7 "Helpful" Tips From A White Guy

7 "Helpful" Tips From A White Guy

Navigating the world we live in is tough. Here are some things I have learned.
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There has been a lot of talk recently about how us white folks should address sensitive issues around racism, free speech, and triggers. Up front, I am a white guy whose main faults are introversion and pending unemployment, so if you're expecting truly important or revolutionary writing, I'd advise searching elsewhere. This article represents nothing more than my way of working through highly sensitive issues, but here are some tips I've come up with in the past 22 years:

1. Trust Your Peers

A lot of the criticism I've heard about trigger warnings or being conscious of language has come from those who assume that what another person feels and experiences is somehow made up or disingenuous. I'm not sure if that assumption exists as a product of our cynical world or just hegemony, but it makes me sad to see that people jump to such an unreasonable conclusion. People have no reason to lie, so why would they?

2. Don't Assume Someone Else's Hurt Is About You

The perverse sibling of White Guilt is a tendency I'll call "White Paranoia." Here's an example I recently passed by: Person A says that they feel unsafe around white people recently. Person B, who identifies as a caucasian male, gets defensive because he likes to think of himself as a pretty reasonable dude. The argument gets heated, but why? Person B was never directly insulted, but he did feel implicated in the statement because of his own identity, and reacted acerbically. What he failed to recognize was that statement was not about him; it was about his friend, who felt hurt and unsafe. Dwelling on personal offense in that situation is like complaining about a sprained ankle in a car crash.

3. Don't Not Assume Someone Else's Hurt Is About You

To directly contradict my last point, sometimes Person B would have to realize that yes, they personally are actively participating in and benefiting from a system that is causing the hurt. While focusing on Person A first is important, swinging around after the fact to challenge what about Person B can change in themselves is just as key.

4. Civility Is Nice, But It Sure Doesn't Change Much

I am still 100 percent convinced that if we as Americans continue on our current trajectory, there will be an internal revolution in the next 25 years. Personally, I believe America needs to be challenged into relatively nonviolent change before that happens. Simply put, acting nicely and going through proper channels is conforming to an oppressive system, and a diplomatic protest could be considered an oxymoron. Disrupting the status quo and making things that seem a molehill to some into a mountain to rally around is absolutely necessary for society to advance; we never change unless we're uncomfortable. Take for instance the classic debate: #BlackLivesMatter vs. #AllLivesMatter. Some argue that the latter could appeal to more people, but that's missing the entire point. Movements are meant to change the world, not please the masses.

5. Empathy Is Essential, But Understand That It Only Goes So Far

The great secret (that is no secret, really) is that I will never experience what it is like to be Black in America, and to think I do would just be arrogant. While I do try constantly to empathize with my peers and understand what I can do to reduce my own transgressions, at a certain point, no one can exit their own identity completely. I am no different.

6. Don't Apologize

OK, yes, if you personally have acted like an a**hole, be a human and apologize to the person or people you have offended. But to focus all your energy on constant show-stealing apology instead of either actively helping or just stepping back when your effort is not needed or desired is selfish. Again, another person's struggle is not about you feeling better about yourself.

7. We Are All Human

Everyone on all sides makes mistakes constantly; to assume you are any different is a strange flavor of naïveté. I consider myself a fairly progressive person, but that doesn't mean I don't constantly make offensive mistakes (in fact, I'm still somewhat convinced that this article is one of them). Recognizing that you are a flawed and evolving thinker and that you will never not be is the first step toward improving what you can.

Cover Image Credit: i.huffpost.com

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8 Reasons Why My Dad Is the Most Important Man In My Life

Forever my number one guy.
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Growing up, there's been one consistent man I can always count on, my father. In any aspect of my life, my dad has always been there, showing me unconditional love and respect every day. No matter what, I know that my dad will always be the most important man in my life for many reasons.

1. He has always been there.

Literally. From the day I was born until today, I have never not been able to count on my dad to be there for me, uplift me and be the best dad he can be.

2. He learned to adapt and suffer through girly trends to make me happy.

I'm sure when my dad was younger and pictured his future, he didn't think about the Barbie pretend pageants, dressing up as a princess, perfecting my pigtails and enduring other countless girly events. My dad never turned me down when I wanted to play a game, no matter what and was always willing to help me pick out cute outfits and do my hair before preschool.

3. He sends the cutest texts.

Random text messages since I have gotten my own cell phone have always come my way from my dad. Those randoms "I love you so much" and "I am so proud of you" never fail to make me smile, and I can always count on my dad for an adorable text message when I'm feeling down.

4. He taught me how to be brave.

When I needed to learn how to swim, he threw me in the pool. When I needed to learn how to ride a bike, he went alongside me and made sure I didn't fall too badly. When I needed to learn how to drive, he was there next to me, making sure I didn't crash.

5. He encourages me to best the best I can be.

My dad sees the best in me, no matter how much I fail. He's always there to support me and turn my failures into successes. He can sit on the phone with me for hours, talking future career stuff and listening to me lay out my future plans and goals. He wants the absolute best for me, and no is never an option, he is always willing to do whatever it takes to get me where I need to be.

6. He gets sentimental way too often, but it's cute.

Whether you're sitting down at the kitchen table, reminiscing about your childhood, or that one song comes on that your dad insists you will dance to together on your wedding day, your dad's emotions often come out in the cutest possible way, forever reminding you how loved you are.


7. He supports you, emotionally and financially.

Need to vent about a guy in your life that isn't treating you well? My dad is there. Need some extra cash to help fund spring break? He's there for that, too.

8. He shows me how I should be treated.

Yes, my dad treats me like a princess, and I don't expect every guy I meet to wait on me hand and foot, but I do expect respect, and that's exactly what my dad showed I deserve. From the way he loves, admires, and respects me, he shows me that there are guys out there who will one day come along and treat me like that. My dad always advises me to not put up with less than I deserve and assures me that the right guy will come along one day.

For these reasons and more, my dad will forever be my No. 1 man. I love you!

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Why The Idea Of 'No Politics At The Dinner Table' Takes Place And Why We Should Avoid It

When did having a dialogue become so rare?

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Why has the art of civilized debate and conversation become unheard of in daily life? Why is it considered impolite to talk politics with coworkers and friends? Expressing ideas and discussing different opinions should not be looked down upon.

I have a few ideas as to why this is our current societal norm.

1. Politics is personal.

Your politics can reveal a lot about who you are. Expressing these (sometimes controversial) opinions may put you in a vulnerable position. It is possible for people to draw unfair conclusions from one viewpoint you hold. This fosters a fear of judgment when it comes to our political beliefs.

Regardless of where you lie on the spectrum of political belief, there is a world of assumption that goes along with any opinion. People have a growing concern that others won't hear them out based on one belief.

As if a single opinion could tell you all that you should know about someone. Do your political opinions reflect who you are as a person? Does it reflect your hobbies? Your past?

The question becomes "are your politics indicative enough of who you are as a person to warrant a complete judgment?"

Personally, I do not think you would even scratch the surface of who I am just from knowing my political identification.

2. People are impolite.

The politics themselves are not impolite. But many people who wield passionate, political opinion act impolite and rude when it comes to those who disagree.

The avoidance of this topic among friends, family, acquaintances and just in general, is out of a desire to 'keep the peace'. Many people have friends who disagree with them and even family who disagree with them. We justify our silence out of a desire to avoid unpleasant situations.

I will offer this: It might even be better to argue with the ones you love and care about, because they already know who you are aside from your politics, and they love you unconditionally (or at least I would hope).

We should be having these unpleasant conversations. And you know what? They don't even need to be unpleasant! Shouldn't we be capable of debating in a civilized manner? Can't we find common ground?

I attribute the loss of political conversation in daily life to these factors. 'Keeping the peace' isn't an excuse. We should be discussing our opinions constantly and we should be discussing them with those who think differently.

Instead of discouraging political conversation, we should be encouraging kindness and understanding. That's how we will avoid the unpleasantness that these conversations sometimes bring.

By avoiding them altogether, we are doing our youth a disservice because they are not being exposed to government, law, and politics, and they are not learning to deal with people and ideas that they don't agree with.

Next Thanksgiving, talk politics at the table.

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