Friday, July 13, 2012

Are We Losing Our Humanity?

This is a question that a good friend of mine is probing through a series of community activities sponsored by ASU.  This idea, that as a people we can lose sight of what really makes us human makes me think of Booker Wright.

He was surrounded by people who enjoyed him.  He was fun-loving, humorous, kind, thoughtful, and humiliated almost every day.  The very people who believed they had friendship with him failed to actually take in his humanity.  They were living in a societal structure that let them believe that he was probably content with his station in life.  Why would an illiterate black man in the mid-1960s want anything more than to wait on tables and deliver a steak and a song night after night?

What I've learned, from sharing meals and memories with these very people, is that they did truly love him.  That cannot be denied.  Yes, they failed to see him, but they didn't know it at the time.  This has been one of the biggest lessons for me in all of this.  I don't want to be so busy in my daily life that I fail to see those in need or in heartache around me.  There will always be politics, but each individual that I come across in my daily life is unique and temporary.  I have to choose to celebrate people even if we're not on the same side of the aisle.  Booker Wright taught me that.

10 comments:

  1. God bless you. I am anxiously awaiting the Dateline show.

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  2. Well said. I've enjoyed reading your blog. I watched the original "Mississippi: A Self Portrait", and I just saw the Dateline story. Mr. Wright's conviction was so captivating!

    Cade Peeper
    Memphis, TN

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    1. Cade, I agree with you. He was smart, charismatic, and simply amazing!

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  3. Watching the Dateline show and am so glad to be hearing this story. I feel so bad about segregation. I'm caucasion and I'm ashamed. Looking forward to reading your book.

    We are in this world together and humanity, kindness and love should be our mantra at all times.

    Best of luck in all you do.

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    1. Thank you for your comment, Denise!

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  4. Susan MinamizonoJuly 15, 2012 at 9:48 PM

    By mere chance I was watching NBC news tonight and saw a face from the past. Yvette, your journey is so moving! Your grandfather seemed like a guy I would have loved just hanging out with. What a courageous man. I am sorry to have missed the Dateline show.

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    1. Susan, I am so sorry to just now be responding. Life has been nuts since the piece aired. Contact me via the contact page - the link is up top - and I can send it to you via email. Or, I'll be posting a link to it here on this blog in a few weeks or so. Miss you! I hope all is well!

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