#understanding / “This shit is complex.”

Earlier this week, I signed up for David Hoang’s newsletter, and I’m sure glad that I did. In response to this week’s attack on the capital, David shares his views on the systems we are born into. He proffers how these systems come with their own unconscious biases and how they can play into the wrong hands, even in those cases when—looking in from the outside—it doesn’t make sense.

It turns out that because you experienced oppression, it does not make you immune from participating in other systems of oppression. Imagine how many unconscious bias decisions one might make a day. Think about when that’s multiplied by every human being for the last hundred years. Now, imagine when that bias is conscious, and someone made a deliberate decision to oppress. As Darien Boyd wrote, the system is working as designed. If you thought The Social Dilemma was enlightening around system design, wait till you read about systemic racism. Some of you might have similar upbringings of being raised in model minority families. They might not like a narcissistic president, in fact, they might despise him. However, he talks about communism, socialism, and the threat of it. That can be triggering for people who experienced it.

Taking in David’s perspective, my first thought is the need for us to live with a mindset of curious diplomacy. Given our society’s state and condition, we can’t afford to presume anything about one another. Nothing. Not even the smallest data point. I’m old enough to know the world isn’t black and white, but I’m beginning to understand that it’s also not gray—it’s full color. It’s our systems and biases that reduce the world to a smaller spectrum.

We’re not going to fix anything with a mindset that a few discussions will heal our combined culture. And this will require more than just listening. If we’re going to achieve some form of harmony (the kind I thought we lived in before the last four years, but I’m pretty sure I was wrong back then, too), then we have to be genuinely curious how our systems might work together through diplomatic means.