“We are not good despite our imperfections. It is the connection we maintain with our imperfections that allow us to be good.”

Don’t you just wanna stand up and shout Amen! when you read this? Or at least nod in solid agreement with this profound statement that cuts to the quick of the essence of being human?

Jay Smooth, the video blogger of Ill Doctrine and founder of New York’s longest-running hip-hop radio in New York, WBAI’s Underground Railroad, gave a refreshing talk at TEDx Hampshire College about the ways we can have better discussions about race and racism. He’s funny and this talk is truly enjoyable. More importantly, it’s his astute observations about the ways in which these discussions devolve that’s worth noting.

He points out that discussions about race often border on matters of being a “good person” or a “bad person” — a matter of “who you are” rather than “what you said.” He reminds us that talking about issues of race is like bodily hygiene: it’s something you have to do and keep up every day. And, he says, when we embrace our own imperfections we are on the path to becoming a good person, a better human being.

Share Your Reflection



A considerable amount of time passed before I knew I understood what Jay was talking about. The light came on when I allowed "imperfection" to mean our effort to fill the void, which is my convenient way of saying, trying to give meaning to our lives. I identify 8 more or less distinct ways. Race fits best in to our preeminence reaction to the void which means trying to give meaning to our lives by being, best, first, most powerful etc. Light has always been preferred over darkness, white over black so there is an inherited perception that being white has always given those who are a sense of meaning.

Another way we try to fill the void is with our religious/philosophical reaction. It can stand alone but is invariably twisted with the preeminence reaction to the void. Are there proponents of any religion who do not think their beliefs are not just the best but are the only ones and that the world will be "good" when everyone else accepts their beliefs?

It is based on my understanding that I suggest the path "to becoming a good person, a better human being" is not to "embrace our own imperfections" but rather to discard them. Only when we empty the void we are able to embrace the "ideal reaction" to it, to reach out to the limits of our capacities, to others and to God and become a best human being. http://www.thelastwhy.ca/poem/

Love this quote:  “We are not good despite our imperfections. It is the connection we maintain with our imperfections that allow us to be good.”

It sounds like the right basis for defining Peace as well.
If we really want Peace, then we need to think not about the justifications for war - but the ways in which we can create Peace in our hearts. Peace is not simply removing all aggressive actions - it is a state of mind that
allows us to feel compassion and understanding for that 'hated other'.
If all weapons were to suddenly vanish from the earth - the fear anger
& hatred would still be present, and this is what is preventing

Ultimately this question is not about who is "right". It is about
whether human beings are capable of fully owning the consequences of
their actions - atoning for all the harm we cause others - and then
facing our fears & finding if we are capable of loving all the
ugliness in ourselves that we project onto others. We need to look into
the eyes of that other & find that we can forgive ourselves.

We need each other to find what love is.

most beautifully said. Jill, thank you.