On not understanding the issue you want to illuminate…

To A Ennis regarding your response to John Metta ‘s piece, “When you walk into the valley” — Your friend gave you a friend-to-friend answer, not one that represents every person of color.

Your analogy about a child doesn’t clarify Metta’s point. It wasn’t “better”. It was painful to read and very ‘off.’ Metta’s analogy expressed his point well. He put into words a point I’ve wanted to make too.

Your knowing or unknowing bias toward people of color shows and it hurts and makes my stomach churn. I can tell by your writing that you don’t understand why it hurts me, and that it ticks you off some that it would. And because you already read John Metta’s piece, I know I can’t point to that to help me explain.

In the conversation with your friend, if it was me, I would have asked you to learn more about how I feel and how generations of implicit bias have made it so.

Whether I feel angry in the moment (like I just can’t take any more) or I’m in ‘open-armed, try love’ mode, telling me how I’m supposed to feel is always the wrong way to approach me if you’re interested in mutual understanding. If respect is your goal, that’s the wrong way to approach anybody.

If those times when I’m emotionally writhing and painfully outspoken bother you so much that you have to negate the truth about implicit bias and my honest reactions to it — and if you see anger and obstinance even when the words are measured and inclusive — it shows that something important is getting past you. Perhaps that something is inside you.

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