Upham's Corner Online

Upham's Corner News is Shifting the Image

Posted: Tuesday, October 19, 2010
Nancy Conrad

Shifting the image - what do you see?

We each view the world around us with bias. That's just how our brains work. Past experiences filter every moment and give us clues on how to respond. Each person is uniquely different in their experiences and, as a result, uniquely isolated.

Some of us see the world with a line in the sand -- "me" and "thee" -- with little hostility but also little understanding. 

I see you by the name I call you - neighbor, citizen, banker, driver, etc. or I use pronouns, not your name, to describe you - YOU, THEY ...  

Such people are not real for us. And why? 
  • I compare my neighbor to the image of I have of how I think my neighbor should act.
  • I judge the banker based on how she treated me, not on who she really is.
  • I see that driver as a "jerk" -- but I never got the chance to feel his pain.
Such people can never be real to us unless we come to relate to them personally.
We are halted in another lack of understanding and that is not knowing what we don't know.  We may deferentially admit that our knowledge is incomplete yet forget that how we see and react to the world is based solely on what we know, not on what we don't know.  Since we cannot know the infamous “black hole” of non-knowledge, we also cannot understand fully our bias.

Upham's Corner is made up of micro-communities each of which may have a different name and think of itself as part of something more specific than the generic “Upham's Corner” – Cape Verdean community, Hispanic community, the business district, the local neighborhood association. 

Upham's Corner News serves the greater community, the Upham’s Corner community.  One of our implicit goals is to promote understanding within that larger community. Often a community’s public face is the one that cries the loudest or draws the greatest attention.  Yet, if we take the time to look more closely, what we find will often surprise us.

Consider this example:

UC News starts a series on the musicians who live here.  What happens?  Either this information supports what we already know (we are!), or we are surprised at the findings (we are??). 
  • Yes, we already know that - we are a community of musicians
  • Wow!  Look at that – lots of musicians in Upham’s Corner
Whichever way it falls, the impression we have of ourselves has changed or solidified. It is through the process of coming to know ourselves more specifically or personally that cohesiveness and acceptance of community grows.

So let's imagine ourselves walking past an abandoned lot heaped with trash, an outcrop of weeds and a few wildflowers in bloom. 

What adjective do we use to describe what we are seeing? 
  • If we are angry and annoyed, we may see only the trash and call it "ugly".
  • If we are a fan of color or wildflowers or bees, we may call it "beautiful".
We see Upham’s Corner News as an artist who paints, or a photographer who reports WHAT IS, filling in the voids of our understandings or misunderstandings.  Upham’s Corner News is like a mirror held high, allowing us to see ourselves in a different way.

This newspaper will be reporting the facts about our community as we find them -- good, bad or ugly.  However, the old adage applies: "Is the glass half-empty, or is the glass half-full?" 

Our goal?

To find the beauty in Upham's Corner and to see ourselves living in a glass that is filling up and soon to be bubbling over.

Zachary Cohen of Main Streets gave us a name to call what we do: 

“Shifting the Image.”

By letting us look into our community mirror and discover more about who we are, Upham’s Corner News helps increase our understanding of each other. This opens the doors to greater respect and cooperation, and sets up a powerful energy for forward movement.
Shifting the ImageShifting the Image

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