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Larry Johnson Suspended for Twitter Slurs

chiefs-larry-johnson-slursjpg-02a09f7cb483b11d_large.jpgby Jerry Kolber

This week finds Kansas City Chiefs running back Larry Johnson suspended for anti-gay Twitter slurs against a coach.

Of course, he is free to say whatever he wants to whoever he wants. Twitter may find that he has violated terms of service, and he will be suspended from the team for some period of time.


What’s interesting to me about this is that it makes me think of all
the slurs I make all the time.  Not verbally – usually – but in my head
I make anit-fill-in-the-blank slurs all the time. Against something I’m
supposed to be involved in (this is boring, this is stupid, I can’t
stand this), against people (they are annoying me, what is wrong with
them, I can’t stand them), and against myself (what’s wrong with me,
I’m not good enough, I have to change).

So today is, for me,
Non-Violence Wednesday. This means that I will try to notice all the
self-and-other slurs I make in my head and try to go for at least five
minutes without simmering in judgment against myself or anyone/anything
else.  This isn’t about “not judging” because judging is just another
thought that arises. It’s simply about not attaching to the warm
blanket of superiority or insecurity and trying to do so for at least
five minutes today.


So far, I’ve managed to go two minutes. 
Generally about ten minutes go by and then I’m like “oh crap, I just
wandered off into judgment fantasies for the last three minutes”. 

is me trying to take something off the cushion into real life.  And so
far today, on set here in Bristol CT, it’s been a lot harder than
expected, even though I’m surrounded by a team of supportive people
making a television show I’m proud of.

I can’t point a finger at
Larry Johnson and say “bad man” because I’m no better at avoiding
“slurs” – I just don’t say them out loud, usually.  I look at his
situation as an opportunity for me to take a look at my own thoughts
and slurs and see if I can make an incremental improvement in how I
practice compassion.

Anyone else want to give
Non-Violence Wednesday a try and see if you can go five minutes
noticing and detaching from violent thoughts against yourself and
Comments read comments(4)
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Pete Dignan

posted October 28, 2009 at 12:34 pm

Good idea Jerry. Hard to do, but worthwhile to try.

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posted October 28, 2009 at 5:30 pm

Yes, but the best I can do for now is acknowledge when I do it and open my heart to myself for doing it.

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posted October 29, 2009 at 11:02 am

Oh, I just read this! So I’m going to try for a Non-Violence Thursday instead.

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Your Name

posted November 2, 2009 at 4:43 am

I agree. Judging others tends to make us forget our own weaknesses and limitations.
While prejudice against gay folks is, indeed sad (and often dangerous), forgiving others goes a long way to bridging the gap that causes the prejudice in the first place.
I recall an incident listening to someone give a racist diatribe. I had just spent the afternoon with a friend who is a social worker. Instead of responding to this person with verbiage, I just stopped and listened. I did not let my ego come forward into debate. And then something interesting happened. The person started to reveal that he had been mugged a number of times…and his racism started to look more like fear. And then I felt compassionate towards him. And that bridged a gap. Didn’t immediately change everything, but it created a seed of unity. And that, I think, actually solves underlying rifts.

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