Monday, November 30, 2009

Mr. Pitts I Respectively Disagree...

Wow, not even a week went by........(my email today regarding his column on Sammy Sosa)

Mr. Pitts;

When you make the comment "you're not black" it does a disservice to people like me. I can be empathetic, reasonable, and understanding simply on the preponderance of the evidence.

We have two issues at play here, first is your assumption, which the email writer points out, that "Your column seemingly assumes he lightens his skin color out of shame and fails to recognize that he may simply be doing it out of vanity or his own sense of personal style." The second is how you see it, and that relates entirely to what we in public health call the greater good. Your point - and it is not lost to me because I am white - is that taken as a whole, these types of actions chip away at the self-image of blacks, especially children.

On the other hand, what one individual does or does not do may not always fall within the reasoning behind the actions of the whole. Why young black children see black as bad may have nothing to do with why Mr. Sosa wants lighter skin. Unless we can somehow get into his brain we can never know - and that is what the reader took issue with - you cannot paint everyone with the same reasoning brush, which is what you did.

Your fight is for the good of the whole, which like me, understands that there is an overall problem with self-image that needs to be addressed. Mr. Sosa and Mr. Jackson unfortunately have perpetuate this lighter is better attitude by their actions which may be from their dislike of being black or a result of using skin softeners. You take issue with this for reasons I can glean from your writing but alas can never fully know, not because I am white, but because I can never know with certanty what motivates you.

Why we behave in ways that unintentionally hurt others is a complex social issue beyond my understanding. But before you assume the motivation behind the action, you need to accept the fact that you just don't know. As Freud is quoted as saying "sometimes a cigar is just a cigar."

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