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Reality Check

Danielle Norwood - October 11, 2016 8:51 am

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As I begin to write this post, I am in the midst of an inner struggle.  Should I write something that is light & upbeat?  Should I only share my “surface” thoughts and not delve deeper into my soul?  Should I step outside my comfort zone knowing that what I say could be twisted into something that it was never intended to mean? This morning, I’ve decided to jump off of the high dive and pray that I can swim to safety.

Recently, I was in a situation where I was the only person of color at an event.  Now, normally, I wouldn’t think anything of it.  In my line of work and, especially, as a Black female announcer in north central Kansas, I have become rather comfortable in that role.  People, for the most part, have come to accept me as one of their own and even befriended me.  This situation, however, was different.

There was nothing familiar or friendly about this situation.  As I made way through the group, I smiled and said “hello”.  The faces looking back at me, though, weren’t very welcoming.  The “hello” was not returned.  Instead of being appreciated for wanting to reach out to friends and family in their time of grief, I was perceived as an interloper, the stranger who had intruded upon a sacred space.

My intentions were pure…to offer my condolences to a colleague’s friends and family.  The reception…not so much.  So, why even share this situation with you?  It certainly is not the first time that I have personally been uncomfortable  in an environment.  And while no one went out of their way to say negative things to me within earshot, the temperature of that room changed as quickly as the conditions before a Kansas tornado, just because I was there.

So, why am I sharing? In the year 2016, as many advances as all of us have made to level the playing field and to become a united nation, the divide between the races still exists.  The distance is there on both sides of the fence. And while I would like to think that I am playing a small role in bringing people together, I was profoundly reminded of how I am seen, maybe not by the majority, but definitely by a few.

At the end of the day, I want to be a bridge that brings everybody together.  There is WAY more that is good to be shared than those things that are bad.  We all have more things in common than our differences might lead us to believe.  Let’s celebrate what is good in each other today.

City of Salina