Wednesday, June 17, 2009


I know Well-World Wednesdays are usually chock full of those up-to-the-minute, at-your-fingertips, what-you-can-do-to-save-the-planet-today eco-tips that you just can't live without. So I apologize in advance for switching gears on you like this at the last minute. If you find your day just simply cannot continue without your weekly dose of reuse/recycle advice, head on over to Here, today's post is about a slightly different way to help save the world.


So, I received a deletable forward (you know the kind) from a friend yesterday that I actually wanted to forward this time.

But didn't.

And I wasn't quite sure why.

Well, no, that's not entirely true. I didn't forward it because the kid in the picture was black. And I had that moment right before pressing send of 'Am I perpetuating the stereotype of just another black kid in trouble by forwarding this email?'

And then I was stuck. In a proverbial damn catch-22.

Because by not forwarding the email, wasn't I further perpetuating the belief that everyone who is not black is subconsciously racist, however slight, and that by not forwarding the email wasn't I just trying to prove (to no one but myself) that I wasn't, dammit? And if I did forward it, how many of those people would misinterpret my intentions and find it as equally offensive as those little people wrestling YouTube videos and then think I was making some sort of negative commentary on the plight of the black man in America?


So, do I forward? Do I delete? And what does it say or not say about me if I do either?

And the really shitty thing is, the reason I wanted to forward the email in the first place got totally lost in my obsession over prejudice. And I can't help but wonder how often this happens to people on a daily basis. And not just with regards to race, but in situations involving people with disabilities, and people of varying socioeconomic statuses, and religion, and homosexuality. How many times have people stopped themselves from doing the right thing because our hypersensitive, politically-correct-on-steroids society makes them second guess their actions, anticipate the potential misinterpretation of their actions, followed by the inevitable backlash for those actions, and so they just. don't. do it.

If the boy in the picture had been a white saggy-pants skater boy (yes, I do realize that's just another stereotype), would I have forwarded the email without thinking twice?

Yeah, I think I would have.

And that just pisses me off. Because the reason I wanted to share it in the first place was for the same reason it was sent to me initially. Because if everyone had a parent like this, someone, anyone as invested as this woman is (or appears to be) in their child's learning that there are consequences for your behavior (although, I'm not a big fan of public humiliation), well, then this world really would be a better place to live.

And that's all there is to it.

But have it. Comments are open.

1 comment:

Melissa said...

She is an involved, concerned mom. And that child (albeit humiliated) will never forget this particular lesson. I have a love/hate relationship with public humiliation! It can be hurtful and mean, but calibrated properly humiliation teaches something - humility. Go figure.