Tuesday, January 22, 2019

Nice Vs. Mean

Last year a wrote a letter and then asked a friend to review it.  I had written what I called the mean draft first and wanted someone to confirm that the second letter was direct without retaining the remnants of the initial draft.  We've all had them moment when ghosts of an earlier draft lingered.  My friend said the letter was fine and asked to see the mean version.  She then said my mean version wasn't very mean.  
Perhaps too many years in corporate America have softened or muted me, or perhaps the mean things I sometimes am still thinking in my head as I type, get channeled into appropriate corporate speak.  I once saw a tweet that "per my last email" was basically corporate speak for "as I already told you, bitch".  I have been known to use per my last email.  
As long time readers will know, as a lifelong DCer, I get very antsy when people from other places tell us how to run our city, so often attempt to model the behavior I wish to see in others and butt out of other places choices if they are not actively harmful.  The recent behavior of students in town crossed a number of point such that I did send a letter to the Covington Catholic High School over the weekend.  In it I felt every sentence stood in for six or seven things I wanted to say, but expected to not resonate well.  
I did tell them that I am a lifelong DC resident, and a person who is of Hawaiian descent.  So I take mistreatment of fellow native Americans in my hometown very personally.  I recognize that DC exists as a place that man visit for protests, and no I certainly do not have any expectation that I will agree with the nature of every protest.  I do expect protesters to behave well.  So, yeah, when the March for Life backed away from their initial condemnation of the behavior last night, I also told them I was very concerned that this meant their concern for the safety of DC residents was minimal.  
And look, I know that the Black Hebrew Isrealites say mean things too. And I am not saying I think that's okay either.  I am saying that if I was accompanying teens, anywhere, honestly, part of what I would tell them is what I knew about what behavior they might expect from others and how I expect them to behave.  Given the one teen said he knew the Indigenous People's Rally was going on, it seems they had been given that info.  The fact that they are now claiming their use of racist sports chants was something to distract from the folks they felt were bothering them means that they were not prepared to behave appropriately. The fact that the internet took about a hot second to find other racist behavior they engage in at their basketball games indicates to me that this is a pattern.  
Given the backtracking the school has done lately, I fully expect my email and my plea that they keep their students home and out of my city until they can better educate them on how to behave to be ignored.  But I have asked. 
And I have now seen - again - the lengths that people will go to forgive teenagers, but only some teenagers.  Because this idea that trickle down bullying and racism is okay, is not something I am willing to agree with.  I understand fully that teenagers are often wonderful, and by definition have limited experience.  But it looks like these teens are receiving a lot of grooming to excuse their racism and their bullying.  I hope they have folks who are willing to tell them they are wrong.  But it doesn't look like it right now.