Do you watch the TV series Extant? I do. I watch most any sci-fi on TV. Plus Halle Berry stars in it. So, I’m a fan.

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Without giving away too much, Halle Berry’s character, Molly Woods is an astronaut who ends up giving birth to a hybrid baby — half alien and half human. This hybrid runs off and impregnates more human women, creating more hybrids. These aliens can read minds and control humans with their bright yellow eyes. They can make us do what they want.

Molly discovers that the reason they’re here on Earth.Their planet is dead and they need a new place to live. As they evolve, they learn not to kill people (that’s nice) and seek to live peacefully with us. When the government guy who wants to kill all the aliens with a virus asks Molly what the aliens really want, she says, “To coexist.” What do you think the government guy did? (Spoilers – he kills them).

I recently wrote a story that implies (kind of like Extant) that in order for humanity to survive, we need to evolve. (And not necessarily in the biological sense of the word). We need to let go of the status quo and accept change.

But change is scary. Hellishly scary. People will fight change with their lives. And their words.

Lately, I’ve been involved (and also watched on the sidelines) in a conversation about privilege and how it feels to be on the other end of it. Here’s what I hear –

  • Political correctness is tiring. It takes too much effort. My quick reply is this picture. Thank you, Mr. Gaiman —Neil gaiman quote
A long time ago, a professor in law school introduced the Law of Torts using the following analogy. He said, and I paraphrase because it was a long, long time ago, that when I walk down the street, I have the right to swing my arms as high as I want, but once my hands hit the nose of the person walking across from me, that’s where my right ends. This may not be the most accurate memory of his talk but the picture stayed with me.
This is how I see freedom. Freedom must be tempered with compassion (or respect or consideration, whichever word works best). As a human, I don’t live in the world all by myself, so to be human is to consider the person beside me. My personal freedom ends when I stop caring about my fellow human. Being ‘politically correct’ has become a nasty phrase. I like what Neil Gaiman says, that it’s about treating others with respect. And yes it takes effort, but if we think about it, we do it every day anyway, to people we care about. Now we just need to extend it a little farther. It’s not as hard as it sounds. And it’s worth the energy spent.
To me, that’s what being human is. So why are there so many non-humans occupying our planet?
  • Next, I came across this –This is the title of an actual book – “End of Discussion: How the Left’s Outrage Industry Shuts Down Debate, Manipulates Voters, and Makes America Less Free (and Fun).” The authors are Mary Katharine Ham and Guy Benson. You can read a discussion of their take on free speech in this article. Yes, because freedom is about you having fun. That’s intelligent. Won’t be reading this book.
  • And this article, which made me think. The real reason Americans fight about identity politics 

    I quote from the article —  “Law professor Nancy Leong studies what she calls “identity capitalism” — the ways in which particular identities like one’s race, gender, or sexual orientation have traditionally constituted positive or negative social “capital,” and how the value of that capital is changing. She believes much of the backlash against so-called identity politics is really about a sense that the status quo is under attack, and fear that something worse might replace it.

    She explained to me that it’s really easy for people from dominant groups to assume that the status quo isn’t biased, because they’ve never had to confront that bias themselves. And so when they see that an existing system is being changed to include minority groups or accommodate other interests, there’s a tendency to assume that the natural order of things is being disrupted in some illegitimate way.”

    And that creates fear.

So back to my story and Extant – Okay, barring the fact that we really don’t want to be invaded by a superior alien species, the message underneath still stands. It’s scary to let go of the status quo, to let others rise and share the space that’s been held for so long by one group. But just because one group rises, doesn’t mean the other must step down. This isn’t a pyramid. If anything, it’s a plateau. There’s plenty of space for us all.

And here’s the application of this in my context — Putting someone else down doesn’t raise another up. It just causes conflict. And these beliefs we carry as adults bring nothing but misery to our children who then go on to face the horror of bullying or become bullies themselves. This is why I write for children. I want to be a part of the movement that shows every child that they are special, important, valued. We are all equal, accepted, loved, and deserve to be heard. There is room here for everyone. Look! It says so in all our books. (that’s the dream).

Changing the status quo is our evolution, at this moment in time. It can only make our species better, smarter, more peaceful. Yes, the alien storyline is a limited analogy, but I choose to see this message. It’s why I love sci-fi.

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