The thing they are talking about is pretty commonly known. I mean, relatively speaking. Some people never think about stuff like that so you get varied responses if you mention it. The internet calls it “the romantic 15” which is terrible. I renamed it because my way is better. As far as I know nobody else has ever called this phenomenon date weight. I’ve actually been trying to find something to call it that’s more accurate, but haven’t come up with anything yet. It tends to keep happening as a relationship advances. On men you could call it a give up gut maybe? Anyway, don’t worry, I’m on this pressing problem. You guys keep working on equality and stuff while I tackle this, okay?
The other day I tweeted a joke about planned parenthood. I then couched it in my opinion that what they do is important. Then, as with most tweets, I didn’t think about it. Later on I checked the notifications and there were some from people who didn’t follow me. That’s pretty uncommon. One of them was from a radio guy. Talk radio I assume. Sort of a minor league RUsh Limbaugh type. Who countered by asking if the abortions were part of that important work. Except he did it in a way meant to provoke me. It made me experience a brief moment of “Oh yeah, I’m on the internet”. It was strange and interesting on several levels because this guy was literally trolling for attention. He needed content and he was farming it by casting his net into social media and hoping to pick fights. That’s a condition of that guys job. He needs the conflict to stay entertaining and employed. He is the professional equivalent of someone farting around 4 chan calling everyone Hitler.
I don’t come into contact with trolls that often, relatively speaking. I’ve cultivated a very loyal and even minded group of readers who are mostly polite. Things rarely escalate beyond spirited conversation if things get heated at all. At least part of this comes from me not expressing opinions about much of anything. I keep things very superficial. Most subjects are things that don’t require strong opinions, any opinion at all, or are basically common sense. It’s done purposely to foster a welcoming environment. On twitter, however, I’m more likely to just blurt out quick things about whatever subjects are in the popular consciousness at any given time. They get tossed out there with the puns and everything else that spills out of my head. For the most part people tolerate that stuff because even if they don’t agree most of them are reasonable people who can see the world as gradated rather than black and white.
Every so often though it rubs someone the wrong way and they flip out. Of course I’ve had flip outs over ridiculous stuff too, like the movie Ted, so…
I have very much had my perspective expanded from being in contact with people from many different cultures, from all over the world, and people of different races from right around here. I still wouldn’t say that I have any black friends. There are some that I enjoy very much, but we don’t hang out, or whatever. I mostly consume their content. Seeing things from perspectives that I can’t is interesting to me because it not only improves my writing, but makes me a better person in general. I have never been pulled over and worried, for even a second, that I would end up on the ground or in a squad car. I might be nervous that I might get a ticket, but the threat of violence doesn’t enter my mind in any reasonable way. That isn’t true for the black people I follow. And they aren’t brigands, thieves, or what have you. They are, almost across the board, artists, writers, or creators. Like me in every way apart from a quirk of fate that gave them different pigmentation. It strikes me as unjust that they should have to worry about not walking away alive from a traffic violation even if they are courteous and cooperative. Now I fully understand that most police encounters end without violence, but that still doesn’t mean that we should accept that some spin wildly out of control. We shouldn’t be okay with the fact that when a white offender and a black one are charged with the same crime the black person, almost assuredly with face a tougher sentence. It may be impossible, but it is best to strive for equality. You’re going to shit every day, but you don’t stop wiping your ass.
I have to walk a tightrope with that kind of stuff because on the one hand I have peers who are having a very different experience in the world than I do and on the other I have a brother in law in law enforcement. It can be very difficult to express dissatisfaction with the status quo while supporting police in general. In my opinion my brother in law is exactly what a cop should be. A stoic person, slow to anger, in the face of the worst humanity has to offer in many cases. He’s always in my thoughts when I see a cop flip out on tv, or someone tells me a horror story about their own experience. I’m comforted to know that there is at least one good cop that I know out there working to keep the peace. Whenever someone paints the police with a broad brush I have to be the guy who says ‘my brother in law is a police officer” and then they walk back their statements a bit. I don’t really have to do that. I know that they don’t really mean every cop when they say something in frustration. But I’m compelled to be the “not all cops’ guy.
It’s much easier to stay quiet just to keep the peace. As a white guy I have nothing to gain by changing the state of the world. Every deck is stacked in my favor, and I like it. I’m not going to pretend that I don’t love all the perks I get just from being born into a world that sees me as basically better than other people. When I talk about something I’m not instantly the voice of my entire race. I’m just a guy talking. When I go into a store, in spite of looking like a hobo, nobody pays me any mind. I’ve been pulled over 5 times in my entire life, and never received a citation. It’s just shy of being a wizard.
My mother sometimes says that she’s afraid of what she would have been like in olden times. She’s not the kind of person who rocks the boat and she fears that she wouldn’t be the kind of person who would stand up against injustice. I’m not sure what kind of person I would have been either, but I know what kind of person I want to be now.