Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Wearing the button


So I was having lunch with a young white woman in a cafe today, and a middle-aged white man leaned over and interrupted our conversation.

"Excuse me. Can I ask you a question? I see you're wearing a Black Lives Matter button and can I just ask you one question?"

I glanced at my companion who looked as startled as I felt and told him, "Yes."

"What does that button mean to you?"

With as bland an expression as possible, I said, "It means there's racism against Black people, but I like them."

He said, "I was active in the civil rights movement in 1964, 1965 and 1966. And I find the anger today that Black people feel towards white people disturbing."

I just looked at him.

He continued, "So do you mean that you like Black people in preference to others..?"

I said, "I like Black people, too."

"Okay." He thought for a second, then said, "Okay. Thank you."

I nodded and went back to my conversation. He looked like he wanted to say more, but wanted to keep his word that it would only be one question.

It was the first time someone had commented on my button besides to compliment it or ask where I got it. Of course it apalled me for this old white man to give me his Baby Boomer bona fides before he questioned my politics, and I could have said more, but I was in the middle of a conversation and didn't think he was worth it. Later the African-American server told me he had been rude to her. Yup. (Get your Black Lives Matter button at PeaceButtons.info.)

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

How to apologize properly

Do you know someone who needs a lesson on how to give a true apology? We hear a lot of false ones in public life. Here's how to say "I'm sorry" properly.