Monday, September 04, 2006

It's All In Your Point of View

Sometimes the best people to make you stop taking yourself so seriously are children. I am on the board of a local theater company and went by to meet with the artistic director last week. I am new to the board and he is new to the theater, so we were having one of those rambling "getting to know you" talks. He told me that he was on faculty at the University of Iowa. I asked if that was where they have the Iowa Writer's Workshop and he said yes. I mentioned that my daughter really wants to go there eventually and asked if there were any Black people at all in Iowa. He laughed and said that most of the Blacks at the University were in the medical school. Then he told me the following story:

A White colleague of his at Iowa moved East and was driving through a predominately Black and poor neighborhood here in Pittsburgh. She had her preschooler in the car, and eventually heard the child exclaim "Look at all the the doctors!" It was the funniest thing I've heard in a long time. Here this child had only ever met upscale Black people and so a street full of Black people was of course a street full of doctors! I often think of how difficult it is for parents of Black children to instill positive self images in our kids. It makes you wonder if we're coming at it the wrong way. I say we all move to Iowa where all the Black people are doctors!