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The Carlin Charleston Connection

This blog is dedicated to simply and quickly explaining through a personal story, how we solve the "race" problem.

Here goes:

The Carlins met the Charlestons in 1995. The Charlestons and Carlins arrived as two distinctly different families on Okinawa as part of the United States Marine Corps. One family would be what people who believe in "race" would

call, "black" and the other family for those people who believe such would be called "white." These families became "neighbors" in the deepest sense of the word. It would be common for neighbors, including the Garcia's who lived next door to the Charlestons to barge right on in to the neighbors home next door without so much as a knock.

The Carlins and the Charlestons had their first born children a month apart, both daughters. The husbands were college football fanatics with the Charlestons from Texas and the Carlins from Florida. You can imagine how big a Longhorn/Gator matchup was for us in those years. Daddy Carlin had been a diver in college and Daddy Charleston had been a football player in college. Now as Marines, they competed in everything from basketball to new-found parenting techniques.

During those years, though we were forward deployed to Japan, we kept abreast of the "racial" events in America and we never neglected discussing those things. We argued about the OJ trial and his innocence or guilt and we seldom agreed completely on everything including politics and "race" and that is still true, 25 years later.

Here's what you need to know. We all have differences of opinions on small matters to large issues and when we are in "relationship" with others, we can voice those disagreements and live in harmony simultaneously. If we fail to develop those relationships, then we can't talk about our differences and disagreements without an ensuing fight. This is where we are in America.

So what must we do? The answer is simple develop a Carlin Charleston Connection. The Carlins are back in Florida and The Charlestons are back in Texas and at least once a year someone is going to make the drive to see the other. Usually the Charlestons going to Florida because of Mitzi, the Carlin matriarch, making Carlen, the Charleston patriarch's favorite treat of Pumpkin Squares. Pictured here are the daughters from both families, as youngsters and as older.

The Carlin Charleston connection is such a testimony of how we are to live and it pains me to no end when people begin saying, "black" community and "white" community. Where do the Carlins and Charlestons fit in to that? We were simply a human community. In our world, the Carlin Charleston world, "race" really is a joke and we treat it that way and not like some reality upon which we base our beliefs so that we can identify entire groups of people based on the actions of a few. Because of relationship, when someone says, "white people..." and then continue to make their statement, I can pretty much discount whatever comes next because while they make a perception of the group based on that, their perception of the group, I can make mine on the reality that I know because of relationship.

So America, here is my point to all of you. If you've never taken time to share life with people who are outside of your skin color or demographic boundary then that is why our country is fragmented. E Pluribus Unum means "out of many, one." We're all quite different but none of those differences matter when we decide to share life with those around us. You would be amazed what that does for your family, your community, your city, your state, your country and the world. Connect like the Carlins and the Charlestons.

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