By: Topher Scott
Perspective is one of the most powerful tools in our arsenal. Having the ability to take a step back or to walk in someone else’s shoes…it’s amazing how much that can do for our mind, body, and soul.
But perspective is also something that you have to seek out. It’s not just handed to you. It takes time. It takes effort. It takes reaching out. It takes listening. And it takes the willingness to get out of your bubble.
I grew up in a mostly white, middle class neighborhood. That was my bubble. It was a bubble that was safe and gave me freedom, but it was a bubble that very much sheltered me from having much of a perspective on anything outside of it.
My grandparents would take us to a shelter for kids that were abused and taken away by social services to give them presents on Christmas. They would also take us to homeless shelters to provide food to the needy. Those experiences gave me some much needed perspective outside of my bubble that provided a more realistic worldview.
But as I sit here and see the world as it is today…that perspective is still very small. I’ve read about injustice…but I’ve never felt it. I’ve learned about prejudice…but I’ve never experienced it. I’ve listened to stories about bigotry…but I’ve never faced it.
I am struggling to find the words to say at this moment because I don’t feel like I have the authority to say anything…but I also feel like I have to say something. I agree with what many are saying right now that silence is complicity. I have a platform, and with that I take it as a responsibility to say something.
For me, I never had a real conversation about race with an African American until I got to college (thank you, bubble). It was the best education I ever got on perspective.
I listened as they told me stories of what it meant to be scared to walk alone at night. What it feels like when people clutch their belongings at the sight of you. The anxiety of being around the police at any given moment. And how much it hurts when people degrade you because of the color of your skin.
These were highly educated individuals with abilities far greater than I’ll ever have talking about being stripped down to nothing because of their skin color. People with the moral fabric of pure gold reduced to a statistic. Hearing their stories was a powerful notice that even though I might not see it in my own life…racism is alive and well.
Right now our country is at the brink because of our bubbles.
We lack perspective. We lack empathy. We lack a basic understanding or willingness to hear other people’s points of view. And the more we become siloed, the worse it’s going to be.
We need compassion. We need leadership. We need to do something about what we are facing at this moment.
And it’s gonna take more than Twitter and Instagram. Social media has just made us lazy. We feel like providing our thoughts and prayers is enough. It’s not. Opinions are nothing without action. We need to do something about it.
I’m not exactly sure what that is yet, but I’m all ears. I want my daughters to grow up in a country that welcomes diversity, not in one that stifles it. Even in hockey, I have not yet played a full season with or coached a black player. Thinking about that, I think it’s fair to question whether or not there is an issue in our sport with inclusion. For as many people as I have come into contact with…that’s crazy. I want to help be the solution.
I also want my daughters to grow up in a world that glorifies the 95% of our population that are good…not the 5% bad apples that cause chaos. There are many more peaceful protesters than rioters or looters. And while there is certainly systemic racism in our policing, I know that a vast majority of the police officers are good people.
Unfortunately, I’m not sure that’s gonna happen anytime soon. Chaos gets ratings, ratings make money, and money talks. I’ve had to turn the TV off watching the news. It’s disturbing how partisan it has become.
While there are certainly problems that need to be fixed, I know that if we reached across to those who are different than us…that perspective gained will show us there is much more good in the world than bad. But we have to make the commitment to reach out and LISTEN.
And when we listen, we better learn what we can do to find solutions to this mess we are living in. Perspective is a powerful thing, and I think it’s the key to the start of curbing the racism of any kind (institutional, overt, casual, etc) we see in our country today. Stay safe everyone.