Tuesday, January 20, 2015


Your view of the world depends entirely on where you are standing.

Yesterday I watched a few different discussion on Facebook. I watched old friends from high school debate and discuss the merits of a TV show in a way that never ever crossed my mind. I watched people reshape and reform Dr. King in to a variety of soundbites and messages that fit their worldview. I overheard my floor guys talking about budgets and then had a funny interaction with them that lead Brent to decide I was probably the star of a "You won't believe this woman" conversation in the floor guy's house.

So let's start with the floor guys. At one point the younger of the two was talking budgets with the older. He was saying how he kept telling his wife she had to watch the bank account. They had X number of dollars in the account and X number of bills that hadn't hit yet and with Christmas there were extra things so they really needed to be on top of it watching. I thought to myself how well I remembered those days. It doesn't seem like too terribly long ago that there was a lot of month left at the end of our money.

So at the end of the day they were clearing out the old flooring. They had been stacking it in the garage during the day and pulled their van around to load up at the end. There was a little pile of sawdust and junk that they asked if I had a dust pan for. I said not to worry about it, I would get it next time I cleaned out the garage. He said he could get it with his hands, and scooped it up. I said, seriously, don't worry, it's just a garage. And he looked up and said, "It's a garage with an Audi in it." I laughed and said, "Well sure, don't dump the trash on the Audi, but it's just a garage."

I might remember what it was like to be watching the bank account that closely but to him? I'm the woman who is paying someone else to put in my floors and isn't worried about a pile of junk near my expensive car. It's all about perspective.

The TV show that was being discussed? Empire. I have it on my DVR. Looks like Nashville with Hip Hop so I will give it a try. That was my thought process. The discussion I read yesterday was between two friends from high school and other friends of theirs. All African American and the discussion was a lot deeper than, Looks like Nashville with Hip Hop. It was much more about representation of Black Culture in general and Hip Hop specifically. Did it help or hurt the image of an entire group of people? Should it be supported even though there are some negative stereotypes just to show that there is an audience for a non-white drama? And were they unfair stereotypes or just a reflection of history? So much more to consider than I ever would. Because when I see a show like Nashville I never even think that people would consider it being a representation of all white people. Duck Dynasty has nothing to do with me. And neither does The Real Housewives of where ever they are from this season.

But because most people on TV are white I don't ever think about it. Because I've seen my face on screen forever in a wide variety of roles it doesn't even cross my mind to worry about the message that is being sent out. I can even roll my eyes at people who think Portlandia is the way we all are, and it really is a spoof on where I am. Because it all depends on where you are standing. Perspective.

I saw Dr. King described as a man of peace. As a man of action. As a man who was calm and as a man who was an agitator. I saw him claimed by every group there was. I saw someone post a reminder that he wasn't a hero to all when he died and was a lightning rod personality. I saw someone insult a huge swath of their friend base and probably not even understand how they did it. I read a blog that reminded us all that though we have a long way to go it's okay to acknowledge how far we've come. I saw people post quotes that had been cherry picked to prove a point they were trying to make and wondered if they had ever listened to a full speech by him? Or read a book about him? Or understood anything more than that he "had a dream?"

I listened to an interview with David Oyelowo about how he felt it was easier for him to play Dr. King because he wasn't raised here in the states. He didn't have all of the baggage and symbolism that was tied up in growing up black in the US with Dr. King as the mythic figure, he was able to get in to understanding Dr. King the man easier. And then he also spoke about growing up in Nigeria and how that made it easier for him all the way around compared to black people growing up in the states or in the UK. He wasn't a minority. He never had the minority mindset. He could spend less time breaking through and more time just being. He talked about how he felt Sidney Poitier was the same way. Since he grew up someplace else, where his color was not the first thing people took in, he never had the feeling that he couldn't and so he did. He had a great line, "He couldn't understand the notion that everything on the plate wasn't his to eat." It's all about where you are standing.

So yeah, yesterday was all about lessons on perspective. A reminder that your world view is all based on where you are standing at the time. Interesting day.

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