There is a pie chart in the minds of every person disappointed about the presidential election. The pie chart represents the reasons behind Trump's win and what that says about his supporters. It has the following segments, in no particular order:
- Ignorance/lack of education
- Economic disparity
- Justifiable desire for change
- Unjustifiable desire for change
- Rebuttal of the elite status quo
There are more, but that gets us started.
So, there is this pie chart and for every single person, the pie chart in your mind looks different. For some people, the sexism wedge obliterates the other wedges. In that pie chart of the mind, America wasn’t ready for a female president, women are still inferior in our culture and everything else is secondary to that cruel, painful fact. For other people, the racism wedge is enormous. In that pie chart of the mind, America just got super scary because it means that racism is even larger of a problem than we realized. And for some people, the pie chart says that everyone else is simply not very smart.
I think that there are a lot of very real issues in the pie chart that need our attention. I am not minimizing their importance or their existence. I feel the pain of them immensely, just like many of you. But I have to keep reminding myself that I actually do not know the size of each wedge. Maybe sexism took up 90% of the pie. Wow, that hurts. But maybe sexism was .05%. It still hurts and still needs attention but I’m going to show up differently in the world if I think it is 90% of the pie. And that may or may not be the most helpful thing.
I will never know what the pie chart looks like. So it is important that I don’t act from a place that assumes I do. Even when it feels really accurate. Even when I can read 1000 articles that tell me I’m right. Even when people I love and respect agree with me.
So, have strong feelings. Take action in your part of the world to make it a better place. Fight for equality and justice at every turn. But let’s all consciously remind ourselves as often as possible that we are operating on imperfect, strongly biased perceptions because that is all we have. We just don’t know the hearts and minds of the millions of people who voted a particular way. And acting like we do will not lead to our highest and best selves taking the most effective next step.