Category Archives: Communication

UNHAND ME

‘Don’t touch me’: CNN panel goes off the rails when Kayleigh McEnanay accuses Charles Blow of ‘sinister motivations’

dont touch meDuring my freshman year in high school, there was a substitute teacher for one of my classes. She went off topic from the lesson plan and started discussing her university experiences. She told the class studies showed Black children don’t like to be touched. Yep, she actually said that as her eyes rested on me. She then walked over to me and put her hand on my shoulder while looking around at the other students so they could observe my actions. Of course I gave her the look of death and snatched away from her. She smiled knowingly as if her “let’s look at the modern Negro in her natural habitat” theories were proven but what her whiteness wouldn’t allow her to understand was my disinterest in her touching me had nothing to do with my blackness and everything to do with her anti-blackness, arrogance, attempt to humiliate me, and her disrespect.

UNCLE CHARLESI have seen a few videos and articles claiming Charles Blow “lost his mind” and behaved “terribly” when Kayleigh McEnany touched him while simultaneously insulting him during a panel discussion on CNN. The fact he is being described as the monster in this scenario is what is typical about whiteness and its persistence in attempting to force us to perform White-approved blackness. Blow’s demand for McEnany to stop touching him took her aback. I mean, here she is a blonde-haired White woman, so what Black man wouldn’t want her to touch him, right? He’s just a prop placed there to pet, not a person present to pontificate on the subject matter so how dare he decline her touch? In that moment, she heard nothing but her white indignation shouting over his demand she respectfully keep her hands to herself. I guess sometimes privilege is deafening.

Instead of respecting Blow’s words, this woman actually argued and tried to shame him for not being interested in her disrespect and dehumanizing slights. I watched and immediately knew what I was seeing – the attempts to dehumanize us then blame us for those attempts. She took him demanding respect and tried to turn it into him being Un-American, disagreeable, and difficult instead of taking it as an opportunity to consider her own misdeeds steeped in privilege. The unmitigated gall.

Today, I salute Charles Blow for his refusal to be treated like a pet. If nobody else feels you, Charles, I feel you. ©

 

The Lies We Tell Ourselves

I watched this video today and was saddened. Unlike the brotha in the video, who was disheartened by what he considers to be the complete lack of unity on the part of Black folks, I was bothered by the idea we often oppress ourselves by the way we speak on who we are and what we do. Take a moment to watch the video before reading: Black People Why Can’t We Do What Everyone Else Is Doing
BLACKFOLKS
Though I certainly understand the sentiment behind this brotha’s story, I have a mixed response. I am incredibly tired of the narrative Black folks assign to themselves with this broad brush. “We’re the ONLY race who doesn’t (fill in the blank with something positive)” or “We’re the ONLY race who DOES (fill in the blank with something negative).” It bothers me greatly because 1) the narrative isn’t fully true or fair 2) the narrative sets a tone for how folks believe they are supposed to behave instead of setting one of expectations to do better 3) the narrative stereotypes other folks.

Listen, I can’t speak for anyone else, but I have a solid covering of friends and family who come through for me in the clutch EVERY DAMN TIME. BLACKFOLKS3If it’s an emergency, help implementing a plan, a request for input, a ride, some food, help moving, or just his/her subject matter expertise, they come through and I do the same for them. And guess what? 99% of my folks are Black. No, we aren’t an anomaly. I chalk what I have up to the kind of person I strive to be and the effort I make to surround myself with like and BETTER-minded folks so I have the opportunity to grow from our relationships and so do they.

“Black folks don’t come together?” Really? Well then what are we doing in Missouri, California, New York, Florida, online, in print, in television, in film, in books, and on lecture circuits? These aren’t solo missions. We don’t write, speak, create, love, feed the hungry, tutor the academically challenged, counsel the downtrodden, and teach our communities alone. We build together. We fight oppression together. We create and foster families BLACKFOLKS4together. We plant gardens together. We build homes together. And without question, there is always room for improvement in our endeavors, but we are not the disjointed, hateful, envious, lackluster, ambitionless folks we are so mistakenly quick to purport ourselves to be. We are fighters, believers, thinkers, creators, and lovers and we don’t have to live three families to a two bedroom apartment to be those things. We are not less than and even though some of us don’t get it and opt to not get on board with the plan, we are still brilliant.

So, I get it. I get what this brotha saw when he looked at his neighbor’s house and his people who came through to help him be great. I get what he thinks he doesn’t have for himself. I get it he doesn’t feel he has what his new neighbor has. I get he’s hurt because he has bought into the narrative Black folks do absolutely nothing as a team. It is certainly BLACKFOLKS2true as humans, we can be self-involved, indifferent, removed, and just plain mean at times, so I fully agree we all can and should be better in the interest of our survival and progression. However, I challenge him to think about what he really sees around him. To think about each time he’s seen folks who look like him reach out to others and help. To consider when he’s been in the clutch and his folks came through for him. To think of every time he’s seen donations of time, money, and talent going into the realization of some Black person’s dream. I challenge him to help change the narrative. I challenge him to rave about the times his folks helped him. Consider the times Black folks got together in the interest of greatness. And when I say him – I’m talking about all of us.

 

WHO DOES A SISTA HAVE TO SCREW AROUND HERE TO MATTER?

The-Black-Mans-StruggleI love black men, God knows I do (I absolutely said that in my Oprah as Sophia in The Color Purple voice) – but part of my frustration has to do with the fact I had to start off acknowledging my love for them as a disclaimer for what I really want to say. Since I have been old enough to understand the very basic parts of racism against black folks in this country, I have been indoctrinated with the “black man’s struggle.” I think most black folks; girls and women in particular, have heard it since childhood:

  1. The life playing field isn’t level for a black man.
  2. It’s harder for a black man to get a job.
  3. It’s harder for a black man to get a promotion when he does have a job.
  4. It’s harder for a black man to get respect everywhere.
  5. It’s harder for a black man to be acknowledged in the academic world.
  6. You know, you really have to be supportive of black men and boys because after all, it’s harder for them.
    blackwomenmatter

I’m sure plenty of folks reading this know this unfortunately true rhetoric. Most of my life, I assumed  “white men” were the implied group of privileged folks who had it easier than black men and what I thought totally made sense because the concept of white privilege is real. But these days, I’m not so sure the “white man” is the only one implied to have the lion’s share of privileges. In all this talk of how hard it is to be a black man (or boy), the black majority has forgotten an equally important conversation – the fact black girls and women have it just as hard, if not harder. The playing field isn’t really level for black women either. It’s challenging to be taken seriously in the professional world, despite one’s educational background and body of work that should speak for itself. Promotions are definitely not growing on trees specifically planted and grown for black women. It’s difficult for black girls and women to find respect in the white world, let alone in the black one. Black women graduate from college more often than black men, but we’re often discouraged by professors, administrators, lovers, and family members during our educational pursuits. And we have to rail against sexism outside of, but more importantly, within our race, and shit – it’s just hard being a black woman in this society. And folks thought it was hard out here for a pimp. He should try being a ho and see how that works.

Black girls and women are beaten, raped, and murdered by law enforcement officers just like our beloved black boys and men. We are denied opportunities we earn, just like our beloved black boys and men. We struggle with finding our footing in a society that MUGSHOT2constantly reminds us it doesn’t love us, just like our beloved black men. And from childhood we fight against being told we aren’t worthy, smart, beautiful, relevant, creative, innovative, or worthwhile, just like our beloved black men. But we forge our way anyway. We plot, plan, protest, politic, and prance up and down streets on behalf of our boys and men reminding this world the lives of our counterparts matter.

But who exactly marches for and with us? Who lets folks know when we say, “Black Lives Matter,” Black includes girls and women? Who campaigns for us with photo shoots shown in caps and gowns, posing mug shot style, with a sign in our hands stating our major in which we earned a degree? Who tells our story about how hard it is to be us and about how we really just need support during our struggle? Who surrounds us with love? Who RIDES for us? Who lets the world know we aren’t petty or unaware of the way our gender counterparts suffer just because we point out the fact we suffer too? Unfortunately, the answer to that is usually – US.

thumbI love black men, God knows I do, but I don’t love them or respect their struggle any more than I love and respect that of black girls and women. To succeed, to progress, to exact change in any way, we must support each other. The struggles of black girls and women must be acknowledged and seen as inextricable to the black struggle. I can be about that ride or die life, but I don’t always want to be in the car alone. ©

 

Plate Politics

Screenshot_2015-05-19-20-37-13-1I was scrolling though Instagram last night and the scenario to the left was posed. As I expected, there were varying responses, primarily from women, regarding how to handle a situation of a woman offering, then actually fixing, another woman’s boyfriend/husband a plate at a social function. The answers mostly stayed along the lines of 1) An ass whoopin’ for disrespectfully and shameslessly flirting with another woman’s man 2) Shame to the girlfriend/wife for not making her man a plate in the first place because clearly, this is what women are made to do 3) Asking the woman if she would be so kind as to prepare both a plate since she is feeling so damn helpful and 4) Expecting the man to simply say, “No, thank you” to the offer of another woman overstepping her boundaries with him in front of his woman. Truthfully, these were answers I expected and though they ran the gamut, none of them were quite the answer I had.

Why Is This Even A Question?

One issue for me with this scenario is the idea it might be a problem or fodder for such detailed discussion. In my mind, no man I’m with would accept that offer, but most importantly, no man I’d be with would announce his hunger then automatically look at me to take action to remedy his pronouncement. What about my existence as a woman makes folks think I’m predisposed to diaper changing, cake baking, and plate making? What is it MakingPlatesabout testosterone that enables some men to feel sitting in a chair waiting for food to magically arrive in front of them is all they have to do when they are hungry? And who the hell set the precedent for any of this? Who are the folks perpetuating these ideas simply based in gender? Now, don’t get me wrong – I’ve made a few plates in my day and I know plenty of folks who subscribe to traditional ideas of gender roles of their choosing. I think that’s just fine, providing it’s what both parties want and believe, but that isn’t how I believe and it isn’t what I want. Every kindness I extend to folks I like and love comes from a pure desire to do something nice. It’s an extension of my love, not an obligatory action based on my possession of ovaries. Sometimes, I might make a plate and other times, I might not. Sometimes, I might ask him to make me a plate, and that shouldn’t be a problem because putting food on plates is not, and won’t ever be, a gender specific action. I’ve met a lot of different people in my day and outside of literally missing limbs, I haven’t met any adult incapable of holding a serving utensil and using it to dish up food for a plate.

If You Don’t, Cousin Faith Will

In all the fussing and laughing, I was the only woman who wondered why his significant other making him a plate would be the automatic option. In the good old movie, Soul cousin-faithFood, the main characters’ cousin, Faith, seemed to step in and fill some sort of void one of the husbands felt his wife wasn’t filling. As a result, they had an affair. Several women spoke the perspective of it being the girlfriend’s/wife’s fault another woman made her mate a plate because she didn’t fix it herself, therefore creating the opportunity for “Cousin Faith” to step in and do it instead.

*Imagine me letting out a big ole’ sigh right here.*

Listen, I can’t speak for any other woman’s relationship or how she handles it, but I have absolutely no belief in existing within a relationship under constant fear of “losing” my significant other. My assumption is a man is with me because he thinks I’m awesome (I am pretty damn cool for real) and if my entire existence with him is spent worrying about him leaving me if I fail to cook dinner, don’t feel like making him a plate after I failed to cook dinner, gain a pound, get a pimple, or express my beliefs one too many times, then I need that man to go on ahead and leave me immediately. My actions within my relationship are always true to who I am and again, my shows of affection are at-will, not based on some crazy antiquated ideas about what I “better” do lest I be left. Besides, if Cousin Faith comes through and he leaves with her and her plate makin’ ass, it is not because of me but because of that man’s choice. We ALL makechoices.

I suppose I can file my feelings on this in the Why I’m Single folder, along with my disinterest in cooking everyday or most days, my mostly covert but sometimes overt ratchetness, my disinterest in backing down when I’m talking about something I really believe, and the idea I should actually enjoy the sex I’m having, and I’m ok with that. I make plates when the spirit of love moves me and if Cousin Faith wants to try to plate up some food for my man in front of me and he allows it, I’m just going to ask her bring me back an extra fork – to stab the man who doesn’t know when to tell a broad to exit stage left. Bon appetit. ©

 

TALK THAT TALK

I weigh too much.  My body fat percentage is higher than it should be, I need to make some

Picture1serious improvements to my ab workout, and my devotion to procrastination sometimes interferes with my ability to tackle the first three issues. All these things about me are true, but they are far from a full definition of who I am, what I work to accomplish, or what I believe I represent as a person. Recently, I was talking to a friend who reminded me about the importance of avoiding negative self-talk in my fitness journey. Not long after, I considered how that relates to the way Black folks often discuss themselves and their “plight”.

As I peruse my various social networking sites, I come across the usual rhetoric – “If Black folks would spend half as much time investing our money as we do buying Jordans, we’d be better off,” or “I see this video of this baby dancing on Facebook, but I bet he doesn’t even know his alphabet yet. Black folks always focused on the wrong thing, that’s why our children are failing” or “That’s the problem with Black relationships, the women aren’t supportive and the men don’t know how to treat a queen.” The list goes on to a seemingly 11024692_10153042575565310_3668182119721558509_nendless location in space and time, and at a certain point, it appears all Black folks are is a bunch of people riddled with problems they can’t ever seem to solve because all they do is waste money on frivolities, make more babies who dance but can’t read, and embark on a series of unhealthy romantic relationships.

Of course, some of these behaviors apply to some Black folks. Just like I weigh too much and tend to procrastinate, some Black folks spend too much money on Jordans without investing in their educational or professional goals, but just as there is far more to me than what I weigh, Black folks far exceed the generalizations we spew about ourselves and I think a lot of what keeps many of us in a life holding pattern is the way we speak about ourselves and the way we absorb and believe the things others say about us. Black folks are brilliant, resilient, resourceful, creative, artistic, and advanced in all areas of professional life. We are inventors, investors, and innovators. We set trends folks chomp at the bit to follow and everything about us, down to the features with which we were born, is emulated. Sure, some of us definitely need to work on our parenting skills and ideas for our long term financial futures, but those shortcomings do not make us any less amazing and are but a small part of the truth of who we are. no-negative-self-talkI think if we started focusing on where we excel more than where we fail, we’d be in a better, more progressive place in general. If all I see in my mirror is a woman who weighs too much and procrastinates, I lose. When I look and see a woman who is smart, witty, hardworking, healthy, active, funny, and progressive, the shortcomings are much easier to master because I’ve acknowledged I have every last tool I need to overcome them. Maybe black folks should try this same thing. If we start talking ourselves up instead of down, we win. We discover ways to overcome the negativity that plagues us and we are more likely to find our brilliance – right under all that negative self-talk. ©

A Smattering of Mattering

Unarmed People of Color Killed by Police, 1999-2014
blacklivesmatterAfter far too many deaths of unarmed black men AND women at the hands of law enforcement, the motto of the movement to fight against this enduring injustice  is “BLACK LIVES MATTER.” Folks have seen this phrase on protest signs, t-shirts, hats, Facebook cover photos, as twitter hashtags, etc… Usually, there is some brown person iterating the phrase and trying to convince this disjointed society the sentiment is indeed true, despite all the bloody evidence showing too many folks in positions of authority do not believe it. Though I am saddened by the thought there is even a need for black folks to advise the world of their worthiness to live, I support the campaign wholeheartedly and often repeat the phrase for my benefit and the benefit of those with whom I come in contact. Despite the absolute truthiness in this phrase, there is now an effort to minimize the poignancy of the phrase by simply saying, “ALL LIVES MATTER.”

Look, the value of life has been touted by the majority since the beginning of time. Respect for human, animal, and plant life is always discussed through popular media, activism, and other information avenues. There are sit ins, shut ins, and die ins all focused Riceon informing the public and protesting against “the establishment” in the interest of protecting what matters. People are assaulted, arrested, and vilified in their efforts to protect the sanctity of that which is relevant for the greater good. In all this protest and activism, there is finally a phrase that embodies the sentiments of black and brown folks everywhere – that our lives have meaning, that we are people, not animals, that we live, breathe, and bleed, and that we, like every person, every plant, and every animal- MATTER. Now, there is an effort to detract from that movement by simply reminding the world that ALL lives matter.

First of all, of course they do. One would be hard pressed to find someone within the BLACK LIVES MATTER camp sans respect for life in general, but that isn’t the issue here. The problem is those opting to gloss over the terrorist-like actions of certain law enforcement entities snuffing out the lives of black folks because they do not believe BLACK LIVES MATTER. Those who murder us when our hands are up, when we are on our knees, when we sit in our cars, or when we dare to simply be existing on the street do not believe our lives matter. They look at black folks and see problems instead of people and therefore, it is imperative we remind them the black lives they so cavalierly take MATTER.

Secondly, the world already knows white lives matter. Let’s face it, when folks change BLACK to ALL, it’s really a whitewashing of the belief BLACK LIVES MATTER. It is a reminder of what anyone in this country was raised knowing – white life matters unequivocally. From TV shows to school history books, we all know white is relevant. What isn’t apparent is the equally relevant value of black life. A hundreds of years old history ofhawkins being treated as less than has a way of convincing others black life really isn’t that valuable. BLACK LIVES MATTER exists to chip away at that flawed thinking. Just as we’ve all been told repeatedly how much white life matters, we must ingrain that same thinking in the world when it comes to black lives.

Lastly, black folks do not have to explain why their lives matter. The fact we are humans is reason enough to know we matter. The fact our lives are often disregarded is evident when we are questioned about why we insist on reminding the world we matter. The very fact we need a campaign to spread this very basic and innate fact is evidence our Crawfordexistence is devalued regularly. If going out into the world and launching a campaign to let all people know what they should have always known is required, so be it. I will continue to write, text, tweet, and status update my way through to promote the relevance of black lives and I will do so without apology.

The harassment, assault, and murder of unarmed black folks, the lack of indictments for those murders, and the ensuing claims that we are thugs, criminals, and intimidating figures and therefore deserve to be murdered, armed or not, is indicative of the need to spread the message that BLACK LIVES MATTER and folks should shout this fact until their voices are hoarse and fingertips bloody from typing. No apologies and no take backs. ©

Dads Who Lunch

While sitting in a restaurant for lunch yesterday, I saw the older man sitting at the table next to me stand up to greet his approaching daughter. His face lit up when she arrived and he squeezed her like she was the most important person he knew. I tried not to be obvious with my staring, but sometimes in all my efforts to exude strength and fierceness, I see something that reminds me of my vulnerabilities.

Over my life, I’ve often lamented my lack of an active and interested father. My father’s indifference served to provide me with an emotional void, random insecurities, and in my young adult life, a need to have men like and validate me, or at least pretend to. As hard as my mother worked to be a great parent, she was limited by human nature. No one parent can be a mother and father to a child. That simply isn’t the way it works.  Unfortunately, the school of thought meant to bolster the confidence of single parents by telling them they can be both mother and father is misleading and serves to negate the relevance of dadlunchthe other parent at the peril of the child.

Now, I would be lying if I said I am not a well-adjusted, fully functioning, self sufficient, contributing to society 40 year old. Fortunately, I have turned out pretty well, but  a few poor life choices in my younger life gave me the kind of life lessons I probably would have avoided if had an interested father. It isn’t any fun, but it seems to be the common reality of those of us who go without one parent.

I have nothing but love for my mother who gave me everything she knew to give and loved me in a way that helped me feel relevant. Familiar with the issues I’d encounter, she tried her best to prepare me and keep me feeling whole and for that, I am grateful. However, despite excelling in her job as a super mom, there were still a few glitches in my deadbeat dad life matrix. I certainly acknowledged and overcame them with time, but the road was pretty bumpy. Sitting in that restaurant and looking at the man and his daughter made me wonder if some of my pitfalls could have been avoided with a few lunches. ©

Dying To Say NO

whistling

Woman Shot, Killed After Saying No To A Man’s Advances, Detroit Police Say

I wish it wasn’t the case, but I think it’s happened to most girls and women: while walking along minding one’s own business, one or more men scream out their approval of a woman or girl’s looks and a desire to possibly have sex with her by way of obscenities, crass gestures, and sometimes actually touching her without her permission. If she doesn’t seem interested or pleased with the attention, she is told to “smile” or to “lighten up”,  physically assaulted, or advised she probably just needs some dick, because really, isn’t this what all women need? Of course, every man who thinks this way has the power to cure all a woman’s ills with his penis.

Street harassment and cat calling are the most popular names for this behavior and it seems steeped in misogyny, chauvinism, and the lack of accountability this society applies to men regarding how they view, approach, and treat women. Recently, Mary Spears, a Detroit mother of three, was murdered because she dared to be disinterested in a man who approached her. He became agitated and started shooting, killing her and wounding five others. And though this man is somewhat of an outlier, he is an example of what it’s like for women who turn down the advances of a man who thinks like the ones on the street who cat call, bully, harass, disrespect, and insult the women in their paths.

I Was Just Saying Hello

I tire of this excuse. Most people know communication is not just verbal. Tone and non-verbal cues are methods of communicating as well. The way I say hello to my mother is definitely not the same way I say it to a man in whom I am interested. This consistent feigning of innocent gestures based in common courtesy needs to stop. A greeting accompanied by hungry stares and sexual innuendo is not a simple, “hello.” It is a sexual advance and in most cases, it is one that isn’t welcomed. Just stop it.

You Need To Smilenosmiling

STOP telling women they need to smile. They don’t need to do anything but mind their business as they travel from one place to another. Smiles are not required. There is no city, state, or countrywide ordinance requiring women to perform all their life tasks while grinning maniacally to appease strange men who might be interested in seeing what their smiles look like before attempting to have sex with them or for them to smile so men can feel better about cat calling and street harassing them. Just cut it out. If you want to see a woman smile, work on being a decent guy who treats his woman well. I guarantee you won’t be able to get a woman to stop smiling. In the meantime, leave us and our dispositions alone on the street.

That B*tch Is Rude

Listen, no woman has to greet a man back if he greets her first. This is not a life requirement. Frankly, in many street harassment scenarios, the scene feels so unsafe, trying to be polite to a street bully by speaking politely does nothing more than exacerbate an already dangerous situation. Really, even if a woman doesn’t speak because she just doesn’t want to, that’s ok too and the men who cat call need to know that. No woman owes a man any of her time, conversation, smiles, or words of gratitude.

Telling a woman you like her pants while staring at her ass is NOT a compliment. That is creepy behavior and a woman is not a bitch for ignoring that or for checking the man who says it. Letting a woman know you’d “hit that” is NOT a compliment to her level of attractiveness and a woman who ignores that is not a rude bitch. Ultimately, even if the greeting really is a simple hello sans sexual innuendo and a woman still doesn’t respond, that is her right too. No woman has to speak to men on the street. It’s all choice and should be respected as such. Besides, if a man is truly polite with his greeting and doesn’t receive one back, he should just chalk it up to avoiding interaction with a woman who doesn’t want him. Lucky you, sir.

harassmentHow Else Am I Supposed To Meet Women?

How men meet women is never a woman’s problem. Not ever. And men who think the way to “meet” women is by harassing her on the street while she tries to reach her destination safely and peacefully, don’t EVER need to meet women anyway.  Now, there are all sorts of social settings people attend to meet others – bars, restaurants, clubs, art galleries, museums, mixers, meet up groups, etc… There are a long list of places where women likely feel safe and amenable to a man respectfully approaching her. Perhaps the men bothering women on the street should mull this over instead of blaming women for not wanting to be harassed on the street.

As a woman who sometimes walks from A to B, I don’t ever want my safety to be at risk because some clown feels entitled to my time and attention and demands it by verbally or physically assaulting me. I am not anybody’s ho, baby, shorty, girl, or bitch and I don’t answer to those because none of them are my name. Men who know my name wouldn’t talk to me this way and those who don’t need another approach. ©

Sorry, Not Sorry

PaulaIt often starts at an early age – two children are out on a playground insulting one another for some reason. The words get harsher and turn into flying baby fists. After prying the two apart, the authority figure calms the children, hears their stories, then demands the two apologize to one another. Usually, the apologies are lackluster. With clear vitriol and perhaps even future plans to pound on each other some more out of the eyesight of prying adults, the angry children mumble insincere apologies to one another, are sometimes forced to find kinder and more sincere-sounding ways to give those apologies (“Say it like you mean it!”), then go to their separate life corners. I know I have been this child a few times and it leaves me wondering if the apology is really necessary. DL

Granted, exchange of cruel words and physical blows is not a good way for anyone, child or adult, to spend time. If I had my way, life would only be about discovering pleasures, loving each other, existing in harmony, and randomly breaking out into choreographed dances everyone inexplicably knows how to do without having practiced as a group.  But alas, life isn’t like that at all. Conflict is very real and it is constant. One’s idea of honesty can lead to greater understanding or incense others, which can lead to some sort of bash fest. Sometimes, just feelings get bashed and other times, faces do.

But whether or not the conflict is true, false, mean, or somewhat mild, what is it about human nature that requires an apology to be made whole? What makes folks so willing to accept an unfelt apology for being willfully wronged? When fighting over Legos and getting hit in the face, a mumbled, “Sorry,” has never done anything for me but make me more irritated.
TayYe
Then there’s the gracious acceptance one is expected to give after receiving a half-hearted forced apology. One is wronged on purpose, the perpetrator is “caught”, and suddenly, one has to become some sort of Mother Theresa/Ghandi type of figure and be willing to turn all the cheeks to accommodate an insincere apology so as not to look like a douche. What if we all just stopped that? What if the next time someone comes with the fake apology, we all just tell them it isn’t real and therefore isn’t accepted? What if nobody was forced to make the fake apology in the first place? Wouldn’t that make things better?

I suppose my real issue with forced remorse is the fact  authority figures are helping lay the foundation for the way so many of us lie about the way we feel and the things we do as adults. Some folks plot and scheme, enact their evil plans, then apologize to beg off on responsibility. Other times, the aggrieved accepts the apology with a quick, “It’s ok,” when it is far from “ok,” because it’s easier to avoid discussing feelings than it is to confront matters. Stephen

Though I believe heartfelt remorse and apologies are definitely called for in relationships centered around love, mutual respect, and professionalism, there are some times when one just isn’t sorry.  Why do we insist on forcing her to pretend to be otherwise? I can say I have never appreciated a reluctant apology and certainly not the kind that drips with some sort of tone that let’s me know the words are being uttered under duress. These days, politicians and other public figures, parents, lovers, and friends have found a way to give the half assed apology. You know, it’s the kind during which a person apologizes for the way the aggrieved party feels. “I’m sorry you felt that way about me punching you in the stomach,” OR “I’m sorry if you thought me calling you a fat, jobless, hopeless bump on a log meant I do not think you’re smart.” These sorts of apologies are the worst to me. Somehow, folks find a way to utter the words, “I’m sorry,” and blame the person they wronged at the same time. It is cowardly and insulting and I prefer silence over that. I can accept a person feeling his behavior was justified and needs no apology before I can accept one that means nothing to the person who uttered it.

SterlingAt this point, I prefer the “Sorry, not sorry,” method. It is honest, it is real, and it is sums up everything. It says, “Though I respect the fact you feel uncomfortable, wronged, or hurt in some way by what I said or did, I have to be honest in telling you I am completely okay with my choice and respectfully decline to make any apologies for it.” The idea of it all seems so freeing! No more faux apologies and forced feelings. No more resentment for being made to accept an apology that wasn’t heartfelt and no more masking of ill-will. Everyone gets to be his or herself. Of course, the downside is the fact there are always consequences for one’s actions, so one has to understand there may be some hell to pay for being unapologetic. I, however, am willing to accept that possibility for the opportunity to change the mamby pamby way we are socialized from an early age to lie to ourselves and others for the sake of appearances. And you know what? I’m not sorry. ©