Kentucky Kitchen Table in Bowling Green

By Hannah

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Kentucky Kitchen Table I was accompanied by four other individuals. The participants came from a variety of cities as well as economic classes. First was Lyn Dawson who is a young adult from Glasgow, Kentucky and is a member of the Honors College at WKU. She is a positive person who typically sits quietly to herself but has many intriguing thoughts. Next was Scott who is from Louisville. Scott is someone who is independent in his thoughts and has strong founded opinions. He is talkative and has an upbeat personality. Next is Tami from Bowling Green who is selfless and works hard to help assist her family. She is a quiet individual who aims to please others. Then there was David from Bowling Green who enjoys sharing his many experiences of life. He believes that everyone should be treated equally and does all he can to provide for the people in his life. Lastly, there is Megan from Bowling Green who is an individual who is constantly thinking and wishes to do her best in all situations. She is a positive person who is independent and is strong in her thoughts and beliefs. When around the table, we started with what being a citizen is besides the obvious rights and responsibilities that we hear about growing up. It was anonymous at the table that everyone believed being a better citizen means listening to those around you and just trying to do your part in your community. This question mostly set the mood for the conversation and gave people a sense of what the conversation was going to be like. Next, we talked about how our future jobs or current jobs play a role in the community or how we want to use our job to better the community. Although the jobs varied with the chosen profession, the younger adults at the table wanted to make a change. This included changing the culture of politics, media, or pediatric mannerisms. This was interesting because although each individual was realistic in the small ability to change everything, they each realized they could control the way they behaved. This intrigued me to believe that if everyone looked at themselves first before the outside world, the world would start becoming a better place. These issues start on the inside and work themselves out. The older adults at the table realized that where they are in life may not be the biggest dreams they thought of in childhood, but they realized the importance of what they do. For Tami she works in healthcare, returning money to those who paid too much. She saw that although healthcare has such a negative connotation, she still works hard to be the part of healthcare that brightens people’s day. David’s official title is “Engineering Specialist” which means he takes care of the building where Tami works. He found in his position that no matter who he runs into through the day that he can teach a sense of equality and self-worth. He expressed that everyone, no matter if you clean the toilet or run the company, that everyone has an equal part. It is not about treating only high authority with respect but the people that are not thought about every day. These are individuals that society has defined as “unimportant”. The way this question was answered also reminded me of one of the central questions of the class that related to how we can solve problems. This ultimately shows that to cross the theoretical bridge, the first step we take is to recognize our part in society. The next topic that we discussed was how our neighbors played a role in how we live. This included what we could do to become better neighbors and how we currently may be interacting with our neighbors. As everyone spoke, it appeared that when we were younger or when their kids were younger, that interaction with neighbors was more prominent. Scott spoke about how before he moved houses that they could leave their doors unlocked and him and his neighbors had an open door policy. However, when he moved he found this was not as easy with his new neighbors. This connection was lost because his neighbors did not have kids and were typically were older, it was harder to form a bond and trust each other. This almost appeared as a microcosm for society of how when we are different from people it is harder to get along. This may not necessarily be because of bias but possibly because of human nature. I related Scott saying this to the reading “Paying for the Party.” Individuals typically do not have the grounds to get along if they do not come from similar backgrounds. Everyone at the table then agreed that especially with today’s changing world that trust and respect has most definitely changed which could affect our relationship with our neighbors. The conversation then shifted to the controversy with police officers and racial biases. Again the table agreed that although there may be corrupt officers in the system that typically most officers had good intentions. I wondered how this conversation may have changed if there was someone of minority in the group. The next question brought up at dinner had both surprising and comforting answers. The question was what advice one would give to those running for office. Everyone was careful to try and not relate the advice they would give to a specific candidate running in this current election. The table was clearly diverse in who they believed should win this current election but they tried not to let that come into play. First thing mentioned was by David who said he believed any president should have military backgrounds in consideration that they would be commander and chief of the United States military. Next Megan mentioned that the president should be someone with business experience. Although this was agreed upon, how a business person should act as president was differentiated. The majority opinion was that when being president it is important that you have the people skills to talk to other nations and remain peaceful with allies. You do not necessarily need to be a nice, easy going person, but you need to be respected. This is especially important with the recent hostilities going on and so many relationships are on the line. After sitting at the table I learned that although we come from many different backgrounds, that individuals in this country just want the best for everyone. At my table people realized that most situations could not be fixed with radical changes, but to fix things we just need to start with a basis of respect.

 

 

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