Middle-class. Middle-America. Middle-of-the -road. That’s where I grew up. In a small town in Southeastern Ohio, along the Appalachian Superhighway, I learned what it meant to be in the middle. The middle doesn’t seem so bad, and it sounds awfully cozy, like I could curl up and take a nap in “the middle.” The best part of an Oreo cookie is the middle, right?
My middle is alarmingly unlike your view of the middle because, here, I get to see both sides of the road, but one step too close to one side would alter the rest of my life. And it wouldn’t be pretty.
In these times of dissention and detest, turmoil and torment, hate and hopelessness, the best place for me to stand is right in the middle. You see, I was born to a white male and a black female in the mid-1970’s, so that makes me biracial, middle of the races. It also makes me confused, sometimes guilt-ridden, often times assumed privileged. I hear the stories from my fellow brown folks about their latest rendezvous with not so middle of the road law enforcement or everyday bigots John and Jane Doe and I feel guilty. Guilty because I’m not judged in a split second based on the color of my skin. Guilty because most, at first glance, assume I am “one of them” and carry on with racist and judgemental banter as if they are waiting for me to join in on the barrage of 50% of my heritage. And then they find out I am half black and try to moonwalk their way out of their despicable comments, and we all know white folks can’t dance.
Being in the middle is a luxury, in a sense, because I can relate to both sides of most issues. Trust me, I have plenty of times when I wholeheartedly disagree with one side of the road, due mostly to ignorance or miseducation, but I try to go to the other side to see what they see. I wish everyone would take a step across the road and see what the view is from the side that they don’t understand. At the very least, come join me in the middle for a conversation and let me enlighten you.
It’s all about perspective and compassion for our fellow human beings. Or at least that’s what I see from my view… in the middle.