My grandmother was a huge part of growing up. She influenced many of the decisions that would ultimately shape my life and I relied on her for advice. Particularly in situations when I needed an ethical lens through which to view an issue. In person she was soft-spoken, tactful, even passive; she also had a moral compass that was unwavering and she was active in defense of its direction her entire life. Some of her final thoughts to her grandchildren included a call to that action. Being possessed of neither her subtlety nor her sureness I am often reticent in that expression but for her I will try.
I believe in trusting other people. Not because of a blind faith but because trust is the foundation of anything we can define as society, community, or civilization. A child trusts a parent that a food is good, or a word is bad. A student trusts a teacher that the mitochondria are the powerhouse of the cell, or that two plus two is four. We trust each other as we drive down a road that we will stay on the correct side of a thin line of paint. If someone who knows more than we do about a topic expresses a thought we listen, because if we didn’t we’d still be verifying that wheels should be round.
I have never been black in the United States so if I hear from black Americans that there are systemic issues that lead to their abuse I trust what I hear because they know more than me and I will act and vote accordingly.