Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Two Steps Forward, One Step Back

I was reading this article on the CNN website, an interview with Maya Angelou.

And this quote jumped out at me:

"Growing up, I decided, a long time ago, I wouldn't accept any manmade differences between human beings, differences made at somebody else's insistence or someone else's whim or convenience. Or boundaries of a state. (That is why I say proudly and without apology that I am a Jew and a Muslim.) I'm not separate from any human beings by any artificial difference. Only their actions can separate me from other people." - Maya Angelou.

Wow. It made me sit back for a while.

I have struggled mightily with the two very different worlds I spent my childhood in. While my father was in the military, I never heard anything regarding race. When I entered the sixth grade at Wallace Middle School the year after the historically black high school it had been was merged with the newly created interracial Middleton High School, I walked into a volatile situation without a clue that blacks and whites weren't supposed to get along.

It was a rather rude awakening and I was battered from both sides for my ignorance. And since I was a scared 11 year old white girl in a strange new world, I sought shelter with those who would have me: the other white girls.

As an adult, I have shed almost all of the teachings I absorbed during those years. Not all, they are still there, an auto-default position at times.

But I know now that it isn't always true.

Whatever you are thinking you know about that black person or that Hispanic person or that white person or that Asian person, or that gay person, or that liberal or that conservative or any other label you are auto-defaulting to that human being before you, it isn't always true.

So I try, sometimes fail, try again.

I like this quote because it puts clearly into words what I feel I should strive to be in this world.

Thor sez: I'm still gonna hiss at dogs.

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