Lighten the HELL UP! Combatting the Plague of Self-Importance

Jester Baby from Scarborough Faire

Jester Baby from Scarborough Faire

There is a lot of “stuff” going on in the world and many of us are hiding from our Facebook feeds. This is a scary blog to post (and is actually a repost) but I think maybe people need to hear what I am going to say…again.

LIGHTEN THE HELL UP!

It’s life and none of us are getting out alive.

This blog started when I ran across a post from Yahoo, Is America Starting to Target Thought Crime? In the past two years since I originally posted this, the emotions of our world have hit a boiling point. Remember that violence isn’t the only way to let off steam (though some unimaginative people seem to think it is). The other and preferable?

LAUGH.

Too Dangerous to Laugh

First, a little bit of history. In the days when monarchies were all the rage, there was one very powerful position some might not be aware of…the court jester. Every ruler had at least one jester and the jester was allowed to mock, poke fun and joke about those in power without repercussions.

The role of the jester was to offer honesty and perspective. Monarchs knew that being surrounded by too many Yes Men who feared reprisal was unwise and dangerous. The jester’s job was to ground rulers and keep them from getting too full of themselves.

I’ve been blessed to travel more than most people ever will, and not all my destinations were nice places. One thing every police state has in common is that no one has a sense of humor. Even innocent comments can be twisted into something dangerous because one is in a world where everyone is jockeying for even the slightest wedge of importance, even when it means bending the truth. Those closest can become “whistle-blowers” against crimes imagined or real. Hmmm, sounds familiar.

Charlie Chaplin. Image vie Wikimedia Commons

Charlie Chaplin. Image vie Wikimedia Commons

Public Pool Politics

Sadly, I’ve been at the other end of this. I love to laugh and relish in making others smile. Put me in a room and I’ll have them in stitches in less than five minutes. My teaching style has been compared to “If Robin Williams had taught writing.” When I was a kid I studied every comedic act down to the timing and tone of voice.

In 1999 I traveled with my best friend to live in a Palestinian refugee camp. Since my Arabic was less than stellar, it was tough. Syria, like all places, has its beauty. I loved the food and people and believed I’d made some friends.

One day, my guides took me to enjoy some recreation at the women’s pool where the hijab can be set aside to splash around and let loose. Being the only blonde many of these women had ever seen off a television, I was soon surrounded by eager friendly faces asking questions about my home, wanting to know about Texas and if I had a job.

In my broken Arabic I made jokes and got them to laugh. We parted ways and I was happy as a clam. The next day, my hosts warned me that it was too dangerous to return to the pool and to stay away. Apparently, one of the women had spread through the camp that I was talking smack about Assad Sr. (the ruling dictator of the time).

Errr?

I’d never even mentioned Assad. Yes, I was a naive Westerner but I wasn’t THAT stupid. My last weeks there were pretty scary and I’ve never been so relieved to be on a plane.

One pivotal lesson I took away from this experience is this:

A nation is only as free as its sense of humor.

When innocent remarks, observations or disagreements can be used against us? This is a MAJOR warning we are no longer in a free country. When certain groups are immune from criticism, jest or commentary? Houston, we have a problem.

The PC and EC Divide

I know the original purpose of political correctness was well-intended. I’m sure EC (empathetic correctness) has good intentions as well. But the road to Hell is paved with good intentions. I was a child of the 70s and 80s and often think it was a really golden time to grow up. My best friend from the age of six was an Egyptian Muslim (and we are still friends almost thirty years later).

Our neighborhood gang consisted of Charo (Mexican), Ngyuen (Vietnamese), and Regina (African American), Veenah (Indian), Cathy (Jewish), Elizabeth (Mexican), and Erica (Choctaw)…and none of us were aware of that.

We were friends who karate fought in the yard because Ngyuen was Asian and so he was supposed to be a Kung Fu master, right? Veenah helped with science and Charo taught us soccer, because Indians were smart and Mexicans were good at soccer.

Regina made us laugh because she was black and loud and fun and could Double Dutch so well we were sure she was a cyborg. Erica could decorate our hair with feathers and we could play Navy SEAL Indian Princess. Cathy declined to join us for Vacation Bible School because she was going to Jewish Camp (and we never understood why we couldn’t go to Jewish camp because the Jewish pool was AWESOME).

And all of this is racist and utterly politically incorrect.

Image via Flickr Creative Commons, courtesy of Stephen Depolo.

Image via Flickr Creative Commons, courtesy of Stephen Depolo.

We never knew we might offend Charo by asking him to teach us to bounce a soccer ball on our knee. We never realized how we might damage Ngyuen by assuming he’d trained in a Shaolin temple and that we didn’t even have the right country.

I didn’t know I should have been ashamed to play Indian Princess with Erica or that I might hurt Regina by offering to share my slice of summer watermelon. I should have been aware that I might harm Veenah by asking for her help with my science project. In high school, perhaps I shouldn’t have asked my best friend and date to the Senior Prom, Donnie (gay), for fashion advice.

I was blissfully uneducated about how offensive I was.

We just loved each other, grew up loving each other and still love each other. Gihan (my Muslim friend) and I are still good friends and have been since 1981 (when Kristen had no Gaydar and was in love with George Michael *sighs*).

I still talk with Charo on FB and meet ever so often for dinner with other members of our gang. Erica invites me to birthday parties for her children. I was Ngyuen’s prom date when I was a junior and we only lost touch when he joined the Marines. I still go by his father’s house when I’m in the area even though his English hasn’t really improved since 1983…but he still loves me. Donnie and I talk long into the night when he isn’t exploring the world.

Land of the Free, Home of the Brave, Loyal, Friendly, Resilient MUTT

We grew up in an America of Mutts. I’m not saying that everything was roses and unicorn kisses, but we were American and America was stronger because we could blend all these cultures and races together. Children had this strange appreciation that we all bled the same color when we fell off the monkey bars. We cared less about the color of your skin and more about the color of your bike. They have BLUE????

We could tell the difference between a joke in love and someone being a racist bigot and Lord help the kid who crossed that line.

We were kids who wanted to roller-skate and who constructed ramps, guns, and swords out of every discarded piece of wood. In the glow of a streetlight everyone was pretty much the same color.

Bullfrogs ran from all of us.

No One’s Laughing Anymore

Image via Frank Selmo WANA Commons

Image via Frank Selmo WANA Commons

These days, I find myself less prone to joke or make conversation with others of a different ethnicity or culture because, bluntly, it’s exhausting and I always seem to screw it up. I find myself hedging everything I say, backpedaling, and struggling to remember my proper and approved PC vocabulary.

I once was trying to be polite when I referred to someone as Hispanic…only to be razed for the next half hour how this person was from Argentina and NOT Hispanic and I was a jerk for not knowing this. I referred to someone as African American only to get my tail handed to me that this person was from Jamaica and didn’t like that term and it figured a white girl would be so insensitive.

If someone is mixed race? *breaks down weeping*

When others make comments about me being a racist simply because I’m white and I point out that I actually have probably the most diverse group of friends anyone could ask for…well that’s precisely what a racist would say: “I have black friends.” But *stammering* I do have black, I mean African American I mean…oh, hell I give up.

This Affects ALL of U.S.

This isn’t a phenomena exclusive to “white people,” either. I remember my husband coming home from work distraught. He worked in Corporate America at the time. One of his team members was Mexican (as in her parents immigrated from Mexico and happily embraced the American Dream). Well, on Cinco de Mayo a fellow employee (also Mexican) asked her if she was going out to celebrate with “her people.” She gave him a genuinely confused look and said, “Huh? My people? I’m American.”

The next day she was being written up by Human Resources for being culturally insensitive. Her coworker found her offensive and turned her in. My husband was having to write out her defense. A MEXICAN female was in trouble for not being Mexican enough?

How does this make any SENSE?

Screen Shot 2014-05-29 at 8.44.37 AM

The real crisis in the country is we are laughing less and less. Everyone is special and fragile and needs to be handled with care. PC was to make us more sensitive and BOY did it work. Our nation has the skin of a grape. Self-importance is taking over like a malignant cancer. We walk on eggshells to avoid “offending” someone. We no longer can make mistakes. We are damned if we do and damned if we don’t.

For anyone reading this who is a “person of color” please try and talk to a “white” person. They probably aren’t a racist, they’re simply terrified they’ll say something stupid. And then being terrified we will say something stupid…we say something stupid.

So if we do say something stupid, just forgive us.

I AM the Reason for Many Blonde Jokes

Actual image of Kristen's Guardian Angel

Actual image of Kristen’s Guardian Angel

As much as I read about theoretical physics, math, politics, economics, I can be…well, an idiot. I drove my Honda for three years and all the while heard this weird whistling that I couldn’t get rid of. One night, I’m in a drive thru line and accidentally hit a button near the steering wheel and discovered my car had a sunroof *head desk*.

I once accidentally drove to MISSOURI.

Kill me now and keep me from breeding.

Just leaving all of this to say we need to laugh more. Because, come on, white people…THIS IS FUNNY!

I mean *sniffs* we do love cheese, but insensitive MUCH? 😛

Screen Shot 2015-12-07 at 11.17.08 AMThe world is amazing and fun but we have got to lighten UP. Yes, seek out legitimate injustice and crush it. I’ll be behind you a thousand percent.

But in the meantime….

Maybe we should all go outside and catch lightning bugs and make the longest Slip-And-Slide EVER. I get my lawn bags from Costco, so maybe we could make it reach DC😉.

I love all of you and thank you so much for blessing me with your thoughts and stories. I am a better person every day because of you. And know I was scared to write about this and that should speak volumes in itself.

But, I miss just being a kid. I don’t want to be an adult anymore.

If anyone reading this is an Ecuadorian Hassidic Jew, can we be friends? I don’t have an Ecuadorian Hassidic Jewish friend. Yes, you can dress me up but you can’t take me anywhere😀 .

What are your thoughts? I love hearing from you, unless you have no sense of humor. Then might I recommend posting on AT&Ts Facebook page…

What are you? I’m a Scandinavian-Scottish-French-Huegenot-Sami-Cherokee. ADD THAT to your diversity portfolio!

To prove it and show my love, for the month of JUNE, everyone who leaves a comment I will put your name in a hat. If you comment and link back to my blog on your blog, you get your name in the hat twice. What do you win? The unvarnished truth from yours truly. I will pick a winner once a month and it will be a critique of the first 20 pages of your novel, or your query letter, or your synopsis (5 pages or less).

May’s winner will be announced next time😀 . I know I said this time but life happens and I am a writer and we lie.

Upcoming Classes

All W.A.N.A. classes are on-line and all you need is an internet connection. Recordings are included in the class price.

Again, I am trying something new and offering an open and interactive workshop. Is your first page strong enough to withstand the fire?

Battle of the First Pages

June 16th, 7-9 EST. Cost $25

This is an interactive experience similar to a gong show. We will upload the first page and I will “gong” when I would have stopped reading and explain why. We will explore what each writer has done right or even wrong or how the page could be better. This workshop is two hours long and limited seats available so get your spot as soon as you can!

So You Want to Write a Novel 

June 17th, 7-9 EST. Cost is $35

Just because we made As in high school or college English does not instantly qualify us to be great novelists. Writing a work that can span anywhere from 60,000 to 120,000+ words requires training. This class is for the person who is either considering writing a novel or who has written a novel(s) and is struggling.

We will cover the essentials of genre, plot, character, dialogue and prose. This class will provide you with the tools necessary to write lean and clean and keep revisions to a minimum.

Character & Plotting (NEW CLASS!)

June 24th, 2015 7:00-9:00 P.M. EST. Cost is $35

All great plots are birthed from character. The core plot problem should be the crucible that eventually reveals a hero in Act III. This means that characterization and plot are inextricably linked. Weak plot, weak character. Blasé character, blasé plot.

This class will teach you how to create dimensional characters and then how to plot from inner demons and flaws. Get inside the heads and hearts of your characters in a way that drives and tightens dramatic tension.

This is an excellent class for anyone who wants to learn how to plot faster and to add layers to their characters.

For those who need help building a platform and keeping it SIMPLE, pick up a copy of my latest social media/branding book Rise of the Machines—Human Authors in a Digital World on AMAZON, iBooks, or Nook

 

, , , , , , , ,

  1. #1 by Lisa Salvucci on June 9, 2016 - 10:46 am

    LOVE LOVE LOVE this post!!! And I will be on the Slip and Slide with you while holding my jar of lightning bug!!

  2. #2 by Eugenie Black on June 9, 2016 - 10:47 am

    I once read that only an Englishman boasts of his mixed race. You have just bashed that one on the head. One of my friends is – well – he’s kind of brown. No – I have absolutely no idea of what his background ethnicity is. He’s non-white, that’s all. This is what he told me. “I used to experience racism a lot. I mean, really, a lot. Then I went on this personal development course where they told me that you will always see and experience what you’re looking to see and expect. So I decided to stop looking for it. You know what? I have experienced absolutely no racism since that day.” I’m not saying it’s not out there; possibly more in the States than over here in Europe and the UK, but it’s certainly a lot rarer if you don’t look for it. But then, I would say that, wouldn’t I? I’m white, middle class and blonde. Oops: damned whichever way you look at it…

    • #3 by Author Kristen Lamb on June 9, 2016 - 10:49 am

      No I see the same thing with other isms like “sexism.” Every man will be evil if you are looking for woman-bashers around every corner. We just all need to give each other some grace. We all say stupid stuff or even just say things that have a neutral intention but can be easily spun. We all need to LIGHTEN UP. I seriously can’t take the tension.

      • #4 by Laura on June 9, 2016 - 10:59 am

        Amen. I’ve been off FB for most of the last year, and off Twitter most of the last month. People are INSANE. They all need the slip and slide.

    • #5 by Shawn McKibben on June 9, 2016 - 10:49 am

      You nailed it.

    • #6 by Jen Connelly on June 9, 2016 - 3:18 pm

      I was actually going to make a comment about this. There’s a fandom I’m involved in that has a pretty diverse cast. Unfortunately the writers have made some questionable decisions for the character including turning many of the minority characters “evil” (character development) or having them die for whatever reason (plot devices). It’s become a huge contention in the fandom to where many are boycotting the show.

      A friend of mine who doesn’t watch the show, found an article online about it and was angry at all the blatant racism. I made an off-hand comment that the writers were damned if they do and damned if they don’t (she didn’t like that). What I really wanted to say is that people are seeing racism and homophobia because they are looking for it. They see it everywhere. Up until people pointed it out, I never thought about how the two main black characters went “crazy” (another word you have to be careful when using lest you offend the mentally ill–of which I am one and not at all offended by the word) and tried to take over. I did notice that they were both complex characters with motives that made sense within the context of the story even if I didn’t agree with them. I kept wondering if they had been white, would people be screaming about how they both went crazy and did horrific things. I highly doubt it.

      Then they had the audacity to kill off the lesbian, but I didn’t like her character, so it honestly didn’t bother me. It had nothing to do with her being a lesbian because I thought that was pretty cool, but she got in the way of the ship I wanted, so… Everyone else started screaming homophobia ignoring the fact that the main character is bi and there is a prominent gay couple on the show (which is the only healthy, stable relationship).

      Of course, I said none of this for fear of being labeled a racist. The problem is racism, to me, is systemic and intentional, and I seriously doubt the writers sat around saying, “how can we screw over the minority characters today so that only the white ones are the heroes.” They just wrote stories with plots and arcs that were interesting to watch. Not that I agreed with a lot of what they did the past season. I spent most of it in a “WTF did I just watch” state of shock. But I don’t consider any of it racism. It was just poor storytelling and lazy writing and affected all of the characters, not just the many minority ones.

      (Sorry this got long, but it’s been eating at me for days now, and destroying my enjoyment of the fandom because I keep thinking my friends will see me as racist and insensitive if I continue to support the writers.)

      • #7 by IchBinMeisterin on June 9, 2016 - 7:23 pm

        If you look at the bulk of material where white writers have cast minority characters for several decades, you will see a definite trend of negative attributes and storylines. There are plenty of articles and such that document the list of negativity applied to such characters from the racist vaudeville down to the trend of killing off black characters early in horror movies. So I feel that people have a right to be concerned and express that concern and have a reasonable dialogue about it- which of course means listening to the opposing views. But there is a definite problem with portraying someone else’s concern as “looking for racism/homophobia”. If someone has a long history of oppression, they get to understand the trends of it, and will react as appropriate. The response should be to listen, rather than dismiss, which quite justifiably causes offence.

        • #8 by Author Kristen Lamb on June 9, 2016 - 7:51 pm

          But all races have experienced being caricatures and we just need to recognize that if it isn’t comedy (as in satire), it is bad writing. All groups of people face different things. Men get stereotyped all the time and it pisses me off.

          I am a blonde and we are consistently portrayed as being stupid, loose, or home wreckers. If I had a dollar for every movie where the mistress was a blonde. Or for every commercial where the moron who can’t figure out how to use tooth whitening strips is a blonde (Oh, But the brunette is smart enough to use a whitening TRAY), I’d have a good chunk of change. We are consistently cast as strippers, hookers, home wreckers and villains and yeah, it gets tedious.

          The smart, brainy bookwork is a brunette and the bitchy cheerleader who bullies others to do her homework because she isn’t smart enough is a blonde. Wow, that’s creative.

          • #9 by IchBinMeisterin on June 9, 2016 - 9:53 pm

            Kristen, I don’t approve of any of those either. Most of Marilyn Monroe’s movies make me uncomfortable. But I feel people have a right to their concern, discussed in a reasonable way- like I said before. Some will pass it off as bad writing, others will react in a stronger way because certain stereotypes may reflect daily experiences and thus be a trigger. I’m just saying it is not wholly irrational to be concerned or even angry so long as someone can maintain a civil discussion on it with opposing views.

        • #10 by Jen Connelly on June 9, 2016 - 8:54 pm

          I tried three times to write a response to this, but I just can’t. Now I regret saying anything about it which is why I would never bring anything about this up with anyone online. There’s no conversation. You are either with them or you are wrong. It’s exhausting. As a fanfic writer, it’s made me not want to post any of my stories for fear of being labeled racist/sexist/homophobic. It makes me second guess any plot decisions I have to make.

          I just give up.

          • #11 by lccooper on June 9, 2016 - 9:12 pm

            I get around racism (call it whatever works) by describing most of my characters’ features by their actions, dialog, and sometimes within the scene’s setting. I purposely give very little info about my physical appearance or ethnicity directly; instead, I want the reader to draw her/his own conclusions. This approach, I believe, gives the reader some ownership within the story–I’m not spoon-feeding her/him by telling as much as describing. I have skimmed through dozens of pages of stories where every minute detail was described )e.g. Das Boot). Leaving out the descriptive details makes my stories tighter, faster. Reads. Now, if I can just remember to leave off the dialogue tags … Anyway, hope this is helpful.

            • #12 by Laura on June 10, 2016 - 10:01 am

              I don’t describe most of my characters, either. I give a few little details, but that’s it.

              It’s amazing how people will take an off-hand, self-deprecating remark from a character, meant to deflect the tension in the moment (learning his girlfriend fell in love with his best friend while he was out of town, he shrugs and says “I’m French. We fall in love easily.”) and call it racism…

              • #13 by lccooper on June 10, 2016 - 11:43 am

                Yep, I agree with you.With six billion people on the planet, some folks will take offense no matter how we write. Heard a news report that there are 10,000 people on the planet who hate me–hair, eyes, attitude, et al, and it wouldn’t matter what I say or do, I couldn’t sway they’re opinion of me. F**k ’em. I’ll stop worrying and just write whatever I want. btw, that statistic of 10k haters isn’t unique to me. Apparently each of us annoys another 10k people. For this very reason, all this teeth gnashing and hand wringing is simply a waste of time.

              • #14 by IchBinMeisterin on June 10, 2016 - 11:50 am

                “I’m French. We fall in love easily.”

                LOL! Like I’ve said elsewhere, if you’re born in Britain and have Nigerian parents like me, you’ll be making all the self-deprecating jokes in the world, which I aim to put into my writing. There has to be a family of six or seven, a strict father and jolof rice. Oh- and we’re always cringing when the white teachers and students at shcool mispronounce our names. None of this is offensive, and like I said elsewhere, it’s not a problem for me if a white author wanted to portray this in their work. That’s a world away from prejudiced and or racist portrayals.

          • #15 by Author Kristen Lamb on June 9, 2016 - 9:25 pm

            I hear you, Jen🙂. And the truth is there are people out there simply looking to be offended. We just can’t dance around that. Write it as you experience it. Even as a “white” girl, you’ve faced discrimination. Maybe not institutionalized discrimination, but probably some event that was flat out unjust. Harness those emotions. I understand what you are talking about but that is because I have faced the same BS with some of my stories. Thing is though? Haters gonna hate. And it is free publicity😛

          • #16 by IchBinMeisterin on June 9, 2016 - 9:44 pm

            A right to be concerned doesn’t mean others are wrong. Like I said earlier, people should have a reasonable dialogue about it. There is a difference between saying “I don’t think this is offensive because…” and “I think you are just looking for offense.” One is giving a reason and the other is often construed as imposing your belief on others.

  3. #17 by Laura on June 9, 2016 - 10:57 am

    AMEN. My best friend in grade school and part if junior high (until she moved to the “cool kids” crowd) was black. We didn’t say African-American in the 70s or 80s. About 70% of my junior high was Vietnamese, and I had plenty of Vietnamese friends. My three best friends over the last decade or so were a woman from Nepal, an African-American woman from Chicago, and a woman who was Native American and Hispanic. Only one of those didn’t have a sense of humor about it, but she was young. I can identify with EVERYTHING you said in the post, and I remember the first time you posted it. Things are worse now than before. The world has gone completely mad.

    I wrote a story about a “minority” love affair gone bad (two women) with disastrous consequences, just because I get tired of the “white males are the scum of the earth” crap on the Internet, always followed by how the oppressed can do no wrong. PEOPLE ARE PEOPLE. They are individuals, and individuals screw up. But, no one liked that ending, so I am changing it. Sigh.

    • #18 by IchBinMeisterin on June 9, 2016 - 3:22 pm

      Let’s be careful not to conflate a genuine discussion on racism with “white men are the scum of the earth crap on the Internet”. And no, we are not blameless, but when we’re being oppressed for our skin colour then we aren’t the ones at fault in that situation.

      As for your story, I believe in literary freedom and the ending should be as you wish.

      • #19 by Juli Page Morgan on June 9, 2016 - 7:53 pm

        Um, portraying anyone as less due to their skin color or gender is racism, and that includes white men, though many seem to think it’s okay to vilify them in any way possible. For you to dismiss the way white men are regularly put down for being white and male sure seems to contradict your desire for a “genuine” discussion on race.

        • #20 by IchBinMeisterin on June 9, 2016 - 9:37 pm

          Like I said- in a situation where minorities are being oppressed on the sole basis of their skin colour, they are not at fault. So it doesn’t make sense to infer from that, that I would approve this done in the reverse. I also said minorities were not blameless either, which doesn’t correlate with your conclusion that I am dismissing stereotypes against white men. If my comment did match your conclusions, why would I bother admitting that minorities weren’t blameless? Please feel free to ask for clarification on my first sentence instead of using sarcasm and quotation marks.

          • #21 by Juli Page Morgan on June 9, 2016 - 10:42 pm

            Oh, I wasn’t being sarcastic in the least. I meant every word in all seriousness. The quotation marks were there to show your lack of desire for true genuine discussion. After reading all your comments left here it strikes me that you seem to be the poster child for this blog’s theme. You’ve managed to make more than one person feel uncomfortable about discussing their thoughts by your indication that their opinions are wrong and offensive. Methinks you really need to lighten the hell up.

            • #22 by IchBinMeisterin on June 10, 2016 - 2:34 am

              Doesn’t seem apparent to me that you’ve read all my comments and certainly not the main one I left for this article lays out my reasoning on the issue of PC vs respct. I have agreed with points here and I have offered differing views to some comments and others have responded, and I have tried to clarify their meaning if necessary. That is the best I can do. If we live in a society where pointing out how something might/does affect others is viewed as making people uncomfortable then it’s no wonder injustice and prejudice are as strong as they were decades ago.

  4. #23 by newfsull on June 9, 2016 - 10:59 am

    My dishwasher broke down last week, and I went off to get one. A young black fellow helped me, and he was fast,efficient, helpful, and I got what I wanted in minutes. I put up my hand to “high-five” him, and he looked at me, put out his hand to shake mine. I shook his hand, and added, “I wanted to ‘high-five’ you because you got it all right, and to me you are just a “kid.” someone I expected to not have it all together, but YOU did. The intended “high five” was to be for that. He gave me a “high five.” It didn’t feel the same

    On Thu, Jun 9, 2016 at 11:28 AM, Kristen Lambs Blog wrote:

    > Author Kristen Lamb posted: ” There is a lot of “stuff” going on in the > world and many of us are hiding from our Facebook feeds. This is a scary > blog to post (and is actually a repost) but I think maybe people need to > hear what I am going to say…again. LIGHTEN THE HELL UP! I” >

  5. #24 by Anna Burroughs-Merrill on June 9, 2016 - 11:05 am

    Oh [*groan*] do I HEAR you😦

    I recently proposed for a fantasy-scifi-writer conference that we hold a class called ‘How to write People of Color into your stories.’ The program director said ‘but we have panels every year about race in writing.’ I had to explain to them I’d BEEN to those panels, at many different writing conferences, and left each one TERRIFIED to put anybody in any story I ever write, ever, because all I got out of it was that I am white and privileged and evil and can’t possibly understand, so don’t bother because the fact you even try offends POC.

    So here I write stories and WANT to depict people of color in interesting and empowered ways, and yet if you dare try to paint a world where the variety of POC are accurately depicted and also happen to be a white author, you get called a racist.

    [*headdesk*]

    How do you describe a beautiful black woman’s skin color? Is it ebony? Dark chocolate? Just plain old dark brown? Is it offensive to use words that refer to wood or food? What would beautiful black women LIKE to be called? If you dare ASK, you get labeled a racist.

    So now that beautiful kick-ass black woman who lives in my head is written in such a neutral way that most readers will see her as WHITE. And ‘culturally sensitive’ people believe this is helping empower POC?

    How do you describe that tall, handsome dude from Puerto Rico with the killer chiseled cheekbones and golden glow? If you mention where he is from, and then his curly hair or light Spanish accent, does that make you a racist? It seems so. So now that tall, hispanic hero is described in such a way that most readers will see him as a tall, dark and handsome white guy from England or some place. And how does this ’empower’ POC?

    I had a story I was writing where the lead character starts out as homophobic and, over the course of the story, is forced to confront his inner @$$hole. I got reamed out by beta readers in the first chapter and told what a horrible person I am because this (obviously good-ol-boy) in his inner dialogue to himself mentions ‘some of the other guys say she’s a dike.’ Well, yeah, he’s SUPPOSED to be a jerk. But how do you expect authors to write stories that will grip a reader who MIGHT have that attitude, and then pull them along on that journey to not being a dick, if you crucify the author attempting to write something to put a light on the issue. Needless to say, the story got back-burner’d and never finished. If my own so-called ‘culturally sensitive’ friends couldn’t conceive of a fictitious guy in a story from a conservative Christian coal mining family in Appalachia starting out as homophobic, and then becoming not so homophobic, then how do they expect to change the minds of these people in real life?

    I’m sure people will call me a ‘racist’ for even writing any of the above. Go ahead. I don’t give a flying rat’s-butt anymore. I’m sick of trying and getting kicked in the teeth because it’s taboo to even attempt to admire somebody who is different than you are or ask.

    • #25 by Author Kristen Lamb on June 9, 2016 - 11:18 am

      That is what is vexing (more than the lack of humor). We must “celebrate diversity” to show our unique cultural differences but if you point out any cultural difference then, “That’s racist.” HUH? How the hell does that make sense? We are different and that is special but if you acknowledge we are different, that is bigotry? HUH? And if I am curious and want to ask questions then clearly I am ignorant…but I am ADMITTING I AM IGNORANT BY ASKING QUESTIONS! *head explodes*

      Fiction is really suffering for it as well. We can’t represent the world as it is. I had a wonderful short story about a girl from a trailer park living with a racist white trash family. They liberally used the N-word….because you were SUPPOSED to hate them. The protagonist hated them! That was the POINT and it was a stark reflection of reality….but the story went nowhere because I would have had to redact it so much to make the PC Police happy it would have lost its point.

      • #26 by Anna Burroughs-Merrill on June 9, 2016 - 11:58 am

        Yes. Fiction is suffering😦

      • #27 by Jen Connelly on June 9, 2016 - 3:32 pm

        Those PC Police are the same ones that want to ban Huckleberry Finn because it’s racist, refusing to acknowledge that the characters are racist, not the book, and realistically portray many white people from the era. You can’t whitewash history (I swear there is no pun intended). I had to reread To Kill a Mockingbird to finish up my degree last year. I read it in high school and had forgotten how bad the language was. It made me uncomfortable, but that’s just the way things were. Several people in the class were offended that they had to read such a racist book. I’m not sure which book they were reading, but it wasn’t the same one as me. Others thought the publishers should edit out the uses of the N-word, especially when Scout used it, to make it less racist and more enjoyable for sensitive people. This was in an upper level literature course. *shaking my head*

        • #28 by IchBinMeisterin on June 9, 2016 - 8:01 pm

          I can agree with you there. Literary freedom is sacrosanct and nothing should be cleansed if it reflects history.

        • #29 by ems1008 on June 11, 2016 - 3:02 am

          The N-word has been edited out of Tom Sawyer and Huck Finn in some editions. No one will EVER edit “bitch” out of rap music because it would be a violation of freedom of speech, but a white person singing a rap song risks getting fired from a job or expelled from school. In the mean time, the idea that violence on bitches in rap music doesn’t strike anyone as wrong.

      • #30 by ems1008 on June 11, 2016 - 3:26 am

        Kristen, I think you should just write it as is.

    • #31 by IchBinMeisterin on June 9, 2016 - 3:25 pm

      Why not read the work of several other white writers who have written other races into their stories? I’ve not heard anyone lambasting JK Rowling over Angelina Johnson or Lula Landry.

      • #32 by ems1008 on June 11, 2016 - 3:27 am

        James Lee Burke

      • #33 by ems1008 on June 11, 2016 - 3:30 am

        But not just white writers writing about blacks. The point is to write real people, period. Not write black people like other white writers. Heck, if a person has the talent to write like Walter Mosley, then write that way even if the writer is white.

    • #34 by ems1008 on June 11, 2016 - 3:25 am

      Anna, stop pussy footin’ around. First, sit down and read James Lee Burke. He is one of the finest writers of all time. He writes people. You can see and smell the places. You can feel the laughter and the pain. Start out with In the Electric Mist with Confederate Dead and Burning Angel. Stop asking how to write a black person. Write what you know and if you don’t know, find out.

      I’ve got a black woman in a story I’m working on. People will read it and say I’m racist. She goes off on a person screaming, “I’m going to f__kin’ KILL you!.”

      Where did I get the scene and the line? I had writer’s block. One in the morning on a weekend night. Put my shoes on, went for a walk. Got three houses down from mine and a black guy in one car is screaming at two black women in a second car. “Just turn your f__kin’ phone on.” Then he peels out. She turns around in a driveway I’m crossing and almost hits me and I exclaim, “Hey!” And she looks straight at me and screams… no… she SCREAMS. “I’M GOING TO F__KIN’ KILL YOU.” Then another car came along and almost hit her and she got distracted from me.

      So, am I racist for using the real dialogue in a scene? Heck, I went to integrated schools growing up. The president of our junior class was black and it was normal. Everyone got along. (Don’t know how that happened… just did.) I was in college and being terrorized by black students brought in from Chicago before I had a clue as to what racism was.

      Now I live in a predominantly Hispanic neighborhood, with blacks being part of the demographic. It’s gang territory. A couple of Korean neighbors and my white roommate and I are definitely in the minority. Except for the recent gang disputes we mostly get along.

      What I’m sayin’ is, you need to let go of other people telling you how to write black people. Get out there and learn. You seem to want to make the black person sympathetic and sometimes that’s the case. Sometimes that’s not the case. But just don’t do it because you think you need to help things along.

  6. #35 by tigerxglobal on June 9, 2016 - 11:16 am

    I’m older than you — but had the same experiences as a kid… sat in the balcony with my black gal pals in Jr High, thought it was cool to be up there — then one day my friends stated that they ‘couldn’t sit downstairs’ in the theater. I was stunned — clueless that any such rules would exist…and why they would be tolerated or allowed.

    Now, many many years later, I can find myself stumbling over what I say to a cashier at my grocery store, the gal who slices my cheese at the deli, the guy who stands in line at the post office…I want to just ‘talk’, but now am almost painfully aware, and confused, about just how to do that.

    As a writer and editor, I work every day to express things clearly and to help authors present their message/story clearly. There is no stumbling in those situations, as I consider these attempts at communication target the entirety of humankind.

    ah well — I can also attest to the power of humor. A husband who suffered from severe mental illness, but was a genius-level intellect, had a glorious sense of humor. When times were darkest, we would watch Monty Python and it always broke the spell. We discovered one night, as he held a knife to my neck and explained how he would handle killing me, that humor could occur any time — I took a humorous tone, made fun of the situation, and the absurdity of it…and he laughed, put away the threat and earnestly said: Wow, that was close.

    We need to see where the real pain is and be respectful. We need to see how absurd life can be and laugh at it. We need to acknowledge that communication is the only way to ensure understanding and cement bonds between us all.

    I’m so glad you re-posted…

  7. #36 by themadgayman on June 9, 2016 - 11:17 am

    Thanks for sharing. I’m involved in social justice work, trying to be an anti-racist white guy in a world that can be unfair to People of Color. But I do agree that sometimes we go too far with the PC. My biggest issue being appropriation. I’ve had long arguments with people about what is and isn’t appropriation or how to combat it. I’m sharing your story on my FB, and I’m sure I’ll get a few comments, but I feel it is necessary for discussion to be open for everyone in the fight for equality, even white people, or straight people, or non-transgendered people. But that’s me.

    • #37 by Author Kristen Lamb on June 9, 2016 - 11:25 am

      Cultural appropriation is a WHOLE other bugaboo. Cultures get upset no one represents them or highlights elements of their culture, but when we do we are appropriating it? Humans have been doing that since the DAWN OF TIME. Humans=Crows.

      Study the Vikings and you will see all kinds of Oriental design, Persian influence, and on and on. They saw something pretty and they appropriated it…because THEY LIKED IT. Imitation is the highest form of flattery. So long as we give credit where it came from? Lighten UP! I am actually part American Indian and Sami (a Norwegian version of the Native American). I am really not offended to see elements of my “culture” being highlighted in fashion or whatever.

      I am actually far more offended when they get Texas wrong😛 .

      “WHAT??? That is a GEORGIA ACCENT not TEXAS!”

      • #38 by IchBinMeisterin on June 9, 2016 - 2:22 pm

        The key issue is respect for the original culture and its context, and giving credit to where it came from. Elvis Presley is a key example: white radio stations refused to play black artists (where the rock ‘n roll originated from), and so marketed Presley as the acceptable face of this music. He also got writing credits on songs he didn’t write, which came from African-American artists. He was considered the King of a genre that was pioneered by African-Americans. White audiences would listen to him, but ignore the likes of Muddy Waters and Howlin’ Wolf. Do you see the problem?

  8. #39 by Ontyre Passages on June 9, 2016 - 11:19 am

    Me? I’m boring. English and Irish. That means the sun isn’t my friend and I have high lobster potential. One grandmother came over from England via Scotland in 1904. I knew my great grandmother on the other side when I was little. She came over from Ireland and was the sweetest, funniest, and shortest woman you’d ever meet. Some of the family came here via Canada. Some days I want to reverse that migration.

    We need to revel in what each of us has to share. Mix it up. I find diverse backgrounds fascinating, but these days you don’t dare ask. How sad. We humans are supposed to be so smart, yet we’re too often unable to grasp that varied ethnic backgrounds enrich us all AND we’re all human beings of equal worth. Is that so difficult? Too many people are obsessed with being better than someone else. Good grief.

    • #40 by IchBinMeisterin on June 9, 2016 - 7:10 pm

      Ah, another Brit. *waves* My parents are from Nigeria though. If I hear an Irish/Scottish/Welsh name or accent, I usually ask about it in conversation anyway. There are many people happy to discuss their ethnic background, but I do understand some reluctance from others because there are those who seem to feel that we racial minorities can’t be British simply based on colour. This sentiment is pervasive and should be criticized a lot more than the odd person flaring up with PC rage.

  9. #41 by Danny Murphy (@murphyatlaw) on June 9, 2016 - 11:24 am

    Excellent post! With much mirth, I concur. Many Americans have lost their sense of humor. We no longer laugh as we once did. Political candidates have been getting meaner and the jokes have been getting uglier. However, I believe we can make America laugh again. That’s why I’ve thrown my hat into the ring to represent the people of Florida’s 4th Congressional District.
    I envision an America with a thousand points of laughter, all over this great land of ours. This laugh is your laugh, this laugh is my laugh. Life, liberty, and laughter – these are the values that will bring our country back together. Ask not what your country can do to make you laugh. Ask what you can do to make a fellow American laugh. Give me laughter, or give me death!
    For more information on the campaign to #MakeAmericaLaughAgain check out http://dannymurphywriter.blogspot.com/2016/03/make-america-laugh-again-campaign-for.html.

  10. #44 by Yasmine Phoenix on June 9, 2016 - 11:31 am

    Dear KristenI’ll be your friend. I identify as black because African American takes too long to say. Dorothy w/a Yasmine Phoenix

    Get Outlook for iOS

  11. #46 by kdrose1 on June 9, 2016 - 11:42 am

    Reblogged this on authorkdrose.

  12. #47 by foguth on June 9, 2016 - 11:43 am

    Kristen, I totally agree that we all need to laugh more and I plan to share the link for this post, though not reblog, since it doesn’t exactly fit my ‘pet information’ theme.
    I’ve often observed that cats and dogs get along better than humans who look for their differences instead of their similarities.

  13. #48 by Leta McCurry on June 9, 2016 - 11:43 am

    A voice in the wilderness. Thoughtful, provocative, well said and on point. Put a feather in your cap for this one. Enjoy your posts.

  14. #49 by Sandra Nachlinger on June 9, 2016 - 11:49 am

    Another EXCELLENT common-sense post! Thank you.

  15. #50 by Woebegone but Hopeful on June 9, 2016 - 11:56 am

    Message in a bottle from the UK…..
    You can identify an open minded, socially aware and progressively thinking person in the UK; they hate Christians (for being narrow minded) suspect all Jews for being supporters of the Israeli Government (which opts them out of being anti-Semitic); loath Islam (but are not racist); blame everything that goes wrong in the world upon the USA and reserve the right to speak in profanities about anyone who disagrees with them.
    And watching them tying themselves up in knots while explaining & justifying all this would be really funny, if they were not so hateful in their speech.
    (Oh yes, they also deplore the sense of humour we had back in the 1960s for being insensitive and crude….and don’t recognise ironic satire).
    That’s why I quit social media and settled in WordPress. Folks is Folks.
    Keep up your good work;
    Roger

    • #51 by IchBinMeisterin on June 9, 2016 - 2:28 pm

      Copious generalizations here. I’m as British as you are- and black (is that the “they” you are referring to?) and you might as well be describing a alien from Mars, because I see nothing in there that represents me. That being said, please don’t claim that all 60’s humour was satirical. A lot of it was downright racist.

      • #52 by Woebegone but Hopeful on June 9, 2016 - 4:46 pm

        I was making reference to a particular set of usual Caucasian (like me) apparently left wing (I consider myself socialist) people who whereas they claim to be progressive and tolerance display a great deal of intolerance towards people who do not fall in line with their view. And so their own sweeping generalisations are as blinkered as anyone on the far right.
        In short they meet around the other side.
        I have no time for their brand of intolerance, no more than I have for those on the right.
        I wearied of trying to get a dialogue with either side. In consequence my anger spills out.
        I am sorry if I caused you personal offence. None intended.

        • #53 by Author Kristen Lamb on June 9, 2016 - 5:38 pm

          I agree with you. The far side of both wings make me NUTS. Tolerance breeds a weird brand of vicious INTOLERANCE.

          • #54 by Woebegone but Hopeful on June 10, 2016 - 2:20 am

            Oh yes, indeed. You are so correct
            My UK politics are quite left wing (Sort of ‘Bernie Sanders…nice guy, but not left enough for me’…… it’s a European thing)….However some of the recent antics by some of the UK ‘very left’ are based on visceral unthinking hate and prejudice and I’ve dissociated myself from a few groups.
            I now belong to Socialist Let’s Get a Life Party; our by-words are Compassion Respect & Tolerance (I am currently the only member, so chances of a split over policy are unlikely and our meetings are quite cordial)

        • #55 by IchBinMeisterin on June 9, 2016 - 7:04 pm

          Oh, no problem. Yes- an extreme of anything is dangerous for rational and objective thought.

          • #56 by Woebegone but Hopeful on June 10, 2016 - 2:10 am

            In complete agreement with you.
            We must always be on our guard. I try to reach a conclusion or opinion on a group or person on the basis, are they displaying Compassion, Respect & Tolerance? It is not a perfect system and I am often a poor example, so I read some more history and try to learn what happens when, as you say, ‘extreme of anything’ takes hold.

  16. #57 by KFD Wilk on June 9, 2016 - 12:09 pm

    I love this. Political correctness has had a chilling effect on speech in this country. How many people don’t express an opinion because they’re afraid to be shot down? And I am an American of Italian, German, Greek, and French descent and my kids can add Polish, Russian and Austrian. That we know of. Reading “My Brilliant Friend”, which takes place in the 50’s in Italy, a friend, a good friend, asked me if it ‘really was like that back then?’ I answered, how would I know, the Italian side of my family has been in the US since 1887. Oh wait, I just offended someone. Apparently calling America the US is offensive because other countries have states and we act like we’re the only ones. Yes, let’s laugh. And cultural appropriation makes me crazy! As my mother would say, ‘Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery’. Don’t tell me my mother is wrong!

    • #58 by Jen Connelly on June 9, 2016 - 3:57 pm

      And calling it America or us Americans is also offensive because there are other countries in the Americas. We can’t win either way.

    • #59 by IchBinMeisterin on June 9, 2016 - 6:58 pm

      Well those complaints are definitely lowest on the importance spectrum and I don’t know anyone here in Britain who hasn’t used the US. Just because one person/one group claimed X was Y doesn’t mean it reflects on all people as a whole. The whole issue I have with PC is that it has become bogged down with tiny things which doesn’t do anything for the reality of injustice and prejudice around the world. I am more concerned about respect.

    • #60 by Laurie Germaine on June 10, 2016 - 9:26 am

      And yet this country’s proper name IS the United States of America. Go figure.

    • #61 by IchBinMeisterin on June 10, 2016 - 12:23 pm

      On the issue of cultural apprectiation/appropriation, I usually make two distinctions: 1)- Using part of someone’s culture with respect, crediting the original owners and promoting understanding and 2)- Using an element of that culture without crediting the original owner, or using it to promote harmful stereotyping (i.e I despise the way that people living in ghettoes are constantly dehumanized as thugs), or using it in spite of holding prejudiced and objectionable beliefs towards that same group of people. All culture has a context and an often painful history behind it. An easy example is how white Amerians used to flock to the music clubs in Harlem to hear jazz and blues, but then refuse to allow the black residents to sit with them, or even use the same public facilities or enter through the same doors. On the other hand, I saw a lovely video of a Nigerian woman and her white husband doing traditional dance. He was obviously enjoying this immersion in Nigerian culture. Big difference.

      • #62 by ems1008 on June 11, 2016 - 3:37 am

        Or take, for instance, how the British got rid of slavery before America, but ran the blockades and continued to trade with the self-serving South because they wanted the south’s cotton. LMAO

  17. #63 by Dominika on June 9, 2016 - 12:12 pm

    I enjoyed this post. I strongly believe in the power of laughter, especially being able to laugh at myself and how serious I can find myself getting about things sometimes. It’s very true that we’re all going to die, might as well enjoy laughter in the meantime. Many comedians (some even take roles resembling present-day jesters) also provide insights that are fairly truthful and help wrap our thoughts around difficult and sensitive issues. I’ve always appreciated this from the comedy sector, though sometimes it isn’t done in a style of humor that is for everyone or isn’t always as successful as it was intended or the comedian just has a different opinion. There are so many styles of humor too, like dark humor and dry wit.

    As for my make-up, I look very white/brunette lol and that would be because I’m Hungarian-Romanian-German-English-American. My grandmother’s family moved to America from Hungary, but a good chunk of my lineage has been around in America since before the civil war, but before then mostly Eastern-Europe. I wouldn’t be surprised if there was some Austrian, Russian, or Bohemian influences too somewhere in there. My grandmother seemed very proud to be Hungarian though, she’d constantly pick out features like my cheeks or hips while I was growing up and claim that was my Hungarian blood showing through. It made me want to travel and visit Hungary one day. :3

  18. #64 by lesedgerton on June 9, 2016 - 12:13 pm

    Bravo, Kristen!

  19. #65 by Lelia Rose Foreman on June 9, 2016 - 12:14 pm

    My husband’s Polish family taught me all the Polish jokes I know. They sounded an awful lot like the Svedish jokes my Swedish neighbors told. And now blond jokes sound like them. I don’t know who is next on the carousel. Oh, I know. Kristen is.

  20. #66 by anaatcalin on June 9, 2016 - 12:41 pm

    Kristen, I never thought I’d say this outside my marriage ever again: I LOVE YOU! This post is sooooooooo to the piint! Somebody had to say it y’all! Great post!

  21. #67 by ellenchauvet on June 9, 2016 - 12:52 pm

    Love, love, love this post. Thank you for bringing levity and insignificance to life. I am Scottish, Welsh, English, French and American Indian. Can we be friends?

  22. #68 by ellenchauvet on June 9, 2016 - 12:54 pm

    Reblogged this on Erotic Vampire and commented:
    Love this post.

  23. #69 by Brenda on June 9, 2016 - 12:58 pm

    Aw, Kristen, I was thinking (just this week) as more and more people from around the world come to live in America, maybe the color predjudices would begin to disappear. We could all live peacefully. Then, you wake me out of my dream and remind me of PC. Yeah it sucks. At work, being new, I got into trouble again and again, because I was misinterpreted. I was warned I could be written up. Now, that they are getting to know ME, they are more trusting and laid back. What happened to grace?

  24. #70 by newfsull on June 9, 2016 - 1:06 pm

    whoops ! meant that to go into comments my bad lmao

  25. #71 by bkreuch on June 9, 2016 - 1:15 pm

    This is really timely. I was actually just talking to my friends about this the other day.
    Spot on. Thanks.
    Definitely going to repost.

  26. #72 by bkreuch on June 9, 2016 - 1:19 pm

    Reblogged this on Hilarity is and commented:
    Not to toot my own horn, but this is why people need my blog…er…humor blogs like mine…um…funny in their lives.

  27. #73 by Sharon Gerlach on June 9, 2016 - 1:41 pm

    You nailed every thought I’ve had on this and did it much more diplomatically than I would have. I personally have had it with being called a racist because of the color of my skin. Which is fantastically ironic when you think about it.

  28. #74 by Newt Johnson on June 9, 2016 - 1:46 pm

    I still think you should drift into the eastern seaboard states and come eat lunch here. You’ll get barbecued ribs (unless you don’t eat pork and/ or are vegan). collard greens (unless you’re allergic), corn on the cob (unless you hold to the recent corn-is-the-new-gluten theory), and watermelon (oh, come ON, you gotta eat that!). And fresh frozen peach daiquiris to drink, unless you don’t drink, in which case you can soak up some iced tea.

    You’ll also get total permission to say/ joke/ crab/ pontificate about whatever you want, because our sense of humor in this house is still intact. Life is too freakin’ short to waste on being pissy, you should excuse the language, and I think those who are in a state of chronic offendedness just haven’t lived long enough to understand that.

    ….I’ll keep the praline sweet taters warm and the latch-string out for you, Kristen. Come on when you can.

  29. #75 by ejgodwinwp on June 9, 2016 - 1:57 pm

    “We cared less about the color of your skin and more about the color of your bike. They have BLUE????”

    Love this article! A badly needed breath of fresh air.

  30. #76 by Lynne Marino on June 9, 2016 - 2:05 pm

    Posting a link to this on my FB page. Thanks, Lynne.

  31. #77 by Curt Mekemson on June 9, 2016 - 2:08 pm

    Yes! Bring in the jester, bring in the clown, bring in the fool. Where is Coyote when we so desperately need him? Great post, Kristen. Keep it up, keep pounding away at the insanity that grips this nation and the world. Keep fighting back with humor. –Curt

  32. #78 by 1authorcygnetbrown on June 9, 2016 - 2:08 pm

    Hi Kristen, I AM LIVE IN MISSOURI AND I RESEMBLE THAT REMARK! LOL. I would tell you a funny story about my (then) six year old son and a boy riding a bicycle in Rolla, but someone might be offended.

  33. #79 by R. K. Brainerd on June 9, 2016 - 2:13 pm

    Cannot tell you how much I love this post. Yes, yes, yes, YES.

  34. #80 by Elizabeth Rose on June 9, 2016 - 2:26 pm

    Excellent post and very on point.

    I am German and Russian. I lived most of my young childhood on the edge of suburbia where there simply wasn’t much diversity. When we moved to the west coast, my best friend was from Hong Kong. I loved her hair, and I would try to get invited over to dinner whenever I could because I loved the food they ate. Telling anyone how beautiful I thought her hair was would probably be racist now. Funny thing was, we never noticed race as much physical differences. She always liked my blue eyes.

    My daughter is in preschool now, and I was terrified what she would say to the boy in her class who was the only non-Caucasian. Didn’t have to worry as a year later she still hasn’t noticed.

    No idea how to deal with this. Myself and many others we know avoid diversity because we don’t want to be insensitive and we don’t know how to act or what to say. So, we play it safe.

    As a white person, I would never dream of having a person of color in my work. Or someone gay etc. I have simply heard too often only they can write their stories. Not sure if I believe it or not, but I don’t want to be insensitive either.

    • #81 by IchBinMeisterin on June 9, 2016 - 2:34 pm

      “No idea how to deal with this. Myself and many others we know avoid diversity because we don’t want to be insensitive and we don’t know how to act or what to say. So, we play it safe.”

      Seriously? You do realize we of the “diversity crew” can hold a basic conversation with white folks, right?

      • #82 by Author Kristen Lamb on June 9, 2016 - 2:40 pm

        Some can, some are downright hateful. No way to tell. Ive dealt with both and trust me I love everyone…except tailgaters.

  35. #83 by IchBinMeisterin on June 9, 2016 - 3:03 pm

    I’m British, of Nigerian parents. From my perspective, I am not so concerned with PC speech (which I sometimes find tedious) as I am with basic respect. Getting bogged down with dodging around the word “black”, “fat” and so on is time-wasting and will not solve the basic problems of injustices that many people suffer in this world. But demanding a basic quota of respect is not a massive ask.

    So I make a distinction between an opportunity for cultural education and widening horizons and an approach which reeks of arrogance and prejudice. Plenty of people in the comments section here are giving the impression that you need to walk on eggshells around racial minorities- folks, this is simply not the case. Many of us are un-PC as well. I can’t remember the last time I used the word “Caucasian”. I simply refuse to use the copious term “people of colour”. The word “plus-sized” makes me roll my eyes because I had many fat friends at school who didn’t see the word as a big deal. You may hear Latino’s using the word “negro” casually and so on.

    When it comes to a white person asking a question about my culture/racial background and I can see the desire is for education, then I am happy to answer such questions. This is because I am proud of my Nigerian ethnic background. And I will often ask about theirs in return and we have a good chat. This is not a problem. Some white people have never seen kinky hair and even though I’m a little tired of the “It’s so cool!”, many are happy to discuss their hair as well. Some assume I know everything about Africa, which prompts an eye-roll. I am British! But I am happy to spread more knowledge and awareness of Africa as well and I have had some great conversations about this with no issues.

    On the flip side, I have the right to react to comments/questions that are rooted in prejudice and inexcusable ignorance. I dislike stereotypes because many of them were made during centuries of historic oppression. I know that black Americans were often the subject of racist cartoons during the last century where they were depicted as devouring watermelons and fried chicken, so I can perfectly understand sensitivity over that. I can understand why a Jewish person will be suspicious over a non-Jew associating them with money and power, because this was used as a tool to enable anti-Semitic persecution here in Europe, costing millions of lives.

    I don’t hold with assumptions of my being an athlete or musician (I’m a linguist), or surprise at my being academically-minded, or being bombarded with the same demeaning spiel about Africans being poor and miserable and corrupt. It’s one thing to be interested/curious in a culture- it’s quite another to impose prejudiced views on that person.

    As for writing- I’ve written many stories with white characters in them (I’m a huge fan of the English medieval period), so that point amuses me. If a white writer with relatively little contact with other races and cultures wants to ask me about black charcaters in their book then my rule is simple: portray them just as you portray white characters. Three-dimensional and not cardboard cut-outs. Not only does this avoid credible offense, it also improves writing. If they want to ask me questions about Nigeria, ethnolects, culture etc., then I have no issue with that. Better to ask than to assume and stereotype. If they want to write a story based on a historical period, then go ahead as long as it’s well-researched- just like any good historical fiction.

    I got stuck in the PC rut because I’m writing crime fiction and some of the criminals will be black. I was fretting about whether this would incur criticism for feeding into a stereotype. I had to sit down and decide firmly that my job is not to please everyone, and to remember that I created a black female detective to shatter said stereotypes in the first place. Not all PC is essential, but respect is.

    • #84 by Cathy F. on June 10, 2016 - 10:10 am

      “Plenty of people in the comments section here are giving the impression that you need to walk on eggshells around racial minorities- folks, this is simply not the case.”

      I think the difficulty is that it is so easy to lose one’s livelihood by offending the *wrong* minority individual. Of course people will be gun-shy when they can get fired or ruined because of one joke that was overheard by a particularly litigious member of a minority group. Or one refusal to bake a cake. Or one contribution to the wrong cause.

      Hubby works in a Fortune 500 company… and they know very well that he’s amazing at what he does, but even he could be fired for offending the wrong person. So, yes, walking on eggshells is entirely warranted, in the working-stiff world.

      I have more flexibility. I’ll just lose potential readers, so I can piss people off all I want. He would lose everything… his career, his house, his pride, his sense of self (very wrapped up in his career… which yes, is a choice people can criticize, but it is what it is).

      Dismissing the reality that the PC crowd has created for the average white working-stiff is pretty insensitive. And honestly, the fact that one can lose everything based on someone else’s willingness to take offense is pretty oppressive.

      Reality dictates that walking on eggshells is entirely justified.

      • #85 by Author Kristen Lamb on June 10, 2016 - 10:26 am

        Agreed. I actually talked about this in a recent post. A white male was at a tech conference and made a whispered joke to a male colleague regarding tech equipment. She overheard and assumed it was a sexist joke. She took a pic on her phone and tweeted about how she was having to endure his sexism. They burned that guys life to the GROUND. By the end of the week he had no job and was unhireable. So yeah, there might only be a handful of yhses folks but the danger that they pose us VERY real and VERY terrifying.

        • #86 by IchBinMeisterin on June 10, 2016 - 12:06 pm

          If I’m right in assuming they were making phallic jokes about tech equipment (as most men do), then the reaction was definitely unwarranted. Come to think of it, there was a case recently where a male scientists said that women weren’t good scientists because they cried and then fell in love with men. I wanted to smack my head against the desk that he could seriously make such a sweeping and stupid generalization, but I think I would have been happy with an apology rather than him being fired as he was.

          • #87 by Author Kristen Lamb on June 10, 2016 - 12:18 pm

            But isn’t this the point of this entire post? It was a whispered joke to a male colleague. None of her business but she still unleashed the Thought Police and ruined him. People should have a right to even “distasteful” opinions and not get their lives torched.

      • #88 by IchBinMeisterin on June 10, 2016 - 10:35 am

        I will refer back to my comment to respond:

        As I said right at the beginning, I don’t believe nit-picky PC terminology helps fight injustice. As a logical extension from that, I don’t believe that examining the minutiae of what a white person says is forward-moving. Ergo I wouldn’t approve of a scenario where someone was unduly punished IF there is CLEAR evidence this is unwarranted. For example, poorly-judged jokes and systematic racial discrimination in employment are two different things altogether.

        • #89 by Cathy F. on June 10, 2016 - 12:18 pm

          Part of the trouble is that there is almost never CLEAR evidence. It becomes a case of “I said this. It was a joke.” vs. “I heard this. I am mortally offended.” And to avoid lawsuits the company punishes the innocent guy who just made a freaking joke.

          Your being individually against that scenario doesn’t really do the guy in the crosshairs of the PC police any favors, does it? Are you speaking out in his defense against those who persecute him? Are you defending him as viscerally as the mob who wants him destroyed?

          I wouldn’t blame you if you’re not. It’s a damn scary thing to go against a mob. I went against a class of my peers in 8th grade, then again in 12th, and let me tell you… they didn’t want to destroy me, but I still had cold fear snaking down my spine when I did it. I just couldn’t sit there and watch them be assholes to the teachers. 30 kids is not an internet mob though, and I rarely go out seeking that kind of battle any more. I’ve had my share of speaking out in internet forums. Got the emotional scars to prove it. But I was younger then, and a hell of a lot more passionate about defending the theoretically-indefensible. Now, I usually am resigned to letting the world go to hell in its handbasket, while doing my best for me and mine. Mostly these days, I keep my tongue, unless I’m pretty sure the forum owner is open to differing opinions. And even then I keep my silence more than I actually respond in writing.

          It really comes down to power. The perpetually aggrieved can not admit that they actually hold the power now. If every white male in this country is brought low, at long last vindicating every wrong ever done by the white race, would that finally end the constant nit-picking? No… because 100 years down the road, the descendants of those brought low are going to still be carrying a hell of a grudge against those who destroyed their families.

          So, basically out of control PC has set us up for a perpetual motion Hatfields-and-McCoys war of all against all.

          • #90 by Author Kristen Lamb on June 10, 2016 - 12:23 pm

            Amen. Its why love is the only action that stops the cycle.

            • #91 by Cathy F. on June 10, 2016 - 6:03 pm

              And being willing to be tolerant of those who live a different experience and have a different framework, rising above it, so to speak… in order to demonstrate what a more enlightened stance would look like. AKA: Love.

              As long as one isn’t being physically attacked, there is the opportunity to recover an honest and loving relationship, without verbally smacking down people who make mistakes.

              Of course, in the event of physical attacks, all bets are off. But I don’t need to elaborate on that with a Texan.😉 LOL

              (Sometimes, I really miss Texas. But Indiana suits me too… we are just as armed here, but a little more subtle.😉 )

          • #92 by IchBinMeisterin on June 10, 2016 - 3:33 pm

            Thanks for your perspective. It is not sufficient for me to individually be opposed to Internet/workplace Salem Witch Trials, yes. On the flip side, it isn’t sufficient for an individual to say they are against racism etc. when there are significant masses still perpetrating it. A joke must actually be a joke. I’ve been on Forums where people have used despicable racist language and I have been shot down and treated like an intruder for presenting an objection. That kind of attitude can be transferred from the Internet to work. So I am not always convinced by “it was a joke”.

            As for being “perpetually aggrieved”- we are as aggrieved as the seriousness of the situation of prejudice, injustice and intolerance. Rather than shying away from the “angry black woman” stereotype, I embrace it where I feel the need is there. Like I have continually said in the bulk of my original comment, poor judgement doesn’t- and shouldn’t- cut it.

      • #93 by P Taylor on June 13, 2016 - 6:28 pm

        Cathy, I wanted to look at your blog, but apparently need an invite.

        • #94 by Cathy F. on June 16, 2016 - 11:05 pm

          Oh, right… I’d forgotten that I used that blog address for the account here.

          I had it under construction for a major re-design in anticipation of a changed focus to a writing blog. Everything else went away. It sat there completely empty for quite a while, while I worked on it, trying to make things reasonably consistent across platforms, so I locked the doors “temporarily.” Then wandered off, somewhere, forgetting I’d closed up shop.

          There’s not much there, at the moment, but I can unlock it, now that the framing is basically done. (Need my son to help me with one little glitch, when he gets a chance, but since he’s in Oregon and I’m in Indiana, it may be a while.)

          I don’t currently have any stories published, so I’m not big into the marketing phase of things, as yet. So it sits there, with a little post about Chasing Muses that I used in order to give it a test drive, but no other interesting stuff. But it’s pretty looking, I think…😉

          Anyway… I’ll go ahead and open the door and put the coffee on for the stray passerby.🙂

  36. #95 by Ruth Ann Nordin on June 9, 2016 - 3:20 pm

    I took one of your classes, and I had a lot of fun because of your sense of humor. It’s a horrible thing when people lose their sense of humor.

    I grew up in the 80s, too, and things that never once went through my mind when I was in school is a “big and serious issue” with my kids who are in elementary school. It’s just sad.

  37. #96 by Icy Sedgwick on June 9, 2016 - 3:20 pm

    Vote Kristen Lamb for a future you actually want to live in!😀

    • #97 by Author Kristen Lamb on June 9, 2016 - 6:01 pm

      LOL. Those of us who probably would be good at it are smart enough not to run😛 .

      Frankly, I am hoping for Z-Day and then WANA can rise as the new world order. A WORLD, RULED BY WRITERS!

      Which means were are going to have to save the therapists and the coffee and cocoa plantations, LOL.

  38. #100 by jilldefelice on June 9, 2016 - 3:44 pm

    WONDERFUL post. Every word true and it kills me that we have become so PC and EC that we are no longer allowed to be ourselves without some stranger taking offense. Your title says it all.

  39. #101 by Maria Riegger on June 9, 2016 - 3:46 pm

    Thanks for reposting this article! You’ve described EXACTLY how I feel as the child of an Argentine immigrant, who speaks Spanish but who is obviously “white,” not Hispanic. Huh?

    • #102 by Taylor Ramage on June 9, 2016 - 4:33 pm

      I’m Puerto Rican on my mother’s side and I just always say I’m a white Puerto Rican or a white latina since race and ethnicity aren’t the exact same thing.

      But those forms that specify “white, non-Hispanic” make me roll my eyes.

  40. #103 by Taylor Ramage on June 9, 2016 - 3:51 pm

    Another layer to this is that some unproductive backlash against something comes from people who aren’t part of the community that is being represented. There are examples of this in fandom culture and it sometimes gets to the point where, say, a well-meaning, socially conscious straight person decries a same-sex relationship or LGBT+ characters for not being good representation to the point of arguing with and dismissing actual LGBT+ folks who thought the author or creator did well. In other words, it can get to a point of speaking over the experiences and opinions of the people who are actually of the race, ethnicity, gender, etc. in question. By intending to dismantle and call out the -archies and -isms we all navigate on a daily basis, we run the risk of becoming overzealous and perpetuating this underlying notion that, say, all black people feel the same way about x or that all trans people have the same opinion about y. To be sure, there are major issues that each of these communities face and certain language or actions that we should definitely avoid. But when we spend to much energy talking about what we think is offensive to a group we’re not a part of, we’re not listening to the folks who are actually part of it, even when they’re opinion counters what we’d expect their opinion to be. And as with anything, there are multiple opinions in tension because people are people.

    Basically, a lot of it comes down to folks just not listening or showing grace, particularly in cases of nuanced terminology or discussions of representation in fiction. Important things for sure, but also everyday things that need to be learned–no one popped out of the womb with all this awareness.

    • #104 by IchBinMeisterin on June 9, 2016 - 4:17 pm

      Yep, truth.

    • #105 by Jen Connelly on June 9, 2016 - 4:20 pm

      I’ve definitely seen this in action. I was reading the comments of a blog once about Men’s Rights Activists, and someone called them nuts, which I agree with, but they were slammed for being insensitive for using “enabler” language like crazy and nuts. Apparently it’s insensitive/offensive to the mentally ill to use those terms.

      I was sitting there like, “what?” I have bipolar and it felt really strange to have someone (especially the many commented without mental illness) tell me what I was offended by. I refuse to stop using the words or making jokes about my mental illness. Sometimes laughing about it is the only way to make sense of it all.

      • #106 by Taylor Ramage on June 9, 2016 - 4:47 pm

        Yeah, while I understand that it’s legitimately not safe or accessible for some people to do anything besides Internet activism, a lot of times I feel like a big part of the solution is distancing yourself from the Internet and actually talking to people in person. Otherwise, I think it becomes easy to…misdirect our energy.

        • #107 by Jen Connelly on June 9, 2016 - 5:48 pm

          The internet just brings out the loudest of every group. Activism is great, educating people that are ignorant is awesome, but some people get so wrapped up in the fight (I guess you could say) that they lose sight of what they’re actually doing and who they’re fighting for. At least it seems that way. A lot of times I’m left feeling like, “it’s great that you’re being supportive and proactive, but I can speak for myself and know what offends me.”

          I try to be one of the “loud” ones by commenting on any article that pops up on Facebook about mental illness. There is so much misinformation that needs to be corrected from the ignorant and the supposedly informed supporters. It’s crazy because I’ve actually had people argue with me about my actual experiences as a person with mental illness like I’m misinterpretation my own feeling or something. I live it every day; I know what I’m talking about.

  41. #108 by Mari on June 9, 2016 - 4:11 pm

    Hi Kristen,
    Old black American woman here. I loved your post–with a caveat. We do not live in an easy world, but we do live in interesting times. “Lighten the HELL UP” only works when I’m comfortable with the person or situation. The truth is, there are some people who would use humor to hurt. Everything is NOT funny (never heard a rape joke that amused me). It does trouble me to think that writers are censoring themselves for fear of offending. Write your stories, children. You can’t make everyone happy; you are not bacon. People are not racist (only institutions and systems can be) but people can be bigoted, thoughtless or simply uninformed. Life works better when we accept and forgive. And for your commenter who wasn’t sure how to describe POC–Sweetie, you can describe me as food anytime!🙂

    • #109 by Jen Connelly on June 9, 2016 - 4:33 pm

      Loved your comment. I’ve wondered about the food thing since I’ve noticed article after article online saying it’s wrong or offensive, but how else do you describe the nuanced variation of brown? I remember when I was a kid, when I started to notice people had different skin colors, that black people had to most awesome colored skin–so many pretty shades whereas I noticed white people had pale and paler as colors. Of course, I learned pretty quick that it was wrong to vocalize those things. I’m not sure I’ve even ever told anyone about it except maybe my own kids when trying to explain racism and political correctness and help them make sense of everything.

      I also have a thing for Asian eyes. Is that the correct way to say it? I’m probably offending someone, but I think they are beautiful.

    • #110 by Author Kristen Lamb on June 9, 2016 - 5:57 pm

      I agree. I feel that way with blonde jokes. I tell them and I can take them but some people???? Might wanna get to know me a bit better or maybe stop telling them ALL the time. I can laugh at myself with the best of them but sometimes? ENOUGH.

      I guess what scares me is that people can’t learn if they can’t make a mistake. We used to gently and privately correct. Social media has turned into the new witch hunt. So the person makes a rape joke and it falls flat. Maybe they are a horrible person. But, maybe they are an introvert and panicked or don’t get social queues. Maybe they didn’t get what the joke was REALLY about. I did that when I was younger. Told a joke I thought was silly and I TOTALLY missed the sexual entendre.

      But back then, others could say, “Kristen, NOT funny. Don’t quit your day job.” So long as I didn’t persist? I learned I had oopsed. NOW? You tell the wrong joke, say the wrong comment and suddenly there is a Twitter lynch mob demanding you be fired and your home torched. There is NO grace.

      Like the girls in Arizona. Young teenagers who spelled out the N-word in a photo, but it was for the boyfriend of one of the girls and boyfriend happened to be black and GOD only knows WTH they were thinking. Stupid? YES. Insensitive? Of course. Ridiculously stupid? 1000%.

      But there were people calling for them all to be expelled, for it to go on their permanent record, that they should never get into college or ever be hired. For them to be charged with a HATE CRIME.

      “Ruin them!” was a common cry. People didn’t even wait to get the entire story, just assumed the girls were the HS KKK.

      SERIOUSLY? WTH is WRONG with people? Adolescence is full of stupidity. We are learning to think through what we say. That is the time we are learning words and actions have consequences. And I get that it was in bad, bad taste but is that REALLY worth laying waste and salting the earth of their futures?

      So yeah. We do need to correct people who cross social boundaries, but no need to use a thermonuclear strike as our first option.

      And on a lighter note😀 ….

      I love the food descriptions too. We are describing ethnic women with all we writers love—coffee, mocha, chocolate, LOL.

    • #111 by teleprechaun on June 9, 2016 - 8:55 pm

      Mari, you have very kind and nurturing insights. I agree with your caveat. The movement for more sensitivity came about for a very valid reason. Those of us with privilege can’t forget that.

    • #112 by Newt Johnson on June 10, 2016 - 10:06 am

      Wise, wise woman here. Love the comment about bacon. — Mi sweet potato casserole es su sweet potato casserole, anytime!

  42. #113 by lccooper on June 9, 2016 - 4:31 pm

    I said the n-word while sitting in a van full of us multi-national kids. My comment was made in reaction to some idiot who swerved out of a side street and narrowly missed smashing into the side where I sat. My comment was borne of confusion and fear, and it was the only word my shocked brain rushed to my mouth. Never, and I mean NEVER, in my life have I ever uttered that word. I have been color-blind my entire life, and I remain so.
    My children are all adopted, but so what? one is from Guatemala and is obviously of Hispanic descent; two are from China, born years apart, with one having familiar Asian features, while the other is mixed race; and our youngest is our boy from here in the U.S., and he is a lovely shade of dark brown.

    Oh yeah, my husband and I are white. He’s gone blind, and I use a walker to get around. Who gives a flying fig about any of this? None of us do, and neither do our friends. It’s all about friends and being a friend. Unless someone mentions how are family came together, none of us dwell on our differences–we accept difference as being a normal facet of life. And, life goes on–whether we choose to be bigots, racists, narrow-minded, or a friend.

    That day in the van, so, so many years ago, I lost two friends And one was my prideful self. It never occurred to me that any part of me would react so hatefully and arrogantly to use a word locked away, deep where no one would find it. Yet, in the blur of an irrational moment, out of reaction, I spewed the one vile word I abhorred.

    I reive that moment in that van frequently–playing that same old scene over and over with crystal clarity. Although played relentlessly, the pain and ache aren’t from my bruised pride, but for the sweet young girl who, up until that moment in the van, had been one of my dearest friends for years.

    I deserved to lose her friendship, even though I it was a terrible mistake, and some mistakes are built to last. I immediately apologized profusely that instant to her, but the damage was irreversible and deep. The look on her face wasn’t anger or bitterness, it was a look of crushing sadness–for as a result of my callous remark, I, with one word, stripped her of her dignity, her sameness with the rest of us, and shoved her into a subservient, degraded position. She teared up, and I realized that i’d lost her.

    What sucks, too, was from that moment on, I was labeled a racist, and one by one , I lost the friendship and respect of the other kids in that van. This reputation spread, and it only stopped following me when our father got a job transfer that moved us to another state. Yes, I was given a clean slate, but to this day, I wonder if that school friend still plays that moment over in her head. I pray she’s forgotten about my insipid word choice and has forgiven me. I hope she is surrounded by loving family and friends.

    • #114 by Author Kristen Lamb on June 9, 2016 - 5:44 pm

      I guess. I think character is demonstrated by repeated actions and decisions not one heated moment. And if the word is so horrible, then how about EVERYONE stop using it? And this argument that it is okay for one race to use it and another not to? That is like saying it is not at all demeaning for me to refer to another female as “whore” or “slut” or “c&nt” but if a man does it, it is verboten.

      Friendship and all relationships are based on grace. Frankly, if that was the biggest screw up you’d ever made in the friendship and a million other acts of kindness and love didn’t count for anything? As far as I am concerned, they can pound sand.

      Being a friend isn’t about expecting perfection. You deserved better friends.

      • #115 by lccooper on June 9, 2016 - 8:31 pm

        Thank you for your grace. I expected a backlash, as I have whipped myself for decades. Yours was a kind reply–one that reminded me that we were all children, those who are the Innocent. I suppose you are correct that true friends should be a tolerant bunch, but what early teen isn’t a raging, boiling pot o’ hormones and insanity? Some of the cat fights I participated in back then where over much less volatile issues. Still, I can’t and won’t shake the memory of my cute, sweet friend having to deal with my horribly derogatory comment. Her reaction was to something “I” said, not someone else. The decades have provided no comfort to the reality that I was the reason for her pain.

  43. #116 by Lucinda E Clarke on June 9, 2016 - 4:41 pm

    I don’t always agree with you but this time i do. My latest book is a politically incorrect history of Fairyland and i had a ball writing it. I think it just might appeal to you http://www.amazon.com/dp/B01DPVB4M8

  44. #117 by T.K. Thorne on June 9, 2016 - 5:17 pm

    Well, I belong in the same *do not breed* category because I swear I couldn’t figure out how to comment on this wonderful post….

    TK TKThorne.com

    >

  45. #118 by Jen Connelly on June 9, 2016 - 5:24 pm

    I’m pretty darn white. I think my heritage is German, Polish, Scottish, Welsh, English and maybe some Native American thrown in there somewhere (probably a few others that I don’t know about). I grew up in Chicago, in working class, immigrant neighborhoods. They were predominantly Mexican when I lived there. It never even occurred to me that I was different than my friends. I still remember when it hit me that I was one of only a handful of white kids at my school. I was in 6th grade and looked around our class of thirty and saw that there was only me and one other girl that were white. Everyone else was Hispanic. I was shocked by this new information. You think I would have noticed before I was 11 that I was the only one of my friends that didn’t speak Spanish.

    I keep reading stuff that says we need more diversity in YA novels, but I’m not going to write them. I don’t think I could ever do it right. Even if I based them off of people I know/knew in real life, I’d probably be labeled a racist or something.

    • #119 by IchBinMeisterin on June 9, 2016 - 6:44 pm

      Curious question- how can it be harder to create a three-dimensional black etc. character than a white one?

      • #120 by Author Kristen Lamb on June 9, 2016 - 7:10 pm

        If I may answer for Jen… It might be different overseas, but here in the US we get caught in a double bind. If we have all white characters then we are whitewashing fiction. Okay, fair enough. But when we try to write characters of color, we are lambasted that we cannot possibly understand the POV of someone of another race because we are white. And round and round we go.

        Of course this argument is ridiculous. I write male characters better than female characters. Why? Any number of reasons, but the deal is I have EMPATHY. But the PC Police have seriously gotten out of control. Diversity claims we are to highlight and celebrate cultural differences, but if you acknowledge cultures are different, that’s racist.

        *head explodes*

        Whether the PC Police like it or not, cultures ARE different (even among “whites”). Scandinavians tent to be stoic, austere, and OCD. Italians talk with their hands and argue and are loud and passionate. Blacks (here in Texas at least) tend to be vocal and loud and funny and high energy and they socialize and have big groups of family. They are also generally matriarchal and treat their older folks with a high degree of reverence in comparison to other cultures. White people? We have ONE kid and all our friends are on FB and our grandparents in nursing homes. There is good and bad to ALL cultures.

        It isn’t racist to point out how things exist, especially if the goal it to eventually change that.

        I think the answer is to just write the characters we love or hate and write good stories and people will always fond a reason to be offended.

        Just these days it is getting particularly dangerous to offend others.

        • #121 by IchBinMeisterin on June 9, 2016 - 7:39 pm

          Oh okay, fair enough. I don’t know anyone who finds discussing cultural differences offensive let alone racist- in fact those of us with Nigerian backgrounds are pretty used to discussing this in Britain. We all come from big families, with strict fathers who make us study all the time and tell us how they used to walk ten miles barefoot in Africa to go to school. And us girls always wore braids during middle school which the white kids always wanted to touch. Like I’ve said, not all PC is essential, and neither does it address the root causes of prejudice and injustice. I do appreciate, however, that black and Native Americans are rightly very sensitive with regards to their histories. My rule is that as long as someone can justify their care and research and fairness, then offense will be water off a duck’s back, because not everyone gets their news from Facebook.

      • #122 by Jen Connelly on June 9, 2016 - 7:37 pm

        I think a lot of it is not falling back onto stereotypes. I have no experience being a black person. I have no idea what it’s like to experience racism, although I’ve seen it directed at people. I can try and imagine what it would be like, but I can never really know. How do I write that and be authentic with no knowledge?

        And then I’ve seen authors being accused of writing black characters as “too white,” whatever that means.

        I don’t have any black friends, so I just have no frame of reference at all. I just don’t think I’d do a very good job at writing a main character that wasn’t like me. I’d have to find someone to pick their brain, I guess, but my idiotic mental illness makes stuff like that hard.

        • #123 by IchBinMeisterin on June 9, 2016 - 7:44 pm

          Interesting, because plenty of white writers have written other ethnicities into their works no problemo. J K Rowling’s Angelina Johnson from the Harry Potter series has always been a favourite of mine. Personally, I love head-hopping; I’ve done first-generation Brits of Nigerian parentage (like me), and I’ve done Lords and Ladies in Medieval England.

          • #124 by Jen Connelly on June 9, 2016 - 8:00 pm

            I guess I was talking more as major characters where you’re going to get inside their brain or their actions are going to be a plot point. I just don’t think I could get the voice right. They would sound, as I’ve heard being said, “too white.” It probably has more to do with lack of experience. As I said, I have no black friends, and I didn’t have any growing up.

          • #125 by Author Kristen Lamb on June 9, 2016 - 9:26 pm

            But there are also writers who have been skewered too, so we can’t just look at the success stories. Those might be the only ones you happen to see. And actually the whole “Black Hermione” thing has landed Rowling in the crosshairs of haters so not nearly as rosy as one might first think. She is just a big enough name with enough money that it won’t tank her career like a new author. Also, Rowling wrote her characters over a decade ago before people were just looking for reasons to get their panties in a twist.

  46. #126 by Deborah Makarios on June 9, 2016 - 5:39 pm

    Hey, I know that supermarket! That’s here in New Zealand, where a cracker is a flat baked thing used to transport yummy stuff to your mouth. (Or a thing where you pull both ends and it goes ‘bang!’ but those tend to be less cheese-related, in my experience.) What is a cracker in the US?

    Here in NZ the biggest issue at the moment seems to be not so much race as gender. It is suggested that you ask people you meet for the first time what their preferred pronouns are. Personally, I haven’t dared, because I think the majority of people would take it as an implied slight.

    • #127 by IchBinMeisterin on June 10, 2016 - 3:11 am

      By your wording, it is a “suggestion” and is probably impractical in some circumstances. I think the person themselves should provide this info. To be fair, if you haven’t even tried, how can you assume the majority would take offence? An issue I have is assuming certain groups no longer can be talked to because of PC, when many of us (I’m black) are un-PC too and can talk to people easily whilst also reserving the right to call out prejudice and demeaning portrayals of us. This is a clear distinction and the sum of a few poor experiences shouldn’t make someone else seem suspect and self-important if they discuss something that concerns them.

      • #128 by Deborah Makarios on June 10, 2016 - 5:12 pm

        I don’t mind people asking me to use certain pronouns for them (though I have not had much experience of this). But I don’t want to use it as an opening gambit for everyone, for two reasons: a) a lot of people won’t know what I’m talking about, and b) some who are clearly male or clearly female may take the question as an offensive insinuation. Yes, this is supposition, as I haven’t actually experimented on people, but nor do I feel the urge to. If I’m not sure I’ll ask.

    • #129 by Tina on June 10, 2016 - 3:43 am

      “Cracker” can be a derogatory term for Caucasian person.
      I have recently become very aware of the preferred pronoun situation. It is difficult to remember who wants to be referred to as he, she, or they,, but I try because I don’t want to upset anyone and identity is important.
      I don’t know if I should call anyone black or brown or white or any other color. Last year I had a roommate who was a young woman from Africa who had very dark skin.. (I couldn’t call her African-American since she was from Guinea-Bissau.) Usually, there was no reason to talk about skin color. One day when we were talking about complexions I told her that I am beige. She told me, “No, you are white and I am black.” That was simple.

      • #130 by IchBinMeisterin on June 10, 2016 - 4:17 am

        Again, a largely trivial aspect of PC. Most people use the term “white” or “black” freely with no trouble or offense caused. As far as pronouns are concerned, I personally would expect that person to provide that info if it was necessary in conversation. Again, I imagine one can correct another on gender pronouns. Those things aren’t as troublesome as 1)- being surprised your African friend is smart, 2)- denying someone their right to their gender pronouns because you say they aren’t a real woman or real man and so on. That would show a complete lack of respect and would quite justifiably warrant an angry reaction.

      • #131 by Deborah Makarios on June 10, 2016 - 5:01 pm

        As with so many things, skin colour is a spectrum, which we break into blocks for… for… simplicity of reference?

  47. #132 by Steven Arredondo on June 9, 2016 - 5:51 pm

    So being a white child is a lot more fun than having to be a white adult. Hang in there.

    • #133 by Author Kristen Lamb on June 9, 2016 - 6:14 pm

      Wow. Thanks for illustrating what I was talking about. Go you. You even had to comment from two different identities to get this little mean quip in there. Don’t bother trolling because I will trash it. This is the adult table and I hope you will join us, but that requires manners.

  48. #134 by serendipitydoit on June 9, 2016 - 6:18 pm

    I love your sense of humour and your warm writing style and was going to share this on my Facebook page even before I read about your generous offer.

  49. #135 by Sarah on June 9, 2016 - 8:21 pm

    Fabulous post. I’m trying this new experiment where I’m attempting to be unoffendable. Kind of like the whole minimalist thing but with the emotional baggage. It feels pretty stinkin’ awesome!

  50. #136 by Sheila M. Good, Author on June 9, 2016 - 9:13 pm

    Excellent post! I loved it, and my favorite line of all is, “Lighten the HELL UP!” Political correctness has muzzled our creativity and this nation. I wrote a short story and used the term, fireman. Grammarly (editing software) pinged me for being politically incorrect! What? Sometimes you gotta you plain, damn common sense. People need to get over themselves and if anyone comes looking for a “safe Place,” I might just lose it and laugh in their face.
    @sheilamgood at Cow Pasture Chronicles

    • #137 by IchBinMeisterin on June 10, 2016 - 3:04 am

      I’ve used the word “fireman” several times. The fact that some PC speech is either copious or wholly unnecessary does not, however, invalidate a woman’s right to be sensitive to issues facing employment stigma in this case. One must not assume that everyone thinks the word “fireman” is offensive- I’m a feminist and managed to say that without choking.

  51. #138 by Botanist on June 9, 2016 - 11:05 pm

    Spot on!

  52. #139 by tammyjpalmer on June 10, 2016 - 12:45 am

    I populate my books with diverse characters because I want my stories to reflect real life. There’s a gay guy, a black guy, and a woman who is of Mexican and Native American descent. There’s also a 24 year-year-old virgin. A guy with manic depression. An overzealous Christian. An Asian doctor. I can’t imagine writing all straight white protestant characters out of fear of possibly offending a reader. If any of you want to look for something in my books to be offended by please do. And buy a copy for your mother and your sister while you’re at it. Haha. 🙂

    • #140 by IchBinMeisterin on June 10, 2016 - 2:40 am

      The issue is definitely not writing that reflects reality, but giving all characters the same level of nuance and humanity regardless, which not all writers do- particularly not in film.

  53. #141 by teleprechaun on June 10, 2016 - 12:49 am

    Come on. “Being considerate of other cultures is too hard, so now we white folks are going to agree that it’s out of hand?” This forum turned into a whole lot of white people letting each other off the hook. Just stop.
    I’m white, and this forum creeped me out.
    There are VERY, VERY, VERY valid reasons for people demanding more sensitive portrayals of their cultures. To watch American movies, you would think no one cares about it at all. It seems like most movies and shows include black characters just so they can kill them off in the next scene, turn them into an absurd caricature, or reprise painful “historically accurate” images (and in the process, reinforce them in the public consciousness). Really, it’s a game. To keep those degrading images circulating in people’s minds. Imagine the child who is innocent to those things who gets taught about it through the film. That’s our ugliness. Let it stay in the past. Plenty of things get left there without anyone caring.
    I try to be diplomatic online, but this is unacceptable. Those of us with privilege can’t resent the rest of humanity asking for consideration.
    Yes, sometimes new rules are implemented poorly. And I think that’s deliberate, to keep people divided.
    A wise person told me that it is the job of those who have rights and privilege to fight for those who don’t. Sometimes it hurts. Doesn’t mean we’re supposed to tell people they’ve gotten out of hand with their demands for equality. It’s our job to listen to what’s wrong, and help fix it. (without romanticizing ourselves into some avenging angel role like white people so often do) We need to help fight the bullshit, not the people whose rights continue to be abused.
    Also– if I understand the court jester analogy, the court jester was there to keep those in power humble, not mock the oppressed.
    In the spirit of that, we can lampoon ourselves for being facepalm idiots trying to get it right, so long as we keep trying. Blame the offended because we don’t want to lose face? THAT sounds like a dictator.
    –Chances are, I’ve come off holier-than-thou, and that’s not my intention. Nor is it my right. This conversation has gone in a really bad direction, and people need to check their heads. We can’t blame people for wanting to be treated right. And dammit, we’re writers. Nuance is our thing. If we explore this matter considerately, we might figure a few things out. Shout out to IchBinMeisteren. You offered up some great advice. I, for one, appreciate your taking the time to sift through our ignorance. Sorry that it’s necessary.

    • #142 by Author Kristen Lamb on June 10, 2016 - 6:14 am

      No one here is really talking about a simple “being considerate of other cultures” and if you are uncomfortable, so be it. We are all too eager to be comfortable all the time and only the “oppressed” seem to get a chance to speak up and say they are struggling. And “considerate” has become such an open definition it has us very, very confused.

      Did the woman my husband worked with really deserve to spend six weeks defending her job because she didn’t celebrate Cinco de Mayo? We are talking about the RABIDNESS. We are not talking about general getting along. We are talking about how difficult it is to discern one person who could care less if you referred to them as black or another who will chew your ass off for the next fifteen minutes because you didn’t use “African American” (which I have had happen). I am supposed to know exactly what country someone is from (Vietnam vs. Laos) (Ecuador vs. Argentina) but then it is perfectly okay to call me “white” and that isn’t insensitive at all.

      We are talking about how CONFUSING it is, and I’m sorry, that is reasonable.

      And privileged? Seriously? Just because you are white doesn’t mean you are privileged. I am female and from the south. Do you KNOW how many times I was denied a position I was better at than the males “because people didn’t take women seriously in business”? When I won the best scholarship the Air Force had to offer to go to medical school, a FEMALE said to me, “Well, they must have been short on their quota for women.” In college, I had a stalker, but there were no laws protecting women. You could BEAT a woman and not even be arrested until the late 80s. So in 1992 when I had a violent stalker, I had to take care of it because the police laughed at me because I was a female.

      And if I said we’d won the battle for equality it would be a lie (can we talk about the Stanford Rapist?), but conversely, if I said feminism hasn’t gotten out of hand regarding its treatment of men that would ALSO be a lie.

      To have a bunch of men speak up and say they are afraid to approach and connect with women because they don’t want to hurt or offend them would NOT be them sitting around letting themselves off the hook. Off the hook for WHAT? They didn’t create that system. They didn’t do those things. So why are we punishing every member of a certain gender for something they never did, never created or even feel?

      We are struggling to be sensitive but if you don’t think we are getting throttled no matter which way we go, you are wrong. And if the conversation went in a bad direction because people were being civil and expressing how they really feel and that they have genuine fears and concerns, then this is perhaps not the best forum for you to follow.

    • #143 by ems1008 on June 11, 2016 - 2:44 am

      Check your own head and don’t be so arrogant as to decide that other people are ignorant. Cheers that you’re white.

  54. #144 by Kathy on June 10, 2016 - 5:36 am

    Hm… I guess I have mixed feelings about this article (and also about a lot of the comments that followed it, though I confess I stopped reading them because the got repetitive.) On the one hand, I do agree that people’s skin have gotten pretty thin, and that people do tend to see what they’re looking for (i.e. sexism, misogyny, racism, homophobia, transphobia, etc.) But to address that point specifically–that folks are just *looking* for reasons to get offended or feel hurt… When I was five and in Kindergarten, I hated being a girl. In the first grade, my “What I Want to Be When I Grow Up” was all about being a boy when I grew up. Why? Because of all the billions and billions of tiny little microaggressions against girls that filled my world. I felt them, and they did hurt and they did affect my sense of self worth. Five year olds aren’t walking around looking for reasons to get upset or offended, and I also was a child of the seventies and eighties. So, I get what most folks are saying, but microaggressions are real things that do have an impact beyond people being to “thin skinned.” As we grow up and become mature, intelligent, and compassionate adults, it’s our responsibility as humans to talk to each other in a loving and compassionate way. If someone makes an assumption, or commits a microaggression against someone else, and that person is affected by it (and that’s an important consideration because some people will and some people won’t feel the sting of it), the affected person needs to gently correct the offenders comment/action. Is that wrong? Not if it’s done without anger, and not if the moment isn’t ballooned up to represent the feelings/actions of entire groups of people. That’s what we at the high school I where I teach try to convey to our students. Everyone has a right to have their feelings and their personal boundaries. We also teach students to take everything in stride and see each other first and foremost as a fellow, imperfect, human being. And to lean into discomfort and to treat each moment in its individuality without tying it to a larger group and to always, always, ALWAYS talk to each other from a place of love. Humor is good, I agree, but love is better. Love let’s us have awkward conversations without trying to claw each other’s eyes out, or saying “get over yourself,” because “get over yourself” isn’t a loving statement. It’s a dismissive, diminishing one.

    • #145 by IchBinMeisterin on June 10, 2016 - 6:11 am

      Exactly. Not all PC is necessary, but respect is. Many comments here seem to relate relatively trivial instances of PC which seem to be used as proof that people are thin-skinned, rather than the fact that they have been on the wrong end of trivial elements of PC. It is never unreasonable to call out bigotry or demeaning representations of someone’s race and culture. As a black woman, if I hear something that puts me into a shallow box or demeans my humanity then I make no apology in being stern or angry. I have no tolerance for ignorance. I have plenty of patience for those who want more cultural exchange and knowledge.

      • #146 by ems1008 on June 11, 2016 - 2:44 am

        You sure like the word “trivial” a lot.

    • #147 by Author Kristen Lamb on June 10, 2016 - 6:27 am

      I appreciate what you are saying, but this has all gotten out of hand in my POV. Feelings lie and feelings can be wrong and people should be offended in the right ways now and again. I can’t work with people who are hurt and offended all the time and then camp out there. “Hurt” and “offense” are part of life just like rain and storms. They make us stronger and trying to erase these things is unhealthy. Micro-agressions teach us how to confront in love, put boundaries and to learn that we are unwise to let other people’s opinions determine our worth.

      Too many of the young people are so busy lovingly talking about how they are/were offended they never learn to listen because it is all about them. They get on social media and create a wonderful holodeck where no one disagrees with them and everyone is like them and believes the same things. Then, when they get into the real world where humans are not all alike and some even behave badly, they can’t function. They either implode or become among the worst bullies.

      Comedy was always meant to poke fun at the serious issues in a new light. Not all comedy is mean-spirited, but it IS getting painted that way. More and more of our comedians are finding themselves and their careers targets of PC.

      Comedy is a great teacher. It is excellent for change. Think of all the outrageous stuff the cast of SNL did in the 70s and 80s and how that actually generated a lot of social change. When the audience could see things like racism or sexism parodied and in hyperbole? They laughed….but then they got thinking. People are far more likely to change if they can see their mistakes in a less threatening way. But with the advent of PC writers and comedians are being handcuffed.

      And yes, I make dismissive statements because not every feeling matters (even my own feelings). I have writers who have talent who cannot take ANY form of criticism…so they never grow. They are so thin-skinned they can’t take the necessary feedback to improve because it is “aggressive.” Well, guess what? The world is aggressive and me being sweet and hugging every feeling is NOT going to properly prepare anyone for that one-star reviewer who is going to call you everything under the sun and tell you you have the skill of a one-eyed drunk monkey. No, you toughen up by being hit then learning to roll with it. It’s called rhino skin.

      The people who are going to do well in life, learn to overlook all the negative and press forward anyway.

      • #148 by IchBinMeisterin on June 10, 2016 - 8:10 am

        In turn, I appreciate what you are saying. Perhaps I should have added that the quest for greater knowledge will invariably include mistakes and even foot-in-the-mouth that could offend. That is not my problem and is easily rectified. But demeaning someone’s humanity is not a mere case of light offence and leads to daily persecution in both systematic and casual ways, something no decent person should tolerate.

        • #149 by Author Kristen Lamb on June 10, 2016 - 8:27 am

          I agree and I think that is the point of all this is that we give grace to make missteps, because they ARE going to happen. It’s why laughter is helpful. We can poke fun at our own ignorance and try harder and do better ((HUGS)).

          But if you don’t think the atmosphere has gotten far more tense in recent years, go look at the comments from when this was originally posted. There was some similarity, but a lot less tension and a lot more openness.

  55. #150 by AIC Communication Services on June 10, 2016 - 6:35 am

    I am a fan of genealogy shows, and it never ceases to amaze me how, despite our differences, we are so very similar. My grandparents were from Sicily. I mentioned to someone African American (black?) that I’d like to try a genetic test because I may have some North African in me. (Hey, Sicily is just an inch or so away from North Africa on the map.) He gave me this look like, “Another white woman trying to be black.” No, North African is a lot different from sub-Saharan African. And I’m curious.

    Why can’t we glory in our differences without being mean? Why can’t people just relax and not take offense at every little comment? Why can’t we just forgive foot-in-mouth disease since everyone suffers from it?

    Oh, by the way, I’m not European American; I’m just plain AMERICAN.

    • #151 by Author Kristen Lamb on June 10, 2016 - 6:40 am

      I agree and I think a lot of people are ready to just embrace the positive and stop goose-stepping on eggshells.

    • #152 by IchBinMeisterin on June 10, 2016 - 7:23 am

      Again, like many anecdotes here, this one seems trivial and I expect it won’t stop you from getting said test because there are many white people with some non-white ancestry in their families.

      Little comments/un-PC moments are not the problem. Like I’ve said, it isn’t just white people who can be stifled by PC.

      Again, the “American” debate is trivial to me (I identify as British). But do take into consideration that white Americans are less likely to have a “lost” identity, hence more willingness to identify as American. On the other hand, black Americans lost their culture, language, people and customs because of slavery and hence many may be keen to emphasise this by using the term “African-American.”

      • #153 by ems1008 on June 11, 2016 - 2:45 am

        Trivial?

      • #154 by AIC Communication Services on June 13, 2016 - 10:29 am

        Thank you for bringing up a very good point that I hadn’t considered. A stolen history is a terrible thing. However, I am only able base my comments upon what I experience, and it doesn’t seem trivial to me.
        I am grateful to you for providing me with a different perspective.

  56. #155 by lccooper on June 10, 2016 - 7:00 am

    Hey folks, lighten the heck up! Geez, Kristin, did you stir up this round-robin hornet’s nest to increase your comment count? If you’re that bored, why don’t you come on over and give me a hand with the laundry, cook a meal or two, tidy up the house, and then tend to the garden. Oh, the laughs we’ll share. Life is life, kiddos, and we can all either get on with living or get on with dying, but please stop stuffing posts with fistfuls of strong opinions After all, opinions are like a**holes–everyone has one, and I grow weary of seeing so many of the little puckered things here. Check, please. Y’all stick around here thumping your chests whilst I sneak off and use my time to put my feelings into the characters of my novels. BTW, I am a woman, and I’m only teasing Kristin. Thought this disclaimer necessary since so many of us are wearing our PMS on our sleeves these days.😉

    • #156 by Author Kristen Lamb on June 10, 2016 - 7:30 am

      *smooch* Nah, if I wanted to up the comments section I’d get REALLY controversial, like talk about how writers should be PAID and not work for FREE, LOL.

    • #157 by Laurie Germaine on June 10, 2016 - 9:58 am

      Love this response.🙂 I’ll come help with the chores and you and Kristin supply the jokes, because I REALLY love to laugh (and I have a loud one).🙂

  57. #158 by danaethinks on June 10, 2016 - 8:18 am

    Crackers Love Cheese! Best pic of the day, and yes I do. As an Euro-American Mutt (French, Basque, Irish, Scottish, Welsh, English, Polish, Scandinavian, Black Dutch, Italian, Apache, Cherokee, Blackfoot, Cowboy, Bootlegger) I applaud your attempts to lighten the atmosphere.

    We try so hard to be sensitive, because we care. We have seen the eyes of a new acquaintance darken in disapproval for some aspect of ourselves that we have no control over. We don’t want to make anyone feel that way, ever. So we do our best to not offend, but how can you do that when your very existence offends them, and they judge you before knowing you?

  58. #159 by katepavelle on June 10, 2016 - 8:52 am

    I’m a cancelled Czech. Meaning, I came to the US in my teens, from Czechoslovakia (Czech Republic these days, I’m dating myself here), and I figured I’m entering a country of equality and opportunity for everyone. Real life is a bit more complicated that that. Sure, we need to be respectful of other people’s dignity, but that doesn’t mean treating them like they will shatter at the slightest hint of humor. Wouldn’t treating them as intellectually disabled be offensive, too?
    One thing that bugs me a lot is cultural appropriation, or the accusations thereof. You have touched up on that in one of the earlier comments. What gets me is that it’s usually white PC people who rant about that, while the POC’s say, “Geez, how come there are no books with Black characters?” And I say Black, because a Choctaw storyteller once explained to me that I am a European American, since I was born in Europe, but my kids aren’t European Americans, since they were born here. They are just plain Americans. Obama’s father was an African American.
    So yeah, I try to sneak Black, or Asian characters into my books. It’s hard. It requires research. It means *actually talking* to people from other ethnic backgrounds to find out how their life is different, and to harvest anecdotes. They are happy to help. It’s just the white reviewers who tend to bitch about my “cultural appropriation,” or a conch vendor in the Bahamas having the skin the color of molasses.

    • #160 by IchBinMeisterin on June 10, 2016 - 10:54 am

      Correct me if wrong as I’m just trying to understand what you are saying, but it sounds like some of your reviewers are mixing cultural appropriation with diversity of characters? If you had a white character who spoke Ebonics, that would be cultural appropriation. This was sometimes used to hilarious effect in some comedies where most of the cast were black. There is a hilarious scene in “The Fresh Prince” where white private school kids sing Negro Spirituals.

      It’s not cultural appropriation to have diversity of characters and I find this makes books a lot more interesting. I admire authors that can head-hop. The first proper stories I ever wrote was fanfiction set in Medieval England.

      There are plenty of books with black etc. characters if one knows where to look.

      Personally, I find the whole “American” vs “African-American” argument amusing, because neither is offensive at all. There is too much sensitivity over the word “black” as used to describe a person, hence why I have consistently said that not all PC is essential and neither will it stop problems like racism, sexism etc.

      • #161 by Author Kristen Lamb on June 10, 2016 - 11:06 am

        Yeah, well Ich (seriously need ur name, LOL) haters are generally ignorant. They might be off base but doesn’t stop the attacks. It’s why we all need rhino hide 😀

  59. #162 by Laurie Germaine on June 10, 2016 - 10:07 am

    Kristin, thanks for making yourself vulnerable. I love this post and agree whole-heartedly. I’m a conservative Christian white female who grew up in New England but who has lived the past 14 years in the predominantly white landscape of Nebraska and Montana, and whose ancestors go back to the early 1630’s in this country. So I think I’m screwed when it comes to adding diversity in my writing.😉 But God created the diversity and one of the things I’m most excited for at the end is a human sea of color surrounding His throne, praising His name in dozens–if not hundreds–of different languages. As human beings, we all have the same worth–but we are not all the same. That would be boring, and God is more creative than that.🙂

  60. #163 by lccooper on June 10, 2016 - 11:58 am

    Eureka! Instead of doing anything practical, i sat pondering why Kristin would dare dredge up such a puss-filled bedsore. After lots o’ face scrunching and foot tapping, it came to me–SOMEONE is trolling for fresh meat for her WANA Tribe classes! Of course, each of you noticed all the related advertising. Then, perhaps this thread will become the subject matter of a future class or self-help book? *Swinging the spotlight around* Oh, Kristin, won’t you come out and play? I’m expecting a little soft shoe, maybe some tap dancing, and then a big cabaret number. Hee Hee Hee

  61. #164 by writeonthebeach on June 10, 2016 - 12:27 pm

    I absolutely loved this post and think that you’ve said something that needed to be said. PC/EC gone wild. Having said that outrageous racism is prevalent at the moment is in the trash that is coming out from the “Brexit” tribe that want the UK to quit Europe and needs squishing fast because it is spreading throughout Europe. I totally get what you’re saying about being a kid and it leads me to wonder at what point, as kids, we begin to separate ourselves from those who are “different” from us? As a kid I couldn’t have cared a fig who was black/yellow/brown or sky blue pink with yellow dots on providing they were fun to play with. Thank you for the post and I hope you’re not on the receiving end of a load of blather from over-sensitive, humourless trolls.

    • #165 by IchBinMeisterin on June 10, 2016 - 12:39 pm

      Oh, I’m British too and the EU debate has become vile, racist and toxic.

      • #166 by The Hedgeblog on June 11, 2016 - 6:54 am

        I would just like to point out that the ‘Brexit tribe’ want to quit the un-democratic, trade-limiting political union that is the ‘EU’ and NOT the whole of Europe. We LOVE Europe! And we want controlled immigration, not to stop immigration entirely.

        Maybe you should talk to some of these ‘awful’ Brexiters before you make judgements (based on the UK media?)

        Please don’t believe all you read.😉

  62. #167 by Jess Mahler (@MsJessMahler) on June 10, 2016 - 2:14 pm

    I don’t know most of my ancestry. I’m Jewish, my father is at least part German, and there’s some Irish in there. The rest is lost to me.

    I do agree that a lot of little things get to big a deal made out of. I do think that those micro-aggressions matter, but tat doesn’t mean they should be silencing. I think that by and large people are just not assuming good intentions. If I say something that offends someone, I’d like them to tell me so I can learn. If they attack me for being racist, they’re assuming bad intentions and not giving me a chance to fix my error.

    On the other hand, some things are just wrong. If I recall correctly, you have some family ties with the military. Most military people I know have some pretty strong feelings about stolen valor. The “headdress” of the some Native American tribes (aka a War Bonnet) is their equivalent of a military medal. I’ve known the same people who get really upset about stolen valor insist there is nothing wrong with dressing up as a Native American in war paint and headdress. Personally stolen valor in all its forms pisses me off, and “it’s just a costume” isn’t going to fly with me.

    As far as being a kid and not differentiating, I think you are projecting your childhood. My partner (who is much more of a mutt than I am) and I got into this one over our son’s upbringing. I felt it was very important to monitor our sons media and such for racism and to make sure he sees good representations of people from a variety of races. Why? because I grew up in a 99% white town (literally, there were 2 mixed race kids in my entire grammar school, and the local highschool was the same.) All that I knew about black people, about Chinese people, about Native Americans, was what I read and what I saw on tv. And yes, to me, growing up people of other races were “other”. Because that was my experience. My partner grew up in a neighborhood like yours. He assumed that like him our son would learn about people of different races from growing up with them, and just see people as people. Except…we’re living in white-christian-conservative rural PA. Chances were good that our son would grow up only knowing white people. When I pointed this out to my partner, he agreed that yeah, it made sense to make sure our son learned about the world being a diverse place and how black people are people too, because we can’t trust the media not to just feed him stereotypes.

    (Yes, another solution to this would be to make friends with people of varoius races for our son to grow up around. 1) I am bad at making friends IRL, 2) setting out to make friends with black people or Asian people or NA people, or… just because of their race really WOULD be racist. As chance would have it, I went to a con in philli this winter where I met a bunch of people from a variety of backgrounds and made a few friends–largely bc I wasn’t trying to make friends, I suspect.)

    This is turning into an essay, but one last thing–I saw you say something in one of the comments about how not all white people have privilege, and the problems of being a woman in the south. I think the idea of privilege gets misused a lot. As a white person I have privilege that PoC don’t. But as a woman I lack privilege that men have. A black man will get some privilege that I don’t, bc he’s male, but lack some privilege that I have because he’s black. A disabled white man faces challenges and discrimination (yes, I use the “d” word) that a healthy black woman doesn’t–but that man will not face some of the challenges and discrimination that woman faces. This is why I embrace intersectional feminism, and am increasingly disgusted with some of the other approaches to feminism.

    • #168 by IchBinMeisterin on June 10, 2016 - 3:08 pm

      Great insights, Jess. I happen to be an intersectional feminist as well, particularly as being a black woman, we weren’t included in the original 19th century push for women’s rights.

      • #169 by ems1008 on June 11, 2016 - 2:55 am

        I really enjoy the women who didn’t wait for a push, they just pushed themselves. Rebecca Lee becoming the first black woman physician in 1864 when most women wouldn’t have dreamed of it was awesome.

  63. #170 by ems1008 on June 11, 2016 - 2:51 am

    Great post, Kristen. I’m so sick of “politically correct” I don’t want to even leave the house. I’m to the the point where I’m fine with writing away in my little cottage (sometimes from the floor, since summer is here and the Crips are moving into Harpy territory, so things get a bit contentious.) Here in Southern California we have the most “politically correct” atmosphere going. It’s said that “As California goes, so goes the country.” Well, then we’re in deep trouble, because California is going to politically correct us out of free speech and some basic human rights. Sad to say, Kristen, I don’t see anyone lightening up.

  64. #171 by The Hedgeblog on June 11, 2016 - 6:49 am

    Couldn’t agree with this more! I think it’s what I was trying to say in my blogpost ‘I May be a Racist’ but you said it sooooo much better!

    Everyone needs to just calm the f*** DOWN! (and laugh!)

    Hedgey x

  65. #172 by Paula Leigh on June 11, 2016 - 7:52 pm

    I’m glad you reposted this, because I missed it the first time round.
    Thanks Kristen, the world exhausts me. We all need to lighten up – somehow…

  66. #173 by Sharon Bonin-Pratt on June 11, 2016 - 10:23 pm

    We live on a small cul de sac across the street from a public school. Signs posted all over our neighborhood state that it is illegal to park in the cul de sacs – even I am not allowed to park in the cul de sac outside my own house. Nonetheless, at certain times of the day, our cul de sac might be parked in by school parents too lazy to find a parking space on the street, which is plenty long enough, but might make a “parker” have to walk 100 feet or so. You might think I’m being nit-picky that I won’t allow school parents to park in our cul de sac, but it often means that those of us who live here can neither drive in nor out of our own garages, and emergency vehicles could never enter if necessary.

    One day when all 300 parents had to be at the school at the same time, a woman drove up and parked right outside our house, in the narrow cul de sac, making it very difficult for me to maneuver my car. I told her huffily to move her car. She gave me the usual excuse, she was “late and there was nowhere else, blah blah.” I answered, “You people all think you’re entitled to park in our cul de sacs whenever you want but you aren’t. Ever.”

    She looked at me, hand on hip, and asked in a very angry tone, “What do you mean, YOU PEOPLE?”

    And that was the moment that I realized she was black. African American. Negro. I don’t care, but until that moment I hadn’t seen her color. I saw another scofflaw. That’s all I saw.

    So I stumbled around with a speech on the order of, “You parents of the kids who go to that school.”

    But she didn’t hear me.

    I was also a curly blonde kid with green eyes and a complexion that burns at the word, “sun.” And I’m Jewish, a girl who spoke at various periods of her childhood with accents that were: classic New York Jew; New Jersey street; Hawaiian pidgin; Southern drawl; mid-western twang; California Valley girl. I am all of the above. I have been guilty of racism and the butt of racism. I hurt others, usually not meaning to. They hurt me, usually not meaning to.

    But, Kristin, you made me laugh. You wrote about me. You wrote to me. Thanks for a thoughtful and brave post.

    • #174 by Author Kristen Lamb on June 12, 2016 - 7:13 am

      I’m glad. Yes, it does seem the list of “trigger words” is getting longer and when people are looking to be offended? *builds blanket fort* But, there are also a lot of wonderful people in the world. Just seems the thin-skinned angry ones are the loudest lately.

  67. #175 by Sharon Lippincott on June 13, 2016 - 4:23 pm

    Lordy, Lordy, I’m SAD that I don’t have time to read all the comments that look so juicy, but just want to add my won THANK GOD that you spoke up about this!

  68. #176 by A Writer With Something To Say on June 14, 2016 - 8:09 pm

    This is my first time reading this, but I LOVE the message. Preach, sista!

  69. #178 by Dan Frost on June 15, 2016 - 9:35 am

    Erik the Red discovered super evil blondes wear a Viking’s helmet.

  70. #180 by beckylp53 on June 16, 2016 - 6:45 am

    “I know the original purpose of political correctness was well-intended.”….Boy, do I agree with those words! And I also agree that things have gotten totally out of hand. I grew up in the 1950s and 60s and during my first seven or so years, I lived a magical life. Our house was on a one-block-dead-end street. Oh, excuse me….I meant to say “cul-de-sac.”😉 We were the only Catholics on that street. Across from us lived the one Jewish family, and the rest were Protestant. We kids all played together and none of us thought a thing about our “differences.” Those were great times…and Kristen, I, too, love to laugh and make others laugh! One of my dreams is to get the nerve to do Stand-Up somewhere when it’s Open Mic Night! I’ll let you know when and if I ever do it. Thanks so much for sharing your wonderful writing with us.

    • #181 by Author Kristen Lamb on June 16, 2016 - 2:12 pm

      Glad you messaged me. You were trapped in the spam folder.😀 That is my dream too! Totally going to do it.

  1. Writing Links…6/13/16 – Where Worlds Collide

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: