May 30, 2008

"Your breath stinks and you have B.O.!"

Frequently I read DiversityInc. It is an online compilation of articles and interviews, opinions and blogs that support diversity. Regularly I receive their emails and am always interested in the topics they cover. I believe you must join to read the articles in full.

Today's headline really caught my eye: 'You're Too Pretty to Be a Lesbian' and Other Offensive Compliments. I hope the link allows you to read them all, it was very interesting.

Often I am torn with always having to be SO politically correct. It saturates my thinking and often how I share things with you here on this blog. I would never intentionally want to offend anyone ~ ever. That is just who I am, but being so careful all of the time is exhausting!

Today my mind has been grappling with the Father Phleger YouTube video where he openly mocked Senator Hillary Clinton at a sermon for Trinity United Church of Christ. Things that could once be said to a particular audience in privacy can no longer be said. That is good and that is bad. With our first amendment rights, are we really allowed to say exactly what we want to? Does anyone think he meant to offend or just reach his audience? Now days I am never too sure!

Here again, I have attended Father Phleger's St. Sabina Church. I have enjoyed his sermons because, as my Dad says, "he is all about the (black) community". When there was a rash of violence and improprieties against the black community in the 90's, he and his parishioners took down huge billboards to help discourage drugs, alcohol and the violence. Then in the early part of 2000, he and his parishoners erected billboards with positive messages. He has marched for us. Stormed City Hall for us. He went against the archdiocese for us. A white priest always fighting for equality on the black South Side of Chicago. He has been a great advocate, but I really do not condone his speech. The Clinton Administration came to Chicago and offered us federal grant money and funded quite a few things to help curb violence during that time. I understand he wants to support his congregation, but in affect, he is not a black person. The Clintons have worked just as hard if not harder for the black community on many levels, and have worked with him. What kind of message is Chicago sending out to the world?? Mocking people over this election, that is just not it? Using race, though we are vastly segregated and racist here ~ aren't we trying to move past this?

Anyway, we all say stupid and out of line things. We are humans! Our thoughts change all of the time. As do our opinions and it is all kind of interesting.

I get the most outlandish commentary myself! But I take into account that it is human nature and we're just not inclined to think before we speak?

During the winter shortly after September 11th, I was walking with my mom and 4 year old son down a very trendy diverse street on the Northside of Chicago. Being a "windy" cold Chicago day, I had a black wool scarf wrapped about me thinking I was quite stylish. A young man rode by and yelled, "f**king Arabs!" We turned looking about until we realized we were the only people within a few blocks. Realizing he was yelling at us, I screamed back, "No we're not, we're black!" After thinking about it, and talking with my mom, I should have said, "Oh yeah, so what you f**cking moron!!", but I'm just not one who thinks quick on her feet!

All of our differences make us so much the same! I want to be the person who stands up for everyone! You see, I am also very tall...I get the whole "Did you play ball" lines and because I AM black, I get the typical, "What ARE you?" (uh, human?) "Wow, you're black? Really? You speak so well. You have nice hair. Both parents are black, really? Well, you're so nice anyway".

So reading these exchanges today on DiversityInc and in the news was sort of fun. I hope we are at least learning more about ourselves in all of this, or are we learning too much??? Is the new age of technology micromanaging our lives to the point where very soon our body functions will be at the mercy of everyone? Will we be watching Hillary buy Depends, or Barack farting LIVE at 10!!?

I am very rarely, truly offended save for the time I was 18 and a supervisor spit on me once I told him my background. My sons have been called "N***ers at the park, and well the list goes on, I just don't get as mad as I should? Have I become complacent with the world? Have I been told, "What would Jesus do?" too often, and just made it a way of life?

What about you guys. Have there been boisterous comments that have offended you? Have you ever inadvertently offended? What is being too sensitive or not sensitive enough? Inquiring minds want to know!

No comments: