Our nation is hyper-polarized.
We are increasingly fixated on our differences, rather than appreciating what we have in common. We are more interested in power alliances than the merits of the issues themselves.
The current controversy surrounding the Critical Race Theory (CRT) is one such example of hyper-polarization.
I have asked many conservatives why they are against CRT, and their reply is that it falsely claims that whites are inherently racist. I have also asked many progressives why they support CRT, and they have shared it is because they continue to see the presence of racial discrimination in America.
As I carefully listened to each side, it dawned on me that they actually had different definitions of CRT!
How can human beings behave so irrationally, arguing so fervently without first being clear about what they are arguing about?
The answer is hyper-polarization, namely, we are so focused on power alliances rather than the merit of the issue itself. Our tendency is just to just go ahead and disagree and argue, if the view point comes from the other side of the political spectrum, we don’t even carefully examine what that view point actually is!
Once these different definitions of CRT are pointed out, however, most Americans do in fact agree with both sides! Specifically, most of us agree that there is no such thing as a “discriminating gene”, and yet we are also aware that there continues to be discrimination in America today. Furthermore, although there are exceptions, most of our policies in recent decades have indeed been aimed at eliminating discrimination and racism.
We as Americans have faced and conquered many challenges. To break this current downward spiral of hyper-polarization and its deadly cycle of division and destruction, we need to step away from our presently inflamed feelings and emotions, change our mindset, and start focusing on the things that we do have in common. This can be achieved by following these STEPS:
- See:Look for areas of common ground.
- Trade places:Walk in the shoes of others.
- Empathize:Be compassionate toward others who have different views.
- Paythe priceneeded to maintain this new mindset.
- Seekways to build bridges with others.
America is a great nation because it was pioneered by a spirit of optimism, not pessimism. We see the cup as half full, not half empty. Furthermore, we all have a shared humanity on Spaceship Earth, so we really have no other choice but to find a way to work together.
Christ modeled these STEPS for us. He saw our need, traded places by becoming human, empathized and had compassion for us, paid the ultimate price by dying on a cross, and then sent us into a broken world to be peacemakers and reconcilers. Finding common ground may be the road less traveled, but it is the road that leads to a better nation for all of us.
Dr. Ming Wang, Harvard & MIT (MD, magna cum laude); PhD
As a teenager, Ming fought valiantly to escape China’s Cultural Revolution – during which millions of innocent youth were deported to remote areas to face a life sentence of hard labor and poverty. He came to America with only $50 and earned two doctorate degrees, one in laser physics and one in medicine, and graduated with the highest honors from Harvard Medical School and MIT.
Wang Foundation for Sight Restoration has helped patients from over 40 states in the U.S. and 55 countries, with all sight restoration surgeries performed free-of-charge. Dr. Wang was named the Kiwanis Nashvillian of the Year for his lifelong dedication to help blind orphaned children from around the world.
Ming Wang, Harvard & MIT (MD); PhD