The Drawbacks to the Straight and Narrow

By Marcus Earle - 09/10/2020


I grew up in a family of four, younger sister, dad was a minister, turned Psychologist, stay at home mom, public school education, private 4 year college, married, Masters and then Doctorate degrees, begin career in family business, have two children, grandparents met our children, my parents are still living, I am in reasonably good health, and I am still married.  At face value, life could not be better.  Then of course, there is “the rest of the story.”  Some of this story has been shared in previous writings and through our podcasts, but what strikes me most powerfully at this point is how the “normalcy” of life, with it’s successes and challenges, has made it too easy to ignore the injustices in our culture.  My lived experience has lacked exposure to the diverse experiences of others.  Given that I have practiced as a Family Psychologist, you might question this statement, however, the truth lies in the reality of mostly working with white clients who have resources much like myself.  This is not wrong or bad, it has simply been limiting and too comfortable.  This insular lifestyle has contributed to my inaction when stories surface of violence towards transsexuals, the sex trafficking of women, the killing of black men, and the inability of people with less resources having access to quality physical and mental health care have made the news.  Maybe it is age, maybe it is spending enough time with my own sense of powerlessness and pain, or maybe it is improved emotional health which has led me to confronting my remaining rationalizations, minimization’s, distortions, racism, and sexism.   

I do not believe the current outrage is something to be judged, but rather a challenge to a system which has enabled outrageous injustices.  While I hate violence, I find myself increasingly angry with a system, which I have been complicit with, that has led to this outcome.  My comfortable lifestyle has needed the earth to shake beneath it for the voices of those who have rarely or never experienced the sense of comfortableness, I have spent 59 years in, to be heard.  Change is uncomfortable and resisted by many yet is the very thing which growth is based upon.  If we each begin by assuming we have participated in maintaining the problem, we may then find ways to collectively participate in a process of making repair.

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