This Sustainable Life

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133: At Least Try

Ep. 133

When I played sports competitively, I once watched a pass go by me without trying because I thought I couldn't make a play on it. A teammate asked why I just watched.

I said, "Because I couldn't reach it."

He said, "At least try!"

Larry Bird said something similar: "It makes me sick when I see a guy just watching it go out of bounds."

The view has stuck with me. I haven't gone for every pass I could, but I respect when an outfielder sprints to the wall even when he know the ball will carry over the fence. The difference between watching and trying is meaning and purpose. I try for as many passes as I can.

The pervasive environmental view, "If I act but no one else does then what I do doesn't matter," and the passive behavior it leads to, embodies a meaningless existence.

I try in part today because I tried then. Today's post explores this view and several related ones in more depth.

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11/27/2021

534: Mom, part 2: Opportunity and oppression: race and religion in my childhood

Ep. 534
I recorded my second conversation with my mom about my childhood and before during the pandemic, in the spring of 2020. Shortly after recording our first conversation, which covered race, George Floyd was murdered. You know the rest. I knew we had spent years as white minorities in India and in a black neighborhood in Philadelphia, at least part time.I was curious to learn more of the time she would have remembered better. In this episode we talk about being redlined, being the victim of race-based violence and objectifying, as well as the access to opportunity to resources for our skin color. Also friends who narrowly escaped Hitler, why my mom converted from Lutheran to Judaism, and bringing classes of her black students from Chicago in the 1960s to where she grew up in South Dakota, where the students declared the Native Americans had it worse.I've never understood the world people describe me coming from. I'm curious to hear the white experience from suburbs, never having lived as a minority, little crime or violence, never mugged, or whatever it's like. I presume it's no easier for them than anyone else, but it's foreign to me. I think if I learned it, I'd understand what people see in me.Anyway, my mom took a long time to agree to post this episode. I'm not sure her reasons, but I think America has so polarized talking about race that non-partisan mainstream people fear the consequences from those who benefit from polarizing from even simply sharing their personal experiences. I hope this episode helps defuse.