Friday, November 12, 2010

The Oneness of All

I was in New York City yesterday for a luncheon meeting with a friend of many years.

As I walked several blocks from the subway to a restaurant I looked at all people differently. New York City is peopled with many races; White, Black, Asian, Indian, Hispanic and all cultures and races in-between. New York has a large black population, but black are still a minority population in this city.

When I was in Nairobi, Kenya a couple of weeks ago Caucasian was not even a minority race. Caucasian was an anomaly and I felt the difference. It was not a negative feeling, but more of an observational and sensory one. Maybe it was just me, but I felt I stood out in the crowd so to speak. I was never fearful, only different.

The proportional difference between blacks and whites in New York City is far more than that of whites to blacks in Kenya. In Kenya it was possible for me to travel miles and hours and not see another white person.

In the one to one of health-care in Kenya we were all one. In the political discussions of what should and could be done is where the oneness diverges.

Yesterday in New York I watched all people more closely than I ever did before. I looked at black mothers and fathers on the subway with their kids and I did so with a new awareness and appreciation. I saw tenderness, concern, and caring. I knew it was always there, but I was not as aware of it as I was yesterday. I watched family interactions with admiration and with the distant memory of covering the civil rights movement in the sixties. Back then, as a young reporter, I attended services in Black churches and listened to a fiery preacher call for justice and righteousness in an affirmative chorus of “Amen’s.”

I have a wiser appreciation of human identity and dignity the older I get.

I think one has to experience being a minority before one can understand that minority and majority should mean nothing. The only things that are truly important in life anywhere are smiles, courtesy, dignity, tolerance, equality, opportunity and the unconditional acknowledgment of the sameness of being.

Have a great weekend.


LAS said...

Rolland all I can say is "Amen"...we are all the same under the color of our skin or the nationality we are. I learned that at an early age and I am so disheartened when I hear remarks about this or that people who are different. I have learned to love and enjoy the differences. I have always said "if we were all the same we would still find something about another that we may or may not like". The one thing that brings us all together is the love of God and the appreciation of whatever God gives us. He has given us differences so that we may learn from each other and to appreciate them.

Anonymous said...

You may have seen a mix in your travels, but they mostly retreat to their own neighborhoods. I found these maps of NY very interesting. Maybe you will too:
Each red dot represents the residences of 25 white people. The blue dots, black people, green is asian, orange is hispanic.

I hear your weather is heavenly this weekend. Hope you are enjoying it!

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