We all have dreams that we would like to see come true. One of mine is to become a great public speaker who can captivate an audience and inspire them with that seemingly effortless ease of the great orators of our time. I, like many, have a way to go to make my dream a reality. Before we embark on a journey, it is important not only to know where we are going, but where we are coming from. We need to see how who we are affects how we proceed, why we proceed and the perspective from which we proceed.  While in today’s world we want to think that all people are equal, that doesn’t mean that we approach all ideas equally. You may look at some of these and think, “How does that affect anything?” Ask someone who is from a different group from you, and they can help you with this one. Here are some questions to keep in mind as you search yourself to find your own preconceived biases or notions.

  1. What is your Worldview/Faith? (Christian, Buddhist, Muslim, Jewish, Agnostic, Atheist…)
  2. What is your sexual identity? (Gay/Straight)
  3. What is your regional perspective? (Northeasterner or Northerner, Midwesterner, Westerner, Southerner, Internationalist…)
  4. What is your cultural decent? (European, Asian, African, Latin American, Native American…)
  5. If not Native American, How many generations ago did your family immigrate? (You are first generation, second generation, third generation…)
  6. Did you grow up in wealth or poverty?
  7. Are you still in the same state as you grew up in noted in #6?

While investigating our personal identity does not create absolutes about who we are or what we can achieve, looking at these questions honestly can help us realize our personal biases and help us relate to others that are coming from different backgrounds more easily.


2 Responses to Before You Start, Do You Know Where You Are?

  1. Deeone says:

    Another thought provoking post, Burl!

    As a young adult, I used to not want to take into consideration “where I came from”. In my eyes at the time, it had no real bearing on where I wanted to go and who I wanted to become. It’s also the main reason I had no idea what my answer was for either.

    I was a young black gay man raised up in poverty in a small town in North Carolina, and everything about the place reminded me of those conditions while I lived there. I simply didn’t want any parts of it, and actually today I still don’t.

    The difference though between now and then is that I now understand that “where I come from” is just as much apart of who I am than say… my name is. It has also helped me to understand and appreciated how far I’ve come from those days of me singing and directing choirs, when the rest of my peers were going to the high school parties, dances, and games.

    Our experiences in life make us and help shape our future selves, and in order for us to ever become who we want to be, we must certainly know who we are before we get there. Since learning who I am, I now know who I want to become.

    I can’t express it enough, my friend. I love your writing style and each of your post! They’re short… but SO very powerful! Thank you for sharing your awesomeness with me and your readers! 🙂

  2. Burlw says:

    Thanks Deeone…I am laughing at your line, “They’re short…” I have never liked reading really long blog posts online. I figure 500 words is a max to keep my attention in this format, so I guess I write to people like me. There are plenty of bloggers out there writing posts that make you scroll down a bit to get to the bottom and they are full of incredible information! If I do that, I tend to write it over a few days since I post every day. The funny thing is that I do love reading books..even long ones! Thanks again for all your encouragement!

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