“Perception is reality.” I remember when I first graduated college, this was one of the first phrases I was taught by a new boss of mine. It made so much sense, and it has allowed me to assess many situations in my life. Today, I don’t want to go into much, but at this moment, I have Baltimore on my mind. And this phrase crept its way into my consciousness, by way of Neo in The Matrix.
I’ll keep it simple. One day, while racing for the phone/portal to bring him back to the real world, Neo was confronted by his enemies. Up to this point, his best defense against them was to fight until there was space to run, and then fight another day. However, on this particular day, at this particular moment, Neo took a different path. Initially, his enemies (in their usual fashion) began shooting at him, and succeeded in “killing” him. Sprinkle a little Hollywood magic and Neo was brought back to life. At which point his enemies began shooting at him again. This time, Neo understood what was happening around him. He understood that these bullets weren’t real. This world he was standing in, wasn’t real. It was his perception of a reality created by someone else. Once he finally realized that, he was able to simply look at the bullets closing in on him and say, “no!” And they dropped to the ground. From that point forward, Neo had a lot of control in this world.
I’ll stop there. My point is, and maybe this only makes sense to me…If we continue to accept what someone else is telling us (largely the media and the government) about the current state of our race relations…if we continue to fight one another about who is right and who is wrong (dodging bullets), and retreat to our corners only to fight about the same issue at a later date, we will never get anywhere. Those of us who truly want to see a country of equal citizens need to look these enemies in the face and say “no!” This reality you’ve created by sensationalizing certain stories on the news, is not the reality I choose to live in. All cops aren’t shooting black citizens. All black citizens aren’t robbing, raping, and murdering. And this resistance can be applied to any “reality” for any race, religion, national origin, or gender that has been portrayed in a certain light.
Certainly, there are people who fit the narrative being highlighted. But that’s just a part of the human experience. There’s someone who looks just like you, or who shares your religion, or who shares your gender, who fits into that same narrative. And I’m sure you’d find it to be unfair if someone judged you based on that person. I’m just saying, we need to stop letting the media perception (it’s all about ratings anyway) dictate our reality. I know this little, rarely read, blog won’t do much to change it. But I needed to express my thoughts. Stop arguing about who’s right or wrong on social media…stop calling people names, and making sweeping judgments based on what you see on TV, or recorded and posted to the internet (those people have their own agendas). Let’s get out there and make our own reality. Let’s create our own shared agenda. The destruction of inequality, prejudice, and racism by eliminating it from ourselves and our surroundings, and highlighting and ostracizing those who refuse to do the same.
I don’t have all of the answers. I know the challenges are complex, and in some instances, so woven into the fabric of our society that it will take decades to unravel. But it has to start somewhere, and the best place for that is…in your mind. See your reality different. Exit the matrix, and bring the fight to the real enemies.