Friday, April 10, 2009

Follow-up Fridays

Hey y'all it's time for another installment of Follow-up Fridays. First off, let me start by saying thanks to everyone who left comments this week. I really appreciate everyone's willingness to open up and share their thoughts and feelings. I do believe that it is this honest dialogue that is going to help us all move forward as we delve into these sticky and complicated issues.

Because I got so many great comments, I'm going to use today's entry to respond to more than just one.

The first one comes from my friend anonymous on my post about being racish:

"I don't believe people are color-blind. What do you say, black friend?"

Anonymous, I definitely don't think people are color-blind. I think we as a society need to figure out what it means to use that term. I personally think it can have some troubling ramifications. You can read more of my thoughts on the subject here.

And then another comment from (I think) a different anonymous when discussing what it means to be a proud Southerner.

"You mentioned your chest tightened when the woman mentioned she was a proud Southern woman. Did it tighten because of the Union thing, or the preconceived notion you have of Southerners as being racist? Isn't that the same feeling some white women get when, say, they get on an elevator with a black man?

If you've never been there, why did your chest tighten?"

My chest tightened because of my preconceived notion that a considerable number of white Southerners are racist. This is based on what I've learned about the South in school, what I've seen about the South on T.V., and what some of my white Southern friends have told me about what it's like there.

So this is similar to what a white woman would feel in an elevator because she has a preconceived notion of black men being violent based on...

what she's learned in school, what she sees on tv, and perhaps what a some of her friends have told her about black men.

The point is this: even if we have some limited information about a group as a whole--it's not necessarily appropriate to use that information in our behavior with individuals from that group.

My chest tightening was an involuntary reaction based on my conditioning. Being aware of it is great, because that gives me more control if I ever happen to find myself in a similar situation in the future.

I also want to stress that it is not necessarily the chest tightening that is the problem, it is the actions that I choose to take after that. I could have read, "I'm a proud Southern woman" and let my preconceived notions take over and left her a comment that said, "You racist b*znatch! How can you be proud of slavery? You suck!"

Instead, I wrote a blog post asking people to help me understand what that term means to them.

Just like when a white woman is in an elevator with a black man, she can let her preconceived notions take over and grab her purse tightly and move as far away from him as possible. Or, she can become aware of her chest tightening, think to herself "this is happening because of my conditioning" make a conscious effort to keep her hands where they were before the guy got on the elevator, attempt to make eye contact and smile at him.

It should really take more than a self-imposed label or someone's outward physical appearance to determine how we respond to them.

So that's all for today. Marshall, my grand plan was to get to your question--but it looks like it'll have to wait 'til later, buddy (:

As always, I welcome your comments.


  1. What an awesome blog you have going here!! I follwed you over from Gordon's at Friday Shoot-Out's from St. Augustine where you left a nice comment and I'm certainly glad that I did.
    Friend, I don't know what that term means and I have lived in the South all of my life. They are just ignorant people everywhere in this world, no? I just don't get it at all.
    Maybe you can give ME a little insight?? Sometimes, I feel like I'm just a fly on the wall watching people make an ass out of themselves and each other. Does that make any sense?
    If you have a moment or two of your life to waste, please visit me at my blog and say say hello.
    Take good care, happy Easter and.......

    Steady On
    Reggie Girl

  2. Anonymous5:52 PM

    You have not posted the comment I made to you yesterday. It must have struck a nerve with you. Ask yourself, if you are willing to share all views, or are you just trying to be a heroine to all of the others that see themselves so oppressed because of what happened to their ancestors in the distant past. Get over it!
    I had hoped that your blog was a truthful sharing of views. Are you afraid of the truth?
    Are you afraid to share descenting views? Obviously, not! I feel sorry for those that refuse to go on with life without preconceived ideas, and bitterness, especially when they they are the downtrodden with a masters degree. I am disappointed in you.