Hanh mitakuyapi. Recently, I was hit with that old garbage about “one person can’t make a difference”. Few -isms irritate me as much as that one does; and I’m confident that you who read this agree, or you wouldn’t come to the FastCompany site.
Lila ohtah ehahnni – A long time ago – someone taught me, “There are 3 kinds of people in the world: those who make things happen; those who watch things happen; and those who wonder what happened?!?” I try to be in the first 2 at any given time, but occasionally, I believe it is a good thing to enter the 3rd category, in order to figure out what ‘really’ happened in an incident.
What brought on today’s rant is recycling. There’s an addition being built at a local junior college. Because I work temp jobs on purpose – mainly to find out what’s current among main-mass-worker attitudes without any filtering & to give the company more money to use to build itself – I worked on this addition for a short time. There were a huge number of crates – made from 2 X 6 lumber – being landfilled! Had I known, Indian Maid’s Ancient Techology section would have been there all summer, pulling crates apart for that lumber, which is a size we use in our passive solar heating and cooling units. (Yes, we advertise that we use recycled lumber.)
Anyway, I was pulling the first crates apart alone, to see how we could do it more efficiently, when I heard a couple of trades supervisors murmuring, and I caught the words, “… IN-dian stealing those crates. I wanted them.” The other guy said, “Why don’t you ask her to split the take?” The bigot said, “She won’t. Indians are all a bunch of thieves.” I ignored this; I had enough to do – although my response to that particular remark is always, “so who was it stole an entire continent from my People, who were here for 65,000 years first, anyway; hmm?” I admit – I itched to get in his face; because I enjoy baiting bigots. (Ina / Mom said that any woman who baits bigots for fun is a wild woman, by definition. OK…)
The non-bigot then asked the bigot, “Why didn’t you take the ones we landfilled earlier? There were a lot of them..” I didn’t hear the response.
Just then, a car pulled in, & the people in it asked why I was pulling the crates apart. I said, “Recycling. My company makes a product from recycled lumber. It’s a way to combat global warming.” And The Remark came back! “Why do you bother? One person can’t make any difference.”
This was an expensive car; the people in it were expensively dressed; I didn’t expect that kind of short-sightedness from that part of the community. I recover quickly most of the time, though, and I responded, “A million is made up of one million individuals. A billion is made up of one thousand million individuals! Of course one person makes an appreciable difference! So – What have you-all done today to help heal the Sacred Hoop of the World – of which you, too, are a part? Hmm?” They drove away.
It’s a good thing the majority of people don’t have such a defeatist attitude, or there would be no small businesses.. Even fewer micro-businesses. I believe we has seen the enemy and ‘he’ looks like us – although obviously ‘he’ isn’t, in this case. But this incident does show we have a lot of work to do to make that difference. If one person can make such a difference as any of a number of historic figures have, what can a group such as us accomplish? Lots more..