Monday, March 29, 2010

Everyday Diversity

Meltingpot mamas are always on the lookout for everyday diversity. When we see another multi-culti family out in public, we notice. When a television show comes on with colorful cast members we notice. Even when we go to a restaurant, if the menu items reflect certain ethnic influences, we notice. And we notice because we're kind of always looking for validation of our own beliefs, cultures and lifestyle choices. Of course this is all pretty much on a subconscious level. In real life, we just walk around with a smile on our faces when we see others that look like us.

That happened to me this weekend. This weekend in the Kinky Gazpacho household, it was all about baseball. Both of my sons have joined our neighborhood little league and Saturday was the parents' orientation. Now I know I live in one of the most integrated neighborhoods in America, but I'm still always a little shocked (in a good way) when I see that diversity in action. I think because I grew up in one of the most segregated cities in America, it still strikes me as unique when I see lots of Black people sitting side by side with White people and nobody seems the slightest bit uncomfortable. Little league was all about the kids, about baseball and about signing up to sell frozen pizzas for the annual fundraiser.

Now I will be honest. I was impressed with the diversity in the audience, a full spectrum of Black and White families, but I was even more impressed to see that the diversity extended to the leadership of the league as well. The coaches were a nice mix of Black and White, the gentlemen in charge of the whole league, both Black and White. What a difference from the way I grew up where my family was usually the only spot of color at my swim meets and gymnastics classes. And of course everyone in charge was always, always, always White. I am so happy that my boys witness this mixing of Black and White as normal. That they see coaches and authority figures who aren't only one color. In fact, they probably take everyday diversity for granted. If so, that means I'm doing my job right.

What about you? Where do you witness everyday diversity? At the grocery store? In school? At the doctor's office? Sometimes I think our efforts at forced integration would do well to study the places --like little league baseball in a neighborhood like mine -- where diversity just comes with the territory. You never know, we might learn something.



Dee said...

God bless you and your Kinky Gazpacho family. I wish your kids luck with baseball.

I see everyday diversity at my college. The college itself is a meltingpot of ethnicities from African-American, Chinese, German, Poles, Indian, Irish, Italian, Swedish, Portuguese and Spanish. There's a religious mix here too, from Muslim to Catholic to Jews. Everyone mingles and talks with each other despite their skin color or where they come from.

Despite this, however, there is a veiled type of racial awareness here. It's much like high school--everyone sort of sticks with their own kind. No one "rocks the boat" if you will. I don't see any Kinky Gazpacho-esque mixing here, save for the ocassional black man and white woman, but never black woman with white man. I've had some aquaintances here that were Portuguese and/or Spanish but nothing in the romance department. I wouldn't even call them friends since we were never close.

The flip side of this is that I'll be all done with college next fall. I can't wait! My own Kinky Gazpacho adventure awaits me somewhere in Europe!

Mimi-Louise-Love said...

i see everyday diversity in my own family and in my friends family. its a very beautiful thing.

jeromequigley said...

Lori, I have loved following you (which I rarely do with anyone)!! I was looking for a peaceful website that dealt w/diversity. So needless to say I got hooked on reading your post. I loved this article. I am white, married to philipino and have a handsome little 2yr old boy! I was lucky enough to grow up, being born and raised in that enviroment till I was 18, in a very mixed neighborhood and schools. It did have a huge impact on me but some of it was not anything I noticed till later in life. It always does my heart good to see when people of different races get together for almost any event and they just don't even show or care about race! It just gives me hope that one day all races will just GET IT!! Sure people are different but sometimes it has nothing to do with skin color. I have run into people that we went through a lot of the same experiences and see eye to eye on things but are different races(that would be my best friend Ron who is black, we have been friends since I was 18 and I am 41 now). But have met people who by all standards we should be alike but are nothing a like. But I am one of those out spoken people that will start up a conversation with some one in line at the store or any where else you bump into people! I have always loved meeting people and get to know them whether it is a short conversation or end up being the best of friends for years! I love to study people and have gotten very good at it. You seem like such a good soul!! And I love that you will try and respond to your readers, they is some one that cares!!! I would love to hook up via email or facebook w/u. I know that you are a very talented writer and have been looking for some one to help me on a book. I have lived a life that people just drop their jaw and just stun them with how much I have been through and seen. Much less that I am still alive!! My life has been filled w/a mix of good and bad adventures but nothing ever seems to stop me. And this is from a guy who got shot @4yrs old in the face with a .38 point blank range. Went through the right side of my mouth and came out on the left side of the back of my neck! And that was just foreshadowing for how my future was going to go. But I do share another thing with you, now I have ADHD which acts a little different than yours but not much, so I understand what you go through when trying to start a new task. I have learned by trial and error how to resolve some of that. But would love the chance to talk to you on the real about helping me write my book. I think you are just the kind of person that would be able to understand what I have been through and how to convey it. But that was not my main reason for finally posting on here! I just love to read about positive adventures like yours (not that I agree with all your views, but to me that would be too weird) and wanted you to know that it is very nice to read your post!!! I would wish you luck but don't think you really need it! You are already blessed with a great outlook and wonderful support of a loving caring family! you can email me at (yes jerome cause unlike unaware peeps I am sure you know that jerome is a very irish name and has been handed down in my family for generations, as my son jerome daniel quigley will tell you) or find me on facebook under, David Quigley!! Again it is such a pleasure reading your post, please keep it up!!!

LT said...

College campuses are indeed a hotbed of diversity yet often the place where people feel forced to pick only one group to identify with. Sad. Keep the faith.

Sweet :)

Wow, thank you for your devotion and dedication to follow the Meltingpot. I really appreciate your kind words. Sounds like you too have a good story to tell.

Heather said...

I feel like I don't see enough everyday diversity. I live in a predominantly white area and teach at a predominantly white institution. I feel like a lot of the time I'm fighting the good fight to try to INCREASE everyday diversity. However, in my own little tiny family (which is, of course, the center of my universe!!! LOL!)... I see everyday diversity all the time. It makes me dizzy with both happiness and with wonder/curiosity/questions-about-the-past-present-and-future. Anyway, some of my favorites:
-- when I find my three on the couch snuggled up tight together watching a video, with one (or both) of the boys running their fingers through their sister's fine blond hair while she is playing with their locs.
-- when I'm at work and I think of my kids at home with our (awesome) Nanny.... and I think of the racial make-up of that tiny little group: 1 white (Meera), 2 black (K & O), and 1 Puerto Rican (Margie). I think it is pretty interesting that our little white bio daughter spends the bulk of her time during the week with nobody who is white.
-- when we re-twist and I watch my white husband working on my boys' locs.
-- etc., etc., etc.

Love this idea of "everyday diversity"...

LT said...

Maybe you should move to Philly :)

Heather said...

oh, trust me-- we have that conversation on an almost daily basis!!!!!