Listening trumps being heard

| March 3, 2013

By Tyrone Cato
Special to Frost Illustrated

The meeting to address issues surrounding the African/African American Museum was an egregious display of arguing, bickering and infighting amongst adults. Quite disheartening is that it was a public display. But that could have been easily overlooked had any positive moves forward been made. Egos and personalities were quite obviously at issue despite verbal statements to the contrary. Open displays of disrespect and condecension seemed to take a front seat to the concern for the well being of the museum. Overall it seemed the purveyors and sustainers of the entity seem to be the ones most distracted from the information that they’ve committed to purvey, maintain and disseminate.

But the Ancestors speak loudly, clearly and constantly. When we stop and listen instead of trying so hard to be heard, we come back to ourselves, reconnect, then move forward. It’s not difficult. The path has been paved and the course has been charted. But to continue the path we often have to get out of our own way.

If three people are committed to building a house and one person brings all the bricks, another lays 10 and another lays 1,000, do they argue over who did what or do they celebrate the progress and move forward in their own capacities as a collective?

I’m not particularly worried about the future of the museum because the answers and solutions are right there. History is the teacher. And as I surveyed the gathering I was struck with the fact that there was quite a show of community concern. And more notably, the gathering contained some of the most brilliant, talented and dedicated folk in the city.

But in the meantime a common destructive stereotype is being lived down to. It’s reinforced in our collective subconsciousness and it propagates itself. We all know the one about black folk not being able to work together. It’s not true but it has been drummed into our brains. I heard the comment mumbled in frustrated tones by more than a few as the meeting adjourned. Scary thing about the subconsciousness is that to varying degrees, it rules our conscious behavior.
I also wonder how much money is being spent on legal counsel. There’s always someone else that benefits from our conflict.

And while the conflict continues, this is what’s happening elsewhere:

We certainly cannot afford someone else telling our story.

Tyrone Cato is is a local entrepreneur, business owner and community advocate.

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Category: Opinion

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