Thoughts on learning from bad behavior

Today I was witness to a conversation online (after someone posted the video where the mom yanks the kids out from behind the dad who is broadcasting from his home office) where Party A said something like “it just bugs me that people have to go and ruin the fun by getting upset and saying it was racist when some people thought she was the nanny.”
Party B explained (quite well, I thought) that the video is funny *and* the comments from people who automatically assumed “nanny” are problematic *and* it might be a good thing to consider listening when people raise issues like this rather than brushing it off as a joke, or whatever.
Person C (someone who often gets under my skin, I admit), posted that “reasonable people can tolerate problematic speech.”
Person D chimed in with “yeah, especially when they probably didn’t mean it as an insult.”

 

URGH.

When people raise issues like this, maybe consider just listening and trying to understand instead of just brushing it off or saying “it was just supposed to be funny.”

My response:
I think this is where the “reasonable” humans part comes in.  I don’t think that a lot of racist (or sexist or homophobic or (…) speech is *intended* to be insulting or hurtful (or illegal, for that matter).
But *intent* and *outcome* are different.  I guarantee you, I’ve never *meant* to get into any fender bender that I’ve gotten into.  But that doesn’t mean that I’m not responsible for the outcome of those fender benders (or wrecks), as I clearly am.  Can you imagine how this would turn out:
Nice person who I’ve just rear-ended:  “Um. You read-ended me!”
Me:  “Yeah, but I didn’t mean to, so you shouldn’t be upset.”
Nice person: “Well I am upset!”
Me:  “Well, it doesn’t *look* like your car is damaged, so let’s just go on our separate ways, ok?”
Nice person: “I know it doesn’t *look* like my car is damaged, but I felt the impact and I suspect there is damage, so I need to get your insurance info.”
Me: “*I* can’t see any damage, so there isn’t any damage, so I am not going to do that.”
And just like it’s reasonable to expect adults to take responsibility for the outcomes of their behavior, it’s also reasonable to expect adults to want to learn when they are causing harm — even if *they don’t see it* — so that they can avoid doing so in the future.
And, yes, one could argue that everyone should simply beef up their bumpers and expect to be hit every now and again and to not take everything so personally all the time…
…but do you really want to be the person who makes everyone else feel like they are in danger?
Think about that. As easy as it is to write off all of this concern as “political correctness,” the outcome of your behavior when you treat issues around (racism or sexism or homophobia or transphobia [or]) as something that is *their problem* (because they’re weak, or take things the wrong way, or because you didn’t mean it that way, or because you were just repeating something someone else said, or because you thought it was funny [or]) rather than your mistake to be corrected and learned from, that’s exactly what you are doing.
You are making all those other folks feel like you can’t be trusted. That you don’t have their best interests at heart. That you would intentionally hurt them, even after having been told “hey – this hurts. Please stop.”
If you’re ok with that, then carry on.

Two thoughts on Winter Weather in North Carolina, addressed mainly to recent transplants from points north

1) If this is your first winter storm in North Carolina and you’re from a significantly more wintery place: first, welcome :-) and second, be aware that what we get down here isn’t usually like what y’all get up north.  I’ve driven a tiny bit in snow up north (Michigan) and it’s *fine* — it’s big, fluffy stuff that is not too treacherous given the sorts of cautions mentioned above (Moshe, *love* that saying!).
What we get down here, OTOH, is often a mix of sleet, freezing rain, and snow, so what looks to be nice, fluffy white snow — the likes of which you’re well accustomed to — may actually be a thin layer of fluffy stuff concealing a treacherous layer of ice.
This is compounded by the weather patterns we often see ’round these parts, which go something like: short sleeve weather, freezing rain, snow, more freezing rain, warm day that’s neither long enough nor warm enough to melt everything, then a really cold night.
2) Yep, you’re right: we don’t know how to deal with snow down here.  We don’t salt enough, nor plow enough, and we (or at least many of we) sure-as-heck don’t know how to drive in it.
If you think about it, though, it makes perfect sense.  The state can’t afford to keep around enormous quantities of equipment on the off-chance that we’ll need it every three-to-six years.  So, yeah, it’ll take a while for the plows to get around to your area.
As for the driving: most North Carolinians that I know (at least the ones that grew up here) just don’t go driving in the snow unless we absolutely have to.  This is why we do the bread, milk, eggs, pop-tarts grocery store run, ’cause we know we’re in for the count! [1]
We know we don’t know how to deal with snow.  We’re ok with that. Those of us that grew up here (usually – can’t speak for everyone) *like* snow days and the fact that everything comes to a grinding halt when it snows.  So don’t feel like you need to tell us How Badly The South Does Snow.  :-)
Enjoy it!
[1]
  • Eggs: just useful to have on hand — nice protein, necessary for many recipes, probably don’t have any in the freezer.
  • Bread: necessary for french toast and grilled cheese sandwiches.
  • Milk: necessary for cream of tomato soup and snow cream [2]
  • pop-tarts: every family has their weird snow thing. This was ours.
[2] Snow cream recipe:
Place large mixing bowl outdoors before snow starts. Remember where you put it.
Meanwhile, in another mixing bowl, whisk together:
  • milk (assuming a large mixing bowl, figure on needing 1-2 c milk total, depending on how wet the snow is, but start with only 1c),
  • vanilla extract (some. More is often good. 1 T)
  • sugar (again, some. “To taste” — I add 1/2c but I have a huge sweet tooth)
  • smidge of salt
Stick this in the fridge until your bowl #1 is full.
When bowl #1 is full of snow, retrieve.  Pour in your previously mixed base (assuming you didn’t drink it straight out of bowl #2), and quickly stir. Add more milk if necessary (this is where the “up to 2 cups” comes in.  It should get to a sort-of ice cream like consistency.
Scoop. Eat.  (But fast, this doesn’t have a long shelf life!)

All y’all.

In the past I’ve been asked to explain the meaning of “all y’all” (or “all of y’all” if you’re feeling fancy).

“All y’all” is the Southern Inclusive Plural — specifically, it means *all of you* as opposed to “y’all,” which just means “you plural”.

“Do y’all want to go to the movies” means “Do you plural want to go the movies” and *doesn’t* require everyone’s response. “Do all of y’all want to go to the movies,” on the other hand is asking if there’s a *collective desire” to attend the movies.

In my experience “all of y’all” is particularly useful when, for instance, you’ve come to a large gathering with a small group of friends. You don’t know everyone, but you want to indicate that everyone (even those whose acquaintance you haven’t yet had the pleasure of making) is included in an invitation.

As in:

We’re going to walk over to the park to see the movie. Do all of y’all want to come?

The converse is equally useful:

When speaking to one’s family and requesting departure from a large gathering: “Are y’all ready to leave?”, meaning not “is everyone at the gathering ready to leave,” but just “are you, my near and dear ones, ready to go?”

(“All y’all” is written as such, but pronounced “alla y’all”. This oughtn’t be surprising, as much of Southern would look the same if written phonetically ;-)

How badly I confused the guy at Chick-fil-a

The other night at Chick-fil-a there was a guy who was standing at the menu board taking orders via an iPad (I suppose their intercom was ka-busted).  When I pulled up I said:

me: “[kkrkrssshhh] Okay, now you do your part. [kkrkrssshhh]”

him: [quizzical look]

me:  “[kkrkrssshhh] Now you say, ‘[kkrkrssshhh] Welcome to Chick-fil-a.  May I take your order? [kkrkrssshhh]’.”

him: [light dawns]”[kkrkrssshhh] Welcome to Chick-fil-a.  May I take your order? [kkrkrssshhh]”

me:  “[kkrkrssshhh] Yes, I’d like a number one combo with no pickle, please, with a diet caffeine-free coke… [kkrkrssshhh]” (etc.)

Once he got the game he played along, and as I drove away he was grinning, so I either amused him or he thought I was a complete nut. (Or both.)