Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Avoiding Knee-Jerk Reactions

It seems we are living in a world where immediate, knee jerk, not thought through reactions have become a way of life. Two days ago the agriculture Department fired an employee because of supposedly racist (anti-white) statements seen in a video on YouTube. Nobody bothered to ask what the context of the original video was. They just reacted.

Yesterday more information was made available that indicated the video, taken out of context, was really a way of showing how the particular employee had learned from the incident they were talking about 20 years earlier. In other words it was a very good object lesson in moving beyond racial stereotypes in either direction.

Today the secretary of agriculture has been trying to apologize.

I know I have learned, a hard way, that speaking before thinking he usually ends up being uncomfortable. Sadly we live in a world where the divisive politics causes people to make statements and react before they know the whole story. Or maybe more to the point some people react in spite of knowing the story and still seek to find ways to cause trouble division and fear.

Sadly it also shows how far we still have to go in dealing with issues surrounding racism.

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