Recently, I’ve listened to reports from the Orlando massacre and keep hearing the term ‘community’. I understand the LGBTQ ‘community’ banding together under a rainbow flag supporting each other. I also understand those hateful comments on social media for they too have their communities.
So why do we have to associate or reference that we belong to a community?
Seems the first community is the family. We all have the same last name. We all live in the same house. We all eat at the same table. We all go to sleep at the same time and we all wake up at the same time. We all get in the family car and go on vacation together. We are a community.
Then there is the extended family. Uncles and cousins and grandparents, but we are still connected as family so we are a bigger community.
Seems to me this whole community thing started way back in the day when a family lived together to work on survival. Kids were born to work on the farm and raise the crops and slop the hogs and battle any other family trying to share their territory. Children would start their own families but stayed close to the original family community.
Then it happened. Communities started to intermingle.
Our community became much larger. We developed counties and cities and states and countries.
Yet, we still needed to define ourselves. The name game still followed us but there was more needed for our new communities. So we assort, classify, group, pigeonhole, separate, sort, distribute, grade, pigeonhole, place, range, rank, rate, and stereotype ourselves.
Are we more comfortable or safe within our community?
Tall vs short? Brunette vs blonde? Left-handed vs right-handed? Light vs dark? Fat vs thin? Educated vs ignorant? Angry vs kind? Coffee drinker vs tea drinker? Rum vs bourbon? Rich vs poor? Rock vs classical? Republican vs Democrat? Religious vs heathen? Married vs single? Sloppy vs neat? Love vs hate? Male vs female? Gay vs straight? Fast vs slow? Pretty vs ugly? Us vs them?
It goes on and on and on. We define ourselves and then re-define ourselves. Every employment application asks us details of our lives in a sheet or two of check off boxes. Buying a house and requiring a bank loan requires details of our lives. Which communities will they accept and which ones do we just not ask?
If you play on a football team, do you ask the person next to you what religion they are? Do you ask if they live in a big house or drive a fancy car? Do you ask if they are gay or not? Of course not, because you are there as teammates and if that person can run and throw and catch, then necessary qualities are met to play the game for the team is the community.
Living in a community, the neighbors come and go. New houses are built, trees are cut down, babies are born and families move. There is a name to this ‘community’. Probably no one else knows it without research for when these houses were built after the war developers purchased blocks of land and named it for realtors to identify for sale. To identify the location must use a familiar landmark because no one remembers the community name.
If we continue to define ourselves with titles and accolades and wealth and style and yes, communities, then how can we become integrated and accept our divergence? Can our communities combine and make our society better rather than creating bigotry and prejudice and intolerance for another of our own human species, no matter the difference?
My question is with all our divisions and definitions are we not just inhabitants of a small blue planet floating in space?