I believe we should take the time to speak about what’s important, and ask the hard questions.
The privileged of us should speak up, put their louder voice at the service of the ones who are not listened.
And, like it happened during the #BLM protests, let go of the Ego for a bit, of the personal purpose, to offer space to something else.
So, I would put aside the word ambivalence, if it wasn’t in such an important connection with what happened recently in Italy.
Four guys beat up a younger one to death, while he was trying to defend a friend.
Now, some context. They are right-wing enthusiasts, and the guy they (some of them, all of them, it doesn’t really matter) killed was a Black Italian 21-year-old.
Italy is, as usual, divided between the supposedly ‘pure’, who point their fingers at THE CRIMINALS, and the ones who support them, of course just until they receive a s**tstorm on social media and apologise.
I, and I assume many people around me, who are even more informed and aware about the issue, feel a sense of ambivalence.
It’s more common than we expect: one part of us is tempted to associate with ‘the right ones’, judging the abominable act with disgust and detaching from it as much as possible.
Rage does that; it detaches us from reasons.
The other part of us is timidly trying to show us a bigger, scarier monster hiding behind these ‘smaller’ ones.
Violence, racism, prevarication, division are part of our environment; we breathe them all the time, we grow up surrounded by them.
Like when a woman dies at the hands of her partner, he is the criminal, but he is in fact only the peak of a rotten system that raised him to treat women this way.
We condemn by saying ‘I am not like them, nor will I ever be’.
To the point that some of ‘the pure ones’ have gone to attack this quartet by wishing them to die, wishing that the unborn child of one of them would be aborted, throwing disapproval in the form of insults and threats.
Ambivalence, here, is the choice of honesty. I don’t like racism, I don’t approve of it, but I am still slightly racist. And you know what? I want to improve. I am still sexist, but I want to improve. I have still some inherent prejudice, but I want to improve.
The ambivalence is the courage of not creating compartments that forgive us and leave us in a stagnant self-entitlement. It’s a much more tragic and complex understanding that we are only moving on a continuum. Ahead, improvement, and behind, the ugliness we cannot deny if we want to grow.
How can we condemn, without detaching?
Is it possible to make a more “ambivalent” stance?