Even though it's after 10pm and I'm full of fried chicken, I am also energized and hopeful. This is always how I feel after a Swirl dinner and I get to talk to others who similarly want to be honest about the flaws in our society, and think about positive ways to confront them. And this is not about getting together to pat ourselves on the back for knowing better. We acknowledge our own shortcomings and biases too. And our own inabilities - at times - to confront the very things that we also question.
Tonight we discussed:
- how we were raised to think about money and the lack of open discourse around class in our society;
- the reality of either hiding certain parts of our identity or emphasizing others in order to succeed in the workplace;
- the importance of real maple syrup on our fried chicken and waffles (we had dinner at Amy Ruth's in Harlem, after all);
- cultural bias in the game show, Family Feud - what are the demographics of the people who make up what the "survey says" anyway?;
- assumptions that others make about us based on the race we are/they think we are;
- racism in the music industry;
- whether Beyonce is actually a good singer or not (come on, we can't be serious all the time);
- and what steps we could all reasonably take when confronted with ignorant statements.
I feel lucky to have this group of people in my life. Swirl is living proof that if you have a vision of the kind of community you want and believe it's possible, you can absolutely build it for yourself.
Thank you to all of the Swirl members who have participated in our amazing community in the twelve years we have been alive. Happy Birthday, Swirl (we are 12 in October!).