I live in a weird little world of white able-bodied privilege. I can’t deny it. Even as I work for equity and equality, stand up (online) for immigrants, minorities, the disenfranchised, my day-to-day life is absurdly sheltered.
Today, watching my nephew graduate from high school, here’s what I saw:
Both class speakers were young women.
One of the them wore a hijab.
A young woman in a wheel chair was able to ‘walk across the stage’ to receive her diploma.
Way more people had brown skin than white.
The audience around us spoke languages I didn’t understand.
Yes, we had to move to shelter for a tornado warning. Yes, it rained sideways into the crowd at Merriweather. Yes, the speakers focused on the graduates and did a good job of making it about the students. These are all facts. But what I will remember, and what I found remarkable, is that white male people were not the focal point, nor were they excluded, nor were they angry. And this I noticed, because this is not necessarily the norm out here where we live, out here in suburban America.
One of the young speakers spoke of the dash – between 2019 and 2020 when speaking of the school year, or between life and death on a headstone. The dash represents life, not the start and not the beginning, but everything in between. Everything. And that’s where the change takes place, where life happens, where memories are made. Neither the beginning nor the end, it’s everything in between that matters.
Today was wonderful. My sweet nephew took a step towards adulthood, and we got to share in his day. And I grew up a little. I got the chance to see myself from the outside in, to be amazed by some things that really should be commonplace. I got to peer into a world that is more what I envision and less what I live.