Skip to content

A Blog About Culture

Recognition, Situation, Identity, Reality

My car was broken into last weekend. Hole punched into the window, a few things borrowed. I was surprised – who could expect that? – but as my friends apologized and tried to console me, I knew that I was not disturbed. Of course, filing the police report and dealing with the insurance company have been hassles (especially for them, since I had to call back with a supplement to my initial report when I realized that something of considerable value actually had been stolen), but I still don’t feel particularly shaken. I don’t feel afraid or violated by this “invasion of privacy.”

This event is far from the worst thing that has ever happened in my life. It could be easy and understandable for me to sink into fear (or at least caution), but nope. I still seem to trust the people around me, my community.

In some ways, I think that’s a little unusual. Just think about how a lot of us were raised, “Lock your doors… don’t talk to strangers,” and all that. One glance at the news  will remind us all how sensationalistic and fear-driven most of our media industry is, but I won’t go there because that’d be a broken record. The point is that our modern culture (at least one around here) fosters a certain degree of distrust in the community.

(Or rather, ‘others’ from the community, the ‘bad guys’ who can lurk anywhere.)

I don’t think there’s anything wrong with caution or pessimism or living life as an individual instead of a collective, but these are all considerations that must be included in analyses for advocacy.

When we’re talking about community engagement, we’re talking about trust. We’re talking about personal connections with the people around us – our neighbors, colleagues, children, elderly. We say “let’s support small businesses and local farmers.” These pleas are all well and good – for educating like-minded people. It’s going to take a lot more effort to break through to the people whose baselines are that basic distrust in the people around them.

Obviously I am really diluting the situation and making it seem a lot more black and white than it is, but what I would like to call attention to is the disappointing suspicion that we may be underestimating the deeply seated paradigms that we as changemakers will have to crack.

But yes, I trust my community. 😉


%d bloggers like this: