Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Camping and the Real World

We are home from camping and had a wonderful time!  Three familiies went together so there were 10 kids just from our camping there!  Add them to the other few kids around us and there was a large tribe of kids where someone always had a playmate all weekend long.

It was stepping out of the real world for a few days.  I don't "plug in" much when we camp.  We are tent campers and we all live pretty rustically when the kids and I go out. When K comes with us, we use the pop up and the amenities are more modern.

There were campfires and s'mores, sparklers and late bedtimes. Silly stories and pool swimming in the evening dusk.  Two visits to Santas Village as KC is so enarmored of the place (well actually of Santa) that we bought a season pass and when we go in August that visit will actually be free! Sometimes I had just my kids in my tent, sometimes I had my friends kids in my tent too.  It was all very free flowing.

The weather was great.  Cool in the morning and evening, hot during the day.  No humidity like here at home where the heat index is going off the charts right now. I didn't hear the news. I didn't read a paper. I didn't even check Facebook once we got settled as my phone would not connect well.  I freely admit it could have been operator error--I am technologically challenged.  But I can make a mean fire! LOL  Mine got going each night before the guy who used charcoal lighter got his going!  And my kids and i can set camp in 30 minutes, meaning maximum time for the fun things of camping and as little time as possible on chores.

It also meant that I did not know about the Zimmerman verdict till I arrived back home.  I am sick at heart.  While I respect those who understand our laws and say that this was the only verdict the jury could reach, I am still sick.  If that is true, then somehow laws need to change so that everyone is safe, and young men of color can walk home.  I work in housing and there is a lot of work being done to make sure that policies that appear equal do not have disparate impact on applicants in affordable housing. For instance, an easy example would be to say I only intend to rent to people who can provide landlord references for the past five years.  But lets say that hypothetically, this effectively screened out people of color who had lower paying jobs and were less likely to have been able to live independently on the open market.  This would be considered disparate impact if I did not have some other way for a candidate who had not yet lived on their own to provide some alternative references and be considered for a home.

The Zimmerman case feels wrong to me at a deep level.  I could write for pages and won't, but if he was in such fear of Martin, why he got out of his car and engaged him baffles me.  He had called the police. Why not wait till they arrived?  My understanding of neighborhood watch groups is that the focus is on the word "watch"   They are not intended to be a group who physically involve themselves in situations.

And lest a casual reader who does not have children of color thinks I am over reacting. . . When we camped this weekend, Lissa came up to me one night. She said that her new friends A and S could come to our campsite but she could not go to theirs.  I asked why (naively thinking that their site must be out of my line of sight and my daughter knows how far she may travel on her own in the campground.  "Ooma, they said their daddy hates black people.  Isn't that COLD?" my daughter answered.  I hugged Lissa tight and agreed and said no one should judge by skin color.

We have a long road yet to walk before we truly are all walking in racial equality. Hello again, real world.

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