tú eres mi otro yo

In other words, you are my other self.

There is a way out of racism. It involves a new way of seeing oneself and others. For a young child, the universe is wholly self-centered. Gradually, a person becomes aware of other beings in her or his life. One can accommodate, like, and desire good for other people. Such is a path to maturity. Some people struggle to mature. Often it is not a personal fault, but the abuse and manipulation of parents or a predator. At some point, a self-absorbed bully will have an opportunity to be free of the shackles of the victimhood of their years as a child. They will have a choice to grow up.

Bishop Mark Seitz suggests a way to growth and maturity, to see another person as another self. Paragraph 59 of his pastoral letter explains it in steps. Starting with the premise that there are no neutrals in the struggle against racism:

(I)t is not enough to not be racist. Our reaction cannot be non-engagement. We must also make a commitment to be anti-racists in active solidarity with the suffering and excluded.

As much as many of us worship at the altar of individualism, libertarianism, self-determination, etc., we are created to be social beings. And yes, even introverts cannot escape, whether one embraces the agency of God, or the journey from the primordial soup of billions of years past:

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. put it well when he said, ‘I can never be what I ought to be until you are what you ought to be, and you can never be what you ought to be until I am what I ought to be.’ (Commencement Address for Oberlin College, ‘Remaining Awake Through a Great Revolution’ (1965))

Again, Our Lady the Mestiza inspires:

The same thing is said in the Mayan tradition, ‘In Lak’ech’, tú eres mi otro yo, or ‘you are my other self’. Guadalupe, the Mestiza, teaches us that our destinies are bound up with one another. We must take active steps to defend the human rights of everyone in our border community and their dignity against dehumanization as we work to forge a new humanity. What racism has divided, with the help of God, we can work to restore.

Realistic. We cannot simply excise the trappings and decorations of racism. Forging is a demanding labor. It will take real work to restore a sense of that other self, a sense of family, a communion, and the unity within a culture. While it will never achieve perfection on this side of Paradise, it is a worthy effort, and one wholly in line with the missionary impulse of the Lord Jesus.

About catholicsensibility

Todd lives in Minnesota, serving a Catholic parish as a lay minister.
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