Friday, January 16, 2015

Why Did I Write "Come to the City with Me"?

I wrote that blog post yesterday morning because I woke up at 4:16 a.m. needing to write it, and I fired up the computer, and I just started typing. But why?
I think many white people are actually not prejudiced against black people, as individuals. Many white people have a black friend, or maybe several, and enjoy watching black actors or athletes on TV, or listening to black musicians. But I think it's too easy for human nature to be, or become, prejudiced against 'intersecting sets'. Let me try to explain what I mean by using an analogy. 

When I was a teenager, some older people would talk about teenagers and loud music. My dad liked to play jazz on his stereo, and he liked it loud. I'm guessing the same people who complained about teens and their loud music probably wouldn't have said a word about my dad and his music. And I'll bet those same people wouldn't have complained about a teen who listened to classical music, either. It wasn't the teens themselves, or the volume of the music in and of itself, but the intersecting 'set', that they thought they didn't like. 

When we develop a prejudice against a 'group', I think it is often an intersecting group, because...well, that's just the thing about prejudices. Sometimes, we don't even know the reason it developed. It might be ideas we picked up from our grandparents, friends, or the media, or perhaps a bad experience that we lived or, more often, a bad experience that we lived vicariously through someone else's story. 

What we don't always realize is that for every story, there are other stories. Occasionally, we hear those 'other stories', stories of heroic deeds. But what we often don't hear is what I like to call 'everyday heroism'. When you or your spouse gets up early and shovels out the car in freezing cold to drive to work, that's everyday heroism; but of course it doesn't usually make the news. When someone smiles or serves others in spite of their own pain, be it physical or emotional pain, that's everyday heroism; but of course, you won't usually know about that, unless you know the person yourself, because it doesn't often count as 'story'. 

So, in my post yesterday, I wanted to share with you a few little snippets about people I know or meet every day, some of them from what might be an 'intersecting set' to some people, for example, people who you might see standing at a bus stop or people who live in the inner city (whatever that is; you know it's not really a defined place, right?).

I wanted to share with you in case you haven't had the privilege to live where I live. I wanted to take people from a 'group' that is often portrayed negatively in the media, and let you see the 'everyday heroism' of a few of their individual lives. Not the 'superhero' kind of heroism - we shouldn't need those kinds of stories - but just the heroism of everyday living. 

If you didn't read it yesterday, and you would like to read it, 

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