Boiling Down

Conversations on equity, justice, and rights can quickly boil over. But really it boils down to this...
When it comes to people I don't believe we can ever be truly equal. Perhaps nor should we. Each person brings a truly unique and wonderful individuality to this earth and the very least we can do for each other is recognize that. Since no person can actually be measured against another how can we judge worth and therefore qualify deserving.
We must treat people as people. As we would want to be considered and consulted before plans are made for us. All people on earth together each in distinct glory unto our own lives.

Can't we all get along is understated... not enough.. can't we love all others as ourselves?


Southern Comfort

I've started this post in fits and spurts over the last couple of weeks. My intent has been to write about the social issues and commentary that ran the length of a recent stay in North Carolina. Most recently I had an entry all prepared on health and the justice and luxury I felt being able to take three weeks out of my life to be with and care for my family during the final stages of my uncle's life. Truly that is a beautiful thing that I hope we can help every person to be able to do. Every time I went to copy that entry here though, it didn't seem to work quite right. There were pieces of my time down south that were nagging me and I believe this is the place to share them.

Two Stories of Strong Men

There are people I have looked up to for a long time. Men, that are strong and wise, loving and successful. Good husbands, close friends. Willing to take a bullet for their best friend. Able to cry through the pain of seeing that friend's chair empty after his death.

Then there are the times when that hero worship is faded by reality. All of the above still being true, the words of privilege and prejudice come reluctantly to my ears. Now I seek balance between disappointment in the new found flaw in their armor and maintaining the space in my heart for the wonderful love and care they display.

Calling Home

One man made comment of the "rough neighborhood" we drove through on the way to the hospice center each day, almost apologizing for our having to travel through it. This tree lined street with old, low-country homes had struck me as a beautiful, welcoming series of blocks that reflect the slow, southern pace. There were signs in several front yards, drawing attention to the work and support a local association was doing for those struggling with substance abuse in the area. Although a stark contrast (perhaps understated here) to the gated golf course-lined neighborhoods where this man lives, this place was steeped in history and had little intention of changing. To me it was a community in the truest sense of the word. More about togetherness and support and wearing all of that on its sleeve. The big houses on groomed lots across town seemed so cold in comparison. I was immediately uncomfortable with his judgement and I just made quick of mention of how I had actually been admiring it on my way through. I was surprised by his statement and thus didn't have the conversation we perhaps could have had about all that I explained here. Still it was a more productive response than my reaction to this second story of another strong man.

Are you comfortable?

This second strong man told a story involving a friend of his, an Enya CD and a gay man. He told the story of when his friend went to buy the music for a gift and the gay man's fairly stereotypical reaction to a particular genre. It was confusing. I didn't understand the purpose of the story. Nor how he wanted me and others in the room to react. Perhaps I should have inquired to that end. Instead I put on my best confused/disapproving look and said nothing. As a result, I am sure he will go on to tell the story again and I sit with some regret in not speaking with him then or at a less public time regarding my thoughts on his story. I was uncomfortable, but I didn't speak up.

Fresh Faced

Lastly there is a story to share of my nephew. A future strong man. At 18+ months, it is a joy to see the world through his eyes. Innocent and loving. One morning as we took a walk around the center together, he stopped in his tracks to notice someone he hadn't noticed before. She was a nurse at the facility and she was black. I smiled and watched as he watched her with curiosity. She didn't look like anyone he had spent time with before. After a pause, he smiled and waved and we went on about our walk. I realized, then, that this is our future and he is our opportunity. The economic status he was born into, his striking blonde hair and fair complexion need not be a continuation of the structures we have in place, but an opportunity for him to grow to acknowledge his privilege and use the power bestowed upon him by our society to show the world the joys of our diversity. It must begin in these young years and perhaps this is among my duties as his godmother. To help him grow up seeing potential in the world. Adulthood is an awfully long time from now and could be too late for some of these conversations.


A Learning Thread

Amazing that almost a year has gone by since last I wrote here. At some point, I promise, I will go back and fill in some blanks of what has been building over the last 10 months. In the meantime there is this thread I would like to explore.

Diversity. Social Justice. Inclusion. Acceptance. Tolerance.

Some of these words are magical; namely inclusion. What a wonderful way to get all the voices into the room. The conversation. Others are far less magical; acceptance and tolerance. If you are merely accepting or tolerating someone(s), you are not truly engaging the richness of our planet and the people that inhabit it. So limiting.

Bits and Pieces

It took us from 1776 to the 1960s, when both women and black Americans were allowed to vote, to truly be a democracy. Our representative government is so young.

In trying to be sensitive even my best intentions seem petty and reflect the privilege I never saw I had.

Even in the boundary of systemic or societal -isms (racism, ageism, class-ism, sexism, etc), each person beings the nuances of their own background and experience. Understanding each other's nuances requires honest communication. I might never have seen the privilege I benefit from had someone not told me about the things that they experience.

We need to use our language. We need to move through the moments, hours or days of uncomfortableness in order to include all our humans in the understanding of a class system that has developed over the last thousandish years. Our differences may not be new, but the -isms we have adopted against them are. The -isms no longer serve our goal of life, liberty and happiness. We need to move on.