Sunday, September 10, 2006

Pearls of Wilson
with some troubled soul::

1 Joan and me watched a film on TV with a heavy theme of racist behaviour.
It was set in the 50's middle class USA.
Nothing Churns me like behaviour which is obnoxious.
Especially prejudice related to colour of skin.
It was ugly.
With humans refusing to mix and even talk to black humans.

2 Three times in my life - I have had 'NF' painted in my face.
Once sprayed on my car.
Twice sprayed on the front door of my work place.
(NF = National Front - an explicitly racist organisation)

3 At Greenbelt I was on a panel about living and working in the urban scene. A government Minister. Church workers in tough environments. A community worker from the USA..... and other great humans.
One question was about how ethnic communities don't mix but keep themselves to themselves. Several answers from the panel and I said something too.
About how the white English keep themselves cloistered and don't go out of their way to mix - generally speaking.
(You can buy the session CD or MP3 download from the Greenbelt web-site.)
Why is it always 'they' who separate themselves.
Do we ever stretch outside our comfort zones to build relationships.

4 Recently we had a BBQ at Wilson Mansions. We deliberately invited humans from different parts of our lives. Not the usual close group of friends from the same social band. We invited six Asians, Mr Singh, three Kosovans, two Polish and some local, and more geographically distant humans too. It was not the best of chatty social events we have organised. I felt it was dynamically difficult. It would have rocked if everyone who was there had known one another. I felt a failure.

5 In the Wilson Mansions Road - an Asian Family have moved in, a largely white community. Joan said told me she that this week she chatted with one of the women as they waited for a a bus together. They waved as they parted. That 'first contact' will last and develop forever.

6 So often I come across teams of workers who have recruited humans just like themselves. Colour, age, profession, class - sometimes even their friends - sometimes an office or kitchen or other workplace full of Family! Someone I know who worked in Brixton, was astonished because I thought he could consider advertising for a Staff Member in the Black Press! So basic. So simple.

7 Over the years I have been stoned
with words
Over the years I have been battered
by egos
Over the years I have been shocked
by power personalities
Robbed of sleep
by oppressive humans
But have never experienced anything like this from people who belong to minorities .......

8 Today has been Racial Justice Sunday

9 'So often we build prisons for ourselves.
We blame others for our confines,
but it us who constrict ourselves all along.
Most of the walls in our lives we build ourselves.
But sometimes,
just once in a while,
we get a glimpse of the infinity of the universe and know that God is at work.
That's when we must choose to stay in the prison or grasp the risk'

John Donaghue
from 'Anam Cara' a fantastic book.