My 48 Minutes by N’Neka Wilson

When I was invited to take my 48 minutes, while humbled, intrigued, and proud even, at first I delayed my submission as I needed ample time to think. Yes, I needed the perfect topic, the perfect stance or thought-process to speak about. Ideally, I wanted to write about a topic that would revolutionize our current perception of mankind; an intriguing idea that would transcend any given boundary and set a ripple effect cascading over all inquisitive minds. I wanted to illustrate through words, an action of paramount significance leaving readers mystified yet enthusiastic, regardless of their accreditations, occupation, industry, and levels of intelligence. And then more than a month went by and I was still thinking. But what if rather than lecture you, I ask you a few questions?

Imagine a stage with one microphone in the front. What if you were asked to walk to the front of the stage, grab the mic and speak? What would you say? Anything? Everything?

Sometimes I wonder if I alone am curious about how the world as we understand it works. For example, how exactly were we able to make a camera capture and replicate an image in a second? How does a fax message pattern a document’s content and transmit it to another number, irrelevant of location? Why do we park in a driveway, yet drive on the parkway? And how exactly does the “Do Not Walk on Grass” sign get placed in the middle of someone’s lawn?

Do these not stump you? Okay, let me go further…

While we live in a world with different people, different cultures, different religions, different values, different upbringings and traditions, different attire, different communication guidelines, and different acceptable mannerisms and explanations to follow, how are we so quick to answer what right or correct looks like? Why do we conveniently forget this reality when we disagree with one another? Furthermore, what validates our initial conviction to begin with? And even when our best intention is to hear the other out, how easy is it for us to armor ourselves with our pre-secured viewpoints?

Ready for more?

Why do we idealize picture perfect figures, yet vilify the media for commercializing them? Racism serves as a prevalent and re-emerging topic, but does it serve as an effective smoke screen for the self-hatred internally present within races? Why do the common insecurities we have cripple us with their venom yet masks our wounds with pride? Why is education dependent on the fiscal capabilities of our economic system? Is it fear alone that has hindered us from knowledge and growth? With so many fundamental similarities and values shared amongst religions, why is it that yours is believed to be authentic and concretely valid while others fall sub-superior? At the end of the day, with so many grey areas identified in this world, how is it so easy for us to believe in only black or white?

Simply, what if we asked more questions and then listened for an answer?

What would happen should we hesitate to lecture another on our self-found proclamations and instead gave ear to others’ thoughts? What if we were to pass that microphone to the person next to us and step back? What would we learn?

That’s my question.