A great way to honor the concept of “All My Relatives” is to never use derogatory names or labels for other people. This is far from the idea that we should never hold people accountable or ask them to restore broken trust or anything else that has been harmed. It is to acknowledge that even when people are at their worst, they are still connected to us through our basic humanity and our spiritual connections. Using empathy, we can see how someone arrived at a wrong action or a point of view we disagree with. We must undertake this empathetic exercise because in our connections to the person (or even people), we have an avenue to hold people accountable. To ask them to fix the problem. If we are cut off from all connection then it becomes more difficult to ask for restoration.
This is the premise, among others, behind the book called Never Call Them Jerks by Arthur Paul Boer. I used his techniques in healing communities last week to talk about white supremacy and racism. There is no excuse for white supremacist behavior, period. And those of us with a white ancestry must admit our connections to this community so that we can acknowledge the ways in which we benefit and perpetuate white supremacy…in short, we can’t blame overt white supremacist behavior on those ‘jerks’ over there. We are connected, and in that connection, we can ask for accountability and a restoration of justice.
If you’re interested in how you can also improve your life and take a vow to “Never Call Them Jerks” yourself, check out this excerpt here http://www.pbs.org/thecongregation/indepth/nevercall.html or check out the book here: Amazon