What Buddha Can Teach Us About Reacting To Racial Slurs?

Can we all please grow up past the sandbox stage and stop both the name-calling and the over-reactions to words? Please? Marcus Smart, a college basketball player, recently brought this issue to the forefront once again.

A man court-side heckled him during a game, called him a name, maybe even yelled out a racial slur by using the word nigger, and he took offense and got into a shoving match with the fan. It’s not clear exactly what the fan said, but my feeling is it shouldn’t matter. Pundits have cried out that if he indeed was called a nigger, then he had every right to be offended enough to go into the stands and shove the guy. I say hogwash!

Let’s teach our kids that they always have the power to give words meaning. You can give your power away and allow what people say to hurt your feelings and alter your mood. But you don’t have to. I wrote more about this in a recent blog: http://wp.me/p3BKeg-hP. Instead, you can experience the incredible freedom that comes with never allowing words to hurt you, because YOU are in charge of your feelings and reactions…ALWAYS! So if you are called a nigger, kike, wop, mick, spick, loser, gay, stupid, or whatever, you are in charge of what meaning you give to these labels.

There is a story about Buddha where one day a man is yelling diatribes at him, and he doesn’t give the man even a moments notice. His followers asked him why he didn’t get upset and respond to the man, and his answer contained great wisdom.

“If a man offers you a gift and you refuse it, to whom does it belong?”

His followers answered the person who sent the gift.

Buddha: “It is the same with a man’s words. If I do not accept what he is saying, then the words belong to him, not me.”

That, my friends, is true freedom. I wish that for every child, teenager, college athlete, and adult.

1 thought on “What Buddha Can Teach Us About Reacting To Racial Slurs?”

  1. Thank you, thank you, thank you, Dr. Jordan. Your words are a rational reply to the prevalance of over-reaction we see today.

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