Personal Life Tips for a New Year #2

[Note: This week, I hope to remind myself of things that will make 2018 a good year for me and for the people around me.  Maybe they’ll speak to you too.]

Balbir Singh Sodhi was killed because of ignorance – as well as hate.

#2– Life Tip for a New Year: Do The Research

I loved Kumail Nanjiani’s monologue on SNL last fall – especially this part:

Here’s my problem with most racism.  It’s the inaccuracy. That’s what bugs me.  So I’m like, “Do the research! Put in the work! You will see the benefits!”  I’ll give you an example:

If someone yells at me, “Go back to India!” I’d be like “that guy’s an idiot.” But if someone was like, “Go back to Pakistan which was part of India ’til 1947 and is now home to the world’s largest salt mine” I would be like “that guy seems to know what he’s talking about. I’ll pack my bags!”  Just because you’re a racist, you don’t have to be ignorant.  An informed racist is a better racist.

If I truly believe that transgender women want to attack other women and girls in public bathrooms, I need to become less ignorant.  I need to read this book perhaps.

If I truly believe that all Trump voters are racist, I need to talk with some Trump voters personally –  or better, I need to listen.

If I truly believe that all immigrants from Muslim countries are terrorists, I need to watch The Big Sick or talk to someone who has come to the United States from Sudan or Jordan or Indonesia in hopes of starting a new and better life. Get some coffee together.

If I truly believe that all undocumented people from Central America are “rapists and criminals” trying to “take our jobs” maybe I need to talk to the undocumented high school honor student at my son’s school from Honduras and hear the story of his family’s escape from a death squad. Or maybe I need to talk to the tomato pickers in Florida who are willing to work in the Florida sun for eight hours a day at minimum wage because they are that desperate to work.  I met a man there who came to this country after his daughter was kidnapped by traffickers in El Salvador.  He hopes to  save enough money to hire someone to help him find her.  There are many honor students who are undocumented.  There are many undocumented workers who pay taxes and take any job they can find to offer a better life for their families.

We need to know what we are talking about.  Fake news is real (but – ironically – it’s not coming from credentialed journalists and researchers.)  Just because someone tweets it, doesn’t mean it’s true.

Again, I offer this tip because I myself need to be reminded.  If I want my own opinions to be affirmed, I usually take the easy route and believe what supports what I already believe.  Maybe this tip is for you too.  For the love of God, we need to do our research.

Image of Balbir Singh Sodhi, a Sikh shop owner from Mesa, Arizona who had just purchased an American flag to hang outside his business in response to the terrorist attack on 9-11-01 when an ignorant man – thinking he was a Muslim because of his beard and turban – killed him in cold blood.  Unfortunately, there are scores of stories  about innocent people killed because someone was ignorant – as well as criminally violent. 

Also it’s not ok to kill anyone because of their faith.

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