I realize that everyone has their own truths, but many truths are centered around a persons ignorance. I once spoke with a person that had never left their community. They only hung out with people like them. They only spoke to people of their same caliber (🤷🏽♀️) and they only did things with the same group of people. They never ventured off to meet new people (my rant…. I think of Mark, my homeless friend, Nathaniel my old man mall buddy who is also my email pen pal, the various people I meet on solo trips, and even my new blog buddy Funmi who I am collaborating with on a blog… what a boring person to never venture off..)
They were never able to learn of anyone else because they never branched out to hang or meet other people.
I met this particular person on one of my many solo trips. They were with their group and this was their first trip. They all obviously went on this trip together and they were pretty much in awe with so much. I was sitting alone and I cannot remember how we started talking…. oh yeah! It was my hair.
I had locs (some say dreads) and one of the people they were with asked if they could touch my hair. Unlike this picture,y locs were down my back. I shook my head because this was a normal question for me. They wanted to know…
Did I wash them? Was it all my hair? How did I keep them like this? And I was ok with the questions because in my mind it allowed a person to get answers to questions and learn new things.
But I remember this person saying, oh yeah gang guys …. gang guys …..YES that really sis come out his mouth ….. like really… yes they really said this and drug dealers have that hair style. Hmmmmmmmmm….. I kept my mouth closed and obviously I remembered it just for this blog
As much as I wanted to say something, I couldn’t. The older I get, I’ve realized that most people really do not care about a rationale response. And this goes back to my first sentence.
When you are unaware of things or people that are not your norm, you become defensive and you become so curious that it blinds you….. therefore it could lead to ignorance. When the truth hits, many are not ready for it and will find things to walk around it and make attempts at being blameless. This is what I’ve seen and to be my truth. After living in multiple places, I’ve come to see the reason why many behave the way they do… they are oblivious to things because branching out is not an option for them.
I’ve had the opportunity to live and be amongst many diverse people. I recently had a friend share her sentiments after reading one of my posts. She shared her thoughts as a mixed woman by saying “people will never fully embrace what they don’t know because of fear.” It also reminds me of this clip from DL Hugley in which he states that the “most dangerous place for a Black person to be is a white persons imagination” (https://www.google.com/amp/s/abcnews.go.com/amp/Entertainment/dl-hughley-discusses-black-communitys-relationship-police/story%3fid=56508770) ..Thanks LISA❤️
I laugh at this as one of my sorority sisters and I talked about this because as much as we want to stop believing race is an issue,it is. It’s that constant elephant in the room. It’s that constant thought of what my hair feels like and whether I wash it…it’s basic curiosity; that leads to something that can be dangerous…
Many see it even if they want to pretend as if they don’t. I’ve been fortunate to have conversations about privilege with people who are comfortable and are aware of it. I’ve been able to have convos with people who have had to apologize because of their ignorance. We make perceptions based on few words. We make perceptions based on difference. As a matter of fact a friend just made a great observation about how we are taught long before we understand race and difference. We are taught how to group things that look just alike….remember that in kindergarten 🧐we are asked to group the same colors together, shapes together, and other things….this subconsciously affects people because they use this as a way to separate themselves … NOT everyone…
The other day a friend of mine who is a psychotherapist told me,
“Wow you have very high emotional intelligence” (KR) because of how calm and clear headed I am. I think and observe and listen so much that I realized it’s not worth me getting mad. It takes a lot to move me, but I do pray to stay so calm. Now, I have become flustered, and when this happens, I sit and try to rationalize, but as I have gotten older, I see many will never be rational. Many cannot see beyond their world. They cannot open their minds to even understand the significance of certain things.
I once had an older gentleman who had always wanted to be a college professor. At this time I was one, so invited him to come and speak to my students (I told him he could be the professor for the day and man was he so happy!!) about a particular era that he grew up in (40’s…50’s…and every time era as a black male…). He actually went to the library to do research his daughter who is my friend shared. He was 84 (his birthday was the day he came to speak) when he spoke to my diverse students. He shared with them what history or literature books could never teach anyone. He had practical experience.
He shared how he and so many others that looked like him were treated. He had many questions from my students post his speech and right before we sung happy birthday to him. There questions centered around understanding why are people so hateful and seemingly clueless. Why are people still encountering a lot of what was suppose to be over….. 🤷🏽♀️His practical experience assisted my students to see the connection between the pieces of literature that we read. His practical experiences were better than just reading to understand what was comprehended, but it helped my students see that the nonfictional texts and speeches that we read were memories of someone.
He shared everything from being a Vietnam Vet to living in the south and driving trains for a living. He discussed the challenges of being able to get an eduction and even shared stories of the marches. He help me to showcase the importance of teaching across curriculum. I invited my Humanities and Technology students along with World Literature Classes and African American Studies and other courses that were interested in listening. Each of the students (I’m hoping….I’m being very bold to say all) were able to hear an older gentleman who lived a life of memories that we were just reading about! How amazing!! His life helped bring our reading and even conversations together.
Regardless of the background of my student, I’m sure they felt a connection to someone that they ordinarily would have never made time to speak with. This is what #LifeIsAbout…. using the world and people around us to learn…
Every time I travel, I pick up post cards. I mail them out to my penpals and when they write back and ask how was that trip, I share my cultural experiences. To be able to discuss these experiences are nothing short of amazing. I never go into a situation with preconceived notions.
So as you begin your summer and begin to travel, take a moment to embrace something, someone, or a place that you have never thought about embracing.
Take a moment to genuinely speak with someone that you would
probably never engage in a conversation with. Take a moment to step in others shoes and be objective enough to see the world is bigger than you.
Last year, a student asked if I would eat alligator and I looked at him with a disgusted face….He cooked some and shared it with me and although I was not a big fan, I kept my options and my mind open. We swapped food throughout the year, and we learned to appreciate what we like, but we also learned to appreciate what others liked without giving them or their items a chance….
And we did it without preconceived notions or looking down at one another….I realized there were just some things that I preferred not to eat and vice versa …. and if we all did this, it would make the world a better place….
we swap ideas and learn from each other…
With an objective mind and a pure heart❤️