Friday, October 16, 2015

An Open Apology

Staying indoors all day with a child who doesn't speak English that well gives me lots of time to brood. These broodings have led me to some new insights into my behavior, and I have brought it to my attention that I am sometimes unintentionally rude.  In this post I will be apologizing for and explaining my actions.

Rudeness #1: Asking if it's a child friendly event.

How its perceived: I'm putting you in an awkward position by asking this question.  If you wanted Nadia to come, you would have invited her.  But if you say it's not a child friendly party, so I should leave the kid at home,  then you feel obligated to throw a party full of hookers, pornography, cocaine, and machetes, which probably wasn't what you had in mind.

My explanation: I'm honestly just trying to figure out if I need to get a sitter or not.  

My solution: I will no longer do this.  If you don't invite Nadia specifically to an event, I will assume she is not invited.

I'm sorry.

Rudeness #2: Trying to figure out your race.

How it's Perceived: Well, I hope no one knows I'm doing it.  I'm not obvious about it, I don't make any comments, and I don't ask any questions.  At most, I might talk about my heritage, hoping that you'll chime in with yours, becoming disappointed when you don't.  BECAUSE YOU NEVER DO.

But if someone were to figure out that I'm trying to learn their race, this is what I imagine they'd think.
"Why do you need to know that?  So you can place me on some hierarchy, so you can treat me accordingly?  So you know which stereotypes to apply to me?  You're such a racist, Dana.  I hate you."

My Explanation:  NO!  It has nothing to do with racism, I swear!  I'm just curious and I want to know more about you!  Being raised in a community where 99% of everyone is white has rendered me completely unable to tell what ethnicity anyone is.  I seriously have no idea what race you are, unless you are milky pale like me.  For instance, my prom date in high school was one of the only non white people I knew, and I thought he was Indian or Pakistani, and I was surprised when he told me he was, in fact, Mexican.  His last name was Maldonado.  So you see what we're dealing with here,  I'm basically disabled at knowing your race, so it's kind of become a game for me, to try to figure it out.

Also, I'm hoping you're some ethnicity that has amazing food, and we will become friends and you'll give me your great grandmother's secret special recipe for Cambodian goulash or whatever.

I'm sorry.  Please know I don't mean anything nefarious.  I have no intention of hiding my valuables based on what I learn.

Rudeness #3: One upping your stories 

How it's perceived: You tell a story.  I tell a similar story.  You hate me because I'm trying to one up you.

My Explanation: I honestly didn't know that this was a thing that bothered people until fairly recently.  In my mind that's how conversations work.  You tell a story.  I think of a similar story, and share it with you.  We laugh over our shared experiences.  It's called bonding, you judgmental prick!  I'm trying to relate to you!  But no, you have to get all sensitive, and get all butt hurt because my story was better.

You know what?  No.  I'm actually not going to apologize for this one.

Rudenss #4: Shitting on things you love/tearing things apart

How it's perceived: "Dana is so rude.  Can you believe what she said about bicyclists?  I ride a bike, and I'm proud of it!  She obviously hates me."

My explanation:  There is no excuse.  This is the worst thing about me.  I tend to state my opinions frequently, using strong language.  I do this because I find it entertaining.  The more exaggerated I make my statements, the more entertained I am.  It makes me feel good to tear apart bad arguments, destroy bad logic, and criticize things I dislike.  It makes me so, so happy.  And I forget that most people take this kind of stuff personally.  In my mind, if I'm criticizing your wrong idea, or a show you like, it has nothing to do with YOU.  I still like YOU, even if I don't like all the things you like.  But most people don't separate themselves from their ideas or interests, and they feel personally attacked by my tirades.

This is my fault.  I AM working on it.  I'm trying to be more aware of it when I'm being negative, and I'm trying to only say nice things about the stuff people like, when I'm talking to them.  I am very, truly sorry.  

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