I have a really low tolerance for sheltered people, people who refuse to leave their comfort zones, the bubbles they have created for themselves, and the beliefs they carry that are rooted more in ignorance than in actual knowledge of the world. One of the reasons I loved Anthony Bourdain so much is that he was curious in every sense of the word, always sought to understand others rather than be understood by others. He challenged himself. So many people fail to challenge themselves and their beliefs. Some are lazy. Others think they don’t have time. Others simply don’t have the desire. These are not the people I want to spend time with.
For our company’s Impact Week next week, which is our annual volunteer week where we give back to our local communities, one of my participants today messaged me and said that if she didn’t have someone to accompany her up to West Harlem that she refused to come. She and her husband, born and bread on the Jersey Shore, pretty much know nothing about the world outside of the Jersey Shore. She’s barely been to the West Coast, and no, it’s not for lack of money or resources. They barely know Manhattan even though both have worked there for over 20 years. After the last volunteer event, she’d said she didn’t feel safe being in Spanish Harlem, even in the day time. Her husband said that if anyone carried anything remotely valuable in Manhattan that they’d be a “target.” Manhattan is one of the safest places I’ve ever walked through, whether it’s 3pm or 3am. As a relatively young person of color, I’ve never once felt in danger walking these streets. And these white Jersey people do?
I just cannot handle this type of ignorance or sheltered attitude. If she wants to participate, I told her she’s going to have to find someone else to ride the train with her because I’m not going all the way back down to the Flatiron to pick her up when I already live on the Upper West Side.