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  • Writer's picturegraeme


Good people don’t turn bad when circumstances change. When the tough times come, bad people can no longer keep their masks in place, and we get to see who they really are.

We are in tough times, there’s no doubt about that. And some people might do or say things they regret later. We need to extend grace and patience to everyone in the same measure we hope it is extended to us.

But there does come a point where it is clear that people have not just made a mistake under pressure - they’re actually showing us who they really are. And as Maya Angelou said, “when people show you who they really are, you should believe them.”

Sadly, I am discovering that some of my friends (not just Facebook connections, but actual real-world connections; people I’ve had in my home) are not good people. Some are deeply racist (not just the kind of racism that all white people have to deal with, but properly entrenched structural racism informed by a white supremacy mindset). Some are so right leaning in their political worldview that they’re prepared to sacrifice poor people to save the economy. Some are still Trump supporters (not just supporting right wing ideology and his political agenda, but actually supporting the man himself).

I can deal with differences of opinion. In fact, I actively seek them out. I value diversity and believe a diversity of views and worldviews makes a group - and the world - a better place. Except that at some point, there’s a line. It’s the line that people cross when they show themselves to be bad people. I think the line can be defined by how they value other people.

Anyone who thinks that there are people in the world who are not deserving of the same rights, privileges, status, responsibilities or place in society as them, has crossed a line that I find really tough to deal with. In normal times, they can disguise the fact they’re on the wrong side of that line. Or maybe, in normal times it made less difference if and when they did cross it. Or maybe in normal times, I was less aware of it.

Everyone is good and bad. Everyone makes mistakes. Everyone is flawed. I am. But there is a line that is further down than that. It’s a line beyond which you will actively bring harm on others - not necessarily directly, but through systems and structures of neglect and oppression.

All I know is that I have seen a few people I thought I knew cross over that line in the last few weeks. It’s more than disappointing, because I think they’re not “good people who are acting badly” - I think they’ve shown us their true selves. Good people don’t turn bad when circumstances change - bad people are just not able to keep their masks on.

I am not really sure I know what to do about it. But I really don’t want to be friends with people like that. And I don’t know if it’s even worth engaging them right now, or if it’s better for everyone to just walk away.

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