If I know you, and you're reading this blog, you have two choices:

1) Feel free to pretend you haven't, should the contents be offensive, sensitive in nature, or just TMI (Too Much Information).
2) Comment freely or talk to me face to face, and be prepared for further honesty and opinions.

Okay? Okay.

Sep 18, 2007

Flesh, continued

I have never been to NFTT so many times in one day. I have become caught up in the comments and continued conversation on her site as well as mine.

I have just recently watched Freedom Writers. Loved it, inspirational, motivating, well done- especially after you find out that all the actors playing the students are not actors. What moved me the most, was watching this movie and being slapped in the face with the absolute fact that I really have no idea what it is like to live in this county as anything other that a white woman. I can have compassion, respect, thoughts, opinions, even empathy, but to know what it is to be Black, Asian, Latin... I can't truly know.

I can speak about my experience as a white woman. A white woman who is a lesbian raising a mess of kids with another white woman. A white woman who looks a bit masculine, somewhat butch, who wears man shorts, and likes them. A white woman brought up in a blue collar middle class family, that used food stamps at the local grocery store, with a note from her mother when her father was laid off from his union job. A white woman who went through 13 years of school with 90% white kids in the suburbs of San Francisco. A white woman who is trying to be sensitive to the issues of race and culture while raising four Caucasians, three Mexicans, and one Laotian.

That's not to say I won't "stir the pot" (thanks Sheesha and Stacy!)a bit, occasionally. But right now I've got to take off the PC hat and get the stick out of my ass and make dinner, 'cuz it's spaghetti night around here!

P.S. This was the e-mail I sent late last night.


I did not think you were venomous. And I did not call you a racist. I don't even know you. Just because I read your words does not make you my friend or even acquaintance. And I certainly have no experience with your writings that would point towards you being a racist.

I enjoy your writing, and for moms I know who are just starting to read blogs, I always recommend your site. I will continue to do so. I enjoy popping in. Yours was the first I started reading-after I discovered you had your own blog from Larger Families.

I did find the tone of 'What's In a Name' to be annoyed, and defensive. My perception.

I thought I was careful in my comment on your post- a reminder of using the word flesh to describe a color as un PC- if you will. In my post I reflected upon my own trials with my own possible racist comments- and in fact wrote a post a little ways back titled 'Everyone's a Little Bit Racist'.

It's a difficult subject to navigate- for me- a white girl with really no clue what it is like to have skin of another color. I meant no offense to you.

The whole fallout makes me and obviously others, think. And that is good.

I'ts after 11- here in my house and I rarely can make it past 10. Weary, I'm signing off and even though I have re-read this e-mail several times I'm still worried I've said something else... I hope not.

All is well.



the individual voice said...

Tricia: Because of the state of our society, these conversations never get completed. People are bullied to shut up and stop inconveniencing people and making them feel bad about themselves. Yours is one of the few "mom blogs" I visit because of the group-think I tend to find at those blogs. This situation is no different. Sad but true. You did good.

Beth said...

It was like a car wreck that I could not stop watching. I see Chris's point that the reason the paint color was so horrifying was that it looked to her just like Caucasian human skin, and that was why she used the word "flesh." But I never read where you called anybody a racist, your point was totally reasonable, and frankly the kazillions of comments praising her for giving you a hard time about it were just plain old scary to me. It is continually amazing to me what people will actually say on the Internet. Have you ever looked up one of the YouTube videos of Martin Luther King, Jr.'s "I Have a Dream" speech and then read through all the comments? Sometimes you find out what people really think, and you wish you had never known.

mek said...

Hi Tricia - Just saying "hi" - found your blog through your link on Chris's - I like your blog too, and am enjoying reading through your older posts. Makes me homesick for CA, though.

the individual voice said...

I'm with Beth: As a Jew and as a psychologist, I found the mob mentality of the comments very scary, the mocking, mean tone of them. It makes me think twice about blogging at all. And I found the said blogger's excuse that it was the color of "cut up whale blubber you see on TV" disingenuous. When has anyone ever seen cut-up whale blubber on TV? Instead of that, she should have simply said a gracious "You know, Tricia, I really appreciate you bringing that to all of our attention so that we can all be more sensitive to the feelings of all people of all colors from now on." She should have treasured your wise feedback on her blog. It was a gift. In mocking it, and then further excusing her mockery, she simply revealed her own character and ignorance, without anyone calling her anything. She simply showed who she is for anyone willing to see it, the Emperor's New Clothes. And that you kept having the need to say you would keep reading her blog? Why would you after being insulted so publically, with no apology, but someone like that?

Anonymous said...

From the follow up post on Chris' site, I thought she must have had many mean comments about using the word "flesh." I read through the previous post's comments and was shocked that your - perfectly nice - comment was the only one! Her readers' responses were so ridiculous. You have a beautiful family and I think your intention was very clear. Sorry it got so crazy!

Esme said...

No more flesh commentary from me... though I'm grateful because, in the end, it led me to your site.

Just wanted to say that the picture at the top of your page makes me smile!

Tracey said...

Wow. I miss out on EVERYthing. Your original reply seemed fine to me, but if she was offended it could have been handled privately. Anyway. The internet is lacking in what makes conversations understandable, and that is body language, tone of voice and facial expression. I hate how people can get all rile up over a simple comment.

cole said...

Okay, I missed it all. I never read the comments unless I comment and then I just skim usually. I never comment on her site unless I am less than 20...too many to read. I digress.

I think what happened is that you hit a cord, called her out in a polite way and she was insulted because her joke was good. Admit it, the PC thing aside....the lotion bit was funny. Maybe she just felt pissed that you pissed on her funny joke?

I mean, as I have said to someone else before...making a negative comment or pointing out some error or dislike in someones post is like coming over their house and saying, "Um, why don't you move your couch over here? Really, you put that rug in the dining room? Hm. And that shirt, you are wearing with those pants makes you look a little bunchy." It feels like a personal attack on your thoughts, your person. Maybe?

AND then she thought of something funny to say about your comment that made her mad. So she said it.

I like Chris's writing and think she is very funny most of the time. Sometimes she is vapid, vain and overly consumed with how she and her daughter dresses. She has a whole picture thing on what she wears, what store it came from--even down to her jewelery. She lines up all the kids shoes and meticulously cleans her house always. She would probably admit she is a bit anal and a bit of control freak.

Most people don't like it when you call them out.

THAT being said, I don't think you did that really. I think she took it VERY personally for whatever reason. And then her response was mean. Very mean. Your comment wasn't especially calling her out, IMO. I don't really see the big deal in what you said. Other than it pointed out that she may be biased in a racial way which is not surprising considering her past posts.

I am sorry she was mean. I wanted to comment but I don't know what I could say that would make a difference. SO I wanted you to know I did not think what you said was particularly horrible. I thought it was kind of simple and no big deal. What she in turn said, and others jumped on the bandwagon of hate is pretty petty.

Tricia said...

The thing is- I'm not losing any sleep over it. Communicating face to face is difficult; through the internet... Yeesh. A lot is lost in translation. I'm with Tracey on that.

I'm not saying the conversation isn't worth having, and that I don't believe what I said to be true. And I don't think Chris owes me an apology. It was her words I tread upon, her place. I'm not saying I was wrong here either.

We set ourselves up by allowing strangers to read what we write, by toiling away at a very public blog.
It is, what it is.

And look at all the good conversation going on out there.

My need to assure readers that there are no hard feelings here compels me to say I will keep reading NFTT. Plus, I enjoy her writing, her stories. I'm good, really, I am.

Anonymous said...

Who the heck cares? This is the most trivially ridiculous "discussion" I have ever encountered. Flesh comes in different shades, therefore different families have different definitions of what "flesh" looks like to them! Sheesh, who made you the PC police, Tricia?

For the record, I'm adopted from Columbia, so no "you're just another white American" comments, please...

Boo said...

I was recently left speechless by a response to a comment I made on a blog. It is easy to take it all a bit personally on this internet thing. The 'pile on' mentality of comments are especially bizarre, as so many assumptions are made on who you are and what you meant and all based on absolutely no facts.

Sorry you had to go through it all too.