November 16, 2020

Compassion and Anti-Racism

A rising tide lifts all boats; similarly, any work to develop compassion develops our ability to be anti-racist while any work to develop anti-racism will make us more compassionate. 

Let’s take a step back and define these two terms. Compassion is the confluence of the ability to recognize suffering, a desire to alleviate suffering, taking action to alleviate suffering, and the wisdom to act in ways that will help rather than harm. There are many ways to develop compassion, but Source Wellness focuses on recognizing common humanity insofar as we would all rather be safe than in danger. 

Being anti-racist is a moment-by-moment process of working against systems of oppression rather than accepting them or working to uphold them. Anti-racism is essentially applied compassion in the context of fighting racism. If we want to fight against the oppression of women, LGBTQ people, differently-abled persons, or any other marginalized group, compassion would then again serve as our north star. It is important to note that being anti-racist is different from being “non-racist”. When someone is non-racist, they are not fighting against the systems of racism that hurt millions of people every day, and are therefore complicit in the problem. 

As we can see, embodying either compassion and anti-racism requires an ability to recognize what is happening, taking action to counteract that which causes suffering, and the wisdom to understand what will help and what will not help. It is a lifelong journey of both the inner work of educating yourself and the outer work of applying what you learn for the benefit of others.