Same House, Different World
Do you remember when you were a kid and you would look at the grown ups and idolize them? Wow, they were cool, they had cars (mobility), money (power), and stature (influence). Now I’m an adult and my mobility isn’t worth the car payment, my job isn’t worth the little power is gives me, and all I want to do is lose 50 pounds of my stature. I’m not quite living up to my own expectations am I?
I read my 1/2 sister’s post the other day about her stint in Jamaica, and it made me realize just how different lives can be even when they come from the same house. For me I was born in inner city Charlotte, I don’t remember much, I left when I was 5, but from what I do remember is was a nice place to be a kid. Of course we where the ONLY white family in our section of town, I was too young to pay attention to any racial tension with the adults, us kids just liked to play in the woods behind the house (now gone for the sake of development). What I do remember is thinking that my family was the odd man out, we only saw people like my family at church and when my mother carried me to school, other than that my world was black and brown. I remember thinking there was something wrong with my families skin, that we were the minority. When my mother got married and we moved to white bread Amishville PA, well that was the culture shock for me. In 3rd grade some Hawaiian boys moved into my school district, but I left that area after a few years. I would be in high school before I was in a school with any black students. Besides a few months in Kenya it wouldn’t be until I was in the Army that my whiteness would be the minority. I know there was a large number of minorities on my campus in college but for the life of me I really don’t know why I never saw them in my classes or in my dorm halls. I roomed with a guy from Brazil for a year, and hung out a lot with the internationals at meals and such, partly because I was mandated to volunteer hours teaching at the ESL program. Wow, tangent, imagine that with me at the keyboard.
So the difference you ask? Well as I was reading my sister’s blog she mentioned the way she felt as the “whiteys” in Jamaica, how it was a new experience for her and how she has a slightly better grasp on her black boyfriends world view living in the mid white USA, oops I mean mid west USA. Finding a black man in rural America is about the same as a decent white cop in Harlem, they are there but you have to look to find them. But then I got to thinking about my siblings and for the most part they lived most of their lives in one town in PA, the youngest to my mother was the only one to always live in the same place but the other two youngins always went to the same school with the same friends, my brother was the only other one to change. Me, I’ve lived in one place for the longest ever in my life right now, here in North Carolina. For the most part I’ve moved every 3 years or less. Mostly around Pennsylvania but I pulled my stints in North Carolina, and Georgia, South Carolina if you count boot camp, and tried to move to New Jersey but couldn’t take the smell.
Same family, different world views. Funny how life can do that. My kids will have even more of this than I do, two Ethiopian born black kids and two American born white kids and they are all going to come out from under the same roof. Their world views will be so far apart it’s not even funny, well maybe some of it will be.