Join Me in the Race Around The World

I am launching an interactive series on race and identity, a mosaic of cultural autobiographies. It bears some semblance to Project O but was inspired by the exchange over my posts on slavery and on black Santa. Race Around The World will not be a forum for opinion so much as a glimpse of our stories so that we can achieve a panorama of our racial topography around the globe. Slavery lingers in the human heart in the form of racism and bigotry. There is a difference between living in a community and living in community. I’d like to examine how community is possible as people engage one another across racial lines. I am most fascinated with the tension we internalize that makes us conscious of our color and ethnicity. These are two things that give us a sense of belonging, and it will be interesting to look together at the circumstances that make us feel displaced and impel us to locate our roots.

If you’d like to participate and share your cultural autobiography on A Holistic Journey, please email me
1) at with The RACE for the subject
2) your answers to the following questions
3) keep your answers on the shorter side, and limit answers that need to be longer to about 200 words. (To those who’ve seen my writing series, do save spit!)
4) send me your best draft. Stellar writing is not what I’m after but I am keen on presenting quality. If I make minor edits, which I’d rather not, I will try to retain your voice.
5) remember the link back to your blog so I can publish it.

I will be emailing back many of you with any further questions your story prompts in my mind. The elaboration will be included in your list of answers so that your contribution reads like an interview. These posts will run in the order I receive them in.

*Your contribution may include clips of posts you already have up on your site. Send me the link to the original so I can direct readers to finish your story there. I leave it to you to reblog or post the contribution you send me on your own site but please wait for me to put out your final product. Feel free to reblog this introduction to the series. Thanks for joining me in the Race Around The World.

Though race refers to biological attributes like color, and ethnicity to sociological factors such as culture and beliefs, feel free to use the terms as they are meaningful to you.

1) Where do you live? How do you define yourself racially or ethnically and why is it important to you? Please tell us about the racial makeup of your family if you were adopted or come from a colorful family.

2) How diverse was the neighborhood and school you grew up in? If you have ever moved, whether to another city or the other side of the world, please tell us when and where, and the ways the cultural differences between the places shaped or made you think about your identity.

3) When did you first become conscious of your race or ethnicity? Please describe the context or a moment when you noticed you were different in color or language. It could be a scene with strangers, the park, school, work. Could have been subtle feelings you recognized or a blatant attack of bigotry. If it was a season or chapter in your life, tell us the impact it had on your sense of self, confidence, or emotional development. Can you share a bit about the fear, loneliness, longing for acceptance?

4) Do you consciously gravitate to certain company? Are you more comfortable, more at home around people of your own ethnicity? Have you observed a social or behavioral tendency in your own people group you would rather not perpetuate?

5) Are your most meaningful relationships with people of your own ethnicity?

6) How much does racial affinity give you a sense of belonging compared to a shared faith or interest? Think about the groups you are part of: writers, homeschoolers, mothers, hobbyist, artists, colleagues, church. Would you rather spend time with those who share your cultural food, tradition, and values or those who share your interest or mission? Where do you feel the greatest ease and connection?

7) Do you consciously try to keep yourself or your family active in diverse circles?

8) Optional. Children seem color-blind. How have you explained color and culture to your children or grandchildren as they got older? Did you ever have to handle a situation where they were a victim of racial slight or slur?

9) How did you set out to secure a sense of acceptance and belonging in social contexts, especially if you have faced hurtful experiences?

10) Do you feel it is not fully possible or even imperative to shed all racial stereotypes and judgments?

11) What has struck you the most in working through this exercise? Any closing thoughts on race and identity you would like to share?

Holistic Wayfarer
A Holistic Journey

Elaine Likes Random and Unedited

Sometimes when I am driving to work I stare out my window to the West and look at the mountains. It is always a different view and I half expect one day to see UFOs hovering in plain sight. I am pretty sure on that day I will simply turn around calmly and go home because that will count as a sick day. Or maybe it won’t. Maybe the corporate powers will use some UFO insurance for that day and get a refund for their lost work time from the government. I am sure there will even be some type of stimulus package to pay for those lost hours and that money will come from the only source possible, the paying people of each country. And what if those UFOs just decide to pick up and leave… go right back home because all they found were dumb animals that have only managed to visit their own moon? Then we end up paying for a “comp day” we spent in fear or in bomb shelters, all the while the “aliens” were laughing their asses off and taking long range pictures with their high tech cameras. They then decide “hey we can make it back home in time for dinner” and leave. All the while we wake up to a tax hike the next month. How fair is that? Can’t we at least get an alien burger out of this? For the love of Zeus!


The Dream They Didn’t Let Die

I awoke one morning in our New York one-bedroom to the sound of piano keys going. Mom’s surprise. She had saved I don’t know how long waitressing, for her dream. She’d never gotten to learn herself and had chased the vision of her daughter’s playing. Korean Mom of course had to get the best. I don’t know how in the world she managed to tuck away enough for a new Yamaha, a beautiful rich brown. Thankfully I picked it up easily, performed solos in elementary and junior high, went on to teach and compose. Mom said the apartment came alive whenever I’d play on visits from Pennsylvania during college and the working years. But when I relocated to California 13 years ago, the piano sat with no more songs; to Mom and Dad, the keyboard was a tangible part of their girl on the other side of the country, and to me always the testament of varicose veins a mother had earned from waiting tables and walking in 11 at night.

With no other recourse, my parents sold the piano and were so thankful to be able to give me something when I got married. It was a bittersweet parting, for them and for me, but the practicality of it quieted my regrets. It’s been more than 20 years since I left home for college, had a piano of my own. It so happens I married another dreamer. It hurt him for my parents to have had to sell the sacred memento of Mom’s love for me and, in his words, for my “talent to have gone unwatered” all these years. The piano that my husband had saved scrupulously for rolled in through the door last year. Shiny black, she slipped right into the console recess as if the space in the wall had been cut for her. The Yamaha looked made for our home. Little Man was so excited watching Mom on the keyboard and Holistic Husband said I played as he’d waited for in his head.

What is a precious sacrifice your parents or spouse has made for you?

Holistic Wayfarer

The Daily Opinion – The Past

If you could go back and change one decision in your past what would it be? If you write a post and wish to send it to me through comment or pingback I may reblog it. Thanks! -OM

The Daily Opinion-Opinion vs. Fact

Opinionated Man:

This is a great example as to why I do The Daily Opinion and my open forums for self-promotion. I hope she doesn’t mind the reblog and the visits. -OM
Note: Comments disabled in this thread, please comment on her blog. Thanks!

Originally posted on melissuhhsmiles:

It’s hard to say whether I base my opinion off of opinions or facts. I try to be well educated on a topic before I make any conclusions, but let’s face it, we often base our opinions off of how we feel about something. And maybe once we learn more about it, our opinion will change because we feel differently about it.

Then we often get our news from talk shows and talk shows are generally opinionated in themselves, so we’re only getting one half of the story. I like to hear both sides before I really decide what I think is right. I don’t think there is any news that isn’t biased. And like social situations, it’s better to stay neutral until you have a decent argument against or for a certain topic.
My biggest pet peeve though is when people are so opinionated that they haven’t even thought…

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