Kenyon College has something called an honor code. The honor code is important - it means that you are on your honor to be honest. This seems so simple. It allows a professor to leave while students take exams, or for professors to send take-home exams where students do not discuss the exams with each other. I'm sure a few abuse it, but I wasn't one. Having this system develops trust at many levels. Students tell the truth; faculty tell the truth.
In society, we don't have this trust in so many places - in fact, we have a lack of trust. It can be complex and throw a person off if they are used to the honor code - trust model. Tied into this, in some manner, is difference. Where there is difference there can be discrimination. Discrimination creates a lack of trust. Lack of trust then grows - from those discriminating (whether they know it or not) to those discriminated against. This is a complicated sense of dynamics. I'm going to throw into the mix "parallel worlds." So with discrimination, lack of trust, and parallel worlds, this is a strange blog and let's see how it goes. I know people may not agree with it or understand it, but it's reality to me.
Obama's birth certificate - please don't moan. Keep reading... I know we've all heard too much of it, from whatever point of view you have. Here comes my point of view. No other president has had to provide so much proof. Of course we all provide birth certificates. But nothing has ever been good enough for Obama's. I think the long form, recently submitted, was the fourth or fifth piece of evidence. And I've already received 2 emails on how it isn't good enough either and of course someone altered it, to. Nothing will ever be good enough. No matter how much proof there is, it's never good enough and it's like starting over. And that, to me, is discrimination - proving oneself over and over and over and over ... and having to start again and go through the same process, when others don't have to do the same.
I'm not Obama by any means, but I know about this continual proving of oneself and it never being good enough. I don't have to prove my birth certificate. I have to prove other things. Despite how many people tell me how inspirational I am, I am still proving. It happens again and again and again, in multiple areas of life (not all, but multiple). I follow the instructions of everyone - A through Z - but it seems my A through Z is not 26 steps. There's an A1, a B1 - it depends on what it is but there are always extra steps. And it's never good enough - like the submission of Obama's long form, somehow I may have to go back to step 1. To me, again, this is discrimination. Discrimination is having to continually prove oneself, again and again, when others don't have to do the same thing.
I have been told that when some people learn to drive, part of learning is knowing they may be pulled over because of their race, and they must be ready for what to do when this happens. I worry if I am pulled over that the hand controls will put me in a questionable status - can she drive. If there's an accident, what happens? Who is to blame? Accidents frighten me in a different way than others.
And so we get to trust. Knowing I have to prove myself again and again, in many different areas of life, and that it often doesn't seem to matter, my trust level is pretty low. The fact that others do not trust all the proof given leads me to think they have no trust. This occurs for different categories - that word I hate - of people.
The question is how to get past this. We have so much legislation. So much training is provided. Because of this, many people think everything is fine and that there are no problems.
To really get past this, there has to be a culture shift. Trust has to change, for everyone.
I'm sure Kenyon isn't perfect, but it's something. So I'm back at Kenyon. I'm not sure how to define the culture there, but it seems to work better. So there must be something I'm missing.
In the meantime, I'll keep trying to prove myself. I know the majority of people who read this will probably be surprised at this (that I am continually proving myself all over the place in my life and getting nowhere with it), but the ones reading this know me and aren't the people wanting proof. That means there is hope that proof will get through to others someday.