I was on my way to work while enjoying the banter between two
local radio cohosts, Dino and Stacy. I honestly have seen Dino
Tripodis, out and about, also at the Children’s Hospital fundraisers.
The music is always easy listening on Sunny 95 (94.7). Their choice
of subject matter may make you “cringe.” Dino is frankly a great
late night comedian at the Funny Bone located at Easton Towne
Center, Columbus, Ohio.
Dino is Greek, he mentions this a lot. He is dark, attractive and I
would term him, “swarthy looking.” A dapper dresser when a host at
fundraisers and I think most people would find him a tad ‘raunchy’
(dare I say, “potty mouthed?”) when performing as a comedian. Sorry,
but who isn’t when they are entertaining a night crowd of drinking
adults at a comedy club?
Dino made his opening introduction of the “call in” topic of the day:
“How does your workplace do in their handling controversial
Dino’s first three examples may offend you but they were meant
to open discussions and receive more call ins. One example of
bigotry Dino explained happened to him, “Hey, exactly what ethnic
group are you a member of?” Dino said there was no preamble or
lead in lines, either. Just jumping right in.
His next one was aimed at a fellow coworker who had brought in
his own family specialty. Dino overheard someone coming into the
radio station, saying,
“Hey, who is cooking that smelly food?”
Last example given, was asked of a friend while they were
walking together around the Columbus Jazz and Ribfest,
“Are you black or are you Indian?”
These are ‘cringe worthy’ comments. I think that sometimes
the people know they are politically incorrect and proceed
to aim them, with some kind of animosity. But, on the other hand,
sometimes they may be just plain ignorant of social norms. In this
case, they need to start moving in a wider circle and embracing
more differences in their lives!
I am appalled to tell you that my third grade grandson, Skyler, was
walking in for his first day of school with his stepdad and little
brother, Micah. A classmate came up to him, while they were both
trying to find their lockers. They had been given for the first time,
the number of a “big kid” locker and Mike and Micah had dropped
back a few paces to allow the learning experience to unfold. This
boy asked him the following question, really truly…
“Is your Dad black or is he one of those terrorist groups?”
Skyler blinked a few times, looked up at his stepdad and with a
whole lot of moxie and so much intelligence, answered,
“Hi Jacob, this is my stepdad, Mike. Actually, he is half black and half
white, his son is my brother. My biological Dad is white. I call my
stepdad, “Dad” when I am around him.”
When my children were little, I made a point as my parents had
done before for my brothers and me, to introduce many cultures
including their foods. I found my son to be the one who enjoyed
the spices in curried chicken, who loved the sardines and different
fish from cans. My father had introduced us to gefilte fish with his
good friends, the Lezbergs. We liked going to their unusual house
that had a two story atrium where birds flew around and lizards
crawled. The children became our friends and we had the great
experience of seeing the eldest son’s Bar Mitvah in their synagogue.
Dad, in fact, at NASA, had another coworker who was named
Samuel Palmer, who introduced him to pigs’ feet, corn “pone” and
black-eyed peas, bringing home some of Samuel’s wife’s homemade
Southern family dishes for us to try, too. We ended up being one of
only three white families at their daughter’s wedding.
While in California, Dad really enjoyed the Chinese food he had
discovered in Chinatown and tried buffets where the selection was
fantastic. He would call home, just to hear that we were having hot
dogs, salad and mac ‘n cheese. Mom said it bothered her more when
he was eating steak and lobster, since she missed “surf and turf” more.
While traveling we would try Japanese food, watching the fascinating
Chef/servers with their sharp knives chopping the vegetables and
meats up. The strange treats of chocolate covered ants and crickets
were given us, without much fanfare. We liked the sweet and sour
sauces and eventually the spicy General Tso’s sauce, too.
Living a life full of plain mashed potatoes, corn and chicken, one
of my ex-husbands loved his time in Japan. He learned to immerse
himself on weekends in the culture. He spent time getting off the
base and participating in local theatre, trips up gorgeous mountains,
exploring and sightseeing. He discovered beautiful gardens, special
museums and worship places where they took part in spiritual
ceremonies like churches.
This surprised him when he would inquire of his fellow Air Force
buddies if they would like to join him. There were few who were
interested in venturing out. He mentioned to me, on one of our
“I felt alive while exploring more there than in our own country.
Somehow, a little “risk” and becoming involved in a different part
of the world, made it even more exciting than his past vacation
Back to the subject of parenting, my youngest daughter, some
may have read that I chose to raise her on her own. When she
started to get curious, she would have her “real” Dad come and
Mainly her sources of love and father role models were her two
uncles and her grandfather.
Her stepfather, having an Irish name, had more of a tan complexion
and coal black hair, along with dark brown eyes. He was often asked
where his coloring came from, he would say his mother’s side of the
family. He could have said, there are also “black Irish,” too.
In Spain and France, located in the Pyranees Mountains, a group
lighter skinned and blonde ancestors were supposed to originate.
While in Mexico, one of the students on our Spanish Club trip, got
a lot of attention. Gina was blonde and blue eyed. While in Spain,
a year later, she was not accosted as often nor called, “muy bonita
Senorita!” as often, due to this strange fact that there are blonde
inhabitants more in the Northern region.
Recently, a friend of mine who was raised on a farm, confided that
her family wasn’t very open minded sometimes. In her lifetime, she
could remember her Dad using the word “n—— rigged” when he
would take two parts and try to connect without any connection
or meaning “making do.” She also mentioned that her Granny used
the name with “n” in it to talk about in those days,people who my
family was still using “colored” people or “folks.”
We did advance to the seventies, where my Mom introduced in her
English classroom modern “Black Literature.” Her curriculum
included books like , “Black Like Me,” by John Howard Griffin,
(written in 1961.)
Other famous writers during those times were James Baldwin, Toni
Morrison and Langston Hughes. While Mom assigned these to her
high school students, the books were given to us on our family
bookshelf for summer reading.
When my middle brother, Randy read John Steinbeck’s “The Pearl”
and his fourth grade teacher, Miss Root, doubted he really read it.
Even after hearing his book report this was challenged. With some
fierceness in her approach, my Mom went in to back him up on this.
Books open many peoples’ lives and give them dreams, along with
knowledge of other cultures and the world, too.
My discussion started with the impetus or spark of a controversial
radio show this morning. It continued to “fester” and include some
‘close to home’ examples. Then, it became how families need to
evolve sometimes to meet the challenge of our multicultural
The gifts to our children and grandchildren can include tasting a
variety of foreign foods. A new lease on life can be found in all the
wonderful festivals that surround us. It may involve visiting some
museums around that feature culture in many dimensions of the
All Fine Art Museums include international art. There are examples
of cultural artifacts, tapestries and sculptures. In Columbus, Ohio
our art museum is totally free on Sundays! (There is a donation
box but no one pressures anyone on these family days!)
History or Science Museums can open doors to a variety of unique
and fascinating subjects. The subject of nature and its exploration
was mentioned in my last post, so no need to go to that as a way
to widen little ones’ horizons.
I love this simple old fashioned comment,
“Nothing ventured, nothing gained.”
It is so much deeper than I thought it meant. Especially, when it
includes changing and accepting more exciting worlds than your
own back yard! By opening your doors, you may just open your
children or grandchildren’s ways of thinking, too.
And that is a “gain” no one can put a price tag on…