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Tone Deaf? I’m Listening and Trying

I’ve tried writing this post a half dozen times. Then something happens in the news, and everything feels inappropriate. Every time I try to write something down, I worry about sounding tone-deaf. But a wordsmith also cannot stay silent.

I believe in equal rights and offering everyone a fair chance. I don’t want to see anyone mistreated and I detest racism, bigotry, religious intolerance, gender bias, ageism, sexism and any action or words that denigrate an individual, group or nationality. I haven’t marched in a protest because I am uncomfortable in large crowds and worry about getting sick. I refrain from posting many statements on my social media out of concern my thread will hijacked by an argument.

I posted one thing this week in response to friend’s a comment about celebrating Gay Pride. I said, “All Lives Matter.”  And I received a hand slap for sounding tone deaf. I did not understand what I did wrong. I was trying to be inclusive and supportive. Or, at least I thought so. I was confused and clammed up. I asked myself, ” But, don’t all lives matter?”

But then a friend shared something that made me understand how the words “All Lives Matter” can be seen as insensitive in the cause to support Black Lives Matter. It made me do some soul searching. I asked myself, “How can I be more sympathetic and put myself in another person’s shoes to do better?”

I am not alone. Another friend (also white) received a hand slap for sounding tone deaf in a blog post she wrote about rosé wine of all things. She issued a heartfelt apology about sounding insensitive. I felt bad for her and sent her a note because she honestly meant no harm.

I was born white, Jewish, middle class and in the south. That is my family heritage. I should never be made to feel uncomfortable about the color of my skin, my religion or my upbringing. No one should. But I do feel bad about offending anyone and want to work harder to be part of the solution and not the problem.

Silence can be interpreted as complicity, but poorly chosen words come off as tone deaf and offensive. This is a time for all of us to protest what is wrong but also listen more intently and say and do what is right. It needs to be a two-way open conversation.

Here is what my friend shared:

Why #BlackLivesMatter

 

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