Sometimes I find myself so caught up in my own journey that I forget to acknowledge or even recognize the journey of others.
Our class, professor included, is a wonderfully diverse group of people. I have had thought-provoking discussions with a black man twenty years older than me. I have worked closely with a gay man who is married to his loving partner of ten years. I have bonded with a young Asian woman that is a dedicated servant to her church. These experiences are crucial to bridging gaps that seem more terrifyingly present in our society than ever.
Despite our incredible diversity, I’d like to pose a question:
What aren’t we?
The individuals that make up our class represent a remarkably broad section of this city. I’d also claim that we represent a remarkably broad section of this state. However, I’d be hesitant to say our class is an accurate microcosm of anything beyond that.
There are a lot of people, lifestyles, and perspectives that we do not represent. And there are a lot of people, lifestyles, and perspectives that we do not understand. With all our unique lives, we are still a fairly niche demographic. This is key to remember.
It is important to find yourself, find your way, and be confident in your own journey. But I’d ask you all to at least on occasion remember what you aren’t. Who you aren’t. Where you aren’t. What you haven’t experienced.
The world wants you to play the name game. They want you to clearly and emphatically label yourself with all your distinguishing characteristics and stances. They want you to be of a certain race, of a certain religion, a certain political party, an income bracket, a social class, a physical archetype, a style of dress, a genre of musical interest, etc.
Everyone seems so desperate to aggressively tell the world what they are when really we should be consciously and empathetically assessing everything we aren’t.
We are all on the same planet, the same vessel if you will. The objective is not to learn how to swim to shore where you can watch everyone else drown. It is not even to save those you love with a self-made life raft.
The objective is to keep the entire ship afloat so that everyone can get to wherever they are going.