Many moons ago, I participated in Leadership Inc., a great leadership training class here in Philadelphia. To this day I still keep in touch with some of my cohorts from that experience. If you have a chance to do it, you should do it.
OK, commercial over. Anyway, I remember one of the sessions was on diversity. We did an activity that was eye-opening for me, in which men were interviewed about what it is like to be a man, non-minorities were interviewed about what it is like to not be a minority, and straight people were interviewed about what it is like to be straight. The exercise exposed both the burden some of us face in feeling like we have to speak on behalf of an entire group of people, as well as the hidden privileges some of us face in daily life that we completely take for granted.
I am reminded of that exercise as I think about what extra instruction I need to invest in with Asher, over and above that which I am investing in with Aaron and Jada. Unlike his big siblings, Asher will not have such luxuries as being able to be out and about in public without being hyper-vigilant about what he is wearing and how he is behaving. There will be many more situations where Asher will stick out and therefore cannot enjoy the ease of blending in. There will be many more times, I’m sure, where he will be asked to opine on something that he didn’t choose to be thrust as spokesperson for.
I wish it weren’t so, but nor am I naïve that it isn’t so. I can only hope that, by God’s grace and with the help of many, I can do my part to instruct and prepare. Though it is a heavier burden, I take comfort that I will be forced, in a good way, to relinquish some of my own privileges or at the very least appreciate that I can enjoy them whereas Asher cannot. It is a perspective and a vigilance that I will be the better for, I believe.