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Building bridges.


When I was in the U.S. Navy in the mid-80s, in the crew was a guy who was very dark-skinned, with "kinky" hair. He told us black men that he was not black; be was Cuban. We all looked at each other quizzically, because the white men were calling him "nigger" behind his back. Of course, we stood tip for and with him, even though much of the time he wanted little to do with us. Eventually, he got the message.

I relate this story because I'm optimistic that the enmity that exists between people of color from different regions and backgrounds will continue to dissipate. I relate this story also because of the use and status of the word "minority." I have lived with this word and, unfortunately, had intuited this status into my world view. This self-sabotage is and was, for me, very subtle. I hold in high esteem all of my darker-skinned brothers and sisters who didn't allow that foul water of limitation to wash over them. I know too many who have; many have been drowned and washed away.

It is important that we continue to work to irradicate the stereotypes that still exist, especially those that we pass around among ourselves. Communication with those who are "foreign," while suspending judgement (and prejudice), eliminates false ideas. Building a solid base of communication will allow us to do business of all forms with each other, which will profit us all. To bridge any gap, we first have to be willing to have it bridged, be willing to accept whomever the "builders" are, and be available when they need our help.

Steven A. Davis

Mount Vernon, New York
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Author:Davis, Steven A.
Publication:Black Enterprise
Article Type:Letter to the Editor
Date:Sep 1, 2004
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