June 16, 2014

Looking up Patrick Street at the building facades-in B&W.

Copyright 2014 Kevin P. Mick Photography. All rights reserved.

Things are often not as they appear to be.

Building facades being supported by iron beams - in B&W.

Copyright 2014 Kevin P. Mick Photography. All rights reserved.

Simply getting off the main street and walking back an alley provides an entirely different perspective on some of these “buildings”; one which I only had because of a conversation with a local citizen who described the history of the structures.  It is through broadening one’s knowledge by examining a subject or situation from as many sources and sides as possible can one develop an informed assessment.

There are many cultural references with regard to facades, including the ages old saying “Do not judge a book by its cover” and the social construct of stereotypes.  The movie The Breakfast Club is an excellent example and is worth a watch and to think about the film in this context.  At the beginning, the five students are presented in their stereotypical glory and it is not at all difficult to suss out which role each plays within their high school. These facades, though, begin to erode over the course of their day in detention through the gradual risk-taking that comes with sharing meaningful information.  As the masks they wear crumble, the students find much commonality and appear to form very different relationships with each other than those with which they began the day.  In the end, one is left to wonder what exactly does happen on the Monday they return to school as all of those statuses and corresponding facades bring with them social capital that could be hard to leave behind.

Building facades being supported by iron beams - closer view - in B&W.

Copyright 2014 Kevin P. Mick Photography. All rights reserved.

Indeed, some reinforcement would be needed in order to maintain whichever social positions they choose to keep.

And so it goes with global issues as well.  Given the number of conflicts currently in the world, the ability to see past facades and treat people as people instead of commodities to be exploited for power or as stereotypes or social constructs to be vilified, for example, Sunni vs. Shia, Hutu vs. Tutsi, Israeli vs. Palestinian, Christian vs. Muslim, Democrat vs. Republican, rich vs. poor, etc., and develop meaningful relationships (substitute “and” for “vs.” in the aforementioned pairings) to solve common problems would be a major step forward for all.

Yes, this is simplistic and reductionist.  However, that does not diminish the critical importance of developing personal relationships through meaningful dialogue so as to move past the walls of difference (and indifference) that have been erected.  It is with certainty that the really big global problems we are all facing, climate change and poverty to name two, really do not discriminate based on such distinctions.

Take care.



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