Author Archives: danismelange

About danismelange

I enjoy writing for fun, reading, traveling, and meeting new people. I'm a mother, sister, auntie, and friend. I write what comes to my mind - its unpretentious, honest, and straight from my heart!

Correction Tape

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Correction Tape

Today I reached for my Bic Exact Liner Wite out and realized I was all out of correction tape.  I went to our supply area at work to replenish my Liner.  As I reached for the Liner, my mind raced back to the day I asked for liquid White Out at my new job. I was handed the Exact Liner as a better, newer option.   Liquid Wite Out was passé and dated.  I recall saying how I didn’t want it as the liquid works better. I was even offered the opportunity order the Liquid.

I am a person who promotes change to others. I’m all about embracing change – So I thought, but here I was at a new job, learning new things, and having a new experience refusing to let go of old things.

For months I refused to use the Exact Liner and when the time came to use the Liquid Liner, I was frustrated at the clumps and the effort to make the necessary corrections I needed. I immediately reached for my Exact Liner. It was a lesson learned. That which I was used to was NOT better. It simply was what I was used to. I didn’t know how to use the new Wite Out. I couldn’t maneuver the way I could with the little brush in the liquid.  Silly as it seems, this flash down memory lane serves as an important reminder about letting go of old things, embracing new things, and trying new things.

Sometimes, we are OUR biggest impediment to progress. We may blame others or always point to a specific situation, but the reality is we are the greatest contributor to our success and failures, and fear is a great inhibitor of success.   While I am still conquering my fears, big and small, my child is picking up where I fall short.  At 1, she is completely fearless, independent, and determined.  I can only hope that she continues to explore, learn, and grow!

Until next time…I didn’t get paid by Bic, but if they want to put a few dollars in my account for the advertisement, I won’t decline.

The Longaberger Basket

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Longaberger BasketEarly in 2017, I attended a ‘multicultural church’. It’s said that Sunday is the most segregated day of the week. From my experiences, I would agree. Most churches I have attended from the USA to England have been one dominant culture or another.  Very rarely do I find an equal mix of people.

While I had a great experience at this new church and the overall operation of the church was better than anything I had ever experienced, I still didn’t feel at home there.  This was a majority White church.  Some may say, “Race doesn’t matter. God is God. It doesn’t matter what the make up of the congregation is.”  While that is true,  I’ll add that church is also a cultural experience. As I sat through the musical selections, I was not moved. As nice as the music was, I just couldn’t relate to the style of music.  I was accustomed to and prefer Gospel music while attending church.  I recall taking a few friends to various churches with me throughout the years and their response was always the same “wow, I feel like I just left a concert”. I don’t want to minimalizing the Black Church experience to simply Gospel music, but music is a major compenent.

As we got into the sermon, I became even more distant.  While the Gospel of Jesus may be universal, the delivery is not. The speaker was a visiting, military chaplain.  Prior to going into his sermon, he spoke about life in the military. One of the things he addressed was constantly moving and the toll it took on his family.  I could not imagine this and it really made me think about the sacrifices that many military families have made and continue to make as they are placed miles from home.  He struck a chord with me when he said that no matter where the family moved, the family always had a Longaberger Basket on their coffee table during the holidays.  They didn’t feel like they were “home” unless they had that basket.

In a previous job, the women went crazy over Longaberger baskets. I didn’t get the craze, much the same way I don’t get the Lilly Pulitzer or LulaRoe craze. To me, Longaberger baskets were ugly, overpriced baskets.  And while preferences for baskets have no skin color, I can say that a majority of my circle did not obsess over Longaberger baskets the way the White women did at work.  As the sermon began, I can honestly tell you that I don’t remember anything that he said. He lost me at Longaberger. Weeks later and now months later,  all I remember from that sermon is the Longaberger basket.

A lesson in cultural proficiency

Last year, I was able to teach a course at my Alma Mater on Institutional Racism.  During one class, we spoke about bias in education by way of IQ and other standardized testing.  I even showed a clip from Good Times to further relay the point.

 

In the South Side of Chicago, people didn’t have saucers to put their cups on. So the point of reference was lost on the test question.  Within my immediate circle, we don’t have expensive baskets as the centerpieces of our tables.  So, the reference in church was lost. The aspect of not having a permanent home was touching and the fact that one object was the only real symbol of home for this family was something that could not be taken lightly.  However, the overall church experience didn’t engage me culturally or speak to me in a language that engaged me.

As we head into Easter, I imagine that churches will remain largely segregated. In order for that to change, church leadership will need to become culturally proficient about other cultures outside of their own – have multi-lingual programs and a wide variety of worship music – as examples.  Otherwise, they will not attract and retain a diverse congregation. And while it would be nice to have more inclusive worship on Sundays, I also appreciate that church has served an important mooring for many.  In a time when segregation was legal, the Black Church served as the hub of the Black Community. For some, it may be the only time of the week to connect with those of similar cultural and/or lingquistic backgrounds.

Will I go back to this church again? Perhaps.  The daycare system was pretty amazing. I recieved multiple cards in the mail after I arrived and emails. Overall, it was a good experience, but I’m going to need a little more Soul with my Jesus!