As most of my readers know, I wrote as post regarding Ann Rice’s simple but dramatic departure from organized Christianity entitled, “Why I’m Not Quitting Christianity.”
I was encouraged by how it was generally received. It was crossed posted on numerous places including Huffington Post.
But shortly afterwards, I asked for some honest and gentle feedback about one little line I inserted – not necessarily intentionally but because I’m a wanna be funny guy. It was my attempt to use humor to diffuse a tense subject:
First of all, I am a fan of Anne Rice. In fact, I don’t know of many people that dislike her. She’s a phenomenal writer and additionally, she’s gotta have some Asian genes in her. She’s 68 and ages like no other.
But I received several emails and notes about the possible racial or sexist undertones. Some of these came from absolute strangers or stalkers and couple came from folks I know.
Was that statement racist?
Was it sexist?
Maybe. I didn’t believe it then. That’s why I wrote it. And I don’t think so now…
But it certainly makes me think.
Two quick thoughts:
I asked for your feedback because I’m fully aware that I have my blind spots.
I was particularly stumped by someone’s comment that alluded to the unfair and unbalanced accentuation of physical appearance for women.
Clearly, I wasn’t try to mack on Ann Rice.
[Wait a minute…was that bad humor?]
[Now, I’m getting paranoid…]
Women – if we’re honest – are most defined and judged by their physical appearance and my comment – while not intended – only added to that unbalance and gender-ism. I was particularly struck by this comment:
What we’re often not sensitive to as men is the enormous pressure our culture places on connecting womens’ appearance to their value. I know so many women pained by a lifetime of not measuring up in appearance and having appearance over-weighted in others’ assessment of them period.
So in that sense, when talking about a woman’s professional giftedness and spiritual journey, almost any comment about her appearance seems to reinforce a painful paradigm.
Guilty. as. charged.
I am a man and thus, I have immense privilege. And in that privilege, I sometimes don’t see…
That’s what I am guilty of? You got me.
I harped on a stereotype that some who know their genetics would swear it to be quasi-scientific. But that leads me to a more difficult question. I know what my politically correct mind and intellectual construct says but sometimes, my lips definitely don’t follow. Here are the questions:
- Are stereotypes ever good?
- Is there a place for stereotypes?
What do you think?