It is time to be really real with each other...we are more comfortable with our own kind, and it is okay. It is natural.
Look at nature, lions roam the plains with lions, wolves run in packs with other wolves and even ants build highly structured colonies with other ants. Segregation is natural. It is only in the most complex ecosystems, such as a rain forest, where multiple species co-exist, interact and depend on each other. For them, integration is natural.
As we are all homo sapiens, shouldn't it be easier for us to co-habitate?
This is where the rubber meets the road...we have to move above and beyond what is natural and comfortable for our own ever-increasingly complex ecosystem to survive and flourish. The troubling part is the breadth and depth of segregation, it permeates every part of American society and culture. For most of us it is an unconscious way of life. Consider Sunday, it the most segregated day of the week. Monday through Friday we labor side-be-side, have lunch together and my imbibe at a happy hour with each other. On Saturday, our children play soccer together, we shop, go the movies and co-mingle throughout the afternoon. But Sunday is a very different thing for most of us. Race-based denominations, congregations and conventions abound:
- The African Methodist Episcopal Church
- St. Augustine Catholic Church, "the Mother Church of African American Catholics"
- The National Baptist Convention, "the nation's oldest and largest African American religious convention"
This is in no way meant as an indictment of religion, faith, denominations, congregations, etc. These organizations, and their founders, were forced to segregate because of prejudice and fear in the 18th and 19th centuries, and while they are open to all, the members are still predominantly Black. And there are countless unforced examples in our lives:
- white music (country, bluegrass, metal) and Black music (R&B, hip hop, neo-soul)
- white entertainment (Everybody Loves Earl and opera) and Black entertainment (Meet the Browns and go-gos)
- white sports (hockey, lacrosse and swimming) and Black sports (basketball, football and boxing)
There are the so-call exceptions for each of these categories, you know who they are, the "blue-eyed soul brother" or the "Black diva."
Yes, yes, yes...let's just admit it, put it out in the open...we prefer being with others like us. We feel welcome, safe and empowered; we are in our comfort zones with others like us. However, consider this, "If you put yourself in a position where you have to stretch outside your comfort zone, then you are forced to expand your consciousness." ~Les Brown
How will you move beyond your comfort zone?
What one thing can you do to make your life more integrated?