Things are different now
As I write this, I’m sitting at the Hilton in Altamonte Springs, Florida. My wife and I are chaperoning for my daughter’s Model UN conference. It’s a nice opportunity to get away and sit on my butt and write, while periodically ferrying high schoolers from the hotel to a meal, then back again.
I attended high school in rural upstate New York. For us, diversity meant that some of the white people I lived around went to the Catholic Church, some went to the Methodist church, and some were (gasp!) Baptists. And many didn’t go at all. Diversity at the dinner table, meant having lasagna–Italian food is ethnic, after all–rather than the typical meat-and-potato combination.
While my experience may not have been typical, it wasn’t atypical, either, for the 1970s in my part of the world.
This weekend’s a good signpost of how different things are. Of the high school kids we brought to the conference, my daughter and two others were what we’d have considered white back in the day. One of the girls I was driving around spoke fluent French to her parents when they called–except for the references to Cold Stone Creamery, Glee, and Bed Bath & Beyond.
Part of the difference is the location: Tampa, Florida isn’t Galway, New York. Among other things, it has a strong Cuban community. Even so, most of our neighborhood with white, with a few Hispanics and blacks. But my daughter’s International Baccalaureate program in high school has people from everywhere.
It’s different now.
And yet, as I write my current work in progress, I’m struck my the names I’ve picked for people. Jim, Colleen, Audra, Scott, Wendy, Denise, and Vic. I’m not describing them as any particular ethnicity, but they’re probably white.
Then again, I’m so white, if I ran around naked in the snow, you’d consider that camouflage.
Things are different now.
How do you account for the differences in your work?