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Those People

“I landed in the emergency room at age 35, after an overdose of alcohol and drugs. Held there for “observation,” I started to experience the physical effects of acute withdrawal. I asked a nurse what was wrong with me, why my hands were shaking so badly, why I felt like there were bugs on the inside of my skin trying to claw their way out. I’ll never forget her expression of disgust and pity when she said, “You’re a drunk and a junkie, what do you think is happening to you?” Susan continued, “until that moment I didn’t know. I didn’t think I could be one of ‘those people’ because I didn’t think I looked like one of ‘those people.’

-Susan Rook

Editor of “The Next Step” Newsletter

STEP ONE Substance Abuse Services in Winston-Salem, NC

“Those people” is a phrase used by anyone who feels superior to, or better than, or detached from whoever ‘those people’ are. Haven’t you used that term or phrase yourself??? Of course you have. Remember when you drove through that neighborhood and witnessed all of the litter, broken beer bottles, broken down cars, and trashy streets, and said to whoever was listening, “look at how ‘those people’ live!! Or perhaps you were conversing with a friend while in the bank transacting business, and you noticed a separate line for people to cash their checks, and you made the comment--”those people” are taking all the jobs at the plant/factory. Or maybe you have said to yourself or under your breath, or to another person “those people” think that they are better than us because they have all the money and businesses.

Well, "those people" look exactly like you and me; Native American, White, Brown, and Black. The challenge is to stop looking at the narrow negative and see the broad positive.

The narrow negative is that “those people” were separated or detached from us because of some seemingly negative reason, such as skin color, education, poverty, wealth, or other pseudo-barriers that society has taught us to erect and maintain at all costs.

The broad positive is that we all belong to one race--the human race. The broad positive is that one of the most read books in the world informs us that “he has made of one blood all nations of men for to dwell on all the face of the earth.” The broad positive is we are family. The next time you think or say "those people" remember it doesn't take much to speak or even offer help. You could be the person to change "those people" with a conversation.

- Ray P. Owens, Sr.


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