Posts Tagged ‘society’

I went to the grocery store the other day. Happened to notice all of the Uncle Ben’s rice boxes were gone. Most shelves were empty.


Please don’t fret if you are a big fan of the rice. It will be back! Same taste. Just a bit of rebranding. The company made the announcement that it is removing the image of “Uncle Ben” who is the Black man on the box.

Here is the company’s statement.

“Racism has no place in society. We stand in solidarity with the Black community, our Associates and our partners in the fight for social justice,” Mars said. “We know to make the systemic change needed, it’s going to take a collective effort from all of us — individuals, communities and organizations of all sizes around the world.”

If this really bothers someone or if it matters to them personally-like interfering with a cherished memory of parboiled rice on the kitchen table-I’d ask them just one thing.


As I was strolling down the aisle that day I did happen to notice something else. The shelves weren’t totally empty. Up on the top there were still a few boxes. No, not Uncle Ben’s. Those are totally gone. These were called,”Seeds of Change.”


We all have a choice.

Keep things the same. Or be the seeds of change.

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How can I (or anyone) take action, to help my fellow countrymen/women, in a positive way?

First of all we need to be honest. And that is really, really hard.

Racism is alive and well in the United States. I don’t have to tell you that. Just turn on the television.

Someone asked me, at a socially distanced barbeque, what percentage of Americans I thought are actually racist. I quickly pulled out a 99% and I included myself in that number. The person who asked the question-along with my husband-did not agree with me.

Maybe I should use the word biased and not racist. Everyone has some bias. Not our fault. It’s in our politics. In our growing up years. In our society. Inherently. We don’t even notice it.

There lies the rub. We don’t even notice it.

We need to notice it. In order to create change we need to take notice and start questioning.

Not too long ago there were only white males in power or positions of authority. We (white people) didn’t even think about it. Until we did. And made changes.

I will share a story from my beloved father’s own mouth. He wasn’t telling me out of pride.

My mother, a bright lady, was a Registered Nurse. She skipped a grade in elementary school, graduated high school and was soon in the nursing program at a Rhode Island hospital. She loved her job and her nursing friends. I can still remember one evening, while I was upstairs in bed, hearing them while they laughed and smoked. I think that is probably the first time I also became aware of someone who was gay. One of Mom’s nurse friends.

Mom worked on the first heart/lung machine in Rhode Island. She also taught others. Pretty cool stuff.

My Dad was always so very proud of her. Almost to his dying day, if he was at a Drs. appointment-hers or his, he always mentioned that she was a nurse.

In the 1960s, when my parents married, three kids quickly arrived on the scene.

So, back then, life gets a bit tricky. And my mom was going to have to quit or cut back hours.

Dad told me, that a male Doctor from the hospital actually called him on the telephone. Asking if Mom could still work. Dad nicely and respectfully told the Doctor that they had a growing family.

When I was listening to my Dad tell this story I was sort of shocked. My stomach kind of lurched. I felt terrible for my mom (although she did work as a nurse part-time for years before going full-time again) -that the decision was not really hers.

I appreciated my father sharing that with me across their dining room table. I also appreciated that in the 1950s and 1960s things looked a whole lot different for women.

Did my Dad’s views change as he got older? Of course, they did.


Because people took notice and things changed for women.

But how many years had passed before someone noticed?

Now is the time for all of us to pay attention and listen.

Most importantly it is time to take notice.

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Not too long ago, my friend and I were having a conversation about living in a foreign country. She said something that stuck with me. I already knew it but it was good for me to hear it verbalized. Once again.

Kelly said, “We are guests here.”

I thought a lot about that and what it means to me. And this is what I think it means. To me.

I liken it to a stay with a family member. One who invites us to stay with them for a short while.

When we are invited to stay with an Auntie Mary or Uncle Johnny in their home it is always an absolute privilege. A wonderful benefit of somehow being connected to them. They are proud of their home and happy to share with you. And will invite you back again.

If you are a good guest.


We should bring our gifts.

We should exercise patience with our hosts.

We should not try to change the way they think, even if it is different from our way of thinking, during our short stay.

We should not try to change the way they do things, even if it is different from our way of doing, during our visit.

We should work toward a harmonious, peaceful environment while visiting.

We should  pick up after ourselves.

We should leave the place neat and clean.

We should offer to help them and not expect to be waited on the entire time.

We should be charitable if a need exists.

We should be thankful.

We should compliment them, their food, culture, home and surroundings.

We should show interest in them, their food, culture, home and surroundings.

We should understand that we are ambassadors or representatives of the rest of the family that may also want to visit in the future.

We should be friendly.

We should interact positively.

We should abide by the house rules.

We should not disturb the peace.

We should be tolerant of their customs, religion, and culture. It’s their house.

We shouldn’t allow the visit to be filled with incessant complaining.

We should leave our mark.

We should leave them knowing that they are a little happier as a result of our good cheer.

We should leave with them viewing us as a delight and not a burden.

We should leave uplifted as a result of the sheer graciousness of our hosts. And the wonderful, possibly once in a lifetime experience.

We should leave with the hope that there might be an invitation to return.

This sort of sums up what being a guest means to me. Yes, there might be frustrations and communication problems. It happens. But I want to do my very best to treat this stay in our wonderful host country, Malaysia, as if it were a visit to my Aunt’s house.

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A couple of days ago there was an Amber Alert issued for a thirteen year old girl who went missing from her nice Portsmouth, Rhode Island home.

It was amazing how quickly word spread. The radio, television and social media was hot, hot, hot.

This is not, however, a posting about how I wish all children were created equal and would receive the same media attention in this same situation. Another day.

Or a posting about how it is imperative we monitor our youth’s cyber activity. Another day.

And this is also not about how the technology that might have been used to find her is possibly the same that could have assisted in her disappearance. The internet. Another day.

Thank goodness she was found. Did not take even twenty-four hours. Not sure exactly how she was found. Most likely good old-fashioned police work. But I don’t know yet.

She was found in the New Jersey apartment of a twenty-seven year old man. Seems they might have met on-line. Alleged on-line predator. Seems he also might have assaulted her. 😦 I hope not.

But what my posting is about today is this.

Two people in her neighborhood gave a very good description of the man that she left her house with that day.

One was a neighbor and the other one was the lawn guy. They gave a description of the car, plates, and guy.

We can all keep our eyes open in our own backyard. If something or someone doesn’t seem right then it probably isn’t. Take note and then call the police. The police are getting paid for this sort of thing. It’s not your job. But they will appreciate the call.

I think we all have a responsibility to our families and communities to be involved and engaged. We might all laugh about nosey neighbors but read any crime novel or newspaper article and the first people the police speak with are the neighbors.

I still don’t know how on earth three women could have been kidnapped and held in a Ohio home for a DECADE without ANY neighbors noticing anything awry. That blows my mind. Really.

Know your neighbors. You don’t have to love them. Just know them and watch out for them. They might save your life one day. Or you might save theirs.

Let’s start really caring about the communities in which we reside. This disconnection in our society really needs some fixing. Let’s start today.

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