Everyday People

Each person has a unique story. These stories are constantly being rewritten, reconstructed and discarded throughout our lives. Storytelling has helped cultures communicate from one generation to the next through the ages. Social Capital’s bridging model for the development of multi-ethnic community is enhanced by the art of storytelling. In today’s media driven society, there seems to be a dearth of storytelling. In order to connect across cultural/multi-ethnic relationships, we must develop the means to effectively communicate with one another.

In our story which is made up from life’s experiences, culture influences feelings of how we perceive, sense and interpret the experiences. We all undergo these feelings again as we share our story with someone else. Our personal story is about us, not about how we interpret another person’s story (e.g., rumors or gossip).

Sharing our personal stories is not complicated and it encourages a level playing field of trust. “Sometimes I’m right, then I can be wrong. My own beliefs are in my songs. A butcher, a banker, a drummer and then, makes no difference what group I’m in. I am everyday people.” This song by Sly and the Family Stone shows that we all have many things in common (i.e., everyday people). However, we must act with intention if we are to be successful in bridging the multi-ethnic divide.  The very real feeling of how we interact is important in order to delve deeper, past our cultural shell of perception and interpretation.   

In an episode of Undercover Boss featuring University of California   Riverside campus Chancellor Tim White, the connective power of sharing personal stories crosses cultures in this dramatic way. “Of all the experiences he had working undercover, none touched him so much as a moment of quiet with Christina Rodriguez, whom he worked with as a tour guide on the campus. While they sat and talked, Christina opened up and talked about her father, who was in a car accident a year ago. He’s now in a nursing home in what she described as a brain dead state, but is officially being called a coma. White then revealed that his own father had died in a car accident, creating a unique bond of loss between the two of them. As the emotions began to overwhelm the pair, White said, “I’m sorry. I’m taking you back to a tough time and you’re taking me back to a tough time. It’s amazing how much you can connect with someone, Christina said before the two of them hugged.” by Jason Hughes, Huffpost TV, June 19, 2012

Everyday people are “Building the Bridge Together” over the ethnic/cultural divide by sharing personal stories that connect our humanity above divisions of ethnicity or race. Friendship at the margins can go a long way towards supplanting extremes in political ideologies, immigration debates, racism, racial profiling, privilege and many of the polarizing elements in our society, through communicating and creating relationships.

“Even though I am free of the demands and expectations of everyone, I have voluntarily become a servant to any and all in order to reach a wide range of people: religious, nonreligious, meticulous moralists, loose-living immoralists, the defeated, the demoralized—whoever. I didn’t take on their way of life. I kept my bearings in Christ—but I entered their world and tried to experience things from their point of view. I’ve become just about every sort of servant there is in my attempts to lead those I meet into a God-saved life. I did all this because of the Message. I didn’t just want to talk about it; I wanted to be in on it!”  1 Corinthians 9:19 The Message (MSG)

Kevin K. Robinson, Executive Director of Accord1

4 Responses to “Everyday People”
  1. T says:

    I liked this a lot. I really like hearing other people’s stories and it’s amazing how many of us have so many common bonds that we would never know about without taking the time to stop and listen. Since joining the blogging world last year I have noticed that I feel like I know people who I have never met before just from reading their stories. I am amazed as how when you listen to someones story it can change your whole perspective.Things are so much different on the outside looking in than it is when you take the time to go in and find out more about someone. great post!

    • accord1 says:

      Terri, thank you so much for you comment! It is assuring to know that the message in this post is being understood. I believe that our common stories help us build bridges over any differences.

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  1. […] of the church must be one of true Koinonia, which means “sharing with all things in common.” Bridging social capital is a modern way of describing the early church, especially at Antioch, where the early followers of […]

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