@ LovingRadiance ... love your post.
Thanks for sharing a little common ground with me, and I do think it means a lot when someone can relate to pain and struggle, even if it's not your specific pain and struggle. And it's surely got something to do with getting diverse cultures (poly or otherwise) to come together.
Ahem; so much for the easy job. Now I'll make an attempt to make some kind of peace with Dirtclustit. God help me. Sez I the atheist. Perhaps I should say, Science help me? Okay, no more joking around for the next few posts, I promise. Okay, I'll *try*
not to joke so very much. [sigh]
"When a person constantly and intentionally makes it a point to spend a lot of time right next to that line, I don't care if the one step over was an accident, so naturally, it's hard to accept apologies when they obviously did not care -- all the while claiming the opposite -- then goes from difficult to not being able to accept apologies because sorry implies a willingness to change the behavior."
As I contemplate this (typically mysterious) paragraph, and ask, "Is it I, Lord?" I gradually come to suspect that maybe my sin was that I didn't spend a lot more of my years learning and studying about cultures worldwide. My failure to thus learn and study made it inevitable that I'd step on some cultural minority people's toes. Thus I am culpable for the toe-stepping even if I technically I did it on accident.
In Law & Order, they mention this thing called "reckless endangerment" where someone got killed because someone else got careless. The careless person didn't intentionally kill the other person, but the careless person did put the other person in a clearly life-threatening position that was likely to lead to the other person's death. In such episodes on Law & Order, that person was considered guilty of an "indirect type of murder," so to speak. They knew a death might result from their carelessness but they went ahead and threw caution to the wind anyway. Reckless endangerment.
A similar example (and quite possibly a subset of reckless endangerment) is when a drunk driver kills a pedestrian. The drunk driver can plead, "But it wasn't me that caused that death! It was the alcohol's fault! I didn't even know what I was doing!" Ah, but they did know what they were doing. They were getting themselves drunk, and then proceeding to get behind the wheel of a car, a combination that any reasonable person will admit puts lives in danger. So yeah that's probably a type of reckless endangerment.
And maybe that's the crime I'm guilty of. I didn't learn/study enough about other cultures, therefore it is ultimately my fault if I offend someone from those other cultures.
Tempting as it is to come up with this or that rationalization (or even lame excuse) about why I didn't learn/study more about such an important issue, I'll simply enter a plea of guilty and maybe look for a plea bargain. Okay, I was born ignorant and I willfully remained ignorant. So: to all you of any cultural minority who may be reading this post ... would you be willing to forgive me? Would you first of all be willing to clear yourself of any ill-will you might be tempted to harbor against me, and if so, would you even be willing to trust me as a person who at least wants to do better? Can this thread count as the start of my long-delayed education?
Yet I'm not utterly uneducated. I did get to know some black people here and there in the years between 1984 and 2007. But that doesn't clear me at all in the areas of getting to know Hispanics, Native Americans, Chinese, handicapped persons, etc., so I guess a guilty plea, an apology, and a request for the plea bargain of forgiveness based on me starting to learn about other cultures on this thread here and now, is all I've got to offer all those other minorities.
I don't suppose there's some easy reading material I could start with? I'm really bogged down and double-booked these days, though I know that's just an excuse. But isn't the real thing I ought to do, that I should go and live amongst cultures far and wide so as to truly get to know the people themselves? and how long does one need to live within one given culture before one's knowledge about that culture can be considered adequate?
I'll tell you what's ironic: I don't know the *white*
culture/s like I should. Why would I say that? because I'm an introvert. I don't go out trying to get to know people ... except on the internet, if that counts for anything. The biggest "live social thing" I do is go to poly potlucks. It's been hard for me to get to feeling a bit comfortable and familiar with the white poly New Mexicans attending those potlucks, and now here I am about to move to Seattle, so then I'll have to start all over.
My habit in meatspace is usually to only get to know one person at a time, very cautiously. I don't usually like crowds, and I suck at walking up to a stranger and introducing myself or otherwise starting a conversation. So even if I live among whites I don't learn much about them in proportion to the amount of time I spend among them. Heck, I basically know nothing about the people who live right nextdoor to me. About all I know is that one neighbor has a dog or two with a really obnoxious bark that said dog employs long and often for seemingly no reason. As for the people who live above me, all I know about them is that now and then they bang around up there. My ceiling picks up the vibrations.
As an introvert, I have no excuse for offending people of any race, nationality, culture, or color. Because I've spent a lifetime *not learning about people.*
I'm trying to do a little better in that area now and poly potlucks are kind of my way of making a start. Poly forums are another way of making a start, but I know that doesn't count for nearly as many points as live contact would.
"But I almost feel I was being unfair in not mentioning specifics in order to not embarrass kdtrenumberated."
Oookay ... I'm sure some kind of insult is buried in my new nickname, but I can't tell what it is. What does "trenumberated" or "renumberated" mean? Wiktionary's no help. Please, embarrass me by revealing the insult.
Nobutseriously: I'd rather be embarrassed and know exactly what I've done wrong, than I would bumble around in the darkness bumping into things. Please turn on the light switch so that I (and all of Polyamory.com) can see what I'm doing wrong. I just hope I don't find out I forgot to clothe myself today. (Okay that last sentence was a joke. And it was hilarious too, wasn't it ...)
"Honestly, and in the event you don't feel you can be honest, it is perfectly fine to state whatever info you wish to lie about will not be divulged because every person is certainly entitled to privacy."
Wait ... Do you mean that if you told me what I was doing wrong, it would threaten or violate your privacy? If so, well then that sucks for everybody. I guess you'll have to decide whether you want to put your privacy at risk. I can only ask you to give me that private information; I can't (and wouldn't want to) force you to. Only you can decide whether your privacy (and the freedom that privacy enables) is worth more than my sorry-ass "race crusade."
Wait wait wait ... Is this actually a problem of me proposing to pry into the private information of cultural knowledge? For example, if I try to learn more about how black people feel about things and what they experience, does that constitute me trying to violate those black people's right to privacy? Well if so, that puts me in a pickle. I'm damned if I do learn about a culture because then I'm violating their privacy, but I'm also damned if I don't learn about a culture because then I'm remaining intentionally ignorant. Well hell; now what am I supposed to do?
Oh well, I guess the most important thing is that I don't pry into other people's private lives. Which is, perhaps, why I prefer being an introvert?