Us 'n Them

Sometimes I feel like my relationships are racially nuetral.
And then sometimes I'm reminded that there's probably no such thing.

The other day a playgroup mom, Kahea, brought a whole mountain of hand-crafted goodie bags for the kids-- left over from her daughter's one-year luau. These were amazing-- filled with handmade chinese pretzels-- cripsy litle whisps of deep fried goodness, in intricate many-petaled flower shapes. She laughed and said it took her and her sister and mom hours standing over the hot oil with special pretzel irons to finish the hundreds for the party and the gift bags.

I said, "Wow, I can't believe you guys did all that by hand!"

Another mom, Bee, said, "Well, we don't have anything better to do!"

I was confused. Is Bee related to Kahea? Did she help with the luau too? Then I realized. She was speaking as a Local person to a non-Local person. When I said, "you guys" I meant Kahea and her family. What Bee heard was, "All Ya'll Local People."

I felt a bit dizzy-- the nuetral conversation suddenly had fragmented the group into Ins and Outs, Usses and Thems. Not like it came to screeching halt-- it just was a reminder-- even if I forget for a minute that there are racial differences augmenting and impeding our relationships, those differences are still there, ebbing and flowing in importance.


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