Finally I have returned...
I wrote a couple of posts that disappeared into the blogger graveyard. I'm sure they were both funny, witty and fabulous but I have no idea what they were. Only thing I really remember is the "How not to holla" that happened to me two weeks ago. In summary I was told "I'm so happy to be able to stand next to you."
Now for the more current events! I am working with a group on the HIV/AIDS epidemic in DC. Today we held a discussion group about social factors that lead to HIV. There was this group of men from a community based organization there. A few of them were in my group and we had a lively discussion. One in particular J had the Gary Dourdan look. His arms were very muscular and they accented his tattoo just right. So after the formal discussion I asked them where they were from. They were all currently in a drug treatment program. *record scratch*.
I know this is pretty ignorant of me but I completely buy into the stereotype about drug users who have problems serious enough to warrant enrolling into a program. I'm basically reminded the drooling crack head who tried to kiss me 4 years ago. There were no outward signs that they were in drug treatment program and I would have never figured out they were former users if I hadn't asked. All the points they were making were on point and I learned a few things about drug and gun policy from them.
So after that knowledge I looked at J differently. I shouldn't have been looking that hard to be begin with. I started looking at his arms to see if there were track marks. I can get a little out of control with my stereotypes. As he was leaving he reminded me that his phone number was on his sign in sheet. I giggled to myself.
I needed the reminder about not judging a book by its cover as this is something I am really struggling with right now. I'm trying to make more authentic contact with people who aren't like me. I think I can learn a lot and get over some of the "isms" I hold.