"We come now to the very brink, where hope and despair are akin. To waver is to fail." -Gandalf, The Lord of the Rings, book five, chapter IX, "The Last Debate"
We all like to cling to our perceptions of duality - us vs. them, good vs. evil - it makes for a better story and allows us to be the hero of our own folktales.
However when knowledge of people, places, historical moments, and events
increases, then "them" can look a whole lot more like "us." "Bad",
when seen in a different light and from a different vantage point, can
seem like "good."
This bifurcation does not serve its purpose of changing people's behavior and attitudes, it only reinforces them. In other words, it’s human nature to say that “it's not US who needs to change, it's THEM” regardless of which US or THEM you are.
What is lacking on both sides of the equation is compassion, empathy, and kindness. I am not condoning harmful or unethical behavior. However, the only battle that can be truly fought is not "us" vs. "them," but "you" and the "better you" that you know you can become. To paraphrase Thornton Wilder, “the good and excellent YOU stands moment by moment on the razor-edge of danger and must be fought for.”
To reach that “better you,” please consider, moment by moment:
Choosing equal treatment for all.
Choosing empathy for those less fortunate.
Choosing love. Always.