Friday, April 3, 2009

Today Was "Speak Your Mind" Day

Well, at least that's the side of the bed I rolled out of today.

I may have been too whiny to be deserving of a gift, but that is a different story.

Anyway, I learned a few other things about myself during "speak your mind day":

1. According to my value system, speaking out against insidious racism is highly important. When such racism is occurring publicly, I may find it worthy of a public response if that seems most effective in the moment.

2. Over time, I work up courage to speak up about things that bother me. The first or second time I witness a similar type of event, I may not say anything at all, but by the third time (even if I am with different people in a different situation) all bets just may be off.

3. The more someone's previous behavior seemed wrong, the more their current behavior will seem wrong to me when they are doing something offensive (vs. someone else doing the same thing without the same history). This is especially true for some reason or another in my view of certain famous people.

4. I expect that if someone sends me one of those forwarded emails, the subject is open for discussion. If such an email has been sent to a large list of folks, I tend to think that reasoning people will assume it is open for discussion and won't be confused by a public reply.

5. Since forwarded emails bother many folks, I rarely send them. If someone sends one to me, I figure a response couldn't be more bothersome to anyone who has already received the forward. I tend to think such responses are delightful because they are always much more thoughtful than the forward.

6. I occassionally get cranky and run out of patience when people think we are somehow "past racism" or that they couldn't possibly harbor unexamined prejudices-- big or small-- or that they couldn't possibly be oppressive of others in any way because they are good people. Being good doesn't take you out of a system of institutional racism.

7. There are some things I just don't find funny. If it is something racist, not only will I not laugh, but I won't perpetuate the problem by refusing to speak up. I also may fail to see the humor in any follow-up jokes meant to mend fences.

8. There are some hills I am willing to "die on."

Sorry. This isn't meant to be a cryptic message. Just some self-observations upon reflection at the end of the day. Nothing major happened. I just got a forwarded email that really bothered me (one of the most offensive things I've heard in a long time), responded that it was disturbing, heard back from the sender that it was rude for me to bother all her friends and family by replying all, and replied back to apologize for the misunderstanding and to explain that my error occurred because I thought that the subject had been opened for discussion. Don't worry. We all kissed and made up and everything. But I can't say I feel what I did was wrong. That email wasn't fit for public consumption in the first place, in my humble opinion.


seppie said...

And maybe she shouldn't have bothered all of her friends and family with the email in the first place? {Hates forwards}
I pretty much agree with all of your points, but then, I feel like every day is Speak Your Mind day, much to the chagrin of some people around me. The other day I got in trouble because I publicly said that I thought it was wrong to say that lawyers are the scum of the earth...

Masasa said...

Yeah, that first thought was the first thought.