Friday, May 16, 2008

Check this out, darlin'....

It seems I'm constantly a day late and a dollar short...

Now ain't that just a plumb down-home way of saying I just don't get things right sometimes?

We all talk funny in this country...and a lot of us--the ones with a bit (or a lot) of Southern influence in our raising--seem to talk a little funnier than our more sophisticated, better-educated counterparts, particularly in the media.

I guess last week or so Obama brushed off a reporter in Detroit, and called her "Sweetie" to boot...I didn't hear about this until today...oh lordy, I groaned, here we go again...

Okay, first, let's get this out, that reporter for WXYZ in Detroit asked one lame-ass question: What are you going to do for the American auto workers? She threw that out to Obama as he was walking by. That's really the best question you can come up with when you got the potential leader for the entire free world in front of you? Something that open-ended and unfocused? If I were her editor, I'd call her a helluva lot worse than sweetie when she got back to the newsroom.

From the sound of her voice, she sounds pretty young. I guess this is the generation we're handing the country over to...people who can't read or formulate good questions.

And Obama gets whacked for calling her Sweetie and telling her to "hold on one second..." She signs off by saying, "this sweetie never did get an answer." Now ain't she cute? I think we finally found a replacement for America's other little darlin', Katie Couric.

Then all the pundits had to give their analysis, what the women think; we got a recap of the feminist movement, it's causes and effects; we got an analysis of Obama and how the comment showed just how green he is.

The best one I heard is from this guy, the one that made the most sense to me was this one. Of course he's some fat white guy:

We get to hear Obama's entire apology, something nobody else ran...and I love this guy's final comment, about how guys might be able to relate finally to Obama...

This is something I fight all the time. I call women, darlin' and I don't mean any disrespect at all. As a matter of fact, if I do call you that, it typically means I like you. I'll call you, hon, too, and it means I'm feeling for you. I also call men, dude, bro, and man.

I hold doors for women (hell, I hold doors for everyone; it's a miracle I get to where I'm going for letting everyone go ahead of me), I let people get on and off elevators before me, I offer my seat to older women and men on the subway. Just the other night I offered my seat to a white-haired gentleman, dressed in the uniform of intelligentsia around these parts: blue blazer, khaki pants, blue button-down shirt, a rep bow tie. He declined, I think he was a bit amused by the whole affair, and I spent the rest of the trip wondering if I insulted him.

But I gotta watch myself. The other week in a meeting I told a young woman of color to calm down because she was all excited and in my face because I made a comment about her blog, and she threw it out that she hates when men tell her to calm down. Just like a man can't call a woman sweetie, a man can never tell a woman to calm down. She can holler and scream all she wants because she's sticking up for herself and being strong. She's not being aggressive or impolite. Conversely, a man has to stay calm and collected, otherwise he's being aggressive and will find his next meeting in the HR department. Welcome to the double-standard that occurs so often in this society.

The best thing you can do in these situations is know your audience. If you're around people who take offense to certain things you do, no matter how innocent it is, it behooves you protect yourself (and also respect them for the people they are, too) and don't do what offends them, again, even if it is of the most innocent intent. So, I don't call women darlin' at work, even though I do it all the time in the outside world, and I'll be careful in particular what I say to certain people.

It's called survival and putting food on the table.

And I've also learned to remove myself from something or someone who potentially could get me in trouble, again, even in the most innocent of situations.

Obama can't do this. He's in the public eye and can't run and hide like I can. Obama should know not to call someone sweetie, just like I know I have to be careful who I call darlin' and who I tell to calm down. His apology was the politically correct thing to do, and as the commentator on the video says, it's a good one. Obama, as I could tell all along is a good politician, which frankly worries me more than him calling a reporter sweetie.

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