I am a terrible substitute for Matthew! I missed last week and this week’s will be brief.
I was walking in New York City last week and thinking about selective eye contact. I found myself purposely not making eye contact with the people I passed. I was in a rush and felt the need to focus on getting somewhere on time. In the midst of this hurried excursion, I felt like an alienator. We fling our selves to and fro and forget we are a part of a larger picture–part of the human scene. Some of it is intentional as we avoid the eyes of someone in need, or turning from someone who we size up in a blink and callously decide could be a nuisance to our quest to get to a meeting, to dinner, or to bed.
Within this moment of self-loathing, I remembered a poem by my favorite anthropologist-Renato Rosaldo. I met him once and asked to take a picture with me in the days of film cameras. I am fairly confident he thought I was insane. He is my Post Modern Theory hero after all…we all have to have one!
May you bring visibility to as many as possible this week.
We celebrate their days, eat hot dogs, love baseball, but they say we were born to weed, change diapers, carry crates in the grey of dawn while they sleep. Awake, they look at us without seeing. We see ourselves clearly, know ourselves precisely, without parades and picnics. To survive, we must. I’m one of the invisible living among the notable. Day after day I hear doors shut, stumble over slurs, and bump into the man who nods yes, yes, but isn’t listening.