Debby Irving’s book explores privileged white people’s tendency to consider their way “the” way to behave, to speak, to socialize, etc. Irving and her husband are both white, but she shares her realization/embarrassment that for years she expected him to “learn” the social niceties of her tidy, conflict-averse world. That self-centered view of “how one must be” leads (ironically) to conflict, not just racist conflict, but conflict with all difference.
This, too, hit home for me. One of the things that attracted me to Jonathan was his forthrightness about speaking his mind. He’s a far cry from my familiar, conflict-averse conformity. I found his figure on a farm tractor – ripped t-shirt, backward-facing hat – far more appealing than business suits and briefcases. I loved how different he was from what I knew. There were also times, though, when culture-clashes between my spouse and my family made me cringe. Why was difference such a problem?
This “waking up” thing goes way beyond race.
My 60th year in 60,000 words
Day 322: 161 words, TOTAL = 52,523; 7,477 remaining
Robin Clifford Wood is a writer and writing teacher. She lives in central Maine with her husband and dogs, loves to be outdoors, and enjoys ever-expanding horizons through her grown children and their multi-species families.