The growing divide among us

The war in our digital backyard and mending segregation

By Kenzo Hamazaki

Another week, another series of hate-crimes against Asian elders. Ugh. Even after media coverage, countless new attacks spring up instantly. While local and national media is still catching up to the anti-Asian hate crimes, it seems to be quickly overshadowed as soon as another calamity occurs.

On paper, we should be celebrating. The GDP of the United States is projected to increase by 4.4% this year (Conference Board) and 3.3% for the rest of the world (World Bank).

Yet, the quality of our life is not improving. The average life expectancy in the US has plateaued since 2014 and suffered a steep decline in 2020. (Stat News)

The growing dissatisfaction in our personal lives and with our government has also started to tear our communities apart.

From political ideologies (bipartisan wars), healthcare choices (vaccination and masks), and even liberal progressivism (cancel culture), various perspectives meant to radically improve our communities have turned into battlegrounds. Social media has accelerated this fissure with its dynamic feeds and curation tools, constructing our own echo chamber.

We’ve crafted our own digital worlds, with its own communities, with its own manageable problems in an escape from the cruel reality that exists around us. Anytime our world becomes disrupted, we begin our purge to protect utopia.

Block. Mute. Delete.

Sometimes, we implode inward and delete our entire world, hoping that a reset will bring peace to the calamity around us.

Our next war was never on foreign land. It was within our own digital backyard. We fear repeating history, yet we continue to further divide ourselves.

In the case of Trump and the GOP, the real war is not the bipartisan battle. It is the inability to find common ground and resolution with one another as humans.

In the case of anti-Asian hate crimes, the real war is even greater than racism. It is the inability to create a shared vision together, that addresses both immediate and long-term solutions.

We are rooted in the belief that there is always a common enemy that we are fighting against. This enemy vs. hero narrative is quite intoxicating.

If we have an enemy, then we must be the hero. For as long as the enemy exists, then we must be good.

However, if we can never let this narrative go, we will continue to construct targets for as long as we exist.

Our salvation is dependent on us breaking out of this cycle — to unite as humankind, especially with those we may not agree with. It is to create a middle path, where there were once two.

There is no enemy or hero.

There is just us.

I host a podcast called Yellow Glitter, mindfulness through the eyes and soul of a gay Asian. You can find it on Apple Podcast, Google Podcast, Spotify, iHeartRadio, Stitcher, Overcast, and TuneIn.

Along with a bit of weekly mindfulness, I send out my favorite things I discover each week on my email newsletter at Mindful Moments.

Thanks for reading! Until next time.

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