Team players having fun – but all white (at least in the picture). My two most recent posts – ‘Good Relations’ and ‘The Fat Lady Sings’ have discussed attempts by our kids to integrate African American friends into their ‘circle’ and their favourite activities, and the surprising intervention by the mother of one of them who seemed unable to comprehend that her boy could be welcome here.
A superb and detailed comment from Platinumboy to the ‘Fat Lady’ post reveals some of the history of the ‘seregation’ mindset that prevails around here (unspoken, but running deep, as our private gym founder Chad has demonstrated) – something which the three British exiles in the household find harder to comprehend, coming from a country which (until very recently, post ‘Brexit’) welcomed migrants of all shapes, sizes and colour. P-boy teaches us how we might handle the boy’s Mom to make her understand that her boy is welcome here: I sense that it doesn’t come across in school, in the unsegregated classes, that such an ideology is more appropriate than the unspoken but very real segregation that exists around us in everyday life here in TN.
Leo thinks that Theo and his friend (whose name I have forgotten) are ‘accepted’ as schoolmates by the white Americans only because of their contribution to the swim team successes and that, if they were not ‘winning’ sportsmen, things would be different. He also feels that as a half-Brit, even though born here, he had a bit of a struggle to ‘integrate’ in Middle School. What a crazy situation.
We’ll have images of ‘guys getting on’ today and, I’m ashamed to say that, despite quite a lengthy search, coming up with sporting group pictures of guys with mixed skin colour has been quite a challenge. Will try to do better, but today’s boys are almost all of the ‘white’ persuasion I’m afraid. But they are, at least, ‘getting on’:
The best ‘public’ example of encouraging everyone to get along that I have come across is, strangely, the Vienna subway system. Every station has posters, in both German and English, with the heading ‘House Rules: so we can all get along’. It covers every possible aspect of behaviour while on the system, from not cheating on tickets to assisting other passengers (especially the disabled), not littering, and so forth: Austrians are pretty courteous in general, but this obviously works: stations are clean, paying the fare is largely on trust (although there are occasional checks), the infirm are willingly given seats, and so forth. Wouldn’t it be great if we could have such a set of ‘house rules’ covering these racial issues here in TN?
I’m delighted to say that, once boys (or girls) cross the threshold of the gymnastics center where we work, integration is total. It is heartwarming to see the boys and girls of differing skin colour encouraging each other and being relaxed in their conversation – pairs of boys in opposite races getting shirtless and pitting their strength in conditioning games, and so on. I am not allowed to photograph there for child-protection reasons, by the way, otherwise I would post loads of examples.
The same thing happens in most gyms: here are several races in harmony:
…and, on the rings…
I think that my lamentable lack of ‘harvested’ images of other races in our fitness zone comes from two things:
First, that I tend to be drawn to pictures which “look like us” – i.e. white – without deliberately thinking about that;
Second – many coloured guys are very powerful and tend to head towards bodybuilding, which we’re not really into, although the web is stuffed with pictures of such beefy guys.
So, all I can offer at this point is an apology, to continue to work on Theo’s mum, and to offer pictures of more white guys ‘getting along’ in the interests of this blog’s “fitness” theme:
Just for once now, a pair of guys who look as though they are NOT getting along!
“Must do better!” (in all respects of these issues).
Thanks for the comments, keep them coming!