DEAR HARRIETTE: The human race is scaring me more and more as the days pass. We are so materialistic that real issues and problems are being neglected. We care too much about status, materialistic things, wealth, etc. What happened to love, determination, peace and standing up for something important? It baffles me that we can talk to each other about Benzes but we can't talk about the suspicious death of Kendrick Johnson. Talking about Kendrick Johnson is forbidden because that's an issue too deep for everyday conversation.
My friends constantly talk about the latest trends, celebrities and reality shows. I want them to acknowledge the fact that there's more to life than Louboutins. How do we bring what really matters into everyday conversation? How do we help those around us to acknowledge what's truly important? -- What Really Matters, Dallas
DEAR WHAT REALLY MATTERS: Thank you for being conscientious. You are right that many people no longer exercise that part of their brains. The collective moral compass of many people is not fixed on the challenges that face us. Often, the salve is materialism.
To change the conversation, start by educating people. Chances are, few know who Kendrick Johnson was -- a Georgia high school basketball player who was found dead in 2013, rolled up in a wrestling mat at his gym -- or that many other people have died or been harmed under questionable circumstances.
If you are keen on discussing and addressing human rights issues or political matters -- or some other topic -- I recommend that you broaden your friend group. Find organizations or chat groups that care about the topics that interest you. Find a natural sounding board where you can be fully engaged. When you are with your other friends, you will have had more practice in talking about these topics. Introduce them strategically, without judgment. Choose current events that should be easily recognizable because they are in the news.