So apparently, I actually am going to comment on this.
My quick dois centavos is that during my brief time at a Fortune 500 company making consumer products, we had Diversity Training, and its been one of the single most useful things I've experienced. Prime among the important lessons is something referred to obliquely, and in a different manner, on G-Mama's comment board: The Golden Rule is wrong. That is, don't treat others as you want to be treated, because that assumes everyone is like you, and they aren't -- whether they share your race, gender, religion, culture, or not. (But it especially may be true if they don't.) Treat others, get this, as THEY want to be treated. And how do you know how that is? Only through dialogue, by asking and by understanding and learning, through trial and error, will you know how that is -- but it is more likely to work and generate a good and healthy relationship than assuming they want to be treated as you do. (I've found this IN.VAL.U.ABLE. in personal relationships.)
Speaking of healthy relationships, G-Mama has a rather good post highlighting and praising this excellent entry on IllDoctrine, the Hip-Hop video blog (which I believe in turn I found a while back via EpicFu, meant to start following, and never did). I have no idea who this "Aster Roth" kid is, but J Smooth's smoothly produced vlog is a fantastic commentary (Aster Roth apparently played at Rutgers and joked "ironically" that he was hanging with "nappy headed hos", apparently not with malice but as a joke that, um, didn't work.) J Smooth:
[This] illustrates where a lot of us are at right now with race in america. We're in a new place right now. We're not in The Promised Land, but we're a few steps further down that road than we've ever been before. And as we make progress, we get more comfortable. And as we get more comfortable some of us get a little... extra comfortable. We start acting as if coming closer together means not having to care how our words affect each other. We start assuming we can make any kinda joke or use any kind of epithet without any kind of second thought because now that we've made all this progress - everyone's always gonna know we don't mean it like that.
Nooooooooo! That is not how this thing is gonna work!
...In any healthy relationship, the closer you get, the more you care about how you affect each other...and yet, somehow, in our racial interactions, we tend to forget that. And start thinking coming closer together means we can care less about how we affect each other.
See the whole thing here.
J Smooth couldn't be more right about relationships, racial or otherwise. Something we've said in my family is that being close to someone doesn't mean you get to treat them however you want because they already know that you love them; it means taking *extra* care to treat them right. It does mean that they will see you at your best and worst, and sometimes, it's all you can do to behave decently, or even sub-decently. But all the more because those times are going to happen, whenever you can, you should put out the extra effort, not the lower or below-average one. You appreciate them because you love them, you don't love them so you can depreciate them. J-Smooth:
The whole process of getting closer is becoming more aware of [the] constantly evolving boundaries [in the relationship], and getting better at respecting them... In any healthy relationship, the closer you get the more you care about how you affect each other... somehow in our racial interactions we tend to forget that, and tend to think that as we get closer to together, we can care LESS about each other's boundaries... 'Respecting each other's humanity is such a PAIN in the ASS, do we really have to do this FOREVER? Can't you guys just lighten up so I don't have to respect you anymore? Isn't the whole process of Coming Together As One so that I don't have to care what YOU think?
Anyway. J Smooth's points are good ones, and echoes something I posted before by Ta-Nehisi Coates:
"I never thought the fact that there was a magazine called Heeb gave me the right to address my Jewish buddies as such. More to the point--I never wanted to. ...What's the big beef? ...I don't get white people who have a hard time with this--you call your mother "Mom," I call her Ms. Phillips--same deal here. Nigger means one thing when used amongst a group of people with similar experiences, and something else when used by people outside of that experience.
So yeah. Go read, learn, see this good shit that I found by going down the rabbit whole of following the damn links on people's damn blogs. (How DARE they be so good, make me spend all this time reading them? =p
D-Constructing-D (General goodness)
Quin on PunkAssBlog (wherein the author, a white male, decides he needs to reconsider and start to take seriously the issue of "white male privilege", including the privilege he previously exercised of avoiding all discussions of gender or race)
Guerrilla Mama Medicine