Once, in a long ago church group, we were asked our passion. One of the group members said, "cognitive dissonance." She was a teacher of Rhetorical Analysis who worked in a local community college, and she relished working with young people and challenging their life-long assumptions.
In psychology, cognitive dissonance is the mental stress or discomfort experienced by an individual who holds two or more contradictory beliefs, ideas, or values at the same time; performs an action that is contradictory to one or more beliefs, ideas, or values; or is confronted by new information that conflicts with existing beliefs, ideas, or values.
Leon Festinger's theory of cognitive dissonance focuses on how humans strive for internal consistency. An individual who experiences inconsistency (dissonance) tends to become psychologically uncomfortable, and is motivated to try to reduce this dissonance—as well as actively avoid situations and information likely to increase it.
As an Ennegram 9, I tend to be especially uncomfortable with dissonance, and try to resolve it. But, because the worst thing about my Enneagram number is also the best thing, I am absolutely always able to see both sides of an argument. (this just happened in my workplace BTW, and can be very frustrating to my colleagues who want me to join them on the Black and White Train to Absoluteville.)
So here's the thing that's making my mind explode:
I just completed my second week (of 13) of the Denton Citizens Police Academy. I've met quite a few of the members of the police force and staff so far. To a person, they are an exceptionally professional and well-trained group, with a reputation in the region for their excellent training (the Academy serves numerous cities and counties in the area). Their Community Oriented Policing program does a great job, in conjunction with CPA graduates who serve in the Police Auxiliary as volunteers.
One Thing: I need, I want, to support the police and to help them be better. The Denton group admit that they are not perfect, but they work awfully hard.
Another Thing: Terence Crutcher was unarmed, and was murdered by Tulsa police officers. I've seen the video. How those officers were not wrong, I cannot see it.
How do I hold these things in tension? I'm sure I have friends who will say that by befriending and supporting my local police, I'm working against the interests of my sisters and brothers of color.
I am a fervent supporter of the Movement for Black Lives. I'm committed to working to better understand my own learned racism and to try to make a difference in my community and the country.
The only action I can think of to take is to continue to listen to all the different voices as much as I can. To talk with people of every viewpoint. To refuse to end up mired in fear, exhaustion, and unwillingness to address the issues.