Melting Pot – Part II

By definition, a melting pot requires assimilation and cohesion. Two of the dirtiest words in American culture because both require buy-in and letting go, these words are synonymous with sell-out, wannabe and many less desirable terms in many ethnic communities. We live in a country in which regardless of your ethnicity you can choose to worship, live, shop and so much more with only your kind, yet we claim to be a melting pot. The truth is and we all know it, the pot never melted. The majority of people are comfortable in their communities and while we may work together and attend school together, we rarely if ever associate with each other.

My favorite analogy is one I often think of when I attend weddings. I have thought at least since high school possibly longer, that if I were to marry, and only black folk were invited, that would be a sad testament of my life and friendships. Weddings to me show who people are. Weddings show the bonds that they have formed over time, I have always wanted my relationships to be diverse, if we live in a melting pot, they should be…

I am blessed I have always been surrounded by a diverse group of family friends and associates even during my pro black, black and proud phase… Ah, high school. I worship in a relatively diverse congregation that is so full of love it’s overwhelming at first, yet beautiful; it is what God intended. I have tended to work in environments where I was the only one or one of a few but have never felt like a token. I am comfortable in my skin thus comfortable having the hard conversations with those of other ethnicities without becoming offended.

Do we want a melting pot complete with assimilation and cohesion?

Are we willing to educate others, without judging their ignorance?

Are we willing to be held accountable for our ignorance?

7 thoughts on “Melting Pot – Part II

  1. I find my most ignorant mostly here in Durham. To them everything is white this or black this. They can’t put the two together. Neither race can see that they are racist. Blacks don’t understand that they can be racist. Whites don’t understand that they are racist.

  2. These issues came to fore for me last week while attempting to help a group of young students manuever through a difficult conversation on race and power in our schools. The conversation didn’t go so well because those of color in the room refused to enter the conversation, which brings me back to your questions
    Are we willing to educate others, without judging their ignorance?

    Are we willing to be held accountable for our own ignorance?

  3. I fully admit to my own ignorance and on certain occasions of prevarication, a “learned” reaction which is less racist and more just me vs. anyone who steps on my toes or offends me at the moment.
    The thing is, not everyone is willing to admit that. I hope that in my willingness to say, “okay God, root out any tendancies that might be racist from me.” that he will. It really is a root issue of love vs. hate, of accepting others as children of God regardless of what they do for a living, where they live, who they worship, and what they look like. Accepting that we are all equal at the foot of the cross.

    Love you Liz! and you too Loretta!!!

  4. Joey, I truly didn’t mean all white people, remember Benji is my pastor and newhope is my church and I love everyone in there even the ones that I don’t know. Blacks are racists toward each other. They determine your worth by where you live, where you work, how light your skin is, and most of all what kind of car you drive. Maybe I should have said “some”. For example “some whites” “some blacks”. Is that better? Growing up in the 50s & 60s, I know when a white person is just tolerating me or is true. You are a true person. If you didn’t like me you would tell me. Your children do not see black or white. That’s it!! You can tell a persons true beliefs by how their children react to other races.

  5. Although I am late to this discussion, I was provoked (in a good way) enough to respond. I confess that I miss the days when I believed in a melting pot society. Now I am not so sure about the fruitfulness of such a place. I want to stress that I truly believe that everyone should be respected, valued and appreciated and that we should make an effort to all keep the peace and get along, but the longer I live the less I want to assimilate into a truly merged society. The differences that make us unique, beliefs, attitudes, avenues of expression, I am just reluctant to see those things merged and diluted in any way. I don’t think one race or gender or class is better than any other, but I firmly believe that no matter how much I explain my “black woman experiences” with non black women, they just won’t understand. Something’s you have to experience to know the depth of, you can empathize, but you can’t truly recognize. Maybe I am just being morose in regard to the status of humanity today, I don’t know. But I believe that in life no matter how hard you stir the soup so to speak you always search for that hint of your favorite flavor and if you find that it’s lacking the soup is never quite right to you.

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