I hear zoom complaints every day. “I cannot stand one more zoom call.” “I am zoomed out.” “I will be so happy to get back to work in person.” Yes, you’ve probably heard them, too. In fact you may be one of them. Well, here’s where we part company, because (drum roll) I love zoom!
What’s not to love? You barely have to get dressed. All that counts is from the chest up. A nice top, shirt, maybe a scarf, earrings and I’m set. I have a beautiful cashmere sweater, blue-green, that the moths loved as much as I did. But, lucky me, the holes are in the back, so it is now my zoom uniform…zoomiform.
As I have written in an earlier post, I wear hearing aids, which of course help, but fall short when it comes to mumbling, the soft talker who always sits in the back, people talking over each other, or that wonderful punch line that everyone is hooting about except you. On zoom, I am like my old hearing self. All the voices come in strong and clear, and in a pinch I can read lips because the faces are all close-ups facing me.
The social justice movement is rolling forward at what sometimes seems like lightning speed. I am thrilled that concepts that used to be so hard for Whites to swallow – like systemic racism and white privilege – are now rolling off the tongues of politicians, newscasters, academicians and ordinary people. There is an explosion of great books, articles and podcasts on the subject of how to be a good “White ally”…but, as I type the phrase I think I remember reading that “allies” is out. We’re not supposed to say that anymore. I can’t remember what is in, but I know that the words “diversity and inclusion,” which I was so proud to have taken on as a mantra many years ago, are also no longer acceptable either. And just when I had learned to say “D&I” and felt as if I truly belonged in the club.
For years I have happily co-trained in “Building Intercultural Communities” with my friend and colleague, Roberto Chene, who is Hispanic, oops, I mean Hispano, I mean Latino, I mean Latin-x …. you see the problem. I have a Latina friend who wants to be called Latina, not Latin-x, because the female ending is an important part of her identity. I have another friend, also native New Mexican, who prefers to be called Chicana for its political implications. I am grateful to both of them for making clear what they prefer. In this world of labels it is really helps to know which ones to use. But I have to admit it’s getting really complicated out there in the land of undoing racism.
There are intractable conflicts rooted in history all over the country. Conflicts over flags, over statues, over celebrations, over naming of public places, over school curriculum, and on and on. Sometimes it seems that only a miracle could resolve them. Well, I am proud to announce that a miracle has happened, right here in Santa Fe. But I must begin with the history, because as with many conflicts that’s where it all began.
In the late 1500’s Spanish conquistadors marched from what is now Mexico north in search of the famed cities of gold. Anyone they met along the way was astounded at the sight of these armored, spear-carrying, bearded strangers and sent them on. “Oh, the cities of gold? Yes, they are about 100 miles to the north.” Reaching as far north as what is now Colorado and as far east as what is now Nebraska, they finally gave up the search and settled along the Rio Grande, running north to south through what is now New Mexico.