I said last week we'd restart this chat on Monday. But what can I tell you? News is like the funeral business - a never ending and ever changing supply of new subjects.
I kind of hate the better late than never school of thought, but I am human and therefore
a frequent an occasional hypocrite, so I'm going to apply that logic here.
If you were with me for the first four chapters of this friendly discussion/Q&A/debate/confessional/defensive posturing session/explanation period, then you know how it works. If not, let me explain:
For so many significant reasons that affect or will affect the telling of American history some day, race, ethnicity, and skin color are hot topics right now.
Often each of those things is used out of context. We talk about different races, when we really mean skin colors. We talk about skin colors when we mean ethnicities. We talk about race and ethnicity when we really mean culture. We take smug pride in the philosophy that racism and other serious isms are institutional and therefore don't apply to us as individuals, but we can't bring ourselves to acknowledge prejudice, which is a "trait" of individuals. And we use political correctness as an excuse...to either guilt-trip our foes into walking on egg shells for fear of tearing our thin skins, or to excuse ourselves (or our friends) for ignorant words or behavior that we should have known better than to utter or engage in.
So in this occasional "series" I'll introduce topics sometimes based on current events and sometimes based on your questions or comments.
There are only four rules for Real Talk:
- Don't be afraid to ask a question...if you really don't know the answer. But don't engage in faux ignorance of a particular topic, in order to "subtly" slip in a low blow at a person or group you dislike. If you really don't know, ask. And if you do know but pretend not to, you'll be called out! Maybe not by me, but another reader/commenter will get you!
- No broad generalizations. If you read this blog with any regularity, you know broad generalizations are a major pet peeve of mine, especially when it comes to judging people on characteristics they have no control over...like skin color. Be specific to your experiences. I don't want to read any "Why do (presumably all) white people..." or "Why do (presumably all) black people...," etc.
- Don't be an apologist for past actions you weren't involved in. I love sincere people. I love sincere people who understand and acknowledge the good and bad parts of the past. But, for example, I can't stand it when I meet sappy people who tell me things like "I am so sorry my people enslaved your people." Seriously, that phrase was actually uttered to me once, by a weird hippy I made the mistake of briefly dating. What do you say to something like that? Maybe "thanks!" Or "no problem, I wasn't there!" Or "I hate you! You ruined everything!" Or "that couldn't have happened; I checked. My 'people' came here on a different kind of boat, free, via Scotland." Guess which of those responses is both true and the one I gave.
- Don't be abusive or intentionally abrasive. I don't have a thin skin, but I won't humor certain language. And I have no qualms about deleting and/or blocking you.
- Now that I'm done finger wagging, the last rule is don't be uptight. We tend to offend when we're too worried about offending. That's not a contradiction to rule number four. Be sincere. Be curious. But don't be stiff. And please, within the confines of good taste and in the spirit of ice-breaking, don't be afraid to have a sense of humor.
OK, so that's the deal. Think about topics, questions, etc. And feel free to leave 'em in a comment on this post, or save 'em for later.
I'll post the first topic in this conversation on Friday, unless, of course, one of you suggests something better than what I have planned.
Peace and hair grease, and follow me at http://twitter.com/jamesburnett.