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Tuesday, March 31, 2009

ON ANOTHER BLOG: "TELEVISION/VIDEOS: Doctor Who - What's Up With That?" on OlderMusicGeek's Stupid Entertainment Stuff (just click here)

ON ANOTHER BLOG: "MUSIC: My Most Played Music On IPod For March 2009" on OlderMusicGeek's Stupid Entertainment Stuff (just click here)

ON ANOTHER BLOG: "PERSONALITY TYPE: Which Swear Word Are You" on OlderMusicGeek's Stupid Tests And Quizzes (just click here)

ON ANOTHER BLOG: "PERSONALITY TYPE: The Swear Word Usage Test" on OlderMusicGeek's Stupid Tests And Quizzes (just click here)

ON ANOTHER BLOG: "PERSONALITY TYPE: What Kind of Shoe Are You" ON OlderMusicGeek's Stupid Tests And Quizzes (just click here)

ON ANOTHER BLOG: "PERSONALITY TYPE: What Type Of Shoe Are You?" on OlderMusicGeek's Stupid Tests And Quizzes (just click here)

ON ANOTHER BLOG: "PERSONALITY TYPE: What Type Of Shoe Are You?" on OlderMusicGeek's Stupid Tests And Quizzes (just click here)

ON ANOTHER BLOG: "PERSONALITY TYPE: Which Shoe Fits You?" on OlderMusicGeek's Stupid Tests And Quizzes (just click here)

Sunday, March 29, 2009


Well, this is unfortunately late, cus Earth Hour already passed for me and most of the world. But I still want to promote it, so.... - OlderMusicGeek

Earth Hour 2009: A Billion to Go Dark Saturday?
Ker Than for National Geographic News
March 26, 2009

Starting in New Zealand's remote Chatham Islands, thousands of cities, towns, and landmarks around the world will start to go dark for Earth Hour on Saturday evening.

Up to a billion people worldwide are expected to participate in this global voluntary blackout by switching off their lights from 8:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. local time.

The movement, sponsored by the conservation nonprofit WWF, is designed as a symbolic gesture in support of action against global warming.

Now in its third year, Earth Hour has been attracting some high-profile advocates.

United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon recently pledged his support for Earth Hour, saying it has the potential to be "the largest demonstration of public concern about climate change ever attempted."

Secretary-General Ban urged people to participate as a way of letting politicians know that they expect progress at the Global Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen, Denmark, in December, when world leaders will meet to draft a replacement for the Kyoto Protocol.

Other big names endorsing Earth Hour 2009 include actors Edward Norton and Cate Blanchett, musicians Alanis Morissette and Big Kenny, and the band Coldplay.

Earth Hour began in Sydney, Australia, in 2007 with about two million participants.

By 2008 the event had spread to nearly 400 participating cities in 35 countries and 50 million participants. (See before-and-after pictures of Earth Hour 2008.)

As of press time, more than 2,800 cities, towns, and villages in 84 countries worldwide are expected to take part in Earth Hour 2009.

World landmarks such as the Empire State Building, the Las Vegas strip, the Eiffel Tower, Rio de Janiero's statue of "Christ the Redeemer," Athens's Acropolis, Egypt's Great Pyramids, and Rome's Colosseum will also slip temporarily into darkness.

"Sometimes it takes a while for a good idea to get out there, and this year we're really hitting our stride," said WWF spokesperson Leslie Aun.

Earth Hour: Energy Saver?

While Earth Hour is important as a symbolic gesture, it would be even more valuable if the energy savings of the event were known, said Mary-Elena Carr, associate director of the Columbia Climate Center in New York City.

"The issue is whether it goes beyond a 'really cool' event and leads to anything tangible," Carr said.

"If there was an idea of how much energy was being saved, people could take measures to lower their energy use in a systematic and practical way."

Unlike in previous years, WWF is not releasing energy-savings estimates for this year's Earth Hour.

"We think the value of Earth Hour is the lights going off," WWF's Aun said, "not the energy savings."

World Cities Shut Lights for Earth Hour 2008
Saturday, March 29, 2008

SYDNEY, Australia — The iconic Opera House and Harbour Bridge went dark Saturday night as Sydney became the world's first major city to turn off its lights for this year's Earth Hour, a global campaign to raise awareness about climate change.

Thousands of homes were dark for an hour in Christchurch, New Zealand. The famed Wat Arun Buddhist temple in Bangkok, Thailand switched off its lights.

The three major cities were among 23 worldwide, along with 300 smaller towns, taking part in Earth Hour — a campaign by environmental group WWF to highlight the need to conserve energy and fight global warming.

"This provides an extraordinary symbol and an indication that we can be part of the solution" to global warming, Australian Environment Minister Peter Garrett told Sky News television, standing across the harbor from the dark silhouette of the Opera House.

"We're not only talking the talk, we're walking the walk," he said. "Whatever your view is about the magnitude of the problem ... we can save money by using energy wisely and efficiently, and that gives us the added bonus of reduced greenhouse gas emissions."

In Sydney, a lightning storm was the brightest part of Sydney's skyline when the lights were turned off at the city's landmarks. Most businesses and homes were already dark as residents embraced their second annual Earth Hour with candlelight dinners, beach bonfires and even a green-powered outdoor movie.

The number of participants was not immediately available but organizers were hoping to beat last year's debut, when 2.2 million people and more than 2,000 businesses shut off lights and appliances, resulting in a 10.2 percent reduction in carbon emissions during that hour.

"I'm putting my neck on the line but my hope is that we top 100 million people," Earth Hour Australia chief executive Greg Bourne said.

New Zealand and Fiji kicked off the event this year. In Christchurch, more than 100 businesses and thousands of homes were plunged into darkness.

Also in New Zealand, Auckland's Langham Hotel switched from electric lights to candles as it joined the effort to reduce the use of electricity, which when generated creates greenhouse gases that are believed to contribute to global warming.

WWF Thailand said the lights out campaign in Bangkok saved 73.34 megawatts of electricity, which would have produced 45.8 tons of carbon dioxide.

In Manila, the grounds of the seaside Cultural Center of the Philippines went dark after four city mayors ceremonially switched off the lights. Shopping malls turned off street lamps around the metropolis.

After Asia, lights were expected to go out in major European and North American cites as the clock ticks on. One of the last to participate will be San Francisco, California — home to the soon-to-be dimmed Golden Gate Bridge.

Organizers see the event as a way to encourage the world to conserve energy.

"What's amazing is that it's transcending political boundaries and happening in places like China, Vietnam, Papua New Guinea," said Earth Hour executive director Andy Ridley. "It really seems to have resonated with anybody and everybody."

Popular search engine Google lent its support to Earth Hour with a completely black page and the words: "We've turned the lights out. Now it's your turn."

"Earth Hour is a call to action," said Sydney's Lord Mayor Clover Moore. "People have now responded and it's time to introduce some significant long-term changes."

Cities switch off for Earth Hour

Major cities and global landmarks have been plunged into darkness as millions of people switched off lights for an hour to protest against climate change.

The initiative, Earth Hour, was begun in Sydney two years ago by green campaigners keen to cut energy use.

Correspondents say the aim is to create a huge wave of public pressure to influence a meeting in Copenhagen later this year to seek a new climate treaty.

Critics describe the event as a symbolic and meaningless gesture.

The switch-off was planned to take place in more than 3,400 towns and cities across 88 countries, at 2030 in each local time zone.

Earth Hour was launched in 2007 as a solo event in Sydney, Australia, with more than two million people involved. Last year's event claimed the participation of 370 cities.

Organisers said they wanted to demonstrate what people can do to reduce their carbon footprint and save energy, thus drawing attention to the problem of climate change.

China debut

This time Sydney was one of the first places to switch off. The BBC's Nick Bryant described a city where skyscrapers were hard to make out against the night sky.

Hours later, Beijing's most prominent Olympic venues, the Bird's Nest and Water Cube, went dark. China is taking part for the first time, with major cities like Hong Kong, Shanghai and Guangzhou also dimming their lights.

Other locations due to take part this time include Edinburgh Castle in Scotland, St Peter's Basilica in Rome, Paris' Eiffel Tower, the Egyptian Pyramids and New York's Empire State Building.

Fast-food giant McDonald's has pledged to dim its "golden arches" at 500 locations, while celebrities such as actress Cate Blanchett and Archbishop Desmond Tutu have promised support.

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon backed the initiative in a video posted this month on the event's YouTube channel.

"Earth Hour is a way for the citizens of the world to send a clear message," he said. "They want action on climate change."

People are invited to provide blogs and short video clips on how they spend their time.

Earth Hour in pictures

Antarctica to Pyramids — lights dim for Earth Hour
By VANESSA GERA, Associated Press Writer Vanessa Gera, Associated Press Writer – Sat Mar 28, 5:01 pm ET

BONN, Germany – From an Antarctic research base to the Great Pyramids of Egypt and beyond, the world switched off the lights on Saturday for Earth Hour, dimming skyscrapers, city streets and some of the world's most recognizable monuments for 60 minutes to highlight the threat of climate change.

Time zone by time zone, nearly 4,000 cities and towns in 88 countries joined the event sponsored by the World Wildlife Fund to dim nonessential lights from 8:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m.

An agreement to replace the Kyoto Protocol, which expires in 2012, is supposed to be reached in Copenhagen, Denmark, this December, and environmentalists' sense of urgency has spurred interest in this year's Earth Hour. Last year, only 400 cities participated; Sydney held a solo event in 2007.

In Bonn, WWF activists held a candlelit cocktail party on the eve of a U.N. climate change meeting, the first in a series of talks leading up to Copenhagen. The goal is to get an ambitions deal to curb emissions of heat-trapping gases that scientists say are dangerously warming the planet.

"People want politicians to take action and solve the problem," said Kim Carstensen, director of the global climate initiative for WWF, speaking in a piano bar bathed by candlelight and lounge music.

Organizers initially worried enthusiasm this year would wane with the world focused on the global economic crisis, Earth Hour executive director Andy Ridley told The Associated Press. But he said it apparently had the opposite effect.

"Earth Hour has always been a positive campaign; it's always around street parties, not street protests, it's the idea of hope, not despair. And I think that's something that's been incredibly important this year because there is so much despair around," he said.

The Chatham Islands, a small chain about 500 miles (800 kilometers) east of New Zealand, switched off its diesel generators to officially begin Earth Hour. Soon after, the lights of Auckland's Sky Tower, the tallest man-made structure in New Zealand, blinked off.

At Scott Base in Antarctica, New Zealand's 26-member winter team resorted to minimum safety lighting and switched off appliances and computers.

In Australia, people attended candlelit speed-dating events and gathered at outdoor concerts as the hour of darkness rolled through. Sydney's glittering harbor was bathed in shadows as lights dimmed on the steel arch of the city's iconic Harbour Bridge and the nearby Opera House.

And in Egypt, the Great Pyramids darkened, as did the Sphinx.

To the West, floodlights at the Acropolis in Athens were switched off and an outdoor concert was staged on an adjacent hill, which many Athenians approached in a candlelight procession. The Athens International Airport switched off the lights on one of its two runways.

In that other great ancient city, Rome, the Colosseum and St. Peter's Basilica were plunged into darkness.

In Paris, the Eiffel Tower, Louvre and Notre Dame Cathedral were among 200 monuments and buildings that went dark. The Eiffel Tower, however, only extinguished its lights for five minutes for security reasons because visitors were on the tower, said WWF France spokesman Pierre Chasseray.

"Above all in the current economic crisis, we should send a signal for climate protection," said Klaus Wowereit, the mayor of Berlin, one in a handful of German cities switching off lights at city halls and television towers for Earth Day for the first time.

Meanwhile, the Swiss city of Geneva switched off the lights on theaters, churches and monuments. Among them were the Reformation Wall, where floodlights normally illuminate 10-foot (three-meter) statues of John Calvin and other leaders of Protestantism. The city's motto engraved on either side of the statues is: "After darkness, light."

All of Spain's 52 provincial capitals turned off some lights an hour after sunset, silhouetting unlit landmarks such as the royal palace and parliament in Madrid, the Guggenheim museum in Bilbao, and the Alhambra palace in Granada against darkening dusk skies.

A key 2010 football World Cup qualifier against Serbia posed a dilemma for Romanians. "Shall we watch the match or turn off the lights?," the 7plus daily asked in its main front-page headline.

The U.N. headquarters in New York and other facilities were dimming their lights to signal the need for global support for a new climate treaty.

U.N. Secretary Ban Ki-moon called Earth Hour "a way for the citizens of the world to send a clear message: They want action on climate change."

China participated for the first time, cutting the lights at Beijing's Bird's Nest Stadium and Water Cube, the most prominent 2008 Olympic venues.

In Bangkok, the prime minister switched off the lights on Khao San Road, a haven for budget travelers packed with bars and outdoor cafes.

Earth Hour organizers say there's no uniform way to measure how much energy is saved worldwide.

Earth Hour 2009 has garnered support from global corporations, nonprofit groups, schools, scientists and celebrities — including Oscar-winning actress Cate Blanchett and retired Cape Town Archbishop Desmond Tutu.

McDonald's Corp. planned to dim its arches at 500 locations around the U.S. Midwest. The Marriott, Ritz-Carlton and Fairmont hotel chains and Coca-Cola Co. also planned to participate.

Associated Press Writers around the world contributed to this report.

A link to the Earth Hour home page
A link to Earth Hour U.S.

Monday, March 23, 2009

POLITICS and SPIRITUALITY/RELIGION: The Growing Clout of Atheists and Non-Believers

This is from AlterNet.org. I found it through a link from The Youth Federation on Twitter. - OlderMusicGeek

The Growing Clout of Atheists and Non-Believers
By Michelle Goldberg, The Guardian. Posted March 18, 2009.

In recent years, non-religious Americans have won a modicum of public acknowledgment. Not long ago, politicians insulted them with impunity or at best simply overlooked them. But the heightened public religious fervour of the Bush years led the country's infidels to organize as never before, turning atheist authors like Sam Harris into celebrities and opening lobbying offices in Washington, DC, just like religious interest groups do.

Politicians have responded. In his inaugural address, Barack Obama – doubtlessly realising that secularists constitute a big part of his base – described America as a "nation of Christians and Muslims, Jews and Hindus ... and non-believers." Even Mitt Romney came to express second thoughts about leaving atheists and agnostics out of his high-profile campaign speech on faith. The United States is not Europe – it will likely be a long time before we have a publicly agnostic president – but it is becoming more tolerant of the godless.

It has to be: no religious group in the United States is growing as fast as those who profess no religion at all. The latest American Religious Identification Survey, which Trinity College published last week, shows that the number of non-religious Americans has nearly doubled since 1990, while the number of people who specifically self-identity as atheists or agnostics has more than tripled. An astonishing 30% of married Americans weren't wed in religious ceremonies, and 27% don't expect to have religious funerals. This suggests whole swaths of the culture are becoming secular, since one can assume that non-believers in religious families often acquiesce to traditional marriage rites and expect to be prayed over when they're dead.

The irony, though, is that even as the country becomes more secular, American politics are likely to remain shot through with aggressive piety. What we're seeing is not a northern European-style mellowing, but an increasing polarization. In his recent book Society without God: What the Least Religious Nations Can Tell Us About Contentment, the sociologist Phil Zuckerman described the secularized countries of Scandinavia as places where religion is regarded with "benign indifference". There's consensus instead of culture war. That's not what's happening in the United States. Instead, the center is falling out.

According to the American Religious Identification Survey, Christianity is losing ground in the United States, but evangelical Christianity is not. Just over a third of Americans are still born-again. Meanwhile, the mainline churches, beacons of progressive, rationalistic faith – the kind that could potentially act as a bridge between religious and non-religious Americans – are shrinking. "These trends … suggest a movement towards more conservative beliefs and particularly to a more 'evangelical' outlook among Christians," write the report's authors.

In some ways, there's a symbiotic relationship between evangelicals and secularists. The religious right emerged in response to a widespread sense of cultural grievance stemming from the social upheavals of the 1960s and 1970s. Today's newly organized atheists and agnostics were mobilized by the theocratic bombast of Bush-era Republicans. More than ever, one's religion is tied up with one's political choices rather than family history.

That means faith won't fade into the background. If European secularism is defined by disinterest in organized religion, American secularism is largely defined by opposition to it. Thus non-believers in the United States are increasingly becoming an organized interest group, demanding their share of civic respect. The more they want to escape organized religion, the less they can ignore it.

A link to the original article

Saturday, March 21, 2009

ON ANOTHER BLOG: "SPIRITUALITY/RELIGION: Belief-O-Matic" on OlderMusicGeek's Stupid Tests And Quizzes (just click here)

ON ANOTHER BLOG: "PERSONALITY TYPE and SPIRITUALITY/RELIGION: What's Your Spiritual Type?" on OlderMusicGeek's Stupid Tests And Quizzes (click)

ON ANOTHER BLOG: "PERSONALITY TYPE and SPIRITUALITY/RELIGION: Which Archangel Are You?" on OlderMusicGeek's Stupid Tests And Quizzes click here

ON ANTOHER BLOG: "PERSONALITY TYPE and SPIRITUALITY/RELIGION: Which Bible Hero Are You?" on OlderMusicGeek's Stupid Tests And Quizzes click

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

CULTURE/SOCIETY: St Patrick's Day Quizzes

You're 0% Irish

You're not Irish. Not even a wee bit.
Not even on St. Patrick's Day!

Your Animal is the Goose

You are are a resourceful person who needs a lot of stability in life.
You rather save for a rainy day, even if it means on missing out on fun impulses.
When you feel secure, you are incredibly creative and artistic. You are also very witty.
You like to invest in yourself and for the future. You like to always be learning and gaining skills.

Fun quizzes, surveys & blog quizzes by Quibblo
Take the quiz

LOL - I'm Mally Malone!

CULTURE/SOCIETY: 10 Things You Didn't Know About Ireland

This is from Irish Central. I found it through Yahoo. - OlderMusicGeek

10 things you didn't know about Ireland

By Conn Corrigan, IrishCentral.com Staff Writer
Published Monday, March 16, 2009, 10:54 PM
Updated Monday, March 16, 2009, 6:19 PM

1. Technically, it is an offense to be drunk in public in Ireland
Technically, it is an offense to be drunk in public in Ireland. Regulations introduced last year allow the police to issue on-the-spot fines for anyone caught being drunk in a public place in Ireland.

2. An Irishman founded the Argentinean Navy
Irishman William Brown (known in Spanish as “Guillermo Brown”) is one of Argentina’s national heroes. He is commonly known as the “father of the Argentine navy” and was an important leader in the Argentinean struggle for independence from Spain.

Brown’s family left Foxford in Co. Mayo for Philadelphia in 1786 when he was aged 9 and his father died of yellow fever soon after they arrived in the U.S.

He led an adventurous early life: he fought in the Napoleonic wars, was taken prisoner-of-war, escaped to Germany, before somehow ending up in Uruguay, where he became a sea trader. He then founded the Argentinean navy, when it was at war with Spain.

Today there is a statute of Brown in his hometown of Foxford, Co. Mayo, which was unveiled in 2007, the 150th anniversary of his death. in Argentina, there are 1,200 streets, 500 statues, two towns, one city and a few football clubs named after him.

3. Only two members of U2 were born in Ireland
David Howell Evans, more commonly known as The Edge, was born in London, to Welsh parents. Garvin and Gwenda Evans moved to Malahide in Dublin when The Edge was aged 1. Adam Clayton, U2's bassist, was born in Oxfordshire, England. His family moved to Malahide in Dublin when he was 5, and he soon became friends with The Edge.

Only Bono and Larry Mullen Jr. were actually born in Ireland.

4. The British Embassy in Tehran is on a street named after an Irishman
In 1981, shortly after the death of IRA hunger-striker Bobby Sands, the Iranian government changed the name of the street where the British Embassy is located from "Churchill Boulevard" (after the British Prime Minister) to "Bobby Sands Street."

British Embassy Staff were then forced to route everything through a side door in the building to avoid showing their address as The British Embassy, Bobby Sands Street, Tehran.

5. Up until around the early 1990s, Ireland had a low per capita consumption of alcohol

When the word "Irish" comes up, "drinking" is never far behind. And today, Ireland alcohol's consumption is very high by international standards. A 2006 survey found that the Irish spend a higher proportion of their income on alcohol than anyone else in Europe. It also found that the Irish were the worst binge drinkers in Europe. So the recent evidence supports the old Irish drunkard stereotype.

But Ireland's alcohol consumption per population was moderate for much of the 20th century. There was a high level of alcohol abstinence in the country – something usually more associated with Protestantism – which was promoted by the Catholic Church.

As the Church's moral authority declined, however, and as the country became wealthier, the Irish started to drink a lot more - finally earning themselves that old heavy-drinking stereotype.

6. A Belfast hospital is a world leader in kneecap reconstruction

During the Troubles, the Royal Victoria Hospital in Belfast had one of the top trauma units in Europe. At one point as many as 100 victims of "limb executions" were being treated by the hospital every year, whose advances included external “limb scaffolding" that enables partial healing for bone damage too severe for reconstruction.

7. Ireland has the fourth largest stadium in Europe

Dublin's Croke Park, the headquarters of the Gaelic Athletic Association, is the fourth largest stadium in Europe. The 82,300-capacity stadium was redeveloped in 2005 and is now the fourth largest: only Camp Nou in Barcelona, Wembley in England, and Olimpiysky in the Ukraine, are bigger.

Rugby and soccer were banned from the stadium up until 2007 because of a long-standing rule banning “foreign” games. The rule was relaxed when the country’s main soccer and rugby stadium, Lansdowne Road, was closed for redevelopment.

8. In the summer of 2007, it rained in Ireland for 40 days straight
Even by Irish standards, 2007 was a wet summer. By August 24, it had rained in Ireland for 40 days - fulfilling an old Irish proverb that says it will rain for 40 days if it rains on St. Swithin's day (July 15). The rain usually takes a break in the summer for a couple of weeks and the rare sunshine sends the country pure mad!

9. Playboy was banned in Ireland until 1995
In 1995 you could get Playboy TV but you couldn't get the magazine, which was banned under the censorship laws.

10. More Guinness is sold in Nigeria than in Ireland
That's right: Ireland is the third largest market for Guinness. Nigeria is at second, and Britain is first.

A link to the original web page


Other St Patrick's Day posts

Friday, March 13, 2009

HUMOR: Pie Charts For Pi Day

Well, another Pi Day has come. And in honor of that, I present some great pie charts from various web sites! - OlderMusicGeek

HUMOR: A Joke For Pi Day

Here's a joke I heard back in high school for Pi Day. - OlderMusicGeek

There was the village that was far away in the mountains. And in this village, they had a young boy who was very gifted, especially in math.

But his family had died in a tragic accident, and he lived with his poor grandfather and his nephew. So since no one in the town had ever gone to college, everyone in the village chipped in and sent him off.

The college was far away, and the young man could not afford to visit his home. When he finally got his Ph.D., he went back to his home village.

There was a big celebration in the village with a parade and fireworks. Then the town asked for a speech.

The man was rather shy. "I don't know what to say!"

Someone shouted, "Tell us something you learned in college!"

The man said the first thing that came to mind - "Pi r square."

Everyone looked disappointed and slowly walked away. The only two people to remain were his grandfather and nephew.

"What did I say wrong?"

The grandfather looked at him and said, "Everybody know pie are round!"

Saturday, March 07, 2009

CULTURE/SOCIETY: Thank God I Was A Racist

A fellow former Peace Corps volunteer sent me a link to this story.

It's not quite the same experience I had. The country I lived in was next door to South Africa, but had a long history of North American and European volunteers helping them out. So they were used to white people living among them.

But it's similiar enough for me to want to put it here. - OlderMusicGeek

Stories - Allow Rating/Comments Social
Thank God I Was a Racist
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Pen Name Bruce Muzik

I pulled up to my new home and felt terror in the pit of my stomach. But, I knew I had to go through with this. I saw the same fear in Dad’s eyes. “Are you sure you really want to do this?” he asked. I nodded and got out of the car. Next door, two people sat on empty beer crates, drinking beer, on the otherwise deserted street. I wanted to move into my new home quietly, with time to adjust to my new surroundings. But it was too late. The beer drinkers came over to find out why Dad and I were unloading boxes from my truck.

Another local arrived to watch, and within minutes, twenty-five staring people surrounded us, faces as black as night. One of them, a woman, came forward, “Umlungu (‘white man,’ in the Xhosa tongue), what you doing?”

“I’m moving in,” I told her warily as I pointed toward the dilapidated “shantytown” house that was my home for the next thirty days. I sensed her confusion as she turned to the others and translated what I’d said into Xhosa, their native language. As if in slow motion, the looks upon their faces turned from curiosity to disbelief. The crowd murmured in unison as they grappled with the concept of a white man moving into their black community in the township of Guguletu, the African equivalent of a ghetto or shantytown. Unsure of my real motives, the woman introduced herself to me as Maureen, my new neighbor. “What do you mean you are moving in?” Maureen asked.

I decided to tell the truth, as difficult as it was for me to admit. “I recently discovered that I’m a racist,” I told her boldly, not wanting her to know how terrified I was, “and I’m moving into Guguletu to learn about your culture and conquer my fear of black people.” A look of shock crossed their faces....

Maureen looked visibly shocked to hear my admission of being a racist. She translated to the now-baffled and suspicious locals who, after a few seconds of silence, proceeded to laugh as if this was the funniest joke they had ever heard. I later found out that some of them suspected I was a part of a secret police operation sent to infiltrate and spy on them....

The next morning, I woke up with a familiar feeling growing in the pit of my stomach. The reality of my circumstance sunk in, and I wanted to hide away in bed all day. I forced myself to go outside and eat my breakfast sitting on the front steps of my house. As I watched the locals scurry off to work, a small child, dressed in a school uniform, walked past me. He stopped dead in his tracks when he saw me, obviously shocked to see a white face eating breakfast in his township. “Do you live here?” he asked.

“Yes,” I replied.

He looked away, paused for a second, then turned to me and said with wisdom beyond his years “Welcome home.” He turned away and continued his walk to school. Tears rolled down my cheeks as thirty years of racial prejudice evaporated in that instant. I was home...

A link to the complete piece

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