The Connectors

Prejudice. Bigotry. Racism.

These are very ugly words. So ugly, in fact, that when my first child was born over 20 years ago, a made myself a promise. As she and her sisters grew, I refused to use race as a descriptor in identifying their friends.

I did not want my children to grow up seeing race as something that separates people. I did not want them to struggle with the same stereotyping ignorance that I have struggled with all my life.

I love watching how this effort has evolved. I also love seeing how my own beliefs and ideals are being pushed and tested in a way that makes me question whether I truly feel the way I say I feel.

It’s a “put your money where your mouth is” sort of push.

It feels as though I am part of a bridge between what once was and what is to become.

My parents witnessed and experienced public school segregation and subsequent integration. They remember a time when skin color and even religion determined the level of opportunity afforded a person. I am proud of the fact that my dad had a good friend from the “wrong side of the tracks” even when that was a bit unusual. He has had many such good friends throughout his life.

My children only know about it through history books.

Unfortunately, my children have witnessed the self-destructive poverty mentality that tends to attach itself to certain ethnic groups in our part of the country. I have seen it as well. In spite of my best efforts to protect my children from connecting behavior to race, to some extent, it has happened anyway.

Therein lies some prejudice that I never intended my children to acquire. In many ways, they have chosen to separate themselves from the behaviors that they find unacceptable. In doing so, their opportunities to experience a variety of cultures has been somewhat limited.

My oldest child has stepped away from this place and out into the world. She is a connector, seeing people for who they are, not who they appear to be. She challenges me and my stated beliefs on a regular basis. She has landed in a place where diversity does not necessarily equal poverty mentality and self-destructive behaviors. It exists as an equal opportunity as does goal-oriented focus and success.

Her new friends have many roots, yet they are all connected. She connects and she helps them to connect with others from all over the world. It is a true melting pot of interdependence and compassion.

This generation, both here in the U.S. and in countries like Egypt, want so much more from their world. They desire peace and cooperation, and many of them know exactly how to make it happen. They have been nurtured to recognize that God is not a divider separating people into categories of worthiness. They do not see skin color, religious beliefs, or sexual preference as qualifiers. They understand that God is within them and will be experienced by others through their compassion, their vision, their passion, and their love for one another.

In a sense, they are collectively…..God. Aya. One.

They are the indigos, the crystals, and the rainbows.

They may very well be the catalysts who usher in an age of true interdependence.

They are The Connectors.

I am glad to be a part of the connection.

4 Responses to “The Connectors”

  • Angie- I am the generation of which you spoke. I never went to public school with black Americans.It was not until college did I regularly associate with them. I missed so much. Those three words come back to haunt me frequently. I wish to think of myself as now free of them, but they still haunt my thinking and speech and I’m sure in other ways as well. My children were grown beofre I began my journey. I have seen the younger two boys come to my position, leaving the eldestin a position where I once stood. That is very difficult on me. I am still coming to grips with the legacy I left him. I admire the stand you have taken with your girls.

    • My heart goes out to you. Your challenges and heartaches are significant. I’m no longer convinced it is completely up to us to shape the belief system of our children. You and I are perfect examples. Look at the wonderful job our parents did raising us to believe the “right” way, and my guess is you were as good at it as I was. Yet here we are blazing our own trail in a totally different direction, drawing from what life has laid before us. We will be okay. Our kids will be okay. Why did the timing work out as it did? Who knows? Maybe someday, your older son will have a shift….when his time is right.

  • The key words are: “when the time is right”. No one can change him, ceratinly not me personally. H is an adult. “When the student is ready, the teacher will appear”.

  • Another great post, Angie! Thanks

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