Why do we do it?
Why do we tend to segregate ourselves despite our aversion to do so?
Are we no different than pack animals limiting ourselves to our own kind? I had chickens once. I had black Cochins and white Silkies. Both were Bantams. For some reason, they would segregate, the blacks on one side, the whites in another cluster. It was quite peculiar because I do know other breeds do mix. Yet, its parallel in people.
This is something I have noticed being commonly done, being partial to ones of our own ethnicity.
When I worked at the health department in Alabama, I noticed it with my coworkers. The blacks seldom wanted to have lunch with whites. They’d always go off and do their own thing and never invite us and often refused our invitations (doing so kindly) to have lunch together or do some other activity outside of work. Yet, some were quick to take offense at assumed or unintended slights, reading more into them than there was.Yes, there were intended ones as well and from both sides. Defenses were up, no doubt.
In the eight years I worked there, I was only invited out once by a black coworker, she retired shortly thereafter. We had a great time. One young lady joined our staff just before I left and when she could, as her schedule permitted, she would join us and we’d have fun, we became room mates of sorts later. She was highly educated and I think having had a white roommate in college, it helped her become more relaxed. Few do and that can be both ways.
Do we look at ourselves as if we are different, singled out or put upon somehow? What I think is at work here is fear. Fear of not belonging. We have been brainwashed for so long and our differences emphasized that that is where our heads are at.
It is no wonder I seldom felt I belonged. I was half white, half Hispanic. I grew up in California and found that white girls didn’t like my “Spanish” blood and Hispanic girls despised my “whiteness”. I thought white, not Mexican, so that didn’t help either. In truth, I knew little of my Mexican culture so you can imagine how lost I felt. Surprisingly, or so you would think, but it was in Alabama that I found acceptance for me being just me. It was there I found some of my dearest friends. No one cared about my color except those who were of color. It was a conundrum. They thought I should be sensitive to it, but I wasn’t.
Of course I have to admit that for so many years the hostility in the south was so great that it’s no wonder it continues to be an issue. The whites I knew would go out of their way to be kind, but few had black friends. We had one black woman married to a white man in our church. One friend said of her, “she doesn’t know she’s black” . I had to think about that awhile. Many races see themselves as race first, people second. Her mindset was people period.
She and her husband had been married over forty years. Think about that. They were a couple just shortly after segregation was banned. Do you think it was hard for them? You betcha. She and I had a long conversations about that and it took some doing but she did it
Everyone in the congregation loved her and her children.
Blacks feel a need to support other blacks. Hispanics, Hispanics and so forth.
Perhaps that is why we see so many pocket communities. In L.A. for example you drive through and even looking
at the map , sections are called. “Chinatown”, Tokyotown, and Koreatown.” There is the Watts area for blacks and Pomona or east LA and other regions where you find primarily Hispanics. They feel “safe” in their respective areas.
It used to have a chip on my shoulder for the elitist class or those who I thought were. When I was a girl, from my perspective, blondes always did have more fun. They all seemed to come from more affluent
families and gifted new cars their senior year. Guys always seemed to like blondes better, but I was dark. Seldom did I know of or see Hispanics who were affluent.
I understand why people rally behind someone of their
ethnicity when for so long they were seldom granted the privilege of a higher education or other advantages. Not unlike women in the workforce, but that has changed and in some cases is an advantage.
In truth I could sight an inordinate litany of injustices I personally experienced but I don’t allow myself to stay there, because I find it counter productive.
I would like to see us reach a point to where color or region is of lesser importance.
When I got a promotion at work, a woman and regular customer of mine asked where I’d been. When I told her I’d gotten a promotion, she rejoiced saying, “I always love to hear when one of “our kind” succeeds”. I was taken aback at the remark. I never thought of myself as being a “kind” of anything. I then became sad and very disappointed she felt that way, and finally angry. Why must it be that way? It has always been my assumption we are all created equal. I didn’t see myself as different.
Why should I make it on anything else but my own merit? Shouldn’t we be willing to go the extra mile for all?
Why are we, as humans, so compelled? God is not partial. Why are we?
I know that today many who embrace the idea that leveling the playing field economically will equalize societal norms, but I’m afraid they are mislead. That basic instinct just can’t be so easily erased. In fact there’s a good chance that the inequalities of 100 years ago may resurface.
Why is there this innate need to bring others down to raise ourselves up? As everyone struggles to rise to the top they become like the frog in a tub of cream, squishing everyone else down.
I recall dating this guy from La Jolla. His parents were very affluent and yet I’m sure thought themselves quite progressive. After meeting me he called to break it off. His parents didn’t like me. Two reasons. One, I was Hispanic, the other, I did not come from money. It broke my heart. I didn’t really care about him so much, but more that my biggest insecurity had been reaffirmed.
I’m not good enough. I was more hurt that they never gave me a chance because I AM GOOD ENOUGH! I knew it in my heart, but sometimes the brain didn’t get the message.
CLASS REUNION –
I recently attended my 50th class reunion. I was amazed at how many guys, now men who came up to me with my husband and told me how intimidated they had been because I was so “hot”. They were afraid to even approach me!! Sometimes, what I perceived as alienation because of a previous bad experience or supposed opinion had nothing to do with reality.
Once I was married to a man with money and I had few friends. Only two to be exact because they were the only ones not intimidated by it. After we
divorced I chose not to attach or claim any of “our” money (that was a mistake) but in any case, I was now “poor” and it was amazing the comments I got. “You are so much nicer now” was the big one. I responded with “I’m the same person I ever was”. Their reality was that rich people are snobs.
LESSONS LEARNED –
I had a neighbor tell me when he found me crying one day, “not to worry” people were “just jealous” because not only was I attractive, I was well manicured and well off. My own prejudgements came to bite me in the butt. Granted, I still wasn’t blonde, but isn’t that what I used to think? Silly.
I found out later that on an occasion when I invited a few needy people from church to the house once, they never forgot. One wife of an elder told others she thought I was “showing off”, trying to make them feel bad for what they didn’t have. I even kept it simple in order to not come across like that. That hurt worse than a thousand daggers.
I held onto my two friends and cherished them for not being petty. I sucked it up and learned another valuable lesson about friends and money.
Partiality is all encompassing.
When I read about bringing down big business, I think of my own limited experience.
It makes no sense at all.
Is it jealousy? Do people want to bring others down to level the playing field so they don’t feel so bad about having less
I’m thinking about businesses here. There’s been a cry to penalize them and tying their hands to restrict profits thinking it can help the little guy. Is there anyone out there that truly believes that? They’ll just take their business elsewhere and many have. I see it as inviting a criminal element, because it’s like guns. The bad guys will always get them. Then there’s the matter of when they make their product elsewhere, the only ones who suffer are those that lose their jobs as a result.
I’m not anti actor, but some of the biggest proponents of bringing down big business are actors who get an enormous amount of money for what they do. Shall we drop their wage accordingly, so that there is one flat fee for everyone? Why should one person make more money than another for doing the same thing? “Share the wealth”, they say. I’m sorry, but if you take a little from a whole lot, it’s no big deal, but if you take a little from a little, it’s a lot. They don’t seem to get that.
It’s great they have the luxury to indulge their sense of self worth by philanthropic activities but not every one can do that. I, however do not want to take away from what they can do and instead applaud them. At least they are doing something.
It’s easy to call the shots when you aren’t the one hurting, or struggling to make ends meet. It’s easy to sway and convince the person who is set on believing that “the rich get all the breaks”, “the rich get richer”, “life’s not fair” and it’s always “someone else’s fault” they haven’t succeeded to gang up and hurt someone or something else as a solution to their problem.
If you destroy all incentives, all the reasons to try, then what’s the point? That mentality breaks the spirit. A broken spirit ceases to try.
We have become a society of entitlement minded people. Well, I hate to break this to anyone, but we are not entitled to anything we haven’t worked for.
|As Maya Angelou’s mother always told her, “each person was expected to “paddle his own canoe, stand on his own feet, put his shoulder to the wheel, and work like hell’ “.|
I’ve done many jobs in my life and I know how easy it is to see someone sailing smoothly along through life thinking their job/life is easy. I’ve tried those jobs or known people who’ve done them. Well, it’s never as easy as it looks
. Everything in life takes effort. Everything in life worth having takes effort. Be it a job, a career, a business, a marriage, a relationship. EVERYTHING.
The rich guy is rich because he or someone connected to him busted his butt to get their regardless of the route taken. Stop and think about it. The cartel or mafioso has ill gains, but he worked his ass off, broken a few heads or taken a few lives to do so, but… it still took work.
I saw people on welfare working all the angles trying to get something for nothing and yet, it was a full time job for them to do so, all the while grousing about the “rich” guy. They spent hours in our facility and other places constantly getting all this “free” stuff. If they put that much effort into a regular job they’d be way ahead. (At least some of them would.) Some, like crooks, were better at working all the angles than others and that will always be the case.
If all of us put forth as much effort in changing what we do and how we think or what we say rather than belly-aching about the past which cannot be changed, we may actually affect a noticeable and positive transformation. Wouldn’t that be beautiful?