Those who think equality is essential might take a lesson from spiders. They spare no corner of opportunity. Despite adversity they persist.
caged by identity
He was always alone, off to the side. I figured he was shy. I was not so much shy as reserved, content to watch and study, learning who was who and what was what. It was an integrated elementary school and we studied and played together, but he seemed somehow adrift. Let's call him Mark.
The term in those days was "mulatto." He was light skinned though a bit darker than white kids and had an unusual kind of freckling. I liked him. He was athletic, neat, had good manners and was the kind of kid my parents said I should associate with. But on the playground he stood back and, as I began to observe, he was shunned by some of the black kids who knew him and by a couple of the more boisterous white boys.
Mark lived on the other side of the park and though it was nothing we thought much about, it was the boundary between black families and white families. Mark lived black. I lived white, but we were a lot alike and a natural friendship developed. Mark came to my house, though I was never invited to his. He didn't like to talk about his mixed race parents or the struggles he faced. We just did the kind things a couple of athletic and active young guys did. We were friends.
In a couple of years we were in separate classes and a year after that my family moved to another city.
His older brother became a noted educator and administrator courted by universities for executive positions. He was an advocate for equality, across the board. He had been an outstanding student and athlete and not shy nor deterred by his birthright. That is as it should be.
I don't know what became of Mark, but I thought about him as I read about an incident in a nearby California town.
The police department is being sued over claims of racial bias. A black man who's family had been to the beach was on the way home when he stopped in front of the police department to stretch his legs and smoke a cigarette. He figured the police department would be a safe spot. He says as he got out of the car he was "accosted" by a policewoman who said he looked "suspicious." The officer asked his white wife "why she was there and if she was OK?" The couples two children observed this. You get the idea.
There have been victories in the struggle for human dignity and equality but the war is nowhere near being won. While unenlightened attitudes persist so do efforts to carry the light and build webs of understanding, regulation, law and political culture to deliver on the promise of our democratic republic. Here, every birthright is guaranteed equality, regardless. No cage of identity. Or we are collectively a fraud and a failure. There is work to do.
a champion napperHemingway is a cat after Garfield's heart!
On my honor I will do my best
to do my duty to God and my country
and to obey the Scout Law;
To help other people at all times:
To keep myself physically strong,
mentally awake, and morally straight.
Physically strong, mentally awake, morally straight?
sexual predator, serial adulterer, habitual liar
business cheat, slob?
The Scouts apology for the travesty of the jamboree helped clear the air, but only slightly.
See you down the trail.