Bird Droppings November 15, 2020
How capable do we need to be?
What a contrast to only a few days ago as the sun was shining, and the moon was full as I went out in the wee hours with a crystal-clear sky. There was a gentle wind blowing, wind chimes ringing peacefully and a beautiful smile of a moon gazing at me between the pines and oak trees. I had to stand in the chill and just look at the stars and moon and listen to our chimes from the back yard for a moment. Today I am sitting five floors up in a hotel in Savannah Georgia. My wife and I came to celebrate my nieces’ wedding. We did all we could to avoid people and social distance, wear masks, sanitize and deodorize and stay safe. Life is a wonderful thing and what we make of it is literally up to us. I was hoping to get out to Tybee island for some sunrise photos but was weary from festivities last night. It will be still a few days till day light savings change kicks in and I can get in sync with the sun again.
I miss going out to my favorite spot for getting sunrise photos. Thinking back a year or so ago before my injury as I was looking out of my rear-view mirror a sunrise was exploding across the sky. I did a quick U-turn heading to my spot and it was a gray sky again. As I thought today and missing seeing the sunrise or just being in the wrong place at the wrong time had I not been in such a hurry I would have caught another beautiful sunrise. Life is much like my elusive sunrise images here I am not listening to my own words that one time two more minutes sitting, and I would have witnessed a beautiful sunrise. I chose to go for the bigger picture and ignore the moment. We all do this in life.
I started watching an Australian fiction movie almost documentary of Aboriginal culture, “Charlie’s Country”. I finished it the other morning. Charlie is an elderly Aborigine. He lives on what we would call a reservation and receives government subsidy to survive. He tries to go back to the bush where he was born, living off the land. Eventually he gets sick and is transported to the hospital in Darwin. He gets jailed for buying alcohol for banned Aborigines. Banned meaning they cannot have alcohol. Eventually he finds his way home and is asked to teach the old ways to the children who were losing their culture. Needless to say, the movie made me think about so many things.
As always random ideas get me pondering. When applying for a job and that could be any job, does not capability come into play. When discussing this I am assuming that capability is the ability to do that particular job. Several events have taken place over the past few days and one from several months back. It has been some time since I received a sheet of paper with six questions, a voluntary questionnaire on diversification. I answered honestly and do feel diversification does not get the best person for the job. Are we effectively teaching about cultures when we mandate diversification?
It is interesting in that my own lineage of Pennsylvania Dutch and welsh miner’s diversity has never come up. Nor has it with my great grandmothers’ tribe the Leni Lenape, part of the Delaware Nation. Perhaps they are not significant enough although very unique cultures though they may be. So I am with mixed emotions on one hand listening to a former student teacher who feels social studies is the place to combat racism in high school and then my own conviction that I still consider rednecks an ethnic group provides for great discussion. How do we challenge racism?
My wife came home one day and said she had a patient who said she would only go to American, (meaning white) doctors. So, the other day as I sat on my porch the breeze was cool blowing through the trees, I thought wondering what is it that drives us. I read a Facebook blog recently indicating racism is genetic. I would argue that point strongly it is learned period and I know about learning.
“One day our descendants will think it incredible that we paid so much attention to things like the amount of melanin in our skin or the shape of our eyes or our gender instead of the unique identities of each of us as complex human beings.” Franklin Thomas
“I refuse to accept the view that mankind is so tragically bound to the starless midnight of racism and war that the bright daybreak of peace and brotherhood can never become a reality…. I believe that unarmed truth and unconditional love will have the final word.” Martin Luther King, Jr.
I answered my questionnaire and even wrote on the back until we begin hiring the best person, go to the best health care provider, and stop thinking, as this statement so clearly states stop looking, at the amount of melanin in our skin or not. Are we not all homo sapiens? We are not different species.
“The conquest of the earth, which mostly means the taking it away from those who have a different complexion or slightly flatter noses than ourselves, is not a pretty thing when you look into it.” Joseph Conrad, Heart of Darkness
“To live anywhere in the world today and be against equality because of race or color is like living in Alaska and being against snow.” William Faulkner, Essays, Speeches and Public Letters
Over the years I have read numerous books and articles on Native American culture and one in particular has hit deep, the book Neither wolf nor dog, by Kent Nerburn. Nerburn edits the words of an old Lakota Sioux who feels compelled to express the differences between the Native Americans and whites, hence the title neither wolf nor dog.
“Laundry is the only thing that should be separated by color.” Author Unknown
“Racial superiority is a mere pigment of the imagination.” Author Unknown
How do we entangled out realities to a point where we become so embroiled in differences and how is it we forget to treat each man as a brother? Where do we get this hatred? Many consider racism a learned behavior and to date I have not read anything in research that ascribe racism to a genetic code and or DNA. Therefore, it is learned and if so can be unlearned and modified.
“I am working for the time when unqualified blacks, browns, and women join the unqualified men in running our government.” Cissy Farenthold
“Be nice to whites, they need you to rediscover their humanity.” Desmond Tutu
Arch Bishop Tutu meeting with The Dalai Lama happened several years ago and that is something I really would enjoy to hear and see. These two great human beings at one place and one time speaking and discussing. I missed an opportunity to hear Desmond Tutu when he was in Atlanta as a quest lecturer at Emory University several years back. Having had ties business wise to South Africa for nearly forty years we often had inside information on the happenings there. I recall my father coming home and relating happenings at a check point between Zimbabwe and South Africa and how he was coached as to what to say when rebels stuck automatic weapons in the car windows. I recall reading an article recently about the rise of aids in South Africa and a comment my brother made after a recent trip. He said he was told that left as it currently is the aids epidemic will wipe out blacks in South Africa in ten years. Sort of makes you wonder about conspiracy theories however in the days since foundations from around the world have turned the tide on Aids and while still a serious threat slowly getting some control.
“Racism is man’s gravest threat to man – the maximum of hatred for a minimum of reason.” Abraham Joshua Heschel
In 1968 I was in Texas going to college and at that time in that place racial hatred was not against blacks but Native Americans. I saw it rampant as comments were made and people responded. It was a carryover from the old west and the Indian wars. Even as recently as 1992 when traveling in Oklahoma I witnessed firsthand the racism against those who were here first.
“Preconceived notions are the locks on the door to wisdom.” Merry Browne
“The test of courage comes when we are in the minority. The test of tolerance comes when we are in the majority.” Ralph W. Sockman
Listening to comments from a student teacher recently about how we need to do this and that and show this and that and then thinking to my reading of this questionnaire on diversity. You learn racism if that is a given then you also learn tolerance. You also learn to accept others, I recall from years gone by a story of a man injured on his journey.
“A certain man went down from Lawrenceville to Atlanta, and fell among car jackers, which stripped him of his clothes, and wounded him, and departed, leaving him half dead. And by chance there came down a certain preacher that way: and when he saw him, he passed by on the other side. And likewise, a Lawyer, when he was at the place, came and looked on him, and passed by on the other side. But a certain man of another color, as he journeyed, came where he was: and when he saw him, he had compassion on him, and went to him, and bound up his wounds, pouring on peroxide and gave him some drink, and set him in his own car, and brought him to an emergency room, and took care of him. And on the morrow when he departed, he took out two hundred dollars, and gave them to the host, and said unto him, take care of him; and whatsoever thou spendest more, when I come again, I will repay thee. Which now of these three, thinkest thou, was neighbour unto him that fell among the thieves? And he said, He that shewed mercy on him. Then said the teacher unto him, Go, and do thou likewise.” Borrowing from my seminary days a slight paraphrase, Frank Bird III Ed.S. D.D.
A bit of paraphrase a bit of whimsy but not really how many times have headlines shown people standing by as someone is mugged or even murdered. We are all neighbors, we are all brothers, we are all equal in this life and as the sign as you leave the Ocmulgee National Park in Macon Georgia states that we are all connected. Please keep all in harm’s way on your mind and in your heart and to always give thanks namaste.
My family and friends I do not say this lightly,
(We are all related)