Why You Can’t Understand What Black Americans Are Going Through
Clay Rivers

Hi Clay Rivers, thanks for the recommend on my post on your follow-on article to this one; I had intended to go look it up, but Medium put it first on my list the next time I logged in. Some people would be alarmed by that; I am impressed, so here’s a shout out to Medium.

I haven’t read this article yet; I have started this comment before reading it. I’m reading it now.

I am posting stream-of-consciousness. I think you will find that interesting, and it may inform your writing; I don’t suggest it should, I think you’re doing fine; but even the diamond-honed blade can be improved with honing oil and a fine hone; it might, and that’s enough to enable it. About some things, sometimes, I am motivated to write; I do not examine it. I might never know if I helped, but at least you know someone out there did try to help.

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Re understanding short people: I am standard (note I didn’t say “normal”) height, perhaps a bit above average for all humans, about right in the middle of the Bell curve for US white males. So I can’t have personal insight. But I have experience with not being tall enough; modern kitchens have high cupboards above, even well above, my reach, and when I have to get a stepstool out it briefly frustrates me. My wife, however, is significantly below middle height, and I cannot avoid empathizing, never mind sympathizing, with her. I can only imagine her frustration, many times more often than mine, but I can imagine it. So I can only imagine your frustration with this, but I can imagine it, and that makes me able to both sympathize and empathize with it.

On the other hand, I don’t generally hit my head on things, either, which is something people with above-standard height deal with all the time. It’s not not-short; it’s not-standard. And you’re right, it’s hard for someone who is normal to imagine not being; but it’s not impossible. And I know from your writing that it’s not easy for you to imagine being too tall, but it’s not impossible. Maybe, you think, not as bad; but that’s subjective. Seeing from your writing that you obviously can imagine it tells me what I think I need to know about you.

Next, haha, you went exactly where I was thinking. I believe we will get along very well despite our differences. I can at least partially understand your experiences because I have understood even more nonstandard (there I am again, I’m using “standard” to avoid the connotationally loaded “normal” because I think there needs to be a non-loaded term to say what I really mean and am thinking) views, and not stretched my imagination beyond its limits. I don’t think you are beyond yours either, here. On the other hand I am also not in conformity with the group of people physically like me, and they reject people like me even more than people like you, because I look like them. So I know social rejection. And BTW, one of my standard types of behavior is to “touch”

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While I was reading my doorbell rang with a canvasser for my incumbent mayor. What bothers me is how many of the black and immigrant households they talked to down the street. I asked and didn’t get an answer.

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Racial tension exists. I will tell you, though, that I recommended hiring a Black man who I have recommended hiring again, at my current company, originally only because he laughed without inhibition. And I was right both times. And I made sure to help him all I could, and that has paid off well; he and I pass tasks off the way one would hope a team would. He’s every bit the teammate I would hope for. I will admit to a bit of tension at the beginning but when he laughed that was over. He saw the same intolerably funny tension I did and broke it just like I did. And he didn’t have to be anyone he wasn’t; that was really who he was and wanted to be. This is one of the most attractive traits in a human being, and it can overcome far greater barriers than any I had.

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When you speak of #BlackLivesMatter I would make one comment: Many police see this as directed against them. IMVHO, it is not, or at least not exclusively. It is in fact directed against societal norms (and now I drag out “normal;” and I intend it precisely, and not approvingly) and this is more an indictment of media than of police. It has achieved its purpose: to make sure that if every killed policeman is reported in national news, so is every killed black man. Furthermore it is free speech and beyond question. I welcome every report, though I despise the fact they are necessary, and I will elect to continue them and if I think it’s necessary I will donate money to enable them. And I’ll be frank I don’t have much to donate and it will hurt.

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I am one of those who sees someone trying to get something off the top shelf at the grocery store and asks which one they want.

— finished reading —

You nailed it pretty well. I hope my analysis helps; I have not gone back and edited it.

Keep saying this stuff. You’re doing well.