Thinking Out Loud, And Not The Ed Sheeran Thinking Out Loud, Though I Do Love That Lovely Song, This Is My Thinking Out Loud On Integration In Our Day-To-Day Lives

19 Feb

Crown Heights, NY

Crown Heights, NY – photo by Mo Scarpelli

It’s four years into my blog journey and it’s like you think you know what your blog is about and going to be about when you start out, but then, like life itself, the focus shifts and turns.  I started out wanting to explore what happens when we connect across colorlines, and the how and the why of why I’ve always been drawn to connect with others different than me, why I’ve been attracted to black culture, and matters of racial equality.

Then, with all that’s happened in the past few years in relation to race and racism, I found myself needing to write about Trayvon Martin, Eric Garner, Jordan Davis, Sandra Bland, Freddie Gray, Michael Brown, and too many more, and Ferguson..and Baltimore…and…

On this four-year anniversary of Wendy Jane’s Soul Shake, I find myself again, not only reflecting back, but looking ahead to where to focus my exploration and writings here–a luxury, I know, for me as a white woman, to get to decide what I want to write about race, when I don’t have to live with the burden of having the color skin tone which would place me in the group who continues to be oppressed. Yet, I know my journey is not over, and it seems my gut is having me turn back toward my beginning here, to look at what it means to connect across colorlines.

I think often about the fact that beyond whether we are lucky to work in a diverse, inclusive setting or attend a diverse, inclusive school, we still for the most part lead segregated lives when it comes to where we live, and where we socialize. This of course comes into being because of the systems of racism, like red-lining in real estate practices, unequal economic opportunities, the creation of school districts that favor white communities, inequities in public education, and urban renewal, that have had negative impacts on the black community, and have afforded white people the opportunity to keep living apart from black people, who, if you were paying attention to the most recent outrage expressed over Beyonce’s Superbowl performance of Formation, you would learn, that the matter of black pride and black people asking to be treated humanely, seems to scare a lot of white people.

Is it important, is it valuable, to live integrated lives?  Would the world be a better place if we truly lived our lives interconnected with one another–learning about our differences, and, learning that we are really all one human race–not in the colorblind way, but in making sure we dismantle the bamboozlement of the construct of superiority because of one’s skin color, something that will take us all time to let seep deep into our psyches, just like the centuries it took to put those racialized thoughts and behaviors there–with white people eliminating their unconscious biases and ways of “seeing” people of color, and people of color, as Martin Luther King, Jr., and this contemporary study of how even small children, black and white, think of white dolls as “better” and “good,” and black dolls and “bad” and “uglier.”  I am not calling for this to take time though, because the time is now for the dismantling–I just know it takes time for people to rewire their ways of thinking and believing and behaving.

I swear it is next on my reading list to read, Why Are All The Black Kids in The Cafeteria Sitting Together, And Other Conversations About Race, by author Beverly Daniel Tatum, PhD, which speaks to the idea that even though we may come together in school and the workplace, it seems we like to socialize with those that look like, and who we feel we have things, culturally, in common with.  Again, I wonder, should we care to have our lives more integrated?

This question makes me think of a statement one of the male members made during our last meeting of Conscious Collective, a new book club I joined that describes itself as for anyone interested in social justice. We were discussing James Baldwin’s, The Fire Next Time. The man of color, said (and I am paraphrasing here), “What do we want when we say we want integration?  During times of slavery the plantations were integrated–there were a lot of white people on the plantations, and the house servants and slaves, who were black..so, we have to think about what we mean, what we want when we call for integration..”

There have been lots of things I’ve heard people of color say about living with and apart from white people, about calls from people of color to create separate spaces for themselves due to the harsh realities of persistent racism and inequities in the justice system, and treatment of people of color in black communities in this country, and I’ve heard of white people, like Debby Irving, author of Waking Up White, speaking of her desire to get out of the white bubble she had been living in, and who now finds herself leaving behind some of the white people who continue to live in that bubble.  And I know of many white people who aren’t conscious of the white bubbles they live in, don’t notice that the spaces they inhabit, whether it’s their neighborhood, school, restaurant, dance class, or place where they buy their morning coffee, has any people of color  partaking in that space, or employed there.

I’ve thought about this nearly all my life, and it’s something I continue to notice and think about.  And, so this is where I find myself wanting to go in 2016.  I plan on sharing conversations and interviews here from all kinds of people, black, brown, white, young, old, with varying perspectives on what crossing colorlines means to them, and whether they desire it, or think it is important or not, and why or why not.

When I think of why it’s always been important to me I think of what 1960’s and beyond activist, Xernona Clayton said during her workshop presentation at the 2013 Race Amity Conference.  She said she felt that being around those who are different than her makes hers, and life in general, richer. I’m with Xernona on that.

Please share your thoughts or ideas on how you’d like to see this subject approached, and/or if you’d like to be part of the conversation.  I’d appreciate your input.

 

SOURCES:

www.youtube.com, Study Shows How Children View Race Bias, posted by CNN

www.debbyirving.com

photo credit: www.urbanomnibus.net, photo by Mo Scarpelli

www.moscarpelli.com

5 Responses to “Thinking Out Loud, And Not The Ed Sheeran Thinking Out Loud, Though I Do Love That Lovely Song, This Is My Thinking Out Loud On Integration In Our Day-To-Day Lives”

  1. Helen February 19, 2016 at 9:34 am #

    Beautifully written as always sis. One step at a time. It’s easier to learn something new vs. unlearning something that’s been practiced your entire life. Thank you for you efforts.

    • Wendy Jane February 19, 2016 at 10:27 am #

      Thank you, Helen! There’s a lot of wisdom in what you say.:)

      I appreciate your support always, and truly look forward to having you as a guest author on WJSS!

      Your sis,
      Wendy

  2. Sherry Gordon February 19, 2016 at 4:18 pm #

    Dear Wendy Jane,

    Hello, there, Wendy Jane, my so, so very For Always dearly precious and so, so very dearly special sisterfriend who you are For Always so, so very much!!!!!!! Sister, wow, wow, wow and wow and wow and a zillion wows, Wendy Jane!!!!!!! I so, so very much love and like this so very beautiful, beautiful, beautiful blog post article of yours, and this title for your astounding blog post article perfectly complements your stupendous writing here, my so very dearest friend!!!!!! I say Amen to that to your very brilliant and very lovingly heartfelt, and sensitively and racially aware caring with your very powerful Thinking Out Loud as you write so sweetly here in your love for us as black persons with such astute and acute sagacity, sister!!!!!!! Yay!!!!!!!! Sister, you’re making this absolutely amazing, strong, productively proactive, and very steadfastly consistent effort in your cross-racial outreach and thinking and doing out loud, Wendy Jane!!!!!! I am just so, so very proud of you, and so very overjoyed and thrilled by all of your absolutely fantastic efforts here, Wendy Jane!!!!!!! Your questions which you bravely ask yourself in your great reflections are just brilliant here, sisterfriend, just brilliant my friend, very sharp and perceptive, and your cool points are shared and declared in such a superbly stated and such a magnificently empowering manner, my friend!!!!!!!!! You are so right about how you know that this life-saving and spirit-saving need for things to improve for us as black persons and other nonwhite persons absolutely cannot wait for the time is very much indeed NOW, sister!!!!!!! Sisterfriend, you are a right on white sister for me, Wendy Jane, and for other black persons-the time is NOW, my so, so very dear friend!!!!!!!!! What a very relevant point which you have made here, and throughout this very thoughtful and thought-provoking blog post article, Wendy Jane!!!!!!!

    I just so very much love you, sisterfriend Wendy Jane, and sisterfriend Debby, and I love so how you both yearn to reach out across color lines and to leave the white bubble. You two and your loving outreaches just go straight to this black woman’s very, very heart, Wendy Jane, and I so love and cherish so you two so right on and wondrously wonderful white sisters and friends of mine deep in my very, very heart and spirit, Wendy Jane!!!!!! I’ve thought about loving and reaching out across color lines all of my life as well, even before my family and I left one of the inner city areas of Cleveland in November 1967 when I was 5 in kindergarten to move to the then integrating suburb of Cleveland called Cleveland Heights, Ohio!!!!!! What a such a great joy and blessing having grown up in beautiful and lovely, absolutely remarkable Cleveland Heights, Ohio, sister!!!!!!! All of my almost very soon to be 54 years I’ve so loved white persons as the children of our Good God and as my sisters and brothers, very, very especially white women as the lesbian black woman who I am for you, sister, and all other white women are my very, very heart, Wendy Jane!!!!!!! I’ve always all of my life reached out across color lines even with great pressure and disapproval from my parents and other family members! I’m so glad I grew up since kindergarten in the then virtually majority white suburb of Cleveland Heights, Ohio back in the 1960s and 1970s, and I am the much better for it for this great and fabulous experience, Wendy Jane!!!!!!!!

    I truly think, believe, and feel in my very heart, and in my very heart, mind, soul, and very spirit with all that I have within me with all of my very strength and human power that it is very vitally urgent, important, and very, very necessary for us as a people and common humanity and human family to reach out across color lines and to live, love, and share in all areas of our lives in integrated communities in general, sister! Sister, I would absolutely be so, so very thrilled and overjoyed and would so, so very much love and like to be a part of this conversation with you, Wendy Jane!!!!!!! It would be my very honor, blessing, and pleasure, sisterfriend!!!!!!!! You have such great plans for 2016 and such grandly spectacular and powerful ideas for 2016, and I am here for you For Always, Wendy Jane, to be a part of these plans and this process with you, sisterfriend, in the very spirit of unity, sister!!!!!! I am here for you For Always, Wendy Jane, very delightfully and eagerly here for you and rooting for you so, so much, sister!!!!!!! Yay!!!!!!!! I am very delightfully eager to be a part of this process with you, my friend, and to work with you so very heartily, sister!!!!!!!! Yay!!!!!!!

    Sister, please have a Very Happy Friday, a wondrously wonderful weekend, and week coming up next week, Wendy Jane, and may all of your very days be so, so very especially blessed, my friend!!!!!! As soon as I am at my computer again I’ll very joyfully finish all of the rest of my usual replies the way I do-I just can’t wait and I’m just bursting with such very, very eager anticipation to do so, Wendy Jane, ASAP, and this is my very joy, blessing, and pleasure, and YOU are my very joy and blessing, Wendy Jane!!!!!! Yay!!!!!!

    Very Warmly and Sincerely For Always, my so, so very special white sisterfriend, Wendy Jane, with such Peace and Love To You For Always, my so, so very precious sister, and with such Blessings and Even More Blessings To You For Always, my friend,

    Your lesbian black sister and friend For Always in the very spirit and solidarity, Sherry Gordon

    • Wendy Jane February 20, 2016 at 5:06 pm #

      Hi Sherry,

      Thank you so, so much for checking in and so thoroughly responding to each of my posts, and for cheering me on with my journey every step of the way. It was so cool for me to hear about your growing up in Cleveland Heights, and how you too, always wanted to live in integrated, inclusive spaces. I definitely will have to talk to you more one-on-one about your growing up, so I can share it here. I am honored that you think I’m a right on white woman!:) Yes, the time is now, and I am inspired by your passion for the matter of racial equality and the desire to live your life pursuing that and crossing over color lines,too.

      Stay well, sisterfriend!
      Wendy Jane

Trackbacks and Pingbacks

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