Us vs. Them

I went to a planning meeting tonight for an event in October involving two local churches. One is the Methodist church where we currently attend and the Baptist church my dad and I grew up in. I was amazed that among the 26 or so people who attended, the terms depicting separation were widely used throughout the room.

When I wrote incident reports about burglaries and such for a previous job, I constantly got called out on the fact that I left out the race of the people in the report. I don’t see color, I saw a burglar. I’m not a racist by any means. When I speak about people; regardless of heritage, color or belief, I do not use terms showing separation. There should not be any “us” and “you”. “We” should be sufficient but not once was it used unless it was spoken about the entire event.

I grew up with very nice, polite but somewhat racist people in my life. I never heard my parents use the “N” word, but others around me did. They were not words of hate, mind you, just what they used as a description. To this day, I have an uncle that throws that word around like any other word in his vocabulary. My dad worked with a lot of black people when he was with the railroad. He referred to them as “Mr. Name” or “the black operator”, never the “N” word. The black men on his crew always called my dad “Mr. Name” in an extremely respectful manner. The first time I heard one of his crew talking to my dad, I was amazed at the amount of respect they had for each other. Dad said it went that way on the job until he was fortunate to retire. We have run into a few of those men from time to time over the years and that respect is still there.

It is hard for me to think in those terms. I have been trying to do that for a few days now and it just doesn’t work for me. But how do you fix that mentality? What has to happen to change how people think about other people? How did it get so screwed up in the first place?

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4 thoughts on “Us vs. Them

  1. I think perhaps you are being overly sensitive toward how some, not all, describe whats in front of them. when i walk into a diversified room, or any setting for that matter people place or pine, i see a lot. and descriptive terms aren’t malicious terms, they are descriptive. i don’t see a room full of categorized objects to categorized by worth when i walk into a crowded room, quite the opposite. i see all of us as human being’s. with an ‘s, plural. meaning many. descriptive terms describe the person and in turn make that person who they are. now, when you scan a room and see a fa or an ni as opposed to a gay guy and a black dude thats different.

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    • I admit I was looking and listening closely for what I expected to see and hear while hoping it would not be there. I study kinesics as a hobby and often will enter a room of people and just watch and listen. It is my way of creating a different experience where an ordinary one is expected. It may have been a day when my illnesses were flaring and on those days I am often over sensitive to everything. I appreciate your comments and next time I will evaluate my own reactions because now you have me curious. Thank you for sharing.

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