Saturday, August 3, 2013

A very interesting blog week

So, a week ago I woke up in the morning and pulled out my computer. I dashed off a quick post about a sex-talk I had had with Anna. The idea had been in my head all week and this was the first chance I had to write it down, which I did thinking it might get a chuckle or two. I had Lolly read it over and we laughed at our awesome daughter. Then Lolly remembered some pictures we got for free of Anna that would never be used elsewhere and we slapped those suckers on the post, and I pressed publish.

And then that post became my second-most-read post ever? Shared over five thousand times and counting on Facebook? #1 on the "parenting" sub-Reddit? Seen by thousands upon thousands of people? (Side-note: could somebody please explain Reddit to me? My BIL has tried several times but I still don't get that place. It kinda intimidates me.)

This is how blogging works, apparently. My most popular post was something I spent probably 20 hours on over the course of several months, and it took every ounce of my soul to find the courage to press "publish." And my second-most-popular post (which admittedly, only saw about a tenth of the traffic--if that--that the first one saw) took me 20 minutes and a quick read-through directly after rolling out of bed and taking a pee one morning.

Welcome to the Internet, people. Things are crazy here.

Then, later this week...
I posted a story about Lolly and the girls at a park. And things got very interesting in the comment section.

I wanted to follow up on that post because it garnered a response I hadn't anticipated. The basic premise (if you're too tired to click and read it) was that an old man asked for pizza at the park, even though it was obvious that it was for my girls. Lolly gave him one. Then he gave it back after Lolly basically begged him not to for reasons of sanitation.

As I went to publish the post, Lolly (who was the one who had this experience at the park) noticed that I hadn't mentioned that the old man was Asian (which he was). I told her I didn't think it was a crucial detail because the story stood alone and I'm very sensitive to stereotyping and the assumptions of white privilege (though as I've learned in many, many multi-cultural classes and trainings over the years as a therapist, everyone has racial and cultural biases, and it is usually those who believe they don't who are the worst offenders because they are in denial about their own blind spots--just see the comment section of the post in question for evidence of that!). Lolly, on the other hand, thought it was a crucial detail for reasons having to do with good writing: isn't good writing most compelling when it accurately represents an occurrence? And wouldn't mentioning a person's race be important in creating an accurate mental picture of this thing that actually happened?

I thought she had a really good point. But the thing I was most interested in was how different our impulses were on this issue, and how strongly we both initially felt about them--almost like "obviously it is this because of this." Usually Lolly and I are in agreement about most things having to do with writing. But on this, we both had gut reactions that were diametrically opposed and very strong.

So, we decided to do an experiment. Instead of deciding one way or the other, we left the question as to whether his race was crucial or inconsequential open for comments. I did so as vaguely as possible so as not to influence people's perceptions (we didn't even clarify which of us thought what).

And that's when things got really interesting.

It turns out, we all feel pretty strongly about this issue, but there is no consensus whatsoever about the conclusion! For any comment that said race was inconsequential, you could find another listing (legitimate) reasons why it might be important and help provide context. And, just like Lolly and I did initially, people seemed to feel very secure in their answers for the most part--almost like their answer was the only possible answer.

Fascinating, no?

Then, of course, there were some people who got mean (accusing others of racism, making broad sweeping generalizations about religion, accusing Lolly and me of purposley implying that the fact that the man was Asian had something to do with his behavior (which, for the record, neither Lolly nor I believe--it seems apparent to us that he had some form of dementia much like my own mother does, which many of you pointed out)). I found these responses especially ironic because they embodied what I feel racism does--making pejorative assumptions about people you don't even know based on little to no information about them as people (and I should point out that we all have had moments in our lives when we have done this). Also interesting is the fact that these responses generally came from folks who professed some expertise on matters of race or culture. I think it is interesting to juxtapose those mean, accusatory responses with other responses where readers kindly discussed customs of different cultures in a non-accusatory, informational way. The latter seemed to help inform people, which actually expands people's worldview and makes this planet better. The former appeared to make people feel bad and defensive, which limits dialogue accomplishes little.

All in all, I think every single person who posted did so with very good intentions, hoping to make our world better, and hoping to give the man in the story a fair shake, and hoping to diminish profiling and stereotyping. So thank you for being willing to share your thoughts. It was a fascinating exercise, and I hope we can all walk away from it with further insight into the reality that there are many ways to view the same concept, and that even though we might come to completely different conclusions, very different viewpoints can have total legitimacy and very good intentions.

And isn't a lesson we all could use? I know I can.

Thanks for broadening my perspective. I really love you guys. And I do mean you. Yes, you, with the nose.

In closing, here's a funny picture of Tessa:

We found her in the bathroom covered in "bandaids." Where when we say "bandaids" we actually mean "panty liners she stole from under the sink."


  1. ((blatant sucking up)) I wish you and Lolly lived in CO so I could do my MFT internship with you this Fall. I love reading your posts and that your bring both of your perspectives to the table, so to speak. And as a mother of 4, your kids CRACK ME UP!!
    Thank you for sharing!

  2. Josh, as you're interested in encouraging dialogue and making the world a better place, one way to encourage respectful dialogue on race is to remember, and to encourage others to recognize, that calling out racist words and actions is not a "mean" or "accusatory" personal attack. We all say and do racist things without being aware of it and with the best of intentions, but we should all hope that others don't let it slide, but call us out. Think of it this way: If you stood on someone's foot unawares, and caused them pain, you'd want them to let you know, not stay silent to spare your feelings. One of the greatest obstacles to racial dialogue is people's defensiveness, as you noted, to having racist implications of our words and actions pointed out.

    Also, as far as I could tell, the comments to your post were more-or-less respectful (the atmosphere here is quite polite, which is a credit to you and Lolly), but even if they hadn't been, I hope it wouldn't have stopped you from giving all perspectives due consideration - I'm sure you wouldn't want to invoke the so-called "tone argument."

    Finally, it's interesting that you say that "folks who professed some expertise on matters of race or culture" were not the people "kindly discuss[ing] customs of different cultures." I wish you'd explained what you meant by that, because first, I didn't see a single person claiming in so many words to be an expert, but at the same time, a few of the comments on other cultures did make me slightly uncomfortable, however kindly they may have been meant.

    1. Forgot to press "reply." My response is below. ;)

    2. Re: last paragraph

      I'd add that even though nobody outright claimed to be experts on said cultures, a lot of them pulled the "I lived in Japan, therefore I have a deep insight into Asian culture" card, before diving into massive stereotypes about how people of Asian descent act. It seems strange to have to point this out, but Japanese people have a distinct culture from Chinese, from Vietnamese, and so on and so forth.

      Said people might not have intended to be offensive, but acting as if they have deep insight into Asian culture because of their experiences in Japan (which is an Asian country, but does not represent Asian culture, as Asian culture is not a monolithic entity!) and making assertive, "informational statements" on cultural stereotypes is still offensive.

  3. I'm going to head back to the comments sections and read that, I guess. I read the post and commented but I guess I missed the good stuff. I always miss the good stuff! LOL

  4. Shayla--Really good points. Thanks for engaging in the discussion.

    I'm afraid that in my post I may have been invoking the "tone argument" in some cases without even realizing it. The tone argument is applicable when there is a distinct power differential (so I being a white male would be invoking it if I were calling someone with less privilege out for "meanness" as they tried to point out racism they were observing, esp. against themselves). Because this discussion is happening online, the power differentials in the participants are less conspicuous, and I'm sorry to say that I think I was assuming, unless otherwise noted, that those who were being mean or accusatory were also white. Huge no no, I realize, but like you pointed out, we all say and do racist things without being aware of it. Mea culpa.

    That being said, where the power differentials are equal, and in cases where the conversation would otherwise not happen at all, I do think there is room for some civility (not in a dismissive sense, rendering valid arguments ineffectual, but in a general sense without calling any specific argument out.) I think a white person, for example, feeling more racially enlightened than another white person and becoming accusatory (like assuming Lolly and I were intentionally implying racial undertones in our story--I use this as a hypothetical because I don't know the race of those who did so in the comments) is a less-than-productive way to discuss such a sensitive topic.

    Also, for what it's worth, some of my most profound insights into race and privilege have occurred when very loving, kind and patient people took it upon themselves (when they really didn't have to) to educate me about their own experiences of discrimination in a calm and non-contentious way. Don't get me wrong, I absolutely think it's imperative to give people the chance to cry out when their foot is being stepped on. And anyone trying to squash such cries for help with the tone argument is plain wrong. But I do contend--in a general sense and outside of the context of any specific racial complaint that might be squashed--that kindness, civility and patience fosters better dialogue, better learning, and deeper insight on the whole in these kinds of discussions. (At the same time, I do understand it is asking a lot for people who have been discriminated against for many years to continue to be patient while those with privilege get past their learning curves.)

    Anyway, thanks for the excellent thoughts. My hope, ultimately, is that this place can be a place where people feel comfortable talking about uncomfortable, useful things. Thanks for allowing that to happen.

    1. Actually, I'm Asian.

      I was incredibly discomforted by the stereotypes that people were invoking.

      And while I do realize that you and Lolly weren't intentionally trying to be offensive (and understood this even on my first reading of your post), the end result is that you were, as were the majority of the people nodding their heads wisely and going, "oh yes, all Asians are [insert stereotype]" were being offensive.

      You should understand that intentions don't automatically negate the fact that both of you were being racially insensitive by even posing that question.

      So it's nice to see that you guys are trying to be conscious of the fact that people of colour face a lot of racial discrimination, even if you're also invoking the tone argument whilst trying to appear as if you're not.

    2. Zelda,

      I can absolutely see why some of the stereotypes being thrown around in the post comments would be very discomforting. Sorry you had to read that. Even in the most dulcet tones, that must have been really upsetting.

      I also agree that it is offensive for people to make broad, sweeping generalizations like "all Asians are ________."

      An equivalent for me would have been if the story had been about a homosexual (which, obviously, would be more difficult to identify, but let's just say that was the word I used instead of "Asian".) To then hear a lot of people say things like "well, I knew a homosexual back in high school and he always took people's food at lunch, so that's probably part of what's happening here" would make me feel uncomfortable.

      Where I disagree with you--very respectfully and fully acknowledging your right to hold and powerfully voice your opinion--is in the assertion that starting the conversation was in itself racially insensitive. This is not a defense of my motivations behind the act. It is a defense of the mere act itself: one has to be able to use accurate descriptors, and people should be represented accurately in writing, on screen, etc. I believe it is the risk of whitewashing or racebending (the classically racist "I don't see color--I'm colorblind" notion, or the act of misrepresenting characters who are of differing races when telling a story in any medium) that would actually be racially insensitive here. I started this conversation because my original intention was to leave out the man's race in the name of being racially sensitive, when ultimately I think that does a disservice both to good writing and to the man himself. He actually was Asian. There is nothing to be ashamed of in that reality.

      A simpler way to achieve the same aim would have been to simply include his race in the story without posing the question. But I think very valuable voice-giving dialogue (like the one we are currently having) would have been lost that way, yet many people's racial assumptions would have been exactly the same.

      I would also disagree that I'm trying to invoke the tone argument (I would hope this conversation is a pretty clear indication of the contrary), but I completely support your right to think that's what is happening, and to voice that concern as vociferously as you wish given the power differential inherent in our conversation.

      Ultimately, I appreciate your patience in engaging in this kind of conversation, because I realize that it is not your responsibility to educate others, yet you have graciously chosen to share your perspective of pain and discomfort. Thank you for doing that.

    3. To be honest, if you'd casually mentioned that the old man in question was Asian, I wouldn't have batted an eyelid.

      If you'd phrased your question in a different way meant to inspire sensitive conversation, and used your question as a lesson on how to discuss race and culture in a sensitive manner, I still wouldn't have minded.

      Instead, you opened the floor in a deliberately provocative manner, phrasing it in a racially insensitive way. When people started making racist assumptions about an imaginary idea of a monolithic Asian culture, you said nothing. You didn't attempt to steer the conversation in a direction that would provoke sensitive discussion at all; you, the owner of this blog, supposedly asking a question meant to make people *think*.

      You could've started an interesting, thoughtful, discussion. Instead, you mishandled it. You stood back and said nothing to the racially insensitive comments being made. (Oh wait. I forgot about the cheap joke about pizza that was made.)

      And when it was pointed out to you that you and Lolly were being racially insensitive, you fired back with the tone argument and with "you're racist because you're calling me racist", which would be like somebody saying "You're homophobic because you called me homophobic [for saying homophobic things]". You haven't actually addressed any of the points made beyond a superficial level, and only then because you felt defensive about your problematic behaviour.

      And yes, you are continually using the tone argument.

      "Don't get me wrong, I absolutely think it's imperative to give people the chance to cry out when their foot is being stepped on. And anyone trying to squash such cries for help with the tone argument is plain wrong. But I do contend--in a general sense and outside of the context of any specific racial complaint that might be squashed--that kindness, civility and patience fosters better dialogue, better learning, and deeper insight on the whole in these kinds of discussions."

      If you weren't, you wouldn't have bothered adding this to your response.

      Secondly, how patronizing of you to talk to me about representation, and how it works. I would ask you to look at the media, and see how people of colour are represented, in both fiction and non-fiction. Clearly you understand that whitewashing happen. But what seems to have gone over your head is that when there IS any representation of people of colour, it is tinged by racially insensitive stereotypes. Poor misrepresentations of people of colour are attributed to them being people of colour, unlike white people, whose faults are never attributed to their whiteness.

      So you told one story about a weird, pathetic old man, and then you asked a question that in actuality highlighted his Asianness and connected his race to his weird culture, and invited a group of people to comment on it, which resulted in a bunch of people attributing his weirdness to his Asianness.

      I am disappointed in you. The first post I read by you was the one where you had the sex talk with your daughter; I thought your posts would be thoughtful and entertaining. Instead, you were more upset about being called racist then you were about perpetuating racist beliefs. Your "respect" is a paltry thing.

    4. Josh, thank you for your replies in the comments of this post. I'm pleasantly impressed by your awareness, sensitivity, and willingness to listen.

      The two points that I have to disagree with are, first, that you and Lolly were being accused of intentional racism (I understand that it may have felt that way, but I don't believe anyone actually did so), and second, that leaving out the man's race would be a disservice.

      To expand on the latter point, you also omitted his height, build, clothes, number of limbs, the size of his nose, and innumerable other details about his appearance, so leaving out his race is no stretch. Moreover, most people in this situation wouldn't so much as think of mentioning his race if he were white. To mention his Asianness in a context where one would omit his whiteness is to imply that Asianness is relevant to odd behavior, but whiteness is not.

      Other than that, you expressed everything beautifully and I couldn't agree more. I truly hope this experience will encourage, not discourage, you from continuing to explore sensitive questions.

      To add to what you and Zelda said, I agree that while everyone had the best of intentions, many of the comments, taken as a whole, felt othering. I'm not white, but I didn't feel comfortable saying so in the previous post because of the underlying "minorities are foreign" sentiment percolating there.

    5. To rephrase my comment, that should perhaps read along the lines of [the stereotype that] "minorities are foreign to American culture" - I certainly don't mean to reinforce the idea that having lived in a foreign country means that someone must be unfamiliar with US culture or behave oddly.

    6. Zelda,

      *deep breath*

      Okay. When I really sit and think and peel back the layers of my own defensiveness, I realize you make some very good points. Points that make me feel ashamed, which I'm sure is why the defensiveness is there. Shame is an interesting thing. It makes people want to hide. In my case it kind of makes me want to eradicate the last two posts from my blog and walk away whistling like nothing happened. But that wouldn't fix things, and it certainly wouldn't help me expand my own thinking to any degree. So I won't do that. Instead, I'll just own what I can, and try to learn.

      First, I am struck by the word "provocative." The reason it strikes a chord is because you are exactly right--when I posed the question, I did hope it would be provocative. I was coming from a place of supposed enlightenment (ironically, much like the "enlightenment" I was criticizing in this very post). Along with genuinely being curious about the question I was asking, there was a part of me that felt I had something to share or teach on this matter. I felt like my education and the to-me-profound insights I have had over the years regarding my white privilege gave me room and authority to begin a conversation about race. In reality, I was ill-equipped to do so.

      Not being Asian myself (or a racial minority even) I have very little room to pose this kind of provocative question about race. And if I choose to do so, I better be ready to manage the discussion in the aftermath, which you correctly pointed out I did not do. (Some might argue that that is what this conversation is, but I can see why that is too little too late.) There are a host of reasons I chose not to do that, but they all boil down to intention, which as we know does nothing to mitigate racial actions. It just distracts from them.

      The next part is really difficult to admit, which is why it's important I do so: having internally dismantled the defensiveness you saw in my last response, I now believe you were correct in accusing me of being racially insensitive. To initiate and then mishandle a conversation in this way is completely racially insensitive. And then to invoke the tone argument when it is pointed out is also incredibly racially insensitive, even if I did so (incorrectly) assuming I was speaking to/about someone sans the power differential. The very fact that my thoughts went in that direction indicates that, as you said, I was more concerned about being called a racist than I was about perpetuating racist beliefs. To be truly racially sensitive would have been to give priority to and highlight the voices of anyone who felt uncomfortable by the conversation, not to denigrate those voices and then compare those voices conceptually to racism. Or it would have been to not initiate this type of conversation in the first place.

      I still have questions. I am still curious about whitewashing, and whether my initial impulse to exclude the man's race was more inappropriate than it would have been to include it. But I realize now that a public forum such as this is a poor place to ask such questions, and that the people who would most be able to answer my questions in a relevant way would be people who share the race in question. And those people were drowned out, hurt, and highly disrespected by this conversation and given very little voice, which completely undercut any attempt to find legitimate answers. And which, it almost goes without saying, was incredibly racist on my part.

      Ultimately, I apologize to you, and to any Asian person who read that post and the ensuing discussions and felt uncomfortable. I get it now (I think?), for whatever that's worth.

      Hard, ugly truths. But there you have it. That's where I am in my own process. Thanks for participating in the conversation.

    7. Shayla,

      Thank you for saying that. It means a lot.

      Both of your points are valid. As you can see in my last response to Zelda, I have had some time to reflect and have come to some difficult conclusions. Thanks for engaging in the conversation in a way that helped me to do that.

      And as far as your points re: inclusion vs. exclusion of the man's race in the story, I see exactly what you mean. I'm still a little confused on this particular issue, but in the future I will definitely be erring on the side of not inciting racial intolerance whatever the case may be. (Though I do hope I will always be willing to engage around difficult issues, in the future I will try to do so with more sensitivity.)

      Thanks Shayla.

    8. Josh,

      After I read your reply to Zelda, I wanted to let you know that seeing you acknowledging your mistakes and apologizing absolutely made my day. Certainly, it should be mandatory to own up when we screw up, but the reality is that most people - myself absolutely included - oftentimes don't, especially when it comes to racism, homophobia, et cetera, and so seeing you finally step up and take responsibility warmed my heart.

      Speaking for myself only - and I'm sorry if this makes you feel any worse, because I honestly hope to be helpful instead of hurtful - I felt much more marginalized by the second post than the initial question (which was merely a bit unsettling), as the second post appeared to be a harsh dismissal of people's objections, suggesting that your mind was closed to hurt reactions. So it made me very glad to see you open your mind (and heart) again.

      I hope to learn from you as well: The next time I'm on the other side of the fence and I hurt others without meaning to, I'm going to keep your latest comment in mind as an example of how to genuinely and gracefully own my mistakes and apologize. Thank you.


      Thank you very much for all of your intelligent and heartfelt comments to this post and the previous one, and for explaining everything so thoroughly and cogently. I'm pretty inarticulate and uncomfortable with making myself vulnerable (as you saw, I didn't feel comfortable revealing that I wasn't white in the earlier post), so I deeply appreciated your efforts and your fortitude.

    9. Hey Shayla,

      I think you underestimate yourself when you say you're inarticulate; I read your responses and wished that I phrased them that way. :)

      And right back at you, for speaking up. I (initially) chose not to state that I was Asian, because I felt that the original post was also unsafe, and that I'd be accused of being biased. (Heh.) It was nice to have you and a few others speaking up in a sea of gross stereotyping.

      Hey Josh,

      I'd definitely encourage you to keep trying to have this conversation, but with a gentle reminder that you think about how your phrasing may come across to readers, especially given that those who do respond have mostly been white and unaware of their own problematic preconceptions. And I'd also request that if somebody were to make racially intolerant comments and cheap, racist jokes in your blog, that you, as the owner, call them out for it. It was distressing to see you validate them first through your silence, and then by calling their responses informational and kind; they were not kind, at all, they were not legitimate, and they were about as informative as a pile of dung. (As you can probably tell, I'm still furious at these people.)

      Depending on how you responded, I was prepared to stop following your blog after my final post, because I was concerned that your blog would not be a safe space for me as a person who's not white and immune. But, like Shayla, I feel really heartened by your final response. You were gracious and kind and you owned your mistakes and that's something I feel is really rare and all the more precious for it; it shows a willingness to learn.

      :) I'd also like to keep learning from you, and I'd definitely love to keep laughing with you.

    10. Zelda and Shayla,

      Thank you both for your kind replies. They mean a great deal to me. I don't say that lightly.

      I have some sensitive questions for you both and I was wondering if you'd be willing to help me further my understanding in a private email conversation. (If not, I totally understand.) If you're game, shoot me an email at joshua dot weed at gmail dot com. It would mean a lot ;-)

      Thanks, again, for this enlightening discussion.

    11. Phew. I also found that joke about pizza cringeworthy and am glad that I wasn't the only one! Racist jokes intended to show how someone is not racist are disturbing as is the fact that it gave you a great laugh.
      Josh, you are intelligent and kind and even you made some mistakes here. Imagine then the mistakes made by those who are less informed and get their worldview strictly from an organization that says that past racism is unimportant. I realize that you won't approve this comment and that you are probably tired of my 'harping' on the issue but it is relevant, whether that makes you uncomfortable or not.

  5. I can't believe that you and Lolly leave feminine hygiene products lying around willy nilly. What's next? Condoms and personal lubricant?
    Also, I couldn't help but notice that all the panty liners were white. Of course, Weed. Typical.

    (If you could explain to me what Reddit is, I would also love to know.)

  6. LOL (at the picture)
    You might want to delete this post before she turns 16. :)

  7. Very cute, very funny now - but when I need her in 30 years in an emergency room setting, Dr. Tessa will be a sight for sore eyes... my 2 cents!!

  8. I'm a redditor. It's basically a site where people share things they find interesting, funny, gross, etc. People can upvote or downvote posts and comments. The "front page" is where the most upvoted stuff of the day is, and there are also subreddits for specific subject matter. The layout of the site has pretty much never changed, so once you figure it out it's pretty straightforward. It's also helpful to learn acronyms for things such as NSFW (not safe for work....basically, you don't want to look at it because it's usually vile or pornographic). People also do AMAs (ask me anything) which are incredibly interesting. Today I read one on a girl who lived in the bush in Australia. It really does have some interesting things, but it's also kind of the scum of the internet as well. I thoroughly enjoy it. :)

  9. In reference to Reddit, I think you should do an AMA. I noticed this blog post on the parenting subreddit and also your coming out post was read by many. The redditors would love your willingness to answer uncomfortable questions.

    Reddit is a collection of news/people sharing stories in a bunch of subreddits, AMA (ask me anything) being one of those. You provide proof and tell them to ask whatever you want and as long as you aren't trying to promote a product, then they try to play nice.

  10. What a great picture to show her future dates...

  11. Josh, the reason any discussion of race amongst Mormons makes me feel uneasy is because the Mormon leadership has repeatedly said and written that its own racism against African Americans is something that is irrelevant and should be forgotten like it never existed. It is not about other religions also having been racist (that seems to be the go to response) but about a complete lack of accountability around that issue. I have assumed the Mormons agree with this stance but am open to correction. But if this is the basis of Mormon understanding of race issues - that past racism is over and done and is irrelevant - this I would think definitely informs current understanding of race issues. I don't think 'we all' do racist things - I'm not saying that I haven't - but I think there are people out there who have a deep understanding of how even 'small acts' of racism can be devastating and can lead to larger acts. If one's understanding of racism is informed by the mentality from the top of 'we were racist many years ago but that is no longer relevant and doesn't matter and we aren't going to take ownership of it or be held accountable for it' , I don't see, and I'm open to correction, how a really deep understanding of the issues can be found in that kind of understanding. I realize that this may get some people's dander up and that is not my intention. As an example, if I am not willing to own up and repent for my own racist history, then I have no right to make comments on or pretend understanding of why mentioning a person's race is relevant or irrelevant to a story. I would not be trustworthy or a credible source and I should not expect people to listen to what I had to say on the matter.

    1. The distinction you fail to make is between the Mormon church as an institution and a Mormon person, whose relationship with race and privilege might be very different than your perception of the institution. That failed distinction is, in and of itself, a broad stereotype that makes me feel very uncomfortable.

    2. @Anon: I have to agree with Josh. Conflating the LDS Church's historical stance on race (esp. regarding African Americans) with individual member's opinions, feelings, and experiences is as inaccurate as failing to distinguish between the Catholic Church's (mis)handling of sexual abuse perpetrated by priests and any given devout (or not so devout) Catholic's personal feelings about the abuses. Does the LDS Church have a difficult if not inconsistent history when it comes to racial issues? Sure. But that doesn't mean that Josh's thoughts and opinions on the issue of racism aren't valid to the extent that he has tried to examine his own thoughts and actions and genuinely understand the struggles and injustices experienced by those less privileged than him.

    3. That's like saying any discussion between white Americans about racism makes you feel uneasy because of our horrible history. THE WEED is clearly an open-minded, careful, thoughtful individual that means no harm when opening a discussion about racism.

  12. I tell least one kid finds them and sticks them ;) Don't you just love how a blog becomes everyone's forum for expression of your thoughts? Keep up the good work. ;)

  13. To be honest, I am quite reticent to discuss issues of race. It seems like such efforts are bound to be misconstrued (sometimes deliberately) and punished. Who needs that kind of abuse? Why bother?

    The rejoinder to this is that understanding is thwarted when discussion of racial issues becomes taboo. But what's the difference if it always devolves to accusations and misunderstandings anyway?

  14. I'm not going to say anything about race, but instead comment on how ridiculously hilarious the picture of Tess is! :D :D :D Her expression is priceless. I think it needs to be a meme.

  15. I am Asian and did not find your post racist at all. There are some funny stereotypes that go along with Asians and I have come to accept them and I may make comments based on the Asian stereotype. That being said, however, I just didn't find your post insensitive to race. I found it more important for the story and found it interesting that I had originally imagined a white man, so maybe I was being a little racist myself, assuming that it had to be a crazy white man, not any other race.

    And my first reaction to the picture was, "no way, are those panty liners? Couldn't be!" But I'm so glad they were.