Yesterday I had an opportunity to observe and ponder. Those are two of my favorite pastimes. That is where most of the material for my books, stories, blogs come from. People fascinate me. And I have met so many of them. Having lived around the world and on an island I discovered that people are so much alike and so different at the same time. Yesterday at lunch I was sitting at a luncheon with seventeen of my co-workers. At the table with me were the Chief, myself, a biologist and the only other African American in my office of thirty, the receptionist. Now how diverse is that. It was so comical and in many ways so sad. The receptionist was so uncomfortable and quiet. The Chief was so uncomfortable and talking ninety miles a minute. And what I observed was they were both out of their comfort zones, way out. He was simpatico with me and the other biologist, but there was absolutely no ability to relate to the receptionist. Other than the fact that she answered the phones she was like no one in his world. The same was true for her. She was quite comfortable conversing with me, we had a commonality, AA, female, mother, etc. although so many components of our lives were different. After the food arrived things got better but not by much. A story was winging its way through my head at that time. Whether I write it or not beyond this blog is anyone’s guess.
After lunch she and I spoke about it and she owned up to many of my observations. As I meandered off to my office I had an epiphany. It went off like a bulb in my head. And this is it. The reason why real integration doesn’t work in so many cases is because there is no evenness, no relatibility. When one person is quiet from a feeling of inferiority and the other is rattling from a place of superiority, then the chance of any real connection occurring is nil. It also cleared up in a small way why so many non-AA folks usually don’t read our books. They probably feel there is nothing for them to relate to. I guess the question then becomes why do we read mainstream? That is as clear as a church bell on Sunday morning. We were raised to learn about the majority, there are few instances in which the majority is mandated to learn about the minority. That is absolutely what occurred when I started writing, most of the people in my office were prolific readers but until they read my work, they had never read an AA author other than maybe someone they had been mandated to read in a college literature course. Many were quite honest and forthcoming, saying I love black characters in books, making mention of our shared love for Alex Cross in James Patterson’s books. But I had to tell her how irrelevant that all is. Much the same way I have had to tell folks when they say I can relate to what black folks went through because I was poor, gay, etc. I have to say (and feel free to quote me on this)….
“There is no comparison, poor and gay can be dressed up and disguised but if a person's aversion is to black there is no way to dress up or disguise that.”
Of course I have come up with no solutions, just observations related to my ponderings.
Angelia Vernon Menchan
Angelia Vernon Menchan is an author, publisher and public speaker who owns two publishing companies, MAMM Productions and Honorable Menchan Media. Mrs. Menchan is also a Budget Officer and former Job Corps Counselor. To date she has published eighteen books of her own work, both fiction and non-fiction and more than forty ebook novellas on amazon.com. You can access her bibliography on www.amazon.com search words: Angelia Vernon Menchan
Menchan has also published the work of seven other authors to date and has several publishing projects upcoming in 2013 to include a children's book, Little Wing by biologist, Erin Gawera, Honorable Menchan Poets 2013 by Dictator, Genesis and Creammy Mocha and a breast cancer memoir by Lena Jordan.
She is becoming a sought after speaker for young women audiences because she speaks honestly, straight and open to the issues that plague them such as teen pregnancy, the importance of education and making life impacting choices.
Kim Floyd of Real Mommies Read, a part of the Spartanburg Public Library says:
Angelia's ability to help our teen moms see themselves as she did was a special gift. She instilled within them a desire to make better choices, take control of their bodies and their lives. They realized their pasts didn't have to determine their futures. Angelia let them know their worth.
Mrs. Menchan is available for speaking engagements; book signings and discussions. She resides in Jacksonville, Florida with her husband and graphic designer, Maurice Menchan
Phone numbers: 904 714 2272 904 303 2679