First, educate yourself about human rights issues. This tip can go for any topic that I discuss in this book as well. Are you passionate about specific issues? The Human Rights Watch website is a great place to start. They discuss child labor, immigration, LGBTQ issues, women’s rights, health, refugee rights, disability rights, and more. What would you like to learn more about? I know I am still learning new things every day, and that makes more a more informed citizen, consumer, and human.
I know this can be a touchy subject. It is one I often stray away from thinking about or discussing. But just because I ignore it, doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist. I have privilege.
By societal definition, I am labeled as an upper-middle-class, white American female.
Even though I am a female, I still have a culturally inherited privilege other women do not have because of my race and because of my income. However, I am not better than anyone one of you, or better than anyone else. Our society has to create labels in which they can place people and then rank each of us. This is bullshit. We are humans.
As I mentioned in the previous post, the first article of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights states, “All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights. They are endowed with reason and conscience and should act towards one another in a spirit of brotherhood” ("Universal Declaration," n.d.). We should all understand our privilege and understand how we can use it to benefit all life and make this a better world for all.
33. Understand and Develop as Much Empathy as You Can
Alfred Adler said, “Empathy is seeing with the eyes of another, listening with the ears of another and feeling with the heart of another” (Stutman, 2016). Human rights issues are one of the hardest and most bleak topics to learn about. Rape, slavery, oppression, discrimination, genocide, hunger, poverty - these topics can move you to your core.
But that is a good thing. It means we can start to understand how others live in this world and begin to develop ways of helping our fellow humans. Next time you are faced with a news article, a story from a friend, or even road rage, step back and place yourself in the other person's shoes and life (this is a good tip to try with animals as well!). What do they see and feel?
34. Support Social Businesses
Social businesses are quite amazing. They are a cause-driven business, and the objective of the company is to achieve social goal/s ("Social Business," n.d.). Social businesses were originally developed by Nobel Peace Prize laureate and founder of Grameen Bank, Muhammad Yunus. He started Grameen Bank in 1976 and began providing micro-loans in 1983. The idea of the micro-loan was to give a line of credit to individuals, who live in an impoverished area and have an idea of how to create a business/product. The line of credit provided enough funding to start the business or develop the product and help the individuals earn a livable income. The borrower repaid the loan, and the funds would then be used to support more individuals create their dreams and make a livable income. Outside of these micro-loans, social businesses use their profits within the company to better their business and employees. The extra profits do not merely go to the highest paid employee (i.e., the CEO).