Posted by: abbiewatters | October 17, 2016

Straddling Two Worlds: Winchester me, Cambridge me, and the man who helped me find the real me

Chapter 21 of Waking Up White: and finding myself in the story of RACE by Debbie Irving

Think of different groups of people in your life – your family, your friends, you co-workers, and so on. For each of these groups or contexts, think about whether you feel like an insider or outside and how that status affects your desire to spend time with the group.

My family – I’m very comfortable with my sisters and my two sons. We generally think the same way – liberal/progressive in politics, social justice fighters (although we go about it differently). I’m less comfortable with the in-laws (not my husband’s family – the spouses of my siblings and children). I’ve only recently begun to step out of a desire to avoid confrontation at all costs, so my tentativeness around the spouses is probably my own fault. I love them, but would rather not argue with them (about anything substantive). I’m less comfortable with my brother, too. He is 11 years younger than I am, and, although we were raised by the same parents, our passions diverged – so politically we are polar opposites. I decided many years ago that I loved him and his family, and I would rather remain on good terms with him than be honest.

My church friends – I attend a very progressive Presbyterian church in one of the most progressive areas of the country (Western Washington state). I often wish I could discuss things with the other members of the church, but generally they agree with me, politically and in the matters of full acceptance of all other people. It’s like coming home.

My friends where I live – I live in a retirement community. Many of the people here are less progressive than those in the church, but I am always tentative about arguing or even exploring the underlying bases of their beliefs. I do struggle with the fact most of the people who live here grew up in town. I often say this place is awfully incestuous because there are few folks here who are new. I like spending time with these people, but it can be tiring.

If you would like to join me as I blog about my experiences with race, please read the book. It was life changing for me.

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