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Wednesday, June 21, 2017

More than a Story: The Influences of an Author

More than a Story: The Influences of an Author
By S.E. Smith

One does not establish a dictatorship in order to safeguard a revolution; one makes the revolution in order to establish a dictatorship... George Orwell (1903-1950)

This quote is powerful, not just for the words, but for the power behind the meaning it contains. I was originally going to write a different post, one about the strength of having strong characters, but a brief conversation about history quickly changed my focus. Who and what we are is made up of our individual experiences. Even a brief moment can change the direction of our thoughts and in some way our lives. This is why it is important to be a reflective person, one who stops and thinks about the information they are receiving, researches more, and still remains the skeptic, for those that are skeptical are less likely to be influenced by those that have their own agenda.

Authors throughout history have had a powerful influence on the world as a whole. These are the individuals who can capture the stories, the emotions, and the impact of the events that they experience and document them in a way others can understand - whether it be at the present time or in the future. For many authors, they were/are criticized for speaking out about the behavior of those they met or the treatment of other people. 

A personal story that reflects human behavior:

My husband shared this simple story about an account during his younger years. When he was in his late teens he worked for a large company that was developing land that would later become Port St. Lucie. One incident still remains a pertinent reminder of the class division that we are facing almost 45 years later. He and several other of his coworkers were working on installations. They wore uniforms, so they were nicely dressed, but the nature of the job meant that they would get dusty and somewhat dirty. Near their job site was a restaurant that catered to the public. Over the course of a few weeks, they would stop there for lunch until one specific day that still resonates in my husband's mind.

That day came when he and the others were eating and he noticed a table with four men staring at them. One man in particular glared with such distaste, such animosity, that it was impossible to ignore. Those men, and that one in particular, looked down at my husband and the hardworking men he was with as being below them, someone of less worth, less value, thus unworthy of being in that public restaurant having a meal. 

The next day, my husband's boss told him and the others that they were not allowed to eat at the restaurant again because someone had called to complain. In that moment, my husband whom I hadn't met at the time, faced discrimination. 

These stories and others should be shared and should be used as a lesson as to how easy it is to discriminate against another. What disturbed me the most about this story was that one man could have so much influence, while four others stood back and let it happen. This is what happens when people refuse to stand up. This is what happens when people refuse to reflect on what one person’s behavior can do to society. This event happened well over forty years ago, but it still has an impact on the life it touched and the lives my husband shared this story with. As an author, it is my responsibility, my duty to write down these stories to preserve them in the hopes that others will read it, get mad, take a stand, and put themselves in the other person's position - for if you won't stand up for someone else, there will come a time when there is no one to stand up for you.

S.E. Smith is a New York Times/USA TODAY Bestselling Author who encourages readers to reach for the stars and embrace the action, adventure, family, friendship, and true love that is found in the worlds she creates. http://sesmithfl.com






6 comments:

Jessie Collins said...

Those who try to ERASE history are doomed to repeat it....We cant forget what happened but we can teach how wrong or right it was through discussion and generally getting the message out...all it takes is someone willing to start the discussion! S E Smith keep starting the discussion.........

S.E. Smith said...

Jessie, you are an amazing woman - and a very, very smart one. I was worried about sharing this, as I've been worried about sharing other things. Sharing is important and discussion is vital to our existence.

Sally Davis said...

I loved your discussion..So sorry it happened to Steve. It goes to show how long an interaction can make an impression on a persons life. So not worth it. Words and looks, can cut sharper than a knife and leave that kind of hurt that does not heal.

Tangaray said...

As a woman, southern born in Birmingham, Alabama I can say I've seen more than others first hand how hateful people can be to others.
But thank the Lord above I was around many that did not feel the way the majority at that time did. I also know the pain of being looked down on because I stood up for my friends and others.
When I was in fourth grade a friend was gotten onto for going to the wrong line in lunch, she cried and was so upset...she had to stay in from recess, so I stayed in also and refused to go out. While in class alone I wrote notes like I'd seen on the TV...Down with prejudice and such and put them in every coat pocket in the coatroom, taped them all over the class walls, and all down the hallways....lolol..yes I got in trouble but the Principle was shocked more than anything!! A few teachers didn't say anything, but patted me on the back. One really talked to me,my math teacher a beautiful black woman and it has stayed with me all my life. Like you she said the same words...those that live in isolation and don't stand for anything will repeat the mistakes of the past and will always be followers, never leaders.
I'm sorry your husband went thru such and pray he can let it go. Bless you for sharing.��

S.E. Smith said...

Thank you, Tangaray. He looks back on it as a life lesson. His reflection was similar to George Orwell in that it brought home the actions of others. My reaction to his story was the fact that ONE person could have such influence while four others stood by in silence. You were one of those that refused to be silent and realized at a very young age what impact your standing up could have. Kudos for you for seeing and DOING something!

Babara Sheffield said...

In the 1950's my parents would take us kids on vacation from our home in Polk Fl all through the South . They had what they called a Florida Camper they pulled with their old station wagon. At that age I knew hardly anything about Black people and to me every body was a good human being. On one trip I learned different. We stopped at a gas station and went to use the bathroom . There was a bathroom for men, women and colored. I didn't understand , I remember thinking if they have a bathroom for men and women what was the colored one for ? Because I am a thinker it didn't take long to figure it out. To myself I said something ain't right. Why to the colored have one bathroom? And why can't they use the men and women bathroom. I come to understand that they were being judged beneath others. I never asked my mom and dad why ? I am now almost 69 yrs of age and have seen people of all colors treat each other with no respect. I guess nobody understands the Love of God.

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