Laura Scott and David Allen-Johnson Rimer, “Serious Kidders”
Laura Scott and son David recall when kidding the way into a difficult conversation opened a new level in their relationship.
LAURA: I do organizational development work here on campus. The part of my work I don’t usually talk about but feel deeply is the idea that people can change — and that through talking about things you can change things. I’m a serious kidder. It’s a core way I do my work; it’s like kidding on the square. You can find your way into a lot of difficult conversations by kidding your way in.
LAURA: You can kid your way into a lot of difficult conversations.
The first thing I came to see at the Center after I started working on campus in 2002 was The Laramie Project. The Westboro Baptist Church was coming to protest and I was asked to facilitate a community meeting about responding. The community experience of being in that conversation was very powerful.
But my most meaningful experience at the Center recently was Am I Black Enough, Yet? I thought it would be really interesting to take my kid to, my kid David. He was a friend of my daughter’s from high school, he was adopted and then came to live with me three years ago. He is biracial and his blackness or not-blackness is a significant part of his life.
LAURA: The play was fabulous. It was funny, it was engaging, it was serious as a heart attack.
I went to the show once to make sure it wasn’t something that was going to be stupid or embarrassing or troubling. It was fabulous. It was funny, it was engaging, it was serious as a heart attack.
It really gave us an opportunity, as we were driving home, to talk about his experience with the show and also his experience in life, and my experience as well.
DAVID: My mother is white and my dad’s black and I didn’t grow up with them, so that’s pretty much all I know about them. When I heard the title of the play I was like instantly kind of hooked into it and interested to see it. It’s not something I would normally do. But it was something I had kind of thought about a lot.
DAVID: There was so much I wanted to hold onto and carry out of there, out of the play.
I remember one skit that starts, “Two black girls on a bus, one of them white.” It had to do with white people in black-dominated areas, where black people wouldn’t accept her even though she walked, talked and acted in the same ways they did. And white people didn’t accept her either for the same reasons, which I could somewhat relate to.
There was so much I wanted to hold onto and carry out of there, out of the play. There was just too much to take in at one time.
LAURA: Many shows at the Center open up conversations that I would not have had or even thought about.
LAURA: A lot of the things I see at the Center open up conversations that I would not have had or even thought about. But that was the one that had the biggest personal impact on me and my life.