I thought freedom was becoming financially independent, being able to travel the world and work from anywhere. But, true freedom is being free to be ourselves, no matter what race, age, or gender. Most importantly being free from the conditioning we have had and actively choose who are we becoming.
America is supposed to be the land of the free but why we are seeing people being suppressed from basic human rights? Where you are born dictates a lot of your future, success, and even death rate. The family you were born into, their color, race, nationality, language determines a lot of your potential. There is no fair playfield worldwide to tap and develop humanity’s potential. Birth privilege goes beyond race but we are starting the conversation.
Is COVID-19 leveling up the playing field?
For years, I’ve listened to futurists like Ray Kurzweil and Neil Bostrom say we are entering a stage of massive disruption where everything is becoming more equal and decentralized. I’ve been hoping to see this disruption come from technology, not from a virus. But, if working with biotechnology has taught me something is that biology one of the greatest technology available.
Now, it doesn’t matter where you are physically at, while you have a connection to the internet, a laptop, you can be present, visible, and heard just like everybody else.
Over the weekend I met Nicole, a nurse in her 40s and Mike, a wise retired man in his 60s. We were connected through a breakout room in Zoom. Mike was connecting from Canada, Nicole from the US, and me from Peru. How could we have so many things in common to spark a deep conversation in 10 min? How a white guy, a black woman, and a Latina could have a similar view of the world? How could people in their 20s, 40s, 60s feel at the same stage of their lives?
We were intentionally looking for the common ground. Seeking the common ground, becoming friends with people that don’t look like us, don’t think like us, is not random luck. It’s intentional.
Homophily is the sociology term for why humans choose friends similar in background, attitudes, and even age. We need to be aware of this and be more intentional to expand our circles. To listen to people that have a different view from us.
Remember that thing we used to do as kids: “Hey my name is … want to be friends?” and we had a best friend at the end of the playdate. At what point in time did our brain engrave a pattern of who is our people and who is not.
Biology wise humans may have as little as 99% of their genes in common with one another. We are all team Human, no matter the race, religion, language you and a person across the world share at least 99% of DNA.
The one person you must influence
Mike, Nicole, and I came to the conclusion that as humans we want to change the world, make an impact but often we don’t begin with the one person we can change. Ourselves. We want to influence other people’s views, but don’t question enough if we have coherence between our thoughts, words, and actions?
I invite you to influence that one person that is your #1 influencer. Yourself. Digging deep into your biases, be aware of your birth privilege, your cards, and notice that this is how you’ve been programmed. You are in control to change and become the version of yourself that would make you proud.
I’m asking to do more than just a post on social media or talk about it for a week. I’m asking you to take action and embrace the discomfort that comes with growing outside your comfort zone.
Beware of moral licensing
It’s not only about having good intentions. Being aware of how your mind works is realizing that we have some non-conscious effects. Moral licensing could be translated to the “I’m off the hook” effect. If you initially behave in a moral way, then your brain could use this as enough reasoning for you to not behave well in a later situation. “I’ve been so good with my diet, I deserve to eat the cake”. Or when you give a big donation over Christmas, then you might feel entitled because you are a “good human”, to behave a little bad later on New Years’eve. Questioning the ulter motive in ourselves and our natural instincts is how we can evolve to be better humans.
If you are actively working on being anti-racist and you recently made a donation or join protest doesn’t mean that the work is done. The work is just starting. And it’s a work between you and yourself. It’s when no one sees you, that your coherence level will show up. It’s up to you to measure it and improve it.
And sadly COVID-19 is not leveling up the playing field. That’s up to us. It’s a job for you and for me. It’s up to the team human again. During this pandemic, black people are 3.5 times more likely to die of Covid-19 than white people.
So even we took a step, the giant leap is still ahead of us.