americagggggh

i always want to start my blog entries out with the title, “a few things” when i survey my days right before my head hits my pillow, so sorry if i seem to get repetitive.

i just took a cab ride home from a cabbie who almost refused to drive past western. it made me think about how segregated chicago is. he said he wouldn’t let his daughter live on my block. i love my block. it’s not pretty, but my neighbors are wonderful and it’s a stone’s throw from the el. he started mumbling about mexicans and i got pissed off. but then i realized i was going off on a guy who came to america and is driving a cab and the cab company probably told him to not drive through my neighborhood. whose fault is that? i went on a rambly monologue about the true dream of america and how we all need to accept each other, which i ABSOLUTELY believe with all my heart, but it’s an easy thing for me to say. it’s easy for me to say we all need to accept each other because, besides being a woman, i am still white and i still come from an upper middle class background. i’m not whining about it, i know i am really really lucky. these interactions make me wonder how much i am practicing what i preach. do i accept everyone and give them all a fair chance? probably not, but my prejudices run towards disliking people at a glance because he has an suv or she is really proud of her brand name purse. which is really no better, it just seems less so.

it reminded me of this weekend, about a year ago. some friends and i went to an event. some of my friends happened to be black. they got stopped at a door while me and my white female friend were allowed in without a fuss. it was terrible and racist and an awful experience. there was a lot of talk that evening about changing stuff and working towards a more integrated and accepting social atmosphere, but really, what the hell have i done differently besides think about the inherent racism that exists inside of oneself when you are raised in a certain group of people with a certain group of social norms. in class we always talk about not letting your personal prejudice affect how you deal with your students. it’s a hard thing to do. to really look at what you were brought up with and what you have to first acknowledge to let go of- prejudice and racism and hate are gross. it is not a fun thing to think about. it is most definitely an uncomfortable conversation to have with yourself and others, but it is one that needs to happen.

you can’t just write off a group of people with a glance or upon hearing a rumor. you really can’t write off anyone. you MUST try to understand where he or she is coming from and how that reacts with where you are coming from and try to find a way to make it work so that everyone is better, not worse, from the interaction. but how to do it? how do we find a way to appreciate differences while understanding that one thing is not better than the other.

i need to talk to my little brother, he is really wise about these things.

i am going to try to stop perpetuating stereotypes, even in small ways. this will involve a lot of doing, rather than just thinking.

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