Recently, I was chatting with a man on a dating app who had political views very different from my own and he was surprised that it wasn’t a problem for me. Both my liberal and conservative friends can’t fathom how I don’t see politics as a deal breaker, but from my unique perspective I see their limiting views in the same way I have experienced mixed-race racism living in both the black and white worlds. If I only socialized with people with a mixed-race perspective, my only potential friends would be Meghan Markle, Barack Obama, Halle Berry and North West. We see things differently and we see the lines people draw around themselves, even when they say they are open minded. I have been thinking a lot about how I can contribute from this perspective. I can talk about it —and some will understand— but my hunch is this is something that has to be experienced to be understood.
Can you visualize a world where you don’t fit in and you see groups of races, nationalities, politics, genders, ages, and other distinctions creating a maze of imaginary lines that cannot be crossed around their worlds to define themselves? The maze was extremely treacherous when I grew up on the south side of Chicago in the 60’s. For many years I tried to fit in to these groups as needed to get by with a fear of not being accepted or worse, bodily harm if I didn’t. It was frustrating, lonely and I pushed down parts of myself to appear how I needed to appear in social and business settings. This led to angry bursts of rage, punitive rampages and isolation. It made it impossible for me to truly connect. I have known the grandchildren of Nazi’s, southern good ole boys, extreme progressives who claimed me as their black friend, and realized that these are just people making a life for themselves with what they know just as I was. I find my way through these difference by connecting to our common ground rather than trying to change them. We can coexist in this world with our differences, even the most extreme ones. That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t stand up for what you believe in, but I have found that I can make more of a difference by connecting to the humanity in others rather than forcing my point of view.
I see this approach as one of the ways I am leading on the front lines of The Feminine Revolution.