What Californian gangs can teach Congress and Parliament

Lynne McTaggart

As I observe the stalemate between the American Republicans and Democrats over the Mexican wall and parliamentarians of all parties over Brexit, I can’t help thinking that all these great elected government officials could learn a thing or two from Orland Bishop and the rival young black gang members he is instructing how to relate to each other.
Bishop is doing this in Watts, southern Los Angeles, which formed the epicenter of America’s crack cocaine business. Such has been the rivalry between the main gangs, the Crips and the Bloods, that the wars between them and their offshoots claimed five times as many lives as did all the years of the troubles in Northern Ireland.
Bishop’s work is all about teaching his young gang members to move beyond “I” and “you” – or, more commonly, “us” and “them.”
In his seminal work I and Thou, Martin Buber claims that, in the main, we relate to other people as “I-It” – as objects utterly separate from — and hence subordinate to — ourselves. That is largely because, in any situation and in any relationship, we consider “I” to be separate and primary.
Our individual relationships have a lot to do with how we see ourselves in relation to rest of the world. When asked to describe themselves, North Americans or Europeans tend to stress their individual personality traits, exaggerate their uniqueness and focus on what they regard as most distinctive about themselves and their possessions, whereas East Asians stress their relationship to all social groups.
From a Western perspective, when we’re walking down a suburban street, the houses are naturally to our left; the cars and the street to our right. Everything is oriented in relationship to us, as though we are the sun and the rest of the universe our planets.
If I were to ask you to describe the first meeting of most of your friends, you would probably recount how you first cast about for points of mutual contact — evidence that you share the same economic level, spiritual beliefs, hobbies, family structure, or personal tastes. Most likely, you have chosen to connect exclusively with people who share something of you in them. We think of this superficial connection as providing us with a sense of shared identity.
We like people who are just like we are —who share our own values, our attitudes, our personalities and even our emotional dispositions — and we tend
to conflict most with people who are not like us. All of the leisure groups we join – from the Rotary club to the Parents and Teachers Association – are based on a shared passion, whether a community, game, God, or children. Our idea of connection is constantly seeking sameness. What this means, of course, is that the ultimate yardstick by which we gauge anyone else is our self.
This tendency to cluster with people who are most like we are only serves to divide us from others by reinforcing our individuality, our sense that our way is the best. We look always to recreate ourselves in another, which has as its basis a desire to reinforce that we are right.
Bishop uses a means of relating embodied in the Zulu greeting, “Sawubona.” Although usually translated as “I see you” (and made famous by the N’avi in the film Avatar), Sawubona literally means “we see you,” and the correct response is “Yabo sawubona” – “Yes, we see you, too.”
“It’s an invitation for us to participate in each other’s life,” he says. “It also obligates one to support the other – to give to each other what is needed for that moment of life to be enhanced.” This sounds something akin to the African concept of ubuntu — which, from its literal meaning “I am because you are,” suggests that, as co-creators of each other — both observer and observed — we have a commitment to provide to the other what is needed at that moment, including the deepest level of support.
Bishop tells his young people to regard each encounter with someone else as a personal challenge: “How do I have to be for that person to be who they are?”
“Through ‘Sawubona,’” says Bishop, “we are capable of experiencing the quality of another without judgment or prejudice. Sawubona is an openness to the highest good in a person.”
Once we view ourselves as a part of a bigger whole, we begin to act differently toward each other.
Bishop invites his young men to engage in indaba, which is loosely translated as “deep talk,” moving past superficiality to the deepest truth of who you are and what you dream for.
When you share this deeply, as he suggests, you find the common ground of the space between you – the place of your common humanity. “Shared meaning,” says Bishop, “allows for different perceptions – or realities – to exist together.”
Bishop coaches the young men in the art of speaking and listening deeply and from the heart — without being critical or judgmental. During this type of deep sharing, the pull of wholeness builds trust and loosens their attachments to entrenched positions.
The very intensity of the experience lends itself to the establishment of new alliances and a larger vision for the future. “They begin to understand that, if they unite in creativity, they expand,” he says.
In Watts, the Crips and the Bloods enjoyed a twelve-year truce. For years, Bishop has worked on helping them craft a future that they both can share.
If gangs in the worst neighborhood in America can come together, then surely Congress and Parliament can do the same.

Facebook Comments

We embed Facebook Comments plugin to allow you to leave comment at our website using your Facebook account. This plugin may collect your IP address, your web browser User Agent, store and retrieve cookies on your browser, embed additional tracking, and monitor your interaction with the commenting interface, including correlating your Facebook account with whatever action you take within the interface (such as “liking” someone’s comment, replying to other comments), if you are logged into Facebook. For more information about how this data may be used, please see Facebook’s data privacy policy: https://www.facebook.com/about/privacy/update

Lynne McTaggart

Lynne McTaggart is an award-winning journalist and the author of seven books, including the worldwide international bestsellers The Power of Eight, The Field, The Intention Experiment and The Bond, all considered seminal books of the New Science and now translated into some 30 languages.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

769 comments on “What Californian gangs can teach Congress and Parliament”

  1. Excellent article about another great humanitarian! Congress and Parliament will be included in my intentions. Thank you!

  2. When I used the Sawubona greeting in talks I gave about organizational audits, I quoted a somewhat different reply : ‘I am here to be seen’. It nuances the dialogue by opening a person’s situation to the interest of another; the two persons thus recognize they are both on the same level, ready to discuss further, to learn more about each other. This means that neither fears the other even if they have important differences to ‘share’. Trust in oneself allows confidence in the other, the key to common understanding.

  3. This resonated deeply. Inspiring. Made me want to research 'ubuntu'. Thank you once again!

  4. Only people who have bought into 'group mentality' think that way. Individuals are aware of the uniqueness of other individuals. Some are fascinated;others are afraid- depending on their own perceptions (and/or 'programming').
    It is the individual person's ability to create that effects change.
    When a mutual goal is concentrated on by individuals(two or more) exercising their own individual creative power then major changes can be brought about.
    It is 'group mentality' that attempts to destroy the power of the individual. Each person is an individual, with our own unique individual power to create- that is where the 'magic' lies. An individual's unique and all-powerful ability to create is how everything is manifested from the No Thing into the realm of 'reality'. Hence, why when more than one individual focuses on any particular goal, the power(s) of said individuals is magnified, bringing results (sometimes more quickly).
    Each person comes to this plane all alone and individually. No amount of 'we' propaganda pushing is going to change that fact.
    The power to create lies in the individual's imagination.
    No two individual's think or see the world the same- the 'group' is a sham, designed to downplay [and ultimately, take away/destroy] the power of the individual. (this is why socialism does not work- because people ARE individuals- there is no 'group').
    Each person is here all alone and totally responsible for every aspect of their life. Awful burden and awesome freedom.
    Individual's are willing to step outside the confines others attempt to entrap them into- and they create.
    Each of us is here to 'go forth' and multiply THE CREATIVE FORCE. And that is done by being 'I AM'.
    Allowing oneself to have one's individual power diminished by surrendering it to a 'group' is counter-productive. ALL major inventions were created by individuals- usually by those who did not 'fit in'.
    It is 'comforting' to imagine that one 'belongs'- to something/someone, however, snuggling up to that image immediately takes away from one's individual power because one sets aside their gift to create (for however long) in order to become immersed into a false sense of 'belonging'. Sometimes, one becomes so immersed that they forfeit creating at all- instead, they put their power on infinite hold while doing everything to please the object or person. Those individual's that choose that route usually have a unfulfilled desire constantly gnawing at their spirit that they cannot satisfy- (it is their own spirit screaming to create).
    Once the individual embraces one's individuality, and activates the creative power within, all things are possible. This is why it is possible for one person to change the world...
    The power to create lies with the individual- and it is brought into fruition by using one's imagination.
    One does not have to give up anything ever in order to feel the comfort they desire if one actually embraces one's power to create. It is the fear of being all alone that convinces one otherwise. If an individual truly embraced the power to create this is obvious.

    1. It's so good to see this Laura! It sounds like John Rappaport, but if it isn't check out his writings at nomorefakenews.com. Thanks for posting!

  5. mexican rx online [url=http://mexicanph.shop/#]mexican pharmaceuticals online[/url] medication from mexico pharmacy

  6. mexico pharmacy [url=https://mexicanph.shop/#]mexican drugstore online[/url] pharmacies in mexico that ship to usa

  7. medication from mexico pharmacy [url=https://mexicanph.com/#]mexican mail order pharmacies[/url] buying prescription drugs in mexico online

  8. п»їbest mexican online pharmacies [url=http://mexicanph.shop/#]mexico pharmacy[/url] mexican mail order pharmacies

  9. reputable mexican pharmacies online [url=http://mexicanph.com/#]mexican mail order pharmacies[/url] п»їbest mexican online pharmacies

  10. https://mexicanph.shop/# reputable mexican pharmacies online
    mexico pharmacies prescription drugs [url=http://mexicanph.shop/#]mexican online pharmacies prescription drugs[/url] medication from mexico pharmacy

  11. best online pharmacies in mexico [url=http://mexicanph.shop/#]mexican pharmaceuticals online[/url] buying prescription drugs in mexico online

  12. mexico pharmacy [url=http://mexicanph.com/#]buying from online mexican pharmacy[/url] mexico pharmacy

  13. п»їbest mexican online pharmacies [url=http://mexicanph.shop/#]medication from mexico pharmacy[/url] reputable mexican pharmacies online

  14. mexican rx online [url=http://mexicanph.shop/#]reputable mexican pharmacies online[/url] buying prescription drugs in mexico online

  15. п»їbest mexican online pharmacies [url=https://mexicanph.com/#]buying prescription drugs in mexico[/url] mexico drug stores pharmacies

  16. mexican drugstore online [url=https://mexicanph.com/#]mexican pharmaceuticals online[/url] п»їbest mexican online pharmacies

  17. mexican border pharmacies shipping to usa [url=https://mexicanph.com/#]best online pharmacies in mexico[/url] best online pharmacies in mexico

  18. pharmacies in mexico that ship to usa [url=http://mexicanph.shop/#]medication from mexico pharmacy[/url] mexican rx online

  19. mexico drug stores pharmacies [url=https://mexicanph.shop/#]mexican border pharmacies shipping to usa[/url] best online pharmacies in mexico

  20. https://mexicanph.shop/# buying prescription drugs in mexico
    medicine in mexico pharmacies [url=https://mexicanph.shop/#]purple pharmacy mexico price list[/url] mexican online pharmacies prescription drugs

  21. medicine in mexico pharmacies [url=http://mexicanph.shop/#]mexican pharmaceuticals online[/url] pharmacies in mexico that ship to usa

  22. mexican rx online [url=https://mexicanph.com/#]buying prescription drugs in mexico online[/url] mexican pharmacy

  23. mexican mail order pharmacies [url=https://mexicanph.com/#]medicine in mexico pharmacies[/url] medicine in mexico pharmacies

  24. prednisone 20mg capsule [url=https://buyprednisone.store/#]cost of prednisone[/url] prednisone in canada

  25. order cytotec online [url=http://cytotec24.shop/#]buy misoprostol over the counter[/url] cytotec abortion pill

  26. ciprofloxacin 500 mg tablet price [url=http://cipro.guru/#]ciprofloxacin[/url] cipro online no prescription in the usa

  27. femara vs tamoxifen [url=http://nolvadex.guru/#]tamoxifen cyp2d6[/url] cost of tamoxifen

  28. tamoxifen adverse effects [url=https://nolvadex.guru/#]aromatase inhibitor tamoxifen[/url] how to lose weight on tamoxifen

  29. doxycycline hyc 100mg [url=http://doxycycline.auction/#]doxylin[/url] where to purchase doxycycline

  30. purple pharmacy mexico price list [url=http://mexicanpharm24.com/#]buying prescription drugs in mexico online[/url] mexico drug stores pharmacies mexicanpharm.shop

  31. onlinepharmaciescanada com [url=http://canadianpharmlk.shop/#]Pharmacies in Canada that ship to the US[/url] legal canadian pharmacy online canadianpharm.store

  32. п»їlegitimate online pharmacies india [url=http://indianpharm24.com/#]cheapest online pharmacy[/url] cheapest online pharmacy india indianpharm.store

  33. mexico drug stores pharmacies [url=http://mexicanpharm24.shop/#]mexican pharmacy[/url] buying prescription drugs in mexico mexicanpharm.shop

  34. medicine amoxicillin 500 [url=http://amoxilst.pro/#]how to get amoxicillin[/url] can you purchase amoxicillin online

  35. ed pills for sale [url=https://edpills.guru/#]cheapest online ed meds[/url] ed meds cheap

  36. buying prescription medications online [url=https://pharmnoprescription.pro/#]best website to buy prescription drugs[/url] online pharmacy without prescriptions

  37. online shopping pharmacy india [url=https://indianpharm.shop/#]Online medicine order[/url] online shopping pharmacy india

  38. canadian drugs pharmacy [url=http://canadianpharm.guru/#] canadian pharmacy world[/url] legitimate canadian pharmacy online

  39. pharmacies in mexico that ship to usa [url=https://mexicanpharm.online/#]mexican online pharmacies prescription drugs[/url] buying prescription drugs in mexico

  40. canadian pharmacy cheap [url=https://canadianpharm.guru/#] best canadian pharmacy[/url] drugs from canada

  41. online pharmacy india [url=http://indianpharmacy.icu/#]world pharmacy india[/url] best online pharmacy india

  42. mexican pharmacy [url=https://mexicanpharmacy.shop/#]cheapest mexico drugs[/url] mexican drugstore online

  43. Online medicine home delivery [url=http://indianpharmacy.icu/#]Cheapest online pharmacy[/url] reputable indian pharmacies

  44. online shopping pharmacy india [url=http://indianpharmacy.icu/#]indian pharmacy[/url] pharmacy website india

  45. mexico pharmacies prescription drugs [url=http://mexicanpharmacy.shop/#]mexican drugstore online[/url] mexican border pharmacies shipping to usa

  46. amoxicillin 500mg capsule [url=http://amoxilall.com/#]can you buy amoxicillin over the counter in canada[/url] buying amoxicillin in mexico

  47. prednisone 15 mg daily [url=http://prednisoneall.com/#]buy prednisone canadian pharmacy[/url] where can i buy prednisone without prescription

  48. buy amoxicillin online without prescription [url=http://amoxilall.com/#]amoxicillin 500 mg for sale[/url] amoxicillin pharmacy price

  49. can i order generic clomid without a prescription [url=https://clomidall.shop/#]can i buy generic clomid no prescription[/url] can i order generic clomid no prescription

  50. buy azithromycin zithromax [url=http://zithromaxall.com/#]where can i get zithromax[/url] buy zithromax without prescription online

  51. Cheap Cialis [url=http://tadalafiliq.shop/#]cialis best price[/url] cialis for sale