say it, even though Black people have been told they are ugly just because of their skin color and White people have never been told the same thing.  Proud Americans are tired of being told to feel sorry for slavery, systematic racism, and more, so they now choose to not feel sorry and to not feel sorry, they must deny that racism is real.  They may believe me when I tell them about the things that have happened to me because they know who I am and would never be racist to me, but they cannot comprehend that this happens to the majority of minorities on a daily basis , which is also racist, but they do not see that.  They do not see it because they would never be racist to a minority, so they don’t think it applies to them, but when they deny systematic racism on a grander scale, it is racist. 

The new Proud Americans may never call you a slur or burn a cross in your yard, but they definitely do not fight for minorities if they cling on to the idea that they are being oppressed when others tell them racism is real.  To white people: you don’t have to feel guilty for any of these things.  They are not your doing and they do not mean your personal struggle is any less real than a minority’s struggle, but please do not continue to deny that systematic racism exists, because it hurts the very minority people who you claim are your friends.  To Black people: the majority of non-Black people who don’t fight for you do  not hate you.  The majority of them simply don’t care because it doesn’t affect them.  It is not hatred that is killing you but apathy.  It is sad to see other minorities who have experienced racism also deny your struggle because we simply aren’t Black.  The reality is that many non-Blacks care about the Black people they know and trust in their lives, but many of us do not care about Black people as a whole and that’s where the real problem is.

Photo by Aaron Burden on Unsplash

Why Everyone Loves Conspiracy Theories

Why Everyone Loves Conspiracy Theories

There are a proliferation of conspiracy out there from Pizzagate to the Sandy Hook mass shooting and even to the usefulness of vaccinations, but why do people keep buying into them?  History shows that we’ve always bought into them and even with the ability to fact-check via the internet at our fingertips, we will continue believing in far-fetched ideas.  In 68 AD, conspiracy theories abounded when the Roman emperor, Nero, committed suicide, with many believing he faked his own death and was still secretly alive.  And today, many people believe Tupac Shakur is alive and well somewhere despite pictures of his dead body on a slab.  Conspiracies have always been a part of who we are and we enjoy partaking in them because we feel as we are privy to something that is forbidden.  So why do we forgo logic to believe things that have no proof? 

One of the most recent conspiracy theories is the Save the Children movement that is spreading like wildfire on the internet and in the hearts of parents everywhere with little regard to the truth.  The conspiracy theory states that there is a cabal of powerful individuals who are abducting and trafficking our children into sex-slavery.  That would be enough to strike fear into any mother, but where is the proof?  While any child can be targeted by traffickers, research has shown that abductors actually target children with increased vulnerabilities such as those who are runaways, those who have experienced previous sexual abuse or rape, or those who have been stigmatized by their family.  However, when you bring up these facts, those who ardently argue against you say it doesn’t matter because children are still being trafficked.  While it is true that this is happening, the likelihood that this will happen to your child are slim, but it doesn’t stop people from protecting the conspiracy theory.

When confronted with statistics such as an estimated 460,000 children are reported missing every year and 49% are kidnappings by family members, 27% are by acquaintances, and 27% are by strangers, those who strongly believe in the validity of the conspiracy theories then attack the other side and accuse them of not caring about the children who are kidnapped.  In actuality, they are now living in fear of something that will most likely never happen.  Fear-mongering can lead to devastating outcomes as a recent post advocated for not wearing masks during the pandemic in order to protect children against trafficking.  Children are more at risk of being molested by family members than they are to be abducted and sold into sexual slavery.  These are facts.  The issue is that when you argue with someone who believes in a conspiracy theory, they don’t deal in facts.  They deal in emotions.  And people believe in their emotions over actual facts because they feel so strongly about then.  They may feel so strongly that they may break into a pizza store with a gun demanding to see the children.  Facts are nuggets of truth, but rather or not people believe them is something different.  Their beliefs are predicated on how they feel about the situation, not actual facts.  If they feel strongly, they will ignore facts to bolster their cause.

We love conspiracy theories not because we are uneducated, but because we choose to ignore facts.  Conspiracy theories allow us to take up the perceived mantle of a cause that we feel strongly about.  We believe it because belief is not about facts, but ideas.  If you can believe in God without any proof, you can see how others may believe in conspiracy theories without proof.  When we live in a society where we feel as if we have little power and no voice, the idea of a conspiracy theory lends credence to our small voice that echoes in a chamber.  When we find others like us, we feel as if we are a movement because we may have no real agency in our lives.  This gives us the courage to advocate for change for things that don’t exist.  In the end, it makes us feel powerful.  We feel as if we are in on a big secret that others are not aware of and we are privileged because of it.  We forgo facts because they risk toppling our house of cards. 

So how does one go about disarming these conspiracy theories if the believers are ready to pounce on you?  With compassion.  If you come with facts, they will try to shout over you and become indignant in their rage, but if you move with kindness, it dispels their ideas of who the opposition is.  Compassion cannot be shown in every situation, but when you can, it will make a big difference in your interactions with people who choose to remain misinformed.

Photo by Joel Muniz on Unsplash,a%20snapshot%20of%20the%20problem.