Ready for an Uncomfortable conversation? Racism and civil unrest has plagued this country since its inception. How did we get to this point in history? The answer is easy — there has always been someone who sees the equality as them losing something. When in reality it is just an adjustment we need to make to help our fellow humans. The realities of segregation are many and it affects every last person.
My struggle is how do I help? It seems shallow to post on Social Media my support. As a Spiritualist I have been deeply affected by my experiences and the things I have learned. Harder yet is to be a woman who has endured sexism throughout her lifetime. My experiences as a Certified Docent at the Susan B. Anthony House have also changed my thinking on this topic.
There is a long history of protesting this injustice. I see it first hand. I feel the inequality of others. This inequality must stop. I have been unfriending and blocking people that are hateful. Even Family. It is pure hate and I am at a loss as to how stop it it at a global level.
Uncomfortable Racism and Susan B. Anthony
As a volunteer at the Susan B. Anthony House we talk about it from what it was like in the period she was alive for women. One of the first things we talk about is the struggle women had in the early 1800’s. The stark differences in women’s lives is almost inconceivable today. We break it down into White women (upper, middle and lower classes), and that of Native American Women and the Black Women as Slaves.
We speak of the Underground Railroad and its significance, of Ida B. Wells coming to tell the stories of lynching and so many varied stories of women and their struggle.
My knowledge came from Susan B. Anthony and the way the museum takes pride in us telling the story in our own way. My fascination with the time and how she worked to right a wrong. It is my small way of doing better in a time of great change.
I tell of her friendship with Frederick Douglas and what she did to abolish slavery and raise all women to equality to men. The social changes that these two set in motion. They were not alone, and neither are we.
Her Quaker upbringing had a significant impact. They believed that the spark of God was in every human. That meant men and women and all humans. It didn’t matter what color your skin was. There was equality in all.
Douglass and Anthony Worked Together
They both risked their lives to effect change they wanted. Peacefully. She was blindsided in her desire to get women the right to vote, that she did “over look” a few things that went against her beliefs if it meant she could push forward the rights of women. Much to the frustration of Frederick Douglas who thought her absence would say more than her presence in the South. Instead of speaking out she allow suffrage for black women to be segregated away from that of the white woman.
Frederick Douglass Inspires
Think about this for a moment. In his time, Frederick Douglass was the most photographed human. He knew that at the time he needed to dispel the myths about African Americans and especially those that were enslaved. At the time citizenship was not a possibility. They were characterized as sub-human and lacking the mental capacity to be free. He was always well dressed and a captivating speaker. So much so, that many found it hard to believe that such a great orator had once been a slave.
The relationship between Anthony and Douglass was a long friendship. They did not always agree on the path that should be taken. In fact it caused a rift when Frederick decided that going for Black Men to get the right to vote over including women in that amendment. He was strategic, she was passionate. All she could see was he was betraying her. Douglass understood what was a stake and could see the larger picture. She did not want to wait, and knew that it would be a blow to women’s rights. The minute he won the right for men to vote he was a champion of women’s right to vote.
Spiritualists Have Lead the Way
I am a Spiritualist. The principles that I believe in include 6, 7, & 8. They take from other holy teachings of other religions, but here they are quoting Natural Law and the Golden Rule.
- We believe that the highest morality is contained in the Golden Rule:
- “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.”
- We affirm the moral responsibility of individuals and that we make our own happiness or unhappiness as we obey or disobey Nature’s physical and spiritual laws.
- We affirm that the doorway to reformation is never closed against any soul here or hereafter.
Early on in my Spiritualist learning, I read a book by US Anderson called “Three Magic Words“. They are powerful, and it changed how I looked at all people. I AM GOD. We are all God. That blew me away. If I am God, and you are God then where is there a place for hate. If I hate you, I hate me.
I grew up with the Golden Rule — why do so many people forget this rule when dealing with others? If you study Natural Law you start to understand so much. I have written much about compassion and acceptance. Perhaps it is because I have struggled with it so much in my own life.
It has not always been a perfect path for Spiritualists. In the 1920’s there was a rift over segregation. It is an ugly piece of Spiritualist history that nobody is willing to talk about. Yet we affirm that the doorway to reformation is never closed. That we all have to find our own way to doing the right thing.
Black Lives Matter
Black Lives Matter, and it is time that we find a way to right so many wrongs in this world. The fact that we have to protest to make those in power stand up and take notice, well sickens my heart. I am not the only one uncomfortable with what has happened and failed to happen.
If you are like me and overwhelmed by the responsibility, congratulations you are in the midst of a Spiritual Awakening. Welcome. What you do next does matter and it does not have to be a huge gesture. It is about making the commitment to rid yourself of the hate and anger in your soul. Help your fellow humans and make this the world a better place. It is not a straight path and far from pretty.
Like Susan B. Anthony and Frederick Douglass, you will make uncomfortable mistakes along the way. The religion of Spiritualism made many mistakes and today is completely inclusive. You will learn, and you will do better. We all have made mistakes, therefore, the most important thing is that you do something, even small changes matter now.
I have learned a lot from listening to what is going on. This means I want a kinder, gentler place to live. I want everyone to have the opportunity to advance and do great things. I don’t want anyone to live in fear for any reason.
As a result, even if we are uncomfortable in the process, we must make change happen. Firstly, our world will be a better place for it. Secondly, it is important that we all stand behind this movement and right the wrongs. In the end, I do not have all the answers, but I do have trust that we can change this world and end hate once and for all.