Tuesday, May 3, 2011

De-sensitivity Training

Good afternoon dear reader(s)!

Something one of my friends (yes, I have one or two) said to me last night got me to thinking.  (Uh-oh, that is never good.)  The statement had something to do with Americans not respecting the cultures of others or something like that.  I'm not sure what her exact words were though, because it did not fit in with my cultural beliefs so I tuned her out.  One of the many definitions of culture is:  a. The totality of socially transmitted behavior patterns, arts, beliefs, institutions, and all other products of human work and thought.  So apparently, according to some, I am supposed to respect everyone's behavior patterns, arts, beliefs, institutions, and all other products of human work and thought.  Let me think about that for a minute.  Um...no.

So I guess I'm an ugly American who doesn't respect everyone's culture.  I have to tell you that the knowledge of this will surely keep me up at night.  Does this mean I am racist?  Nope.  Don't care where you come from, what color your skin is, none of that means anything to me.  But I may not be a fan of your culture, and that does not bother me one bit. 

Is my culture superior?  In some ways yes, in some ways no.  Why should I be considered someone who is anti-diversity because I recognize that?  Here is an example:  Some cultural beliefs say it is perfectly acceptable to stone a woman to death for being gang-raped.  My culture does not.  Does that make my culture superior in that way?  Yes.  Yes it does.  Should I feel bad for believing that?  No.  On the other hand, one aspect of my culture is to consume like crazy without really considering the consequences.  Does it bother me when someone with another culture points that out?  Not really, I just hand them the money for the Rockstar I am buying from them and throw the empty can in the trash out front on the way out.  (I am kidding of course, I don't throw it in the trash, I drop it in the parking lot.)

All joking aside, (What?  I don't remember any jokes!) if we fail to recognize the negative parts about people's cultures, we fail to overcome them.  Years ago, part of white American culture was the belief that all black people were property.  We overcame that to the point that now our culture believes all black people are either criminals or athletes or both.  Oh, I forgot about rappers.  See?  Our realization of the negative aspects of our culture have caused us to overcome such a terrible part of it to reach this slightly less terrible part of it.  If nobody is willing to admit that maybe, just maybe, their culture has flaws, how are we to improve?

People are so overly sensitive in regard to cultural differences, that it is becoming hard to honor my cultural practices of making fun of those differences.  These people are being insensitive to my culture and it is pissing me off.  I hope I am not being overly sensitive about it. 

I have compiled a list of terms that people use to be more inclusive that I actually believe are anything but inclusive.  There are many more terms used, so this list is not all-inclusive, just like me.

African American:  Inclusive people use this to describe people who used to be called Black.  I don't like either term.  If I came from Jamaica for example, and someone called me African American, I would be pissed for about a second.  Black isn't accurate either.  Darker brown might be closer, but there are many different shades of skin in that grouping.  The way I like to refer to these people is usually with terms such as Steve, Michael, James, sir, ma'am, Mr./Ms/Mrs, etc...  Besides, evidence seems to suggest that human life started in Africa, so that would kind of make anyone in America an African American.

Native American:  Really?  Your people came here through Asia on the Land Bridge, and going back further, most likely you are an African American too.  I don't like Indian as a term either.  But Indiana is cool.  He found the Holy Grail.  

Latino/a:  Wouldn't this include Romans and certain college students?

Tolerance:  This word is often used in place of acceptance.  When someone wants me to show tolerance, what they are usually asking is that I show acceptance.  I may not accept what you believe, but most likely I will tolerate it.

Diverse:  This irks me specifically in regards to diversity in the workplace.  Just because the people working here might have different color skin, do not think for a second that there is any diversity if you must all act like robots who toe the company line and would never get away with showing any real personality.  We support diversity in the workplace as long as it is contained within the appropriate uniform. 

White:  I am not white.  I wasn't even white when I lived in Seattle.  I was whiter than I am now, but even then there was some hint of color.  

I could go on, but then I would have about a 25 page page rant and I don't want to start one of those as it may be insensitive to my reader(s) with ADD.  So, here comes the subject change...

In non sensitivity related news, Hot August Nights has reportedly canceled its planned event in Long Beach, CA this year.  I am certain that the Reno City Council will somehow try to take the credit for it.  Apparently, they just did not generate enough interest to make the event there worthwhile.  Kind of like the last few years here, in my opinion. 

Also, Marianarchy is coming up on May 20th and 21st.  If you do not know what Marianarchy is, let me just tell you it is one of the few good events that Reno has to offer.  It will be at Jub Jubs Thirst Parlor on Wells, and will most likely be a seriously good time.  It is a benefit, so unlike Hot August Nights, the money you spend there goes better places than the pockets of casino executives.  Stay tuned to my blog-type-thing for my interview with Nick Ramirez in the coming days.  The event will feature bands with a diverse range of styles, so no need to worry about whether your favorite style will be included.   

Until next time my dear reader(s), celebrate diversity, you damn (insert offensive generalizing statement here)!


  1. Wow. Could you be any more offensive?

  2. I am unsure where this first anonymous commenter gets "offensive" from this post. It's amusing as hell AND points out the difference between true tolerance & mindless avoidance of thought due to sheep-like behavior. You keep it up, Reno Failure, you're right on the money.

  3. Thanks anonymous mom! So much for eventually removing the parenthesis before and after s. Oh well. :)