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Let's talk. If you're not someone like Sessions, Hatch, Graham etc. this is NOT directed to you.

I can imagine that it's really an adjustment for you to see so many changes taking place in our nation. We have our first non-white President and we are on the cusp of having only our third woman and first Hispanic Supreme Court Justice.

You don't understand how someone's experience other than being a white male, which in your view is the norm...the baseline...the yardstick by which all is measured, is relevant to anything. You see the world through false equivalencies and rear projected ideals that don't and have never existed.

I know you well. I knew you from the time I was a black girl in the 5th grade who won the school spelling bee, and the white boy I defeated hid out after school one day to challenge me to a fist fight. (I weighed about 48 lbs...he at least 20lbs more) His dad, a grown white man, asked him how he could have lost to a nigger. What he would have asked him had he lost to any of the other finalists, all of whom were white, several of whom were female, I'll never know.

I knew you when, in Jr. High, a white male teacher told me to my face I was taking the space of a boy, presumably a white one since I went to a predominantly white school, in an advanced math class that required teacher recommendation to get into.  And then again in High School when I was a Teacher's Assistant who graded the quantitative portions of tests while the teacher ( a white male who wasn't scared) graded the qualitative portions and when another white male student's father found out, again brought race into the equation accusing me of being incapable of completing this task. Hint...even though I usually knew the answers, I had a legend to go by which my not scared white male teacher eloquently and emphatically made clear to my classmates father and I continued to grade tests.

I've known you in my professional life, when I've heard the whispers and the outright accusations of promotions, awards, recognition, being solely due to my gender or race.

When I became a manager, responsible for making decisions ranging from work assignments to laying people off, you should be glad I'm a black female. Because having been thought less than not on my skills and results, I can guarantee you that I worked twice as hard to ensure I was objective. I've worked, I believe harder, to ensure that evaluations, assignments, recognition, awards, performance ratings, and yes, difficult decisions that affect people's livelihoods, are done based on facts, merit, skills, and results. I worked that hard, used my experiences to keep me objective, used that dreaded empathy to ensure I was fair.

I would hope that a scared white male would do the same. My experience has told me that's not always the case.

I've known you in my personal life when you've shown up to do work at my home and are visibly taken aback that I live in my home. Or when I hear you comment behind my back about the car I drive, and how I must have an affirmative action job in order to afford it, and how it "must be nice", suggesting I haven't earned it.

I'm sorry you're scared. I'm sorry for you that you are that insecure. I'm also glad to know that you are a shrinking minority. That there are more white men like my High School teacher and some of my Professors in college. Strong, confident, white men who aren't afraid to share the playing field they've dominated throughout history. Men like we saw today in Senators Whitehouse, Schumer, Feingold. I'm glad I'm married to a white guy, who like them, isn't afraid.

Update: Rec List? Wow.

Originally posted to The Underground Lair of Vita Brevis on Mon Jul 13, 2009 at 09:55 AM PDT.

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