Saturday, January 3, 2009

Insulting Assumptions

Looking around the blogs thismorning (it's overcast and cool, with a cool breeze, only about 24 degrees at the moment - a bit of a change from previous days' 36 degrees and above with high humidity!), and I found a link to this piece at Boy on a Bike.

Training Day
To begin with, I do not need to be told this is inappropriate behavior. I already know that is inappropriate behavior. I learned that was inappropriate behavior not from the State of California or a battalion of corporate lawyers, but from my parents, who raised me to be polite, well-mannered, and who spent much of their own youth trying to form me into a civilized gentleman. I know, I can see the smiles on many faces already. It’s like I’m speaking in Aramaic.

I was treated to a video that had precisely the same emotional pitch and condescension as the old ABC After-School Specials, which is appropriate when aimed at 10-year-olds but in a room full of adults was unimaginably cloying and infantile. In this helpful lecture on the evils of hateful stereotypes, a clueless, insensitive white male managed to offend everyone without the dimmest awareness of his own boorishness until confronted and re-educated (with a rising string section!) by emotionally advanced, sensitive (yet strong!) women and his solemn, understanding (but firm!), black male superior.

...My parents – remember them? – taught me at an early age that what people said or thought or wrote about me did not have the power to hurt me – only I can allow them to do that. My self-worth, self-respect and self-esteem are earned, and not given, and are therefore mine – impervious to anything in the outside world, which is why I am willing to sit at this desk, as the only one of 24 happy, smart, creative people, and look like some reactionary nut case for being enraged about the fact that we willingly submit ourselves to insults to our personal honor and integrity that our forefathers would never, ever have countenanced. And I am ashamed on behalf of them. But just me. No one else thinks anything of it at all.
Read more here at Eject! Eject! Eject!


Anonymous said...

Hi Kae

It sounds like the seminar didn't go like this:

It's from The Office.

Why can't people be like Gareth? Speak their mind. Even if inappropriate. Yes, we live in a sad world at times.


RebeccaH said...

I was once sent to represent my office at a "diversity" seminar, conducted by a Chinese-American man and an African-American woman, partners who made their living conducting these seminars at businesses and universities. It was a two-day workshop dedicated to code-worded white-bashing, and it was all I could do to sit through it without walking out (I would have been reprimanded by my bosses if I had). The only thing I got out of it was that the speakers could be as insulting and bigoted as anybody else, only their bigotry was sanctioned.