Friday, June 08, 2012

What Made Me Smile This Week

Living in Seattle Washington as an African American means that much of what occurs in daily life is not about me. As African American, my experience is so often not included in many ways. An example, I was all up for a talk given by a woman I had great respect for, a white woman who I thought was well researched on women's issues. Not far into her talk, she spoke of the time when women did not work outside of the home.

Well, it is nice that she recognized that work inside the home is indeed work, there has never been a time in American history for African American women where as a distinct population we did not work outside the home. We were brought to the United States to work for white women and their husbands.

Though never getting used to be an oversight in the minds and mouths of others, as all humans do, I have adapted and accept that yes, people can be quite ignorant and still be in positions of influence.  It is known as privilege.

So I seek out things that allow me to relate to those who represent the full spectrum of experiences of those living in the African Diaspora.  Today seeing the video of the young people dancing at a mall in Silver Springs MD made me smile.  Take a look they are quite talented.

Harriett Hodge who taught me how to win at Word with Friends (be a bit more focused on excellence) also for the past 6 years has taught a young woman classical piano and has sent her off to Japan for a world competition. We expect that she will come home even a greater pianist because of this great experience. Harriett keeps crying. What made both of us smile is that I finally mastered the game and beat her handily.  A real teacher loves to see the student go a bit further.

Being with two Ethiopian American women who brought me with them to WA Dept. of Developmental Disabilities to advocate for the rights of one of the woman's son with multiple and complex disabilities. I was so proud of  this mother who expressed her determination with the help of a translator. She was not taking no for an answer and had done her homework. As a former public official and known in many circles, I am often asked to help with some issue. Most often, too often the requester wants what they are not willing to fight for. We left and had a great Ethiopian lunch complete with a glass of beer. This coming together across differences in language and origin of birth was diminished by the clear understanding that one woman in the room was of no help, and had no intent of being of help to this mother. I will write her up appropriately for her lack of support to this deserving mother.

Yesterday, Rainier Valley Rotary (Seattle)  celebrated 50 years of existence in the Rainier Valley community of Seattle.  This is a very white, very male organization but I enjoy the people who are members because they are committed to doing good.  It was a fun event and I knew many of the past presidents. Rotary and especially RV Rotary because  Rainier Valley is a community that has vast race and culture diversity.  It is not easy working with white's even those with great hearts. Privilege of being white in America allows them to want and often get their way in how things get done.  They do not know that others who have high regard for them, consider them friends, are much more tolerant of them they they are or have to be of others.  So, Howard Gutkneckt who has become a great friend is a rising abolitionist and keeps me at Rotary because, he buffers so much for me. This makes me smile. And Ruth Moen another abolitionist friend is fun to do anything with.

It is still early in the day. I am sure I will find many other things today to make me smile.

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