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The following Featured Post comes from Relationship Group 9, Thread 2.

21. Not so easy
Mon, Sep 27, 1999 - 9:24 AM/EST

It's not so easy telling someone they should not be themselves. I think this is just how they socialize by showing others how much they know about certain topics. Im not very keen on what whites talk about. But from my recent experience it all sounds mundane and superficial. I mean how many times can you talk about the different countries you've visited?

I am just realizing the vast differences in conversation since I am the only black female and second only black at my job site. I am just the type of person who likes to talk casual and carefree. I mean dont get me wrong I chat with my co-workers but I often feel exhausted and un satisfied with the outcome because it is a strain not to bond with those you work with. But it is a learning process.

So you have been raised in an all white neighborhood. Are your three boys from an interracial relationship? Is it by choice that you have little experience with other cultures? Do you feel it will affect your children's view of blacks? Do you have misconceptions about blacks that are the result of not knowing any? Sorry for all the questions but I am curious.

22. Reflection on
Mon, Sep 27, 1999 - 11:04 AM/EST


I am sorry that you have not been able to "cross the bridge" in your conversations with whites. There will, of course, be those people you meet with whom you have nothing in common and with whom you will never be able to converse freely with. This fact is true for all people, blk/blk, wht/wht, blk/wht, etc......

To generalize as you did in your last message does not seem progressive and only perpetuates those attitudes all of us are attempting to overcome. I read your message as "us" and "them" Is this really where you're coming from?

24. Progressive
Mon, Sep 27, 1999 - 2:47 PM/EST

Oh blacks have tried to progress for some time now, all it takes is a majority to slow the progress of race relations.

If you hear us & them in my post you are probably right. How do we not become an us & them if we see race issues so differently? Predjudice and discrimination are issues that white america thinks are nonexistent today. Until society takes the blinders off there will be an "Us & Them". I'm just so tired of beating a dead horse because the black voice is so unheard in this country.

How do we progress if society treats the minority like they dont exist? I mean can you relate to this at all?

25. Kikko
Mon, Sep 27, 1999 - 8:37 PM/EST

Thanks so much for your curious questions. First,
I think you could be a great mirror to these women
by pointing out how you experience them. They may
not even know how they are coming across. Your
comments may be the invitation they need to talk
about something more meaningful. I don't take your
comments personally, though I will challenge you
to keep pushing to get beyond the us and them. I
personally enjoy finding commonalities and
building bridges.

So my background - I grew up outside of
Philadelphia in a white suburb. I can remember as
a four year old meeting a black man for the first
time. I was shocked that he looked so different
from me. When I asked my mother about it, she
told me that that was the natural color of his
skin, that we were different on the outside, but
the same on the inside. That answer seemed to
satisfy me completely, so I smiled at him and he
offered to tie my shoe. I wish more people had
this kind of "first memory".

I didn't have any black classmates through my
entire high school and college experience. My
husband is white, but born in Holland, which makes
him a bit different from the typical white
American. I would very much like to have a close
friend of another race. I did have a Filipino
roommate and I worked with two wonderful black
men, so I've had a few opportunities, but not
nearly enough. I worry that my children will not
have the chance to meet more people outside their
race because we have moved to another segregated
area. I try to teach them tolerance. My 12 year
old seems to understand what racism is - his
definition was "when you don't like someone simply
because they have a different color of skin than
you do."

I'll think about misconceptions and write more

26. Misconceptions
Tue, Sep 28, 1999 - 8:54 PM/EST

I've been thinking about this and I think
misconceptions I have probably cross class lines,
rather than race lines. Most people I've worked
with or had personal contact with of another race
were of the same class and I really didn't feel
any discomfort. But I've had no contact with
innercity or poor neighborhood families. If I was
driving in a rough neighborhood, I'd lock my
doors, for me it seems a safety issue, but it
could be stereotyping on my part.

I think about the number of single moms living in poverty and
make assumptions that there are more black single
moms percentagewise than white single moms. I
wonder about absent black fathers. I've heard
about innercity youth who are poor but have fancy
cars and sharp clothes - this for me goes against
my personal values because of the materialism.
So, bottomline, I begin to wonder how much I would
find in common with the innercity poor - black or
any other color. So what do you think? Any food
for thought?

27. My Thoughts
Thu, Sep 30, 1999 - 8:46 AM/EST

I am quite sure you would have many things in common with poor inner-city people. Money is not what makes you, it is your inner being that connects with other people that enables you to bond and grow. I think it is the perceptions of poor people that sway middleclass or upperclass from socializing with them. I have met many so called "poor" people who were poor in money but rich in spirit. I learned from them they learned from me, I have never been a materialistic person and I am quite liberal so a person's financial situation never bothered me. There are rich people who are sadistic and mean so class means nothing.

I dont wonder so much about absent fathers as much as people who stay together just for appearances. Many women are getting beat just so they wont have to be alone and be a single mom. Id rather be a single mom than get abused. Have you ever volunteered as a mentor in the innercity, like work at a girls club or community center? To get a hands on view of innercity life? When I was a member of the girls club years ago, there were several white women who were always there to help and teach, and these memories stay with me today.

28. Class Values
Thu, Sep 30, 1999 - 12:08 PM/EST

Ideally class shouldn't mean anything, people are
always human beings first, trying to live,
connect, grow. But as you worked with groups,
Kikko, did you notice any themes - differences in
values? Also, I agree that women should not stay
in abusive relationships, but I cant' imagine that
the majority of absent father situations are due
to women avoiding abuse...

When I was working with some teen moms in our own
area, I was amazed to discover that some of the
moms got pregnant by the same "Dads". It is often
older men who actually feel more manly for getting
these girls pregnant, but who don't step up to the
plate and take any financial or emotional
responsibility afterwards. I wonder whether it is
this kind of situation that runs through some of
the high rates of poor moms in the city as well.

Your suggestion for working with the innercity
girls club is a good one, but it's a two hour
commute, not practical. I'll have to look for
other ways.

Read more featured posts here or continue reading thread 2 from Relationship Group 9.

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