Especially for White Folx Who Are "Woke" - A Challenge to Try Compassion

Especially for White Folx Who Are "Woke" - A Challenge to Try Compassion

Hi All,

In light of our President's recent comments about some of our congresswomen I'm reposting a slightly edited version of a post I wrote last November. And I'll have some follow-up thoughts coming next week. Would love to hear from you if this resonates - or totally doesn't. Either way, let's have a conversation.

It’s November 7, 2018, the day after mid-term elections in the U.S. 


There are great victories and great defeats for both Republicans and Democrats.  I’m heartbroken by some of them, but that’s not what concerns me most this morning. What concerns me most as I see the many, many, close-to-50/50 races, is this vast evidence that we still aren’t able to listen to and understand each other. 


In particular, it concerns me that the liberal left—those of us who believe ourselves to be more tolerant and enlightened, more progressive; those of us who operate in circles where mindfulness and compassion and empathy are buzzwords—we aren’t listening to the predominantly white, working class, Americans (and many conservative Christians) who have been crying out for years now that they want to be heard. 


I feel concerned in conversations like the one I had with colleagues yesterday, in which they assumed (correctly) that I am a Democrat who would be pleased by the defeat of Ted Cruz (which didn’t happen.)   


I’m concerned because I think most of us these days can make generally accurate assumptions about the views of the other people at our tables because we have so little contact with people whose views differ significantly from ours. 


Lately I’ve been reading from Pádrig Ó Tuama’s book Daily Prayer with the Correymeala Community most mornings and interestingly today I read this line:


“May we populate our tables with all kinds of people.”


It reminded me of Priya Parker’s book, The Art of Gathering, which I haven’t yet purchased, but I heard her talk about it in an interview (I think it was on The Good Life Project podcast.)  Two things from the interview stuck with me.  One was the idea of intentionally facilitating gatherings in which we set the stage for deep conversations, rather than focusing primarily on table settings and flowers.  Deep conversations among diverse groups of people, where we know there are truly divergent perspectives.  Can we have these conversations?