Facebook Reluctance and Diversity

Facebook Reluctance and Diversity

I have been reluctant to join Facebook for quite a while. I have from afar watched divisive rants and hateful things I want no part of. However, I do enjoy engaging people. One of the things I am passionate about is engaging those on opposite sides of an issue with civility and collegiality. Interestingly, in my first week as a Facebooker, there are folks who have either accepted a friend request or extended a friend request who are all across a variety of spectra. As a veteran, I am happy to have defended the right to express an opinion, but my stance is that divisive and hateful discourse is not productive. What I know is that from 4th – 12th grades in Jackson Public Schools (MS), friends with a variety of skin shades surrounded me. I remember working on projects with, being taught by, getting in trouble with, and serving in leadership roles with friends whose lives at home were completely different than mine. We did not always hang out together outside of school, attend the same churches, celebrate holidays the same way, or even view the world the same way. But we were dear friends.  I remember engaging conversations, innovative solutions, shared struggles, and really cool performance experiences. Yes, there were tense moments, but I do not remember relationships ending because of them. I’m sure some did and I doubt all of my peers share my perspective. However, because of those experiences, I am rarely uncomfortable around people unlike myself. Those years, especially the ones at Forest Hill High School, are still having a profound impact on how I view the world at 40 years old. It has been such a sweet thing this week to watch those faces pop up on Facebook. I cannot tell you how many times in my professional life I have referenced my wonderful high school experience. Some of the folks I most respect and admire look nothing like me and a few do not even share my worldview. So, in the tense atmosphere of extreme partisanship and polarity that we’re in currently, I badly want to encourage civility. I know it’s more complicated than that, but if you share my desire to be a part of the solution, please join me in looking for and sharing ways that diverse groups of people are collaborating well. And by the way, diversity is more than skin color. How many folks do you know who live on a month-to-month budget that are really tight with folks who are wealthy? Socioeconomic diversity can be equally complicated; just rarely as hateful. Please feel free to share an article, a quick observation, etc. It does not have to be lengthy or time-consuming. For example, in the past, I’ve shared a comment as simple as this one after a visit to Atlanta: “Just spent a weekend in Atlanta…diverse groups of people left and right. Love it!” As an educator, I am about to exit the eye of the hurricane into January, but I will try to send periodic reminders through social media to be on the lookout for things to share. I’ll conclude by saying that I am no one’s judge; nor do I believe I am better or superior in thought. I’ve made some royal mistakes that I do not plan to share on Facebook. I stand in judgment of no one. Only One has that job...

The Adams Street Bridge

The Adams Street Bridge

The world is broken. Have you heard that before?  Does that statement resonate with you? In the film The Matrix, the character Neo begins to believe that something is not right with the world.  Morpheus offers answers to Neo but requires that they meet.  The meeting place?  The Adams Street Bridge. I often find myself wanting to explore ideas or possibilities that are rooted in solving a problem or looking at the world differently.  While many of these relate to who we are as spiritual beings, many of them simply relate to issues we confront daily:  marriage, children, work, money, friendships, and community.  I have decided to start writing about those ideas…here. I landed on The Adams Street Bridge as a blog title because, just as Neo faced a dilemma that night, so do we once we believe something to be true.  In my posts, I will often ask if there is room for thinking differently about the topic at hand.  In other words, could our paradigm shift somewhat?  From there, we will face a dilemma similar to Neo’s:  action is required.  When we believe something, we act on it.  If you fail to act on something you believe to be true, you’ll be miserable. You are reading this because I had an Adams Street Bridge experience of my own.  I began to believe that I had something unique and valid to say.  That belief required that I take some action. What can I expect from The Adams Street Bridge? Overall, I plan to bring attention to examples of thinking differently.  Eventually, I hope readers will be compelled to share their own paradigm shifting ideas.  Posts will likely fall into three broad categories:  personal life, professional life, and the arts. Personal Life Because I hope to write about things that are common to the entire human experience, I will address spiritual things.  I know this is one of those topics that either brings people together or tears them apart.  Therefore, I will attempt to write about such things with as little cultural bias as possible.  My views on spiritual life are at the core of who I am, so avoiding this topic would be foolish and disingenuous.  I suspect that readers will let me know if I write something that is out of place.  Thank you for being gracious as I fumble through.  As a husband and father, I will also explore the challenges, pitfalls and treasures of marriage and fatherhood under Personal Life. Professional Life The work we do is often what first identifies us to our community.  That is not necessarily a good thing, but it is true.  Our work also brings about interactions with people who are often very different from ourselves.  That is what makes professional life interesting…sometimes more so than the work itself.  Unfortunately, much of what takes place at work is anything but professional.  I want to confront some of the behaviors that drive peers, superiors and subordinates crazy.  And because I am passionate about my work, I will also explore issues of content.  My content area is education and I feel very strongly about the importance of its role in society.  However, I am the first to recognize that it is incredibly complicated and even messy. The Arts The arts are somewhat related to professional life for me, but I believe they are also the most significant tool available within the human experience for looking at the world differently and inspiring others to do so.  I will explore both what that looks like for me and how I believe the arts are central to the life experience of every human. The world is broken. It is a wonderful world.  But it is also tragic.  I want simply to shed light on some hopeful ways of thinking differently about difficult issues.  I also want to celebrate those who have already inspired others to think differently about specific things.  Finally, I am thankful to have you along on this journey. Welcome to The Adams Street...

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