Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Your Safety is Our Priority

Sending love to Allentown, PA at 1:30am
No way can I recap my Portland trip yet.

I had a Chicago O'Hare delay that had its own delay and I didn't get into my bed until about 3am last night.
But it was kinda cool, too.
I met a woman and she wasn't feeling well and she was traveling alone and when we started chatting at PDX and realized we were both heading to Allentown through O'Hare, we teamed up a bit to make sure she got home okay. We talked a lot. Talking to [safe] strangers is really good, you know? You learn what other people's lives are like and you see your own in a different light.
Anyway, we got in late.

So it's DAY THREE of the blog tour and I have two links to share with you today.
And some other stuff to say.

First, here's a review from Jenny over at Forever Young Adult. Here's a snippet of Jenny's fantastic review to make that link more enticing...
If every person in this world were free to be who they were meant to be, to love who they were meant to love, to worship, to dance, to laugh, and to be silent, there would be equality. The opposite of freedom is fear, and fear is what keeps people captive.

Second, here's STOP THREE on the Blog Tour at FYA.  I'd really like you to click on that link because it's a cool interview. Jenny always makes me feel like she gets me, and that's because Jenny and the ladies at FYA um...get me. Anyway, here's a small snippet of that interview in case you need coaxing...
All negative creeps please report to gate 2B for boarding the biggest honking plane you ever freaking saw. Am I right? Shit. If we tried to actually gather all the negative people in one place, we'd need the place to be continent-sized.

So here's my other stuff to say.

I've been thinking about how people love to label and compartmentalize things. I saw this sign at the airport and realized that it should be a t-shirt and all humans should be required to wear one. Because we are all screeners.

If you can't see this picture, then you're not going to get this blog post.

Do you know those people who have to tell you the race/gender/physical description of the person in the story they're telling you?

"This black guy pulled out right in front of me today!"
"I went to see a lady doctor."
"I was talking to this fat girl at the DMV."
"I overheard two lesbians talking about their upcoming trip to Ireland on the plane today."

Those people have always been around. No doubt.
But now, we have these PC okay-to-say descriptions we affix to things. I'm not really okay with PC okay-to-say descriptions because they are still descriptions. Why would I care that the guy who pulled out in front of you was African American? Does it really change the meaning when you change the word from "fat" to "overweight?"

Look. I've had to give a physical description to a police officer before--right after I got robbed at gunpoint. No problem. Facts are facts. The cop got the facts.

But you get the after-the-fact story.
I could say, "Some black guy robbed me at gunpoint."
I could say, "Some white guy robbed me at gunpoint."

But the fact is: I was robbed at gunpoint. That's all you need to know.

The screening we do unconsciously as humans really says stuff about us. I know racists. I know how racists talk. Even in polite company, they can't hide it because they see color. And so, they talk color. 

Screening is natural, yes. It is a very natural thing to notice that someone is a certain color or to note gender or a limp, or maybe cool blue hair. That's fine. But here's the hiccup. Most people who note these things out loud are not just noting a difference. Most people have already run their screening data through their brain and their brain has been programmed to define. We are humans. We define things. Before us, there were no butterflies in boxes with their wings pinned down.

We do this with books, too.

My books have a lot going on in them.
Most books have a lot going on in them.
To look at a book and pull out one adjective to describe it is akin to looking at a human with a lot going on--say, David Letterman--and slotting him into a "gap in front teeth" box. Sure, it's convenient. And if I had to describe him to a police officer, I'd mention the gap in his teeth. But other than that, I'm pretty sure I'd just let David Letterman talk and let people decide for themselves what he's really made of.

I think we should do that with books, too.

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