September 23, 2016: Generous
Setting: A local San Francisco coffee shop.
“Generous,” Karim answered, “and it’s used that way just as regularly.” He focused very carefully on his tone and body language to avoid an air of smugness as he explained to Craig and Charlene that his name mean’s generous in Arabic. Craig and Charlene paused for a moment as they processed this new information about their friend Karim. They thought of him as a kind person, but now they wondered if it was all fabricated, just a label that he lived by yet somehow a disguise of his character. The truth is, Karim is attached to his name. Easily pronounced in America, familiar to whites and common to blacks, brown Karim felt able to connect with both groups. Thanks to his name, his familiarity with both American cultures supported a more inclusive, enriched and adaptable view of society. Though it often led to confusing questions of identity, grappling with those questions led in turn to an even wider net of humanity. He was most grateful for that. It expanded his understanding of himself and of others. It made him kinder and more generous. It made him Karim.