Yesterday was Martin Luther King Jr. Day. A “friend” of mine on Facebook wrote, “Happy James Earl Ray Day everybody!”
To which I responded with, “They say, ‘Ignorance is bliss,’ and if that’s true, you must be one of the most blissful guys on the planet.”
Well the gloves came off with that comment and we went straight to texting each other.
He basically asked me, “What’s your problem?”
I said, “I just wrote what I felt at the time. There is so much history there. And there’s a certain connotation behind what you wrote, that I felt I needed to say that.”
We went back and forth a few times, but I know I hurt his feelings calling him out in public, so I apologized for that. But here’s the thing, this person is very close to me and his comment hurt me on so many levels that I know his twenty three year old mind didn’t understand.
To me, it seemed that he was celebrating the assassination of the most celebrated civil rights leader in American history—instead of celebrating his life and work. I know for him it was just a joke. But it wasn’t funny to me.
I remember being about twelve or thirteen years old the first time I heard someone say to me, “Ignorance is bliss.” But I thought it was a compliment.
I remember being about fifteen or sixteen the next time I heard the phrase and I told the person, “I know when people say that it’s not really a compliment. But I don’t know why unless you tell me.”
I don’t really remember what the particular situation was about. But what I do remember is once the person explained it to me, my perspective changed and I had a paradigm shift. Once you see someone else’s point of view and it resonates deep within you, and you see why your original thoughts were wrong, you can’t go back to believing in what you did before.
I know I didn’t explain myself this well while we were texting back and forth. But I hope he gets the message now. And I hope he has a paradigm shift of his own.
Feel free to comment: Have you ever had to call someone you really cared about out in public? Or have you ever had a paradigm shift of your own that you’d like to share?