Justice: Hidden in Reaction

Justice shows up–sort of hiding at times–in what we resist and in what confuses us. Because I have not experienced everything, because I don’t have all knowledge, because being human also means living with limitations, there are things that you need and want for yourself that may puzzle, frighten or anger me.  In each of my reactions to these unknowns, justice is waiting on me to grow into a place where I can bestow that kind of bounty where it belongs.

These are the places where I (and my fellows whom I observe) stumble around issues of social justice.  None of us like to be wrong, and none of us except people with deeply distorted psyches want to be found causing harm to others. Because I have not experienced everything in human experience, I am always going to be left with a blindness to those unexperienced things. When something in my blind spot is raised to the light, I and most people I know are inclined to react, deny, argue and reject because . . . we don’t want to be wrong.  We don’t want to be found causing harm.

Learning and growing in this regard is born first in the invitation to simply pay attention to our own reactions, to our own denials, to those things we would reject out of hand. We can choose to come back to those things and consider what blindness they are attempting to show me, what human experience I know little or nothing of.

When we begin to see, we then have our next steps in the human work of social justice.  I could not see you and your suffering before. Now, I can.  Now I choose to speak, to stand, to take actions for the dignity of others whom I once was unable to see.

Bob Patrick

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