This Old Pair of Jeans

There’s this thing called context. 

The definition of context is…circumstances that form the setting for an event, statement, or idea, and in terms of which it can be fully understood and assessed.

Currently our world…okay let me bring it down to…our nation…seems to me to be very confused about context. 

Let me provide a simple example. 

I remember once when Hank was in middle school. He and I were talking about the importance of circumstantial context.

Someone had been making fun of a girl in his class for being fat. She was notably upset. However, this young girl was, in fact, morbidly obese. (That is a medical term.) He was curious about how calling someone “fat”…while a truth…could also be hurtful. 

And this is where, I believe, we’ve gotten kinda messed up. 

Yes. She was fat. This is a fact. And there would be those who would say, she needs to just get over it or lose weight, or stand up for herself. I also know plenty of people who embrace their weight…strong women who celebrate their bold and beautiful bodies. These strong women do not play to the name calling or weight-shaming Hank’s friend had to face everyday at school. 

He and I talked a lot, over the years about context. The N word is another word that comes to mind. That word has as many different meanings and contexts as it does people who use it.

The confederate flag, religious symbols, being vegan, NRA membership, the Occupy movement, Black Lives Matter…I’m beginning to see, at least in my own life, that context plays an important role in my assumptions of people. 

Context has become more obvious to me now that I’ve moved to a neighborhood, that is more economically and racially diverse. 

As a matter of fact, the house two doors down…is…putting it bluntly…in bad need of repair, while the house next door to that one is a moderate home but well-kept. 

Going to the grocery store is seriously like walking into a United Nations lobby. 

I moved from a neighborhood in Charlotte called Myers Park. It’s also the neighborhood where I grew up. Large homes with large oak trees line the streets. I don’t know what the average income is, but I’m quite certain it’s very, very big. 😀

It has been my experience that mostly white folk live there.

Now my guess is…as you read this there are all kinds of thoughts flying around in your head…and my guess is…those thoughts are flying there because of the little dance we are playing right now around context. “Is Molly politically correct or not being politically correct?”  

Well it all comes back to context. 

Here’s a picture of me. I love these jeans. Love ’em. They are soft, raggedy, comfortable and just awesome. 

Those jeans have been a great teacher for me on context. 

Wearing these jeans in my old neighborhood and wearing those jeans in my new neighborhood…well the context changes and so too does the potential meaning of those raggedy old jeans. 

Just a little something to get ya thinking this morning.

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