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Posts Tagged ‘HB2’

A friend of my mine called me up and asked if I had time to talk.  I didn’t, but he was a close friend, so I said sure.  My friend begins the conversation with, “What do you think about this implicit bias bull shit?”  I laughed, and we began what ended up being a 20 minute conversation about politics, black lives matter, racism, and implicit bias.  All while four kids ran around me like chickens with their heads cut off doing various tasks and getting ready for homework, bed time, or snacking.  Here is the punch line:  My friend ended the conversation with, “You know what?  That makes sense.  You should write a book.”  My friend is white.

At work, I had lunch with a colleague/friend.  As we were talking, I said to her, “I don’t have time for nuance, so, if you don’t mind, I’m going to be blunt.  I have a six-year-old daughter.  Why is it so wrong that I don’t want her to share a bathroom with a person with a penis?”  She smiled, and it began a 30 minute conversation about North Carolina’s HB2 law, trans genders, Charlotte, NC and evidence for and against the repeal of HB2.  My friend used to be my student, and after the conversation I thought to myself, “I just got schooled by a former student.  How cool is that?”  My friend is black and lesbian.

Several weeks ago, I had an awesome conversation with a police officer.  I posted this brief story on Facebook at the time.  The amount of information I learned about police procedures and police/public interactions was enlightening.  I am fairly confident that if I had questions about police shootings, which unfortunately have been prominently displayed in the news in the past year, he would talk to me and answer just about any question I had.  And I am confident, the conversation could be messy, but illuminating.  I consider him a new friend.  He is a police officer and white.

Shouldn’t conversations like these happen everywhere and with everyone?  Are they happening?  Or are people just shouting across the aisle doing drive by politics on Facebook?  Facebook has turned into the virtual equivalent of guy on a street corner with a sign that reads, “You’re going to Hell! or Save the Whales!”  And then you get your dopamine rush when you get all the likes to your declarative, useless generalized statement.  Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy posts of varying opinions.  I especially enjoy it when someone provides a link to an article or provides their own personal insight to something they read or saw on TV.  I despise the name calling. And I could do without general statements that have no meaning or provide zero context.  Context is everything.

When I was in college, I lived in a co-op in Berkeley, CA.  Co-ops where cheap because they were run by the tenants, very socialist.  Anyhoo, there was talk of creating an African-American co-op.  I was interviewed by the newspaper on the topic.  The next day as I walked through the halls, I got evil looks from every black person I walked by.  Finally, I said to my roommate, “Is it me, or is every black person giving me the evil eye today?”  His response was, “Didn’t you read the newspaper?”  I found a paper and saw my quote.  To this day, I don’t remember the quote, but I do remember that the sentences before it and after it were not quoted in the paper, changing the meaning of the sentence entirely.  I spent the rest of the day talking to every black person in the co-op explaining my quote and the missing context.  Context is everything, but who has time to understand the full story?  Everyone should, or at least entertain the possibility that they may be missing something, but who’s got time for that?

I guess my point is that I am thankful for the friends, both past and present, that are able to fill the gaps in my knowledge on a variety of different topics.  What do you do for that?  Is your friend circle as diverse as mine?  I mean at the end of the day, isn’t this the true value of diversity?  I can’t even imagine how you grow as a human being without diverse people in your life, both culturally, spiritually, and intellectually.  I can’t force the melting pot, but this is why I am against being a separatist.  I love learning and growing through the sometimes uncomfortable conversations with people of differing opinions.  Get out of your comfort zone.  Look across the aisle and ask the simple question, “Why do they believe what they do?”  Heck, ask yourself, “Why do I believe what I do?”  You might be surprised at what you find out about other people and yourself.  A big thanks to my diverse friends, for keeping me honest, stretching me in countless ways, and challenging me to not always accept the status quo of my beliefs.  I am a better person for it.  So, ask yourself, what’s in your wallet? (roll credits).
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This happen today.  A student waiting in the hall just outside my office was talking to another student about their classes.  He proceeded to tell the other student about a paper he had to write in his class, Animal Physiology (my class).  He hated the fact that the professor (me) forced the students to go the Writing Center before turning in their final paper.  He than admitted it would likely make his paper better, but didn’t like it.  I had to stifle an outburst of laughter.  College students are like five-year-olds that make a butt load of noise to construct their tower of chairs to reach the cookie jar and are surprised when you catch them with their hand in the cookie jar.  What?  Sound travels?  Really?
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