Ap·proach (n): 1. a way of dealing with something. E.G.: “We need a whole new approach.”
I find myself in Clarksville, Tennessee.
If you’re going to be a journeyman, you should be prepared to journey and become a better man in all situations.
I think I pride myself in the fact that I’m able to blend with various cultures and be of benefit to the people around me, as they also share their flavors and insights in my direction.
At breakfast this morning, there was a man who serves the food, who happens to be a fellow of color. I had been interacting with him for several days with a bit of conversation, generosity and expressing interest in his life.
Honestly, I felt quite cosmopolitan doing so, feeling that I was “a man for all seasons.” (Remember, arrogance is always more likely when one thinks one is being righteous)
As I sat at breakfast, two other young chaps, who happened to be of his hue, came into the room, sat down, and began to talk. I didn’t want to be impolite by listening in, but I did anyway, and it didn’t make any difference.
I was only able to catch about every tenth word and make out its meaning from my limited translating ears.
My acquaintance was a different individual around these two than he was with me. I realized that when he spoke to me he was more cautious, overly respectful and maintained a certain distance.
It wouldn’t even have occurred to me had these two gentlemen not come in and brought out his internal workings. I realized that through the combination of the Southern culture, his upbringing, racial tensions in America, and honestly, my ignorance, that he and I had barely brushed against each other.
I had deceived myself into believing that I was a “great communicator,” when really, I was still just a color, a shape and an obstacle.
It gave me pause.
What is the approach we will need to cross these horrible barriers we’ve constructed between each other, and to heal the inconsideration and atrocities of careless ancestors?
I’m not sure what the approach should be, but I know that somewhere along the line we will have to be honest about our lackings, laugh at our weaknesses and give some good ground to one another–or nothing will change.
Thank you for enjoying Words from Dic(tionary) — J.R. Practix