Discovering humanity through writing

by Sean McCarty

Mine is a story of isolation and indoctrination….which sounds a lot heavier than it actually is, but dramatic effect is fun.

I grew up in an environment rooted in keeping to your own kind. My parents were raised with this mindset and ended up a bit more liberal than their own, but it wasn’t much.

In my household, you didn’t associate much with people that weren’t like us. You would be friendly and polite, but if they weren’t the same as us (read: white and born in the United States…mainly white) you would keep them at an arm’s length.

Thinking about this now is staggering. I could not imagine living my life in this manner. Excluding someone based on their race, ethnicity, or skin colour is a bit ridiculous at the least and creeps into hateful territory.

I looked up to my parents and overall they were good to my sister and I. We were taught to be strong-willed, free-thinking (which is a bit ironic at times), and to keep our word. We were taught that we shouldn’t compromise who we were for another nor should we break ourselves to meet the standards of another. I hold these values so close to this day and it causes a bit of strain from time to time.

How could these values of being a good, strong, well-intentioned person exist side by side with what was essentially racism?

When I started working in my teens I was thrust into an environment full of people that were not like me. I worked side by side with men and women of every background and very quickly learned an important lesson: We are all Human. I embraced this lesson and dove headfirst into learning as much as I could about different cultures. It was at this point that I started writing what would become my blog, Through Dust Covered Glass.

I started writing with the goal of sharing my journey from isolation to openness and I try to keep this going today.

Each one of us has such a unique story to tell and experiences that shape who we are. Without sharing these experiences we miss out on what it is to be human.

I do my best to place myself in the shoes of another and embrace their perspective. I am still on my journey to explore the world and meet new people with experiences totally different than my own and I can’t wait to see what the future brings.

Get out there and share your story!


Sean McCarty is a blogger and writer from Arizona in the United States. Sean primarily writes about sharing and understanding the different perspectives of those we share the world with. He also has a happy, goofy, adorable ball of fluff called Zoey who is going on 9 years old now(!). She’s a Lab/Chow mix and is jet black except for some grey on her chin.

You can find Sean over at his blog Through Dust Covered Glass, and he is also on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook.

Pet Spotlight: Zoey

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29 thoughts

  1. You know you’re writing won’t just help you discover humanity, but it will help your readers as well. You are simultaneously doing a service to yourself, the writer, and to your readers. Writing and reading helps us see the world in new ways. It unlocks the mind and can help remove prejudices by helping us to know others, putting ourselves in their shoes.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. This is awesome I like the personal experience we get to feel here. I grew up in a diverse town. We’re not a small town but we act like it even still as most people are connected in one way or another. But I remember people watching a lot when I was in my teens and there was nothing to do. Giving a stranger a background story was a fun little past time activity, mostly just mocking everyone in sight but it’s great to live somewhere where you can feel safe doing that.

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  3. Good words Sean!

    My parents did cling to some stereotypical thoughts regarding other races and cultures. They were not abusive towards others, but they did hold to some of the indoctrination that comes by way of association. Both of their workplaces were comprised predominately of white coworkers, we lived in an all-white neighborhood and the church we attended also had no persons of color. Fortunately, as they matured…they moved past the notion that race was a major component of a person’s character. I believe the circle of friends that my brother and I acquired played a part in our parents coming to terms with stereotypical thoughts.

    And thank you to Milly for liking and following my blog.

    https://hotfreight.wordpress.com

    Liked by 1 person

  4. life is full of curious opportunities to find community. I grew up white middle class. A NYC-born polish jew and a protestant scot-irish immigrant for parents. Engineer and Nurse. Childhood in Calif, Georgia, Mass, and Arizona. Fluent in 3 languages. traveled half of the world. A life in the military with all races and origins distilled into one culture, the military. A practicing member of a multiracial, multiethnic church distilled into one community. (step)Dad to three men who are 25% hispanic, but in all outwardly “white”. It’s all perspective and choices we make. Everyone loves or hates their origins, but it’s finding community that will survive this chaos, whether in Boston or Baghdad

    Liked by 2 people

  5. I think that makes a good bit of sense. But at the same time, I don’t think one should resign one’s self to a destiny of destruction. While many believe that there must be other intelligent life in the universe simply because it is so vast, one must truly realize all the equally vast circumstances necessary for life on Earth to even have the possibility to exist. I agree with you in that there really is no evidence to point toward’s intelligent life out there as of now.

    I believe our problem lays more in the realm of innately human problems, and I’m going to cap it there as we agreed there is no other intelligent life that we know of. Blaise Pascal famously stated that the reason human beings are so miserable is that they cannot remain quietly alone in a room. If they try to do this, they grasp the true vacuity of life, a sense of themselves as empty containers that cannot bear their own emptiness. Hence we as humans crave distractions of all kinds all the time. I think this is why so many people fight, not because they feel terribly strongly about their particular view, but because they believe that peace or compromise is impossible and fighting is a great distraction or an activity that allows them to feel as though they are accomplishing something.

    This really comes down to its core at the depressing reality of humanity. We are as we are, but we seek what we ought to be, however we may conceive that. I think we as humans are constantly trying to transcend ourselves, to escape our own condition; we long to be something else. We are at odds with ourselves, and this is one of the things that seperates us from mteh animals, whom we sometimes envy for their ability to be at home in this world. This idea has traditionally been expressed as humanity being netiher beats nor angel, both of which are at peace with themselves, while we are not, We are ontological misfits. We are buckets with holes that unceassingly try to fill ourselves.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Recently just learned something in biology that I think personifies this article’s point. Out of the millions of DNA strands that make us who we are, only half a percent determine our skin color. In almost every case, we share 99.5% of our DNA with the rest of humanity and yet so many have been killed for that half a percent. I think in all honestly to solve this problem that still troubles our modern society we must stop pointing the finger, something that has become increasingly popular recently. If we truly want change, we as a society and a community must band together and not become divided over such trivial matters! Why have we lost he ability to have respectful discourse? Why is everything so polarized to the point that in almost every issue, it’s either someone agrees or they are the enemy?

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I think the fermi paradox answers your question: despite the high probability of intelligent life being common in the universe, there is a total lack of evidence of intelligent life having ever arisen anywhere other than on the Earth. Theoretically there should be evidence in existence, like nearby probes or distant radio signals from highly advanced civilisations etc…

      One explanation: It is the nature of intelligent life to destroy itself. Sadly, we may be doomed to destroy ourselves, or at least revert back to the Stone Age again and again in an unending circle.

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  7. We, as a race, are slowly improving, I think. Yes, there are people in all generations, both black and white who haveprejudiced views, but I find it’s older people more than younger ones who hold these views. Not that all young people are perfect, not at all, but each generation seems to have a few more unprejudiced people than the last.
    Or maybe I’m just an optimist.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I think you’re right about each new generation moving away from older prejudice. But I think the tricky thing with change is how much each person can take before they hit their limit. There seems to be a cap to the average person’s ability to change before they reach a ceiling and hold onto their values, no matter how progressive they may have been relative to their predecessors. I’ll take slow progress over no progress though!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. In Austin, Texas, USA, there is a bicycling community, then there are people who ride bikes. Leisure and recreation v. Necessity and transportation. I straddle both worlds being white but having no car for 13 years. In advocacy, news, funding, the people in the second group are underrepresented, i.e., invisible.

        Liked by 2 people

          1. Well, Ms. Schmidt, I was hoping that would be the effect when I didn’t plan on having my car hit! May I direct you to my post on 1/25, https://adudeabikes.wordpress.com/2018/01/26/13-years-not-a-slave-to-cars/? Also I did the same for the previous two years. And the local paper’s profile on me done on linked on my 1/15 post goes into it further. https://adudeabikes.wordpress.com/2018/01/15/read-all-about-it-a-dude-abikes-featured-in-the-austin-american-statesman-for-biking-10000-miles/ It’s partly environmental, part choice and mostly poverty. Perhaps you have a post in mind about biking you’d like to share for possible guest blogging that we might give a think ’bout publishin’ over here in these parts we call Texas, missy? True or not… Sorry, switched to cowboy accent.

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    1. Thank goodness for university!! I grew up in a very multicultural and newish city (Darwin) that had a highly transient population. Because of this, people didn’t place as much emphasis on ‘old families’. Everyone felt like they belonged. I miss that place so much!! When I moved back down to ‘normal’ society in the New England (Aus), it took a while for me to get used to all the snobbiness and cliquey behaviour down here…

      Liked by 2 people

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