I'm convinced more than ever that people subconsciously view life the way they want to and there is nothing you can do to change what they see. In recent months I have become increasingly grateful for my upbringing, by upbringing I mean from as far back as I can remember until now. Based on the fact that I'm now almost 45, my upbringing would be considered my journey in life. I was recently interviewed by a 13 year old white male. The interview was based on his high school assignment to interview someone different from him in regards to a book that his class was reading about a black girl that had been treated differently because she was "too dark." I couldn't help but be impressed by a teacher that would assign such homework. Answering his questions only confirmed for me what I had recently come to realize about my life, which is the fact that I am very fortunate. Why do I consider myself fortunate you may ask, allow me to walk you through my brief 45 years of living. I'm fortunate not only because I have never personally experienced blatant racism. I am fortunate because I grew up in a home where I have never heard my mother make a derogatory statement about another person based on the color of their skin. I am grateful because life offered me a rainbow of experiences that completely shape who I am today.
I grew up in Fort Worth Texas where I was surrounded by not only black and white people but also many Spanish speaking people as well as Vietnamese, Laos, and Philippine. From the 3rd grade to 10th grade one of my best friends was white and I practically lived at her house; her immediate family treated me as though I was one of the family.
From childhood through 5th grade I went to an all black baptist church. From the 6th grade through 12th grade I went to a predominately white Methodist church. Both experiences as different as night and day but equally enriching. At 20 years old I began attending a non-denominational church that was extremely diverse in it's make up in every facet.
I went to an Historically Black University, that actually was about 60/40 with regard to it's makeup of black to non-black students. An interesting fact being, those who lived on campus were made up of primarily black students. Upon graduating college as a single working person I have lived with a white family who had the disposition of Leave it to Beaver or Father Knows Best, seriously, I'm not exaggerating, they were absolutely wonderful to me and fascinating to watch since I grew up in a single parent home about 50 % of my life. Over a period of time I have had 5 different white roommates, some of whom their family welcomed me with open arms, while others wanted little to do with me.
I attend an extremely diverse church now and live in a diverse neighborhood. My make up of friends is also equally different. As I contemplate my journey I'm beginning to wonder if my life experience is unique or even rare. I truly believe one's life experiences mold your worldview, how open or closed minded you are. I've come to the conclusion that most people see what they want to see and what they want to see more often than not depends on what they have been exposed to in their life time, especially those formative years.
People more often than not want to see what makes them comfortable. What makes people comfortable may or may not have anything to do with reality. We are all prejudice as in we all prejudge. Not everyone is racist but I have come to believe some people to have some racist tendencies that they are seemingly completely unaware of. For those people I have to wonder, how did they grow up, what experiences have they had, what have they been exposed or not exposed to? I believe as a people we truly are more alike than different and I wish we were all in a place of valuing our differences and looking for our similarities. I believe then and only then will we get to a place where all lives will truly matter. Thank you for reading this post, I hope it makes you reflect on your own life's journey as well as consider how that journey impacts your perception and influence your reality on a daily basis.