"Anonymous" left a comment that definitely made me stop and think. I owe all who read my most recent post an apology. He/she made some great points. In writing this post, I meant absolutely no harm to African Americans or Caucasians.
Anonymous' comment: "As an African-American attending Brown University, I must say that I take great offense to the comments you have made. After finding out that you were the 'only white girl' in the group, you 'knew it was going to be an awesome day'? Am I supposed to understand that being around a group of all black students is a hoop-la for Caucasian individuals in Utah?"
My comment: In finding out that I was the only white girl (should have written Caucasian, I apologize), I knew I would need to work a little harder: 1) to impress - I was quite intimidated by the fact this group was coming from Brown University (an incredibly well-known and prestigious university), and I had the responsibility to show them around. Intimidated is a good word. 2) to try and temporarily break into your comradery. You were all there together; African Americans usually carry a very tight bond in their friendships, families and communities, and I wanted to make all of us feel at ease because we were going to be spending a few hours together. Is that fair to worry about? (Maybe I worry too much.)
To be completely honest, it was a new thing for me to be around a group of African American students. We don't get that much in Utah, unfortunately; Utah isn’t much of a melting pot. It was a great experience for me to do so. This was only my second year in college - I hadn't had much traveling/ living-outside-of-Utah experience yet. Since the time this experience took place, I have spent time living and working in Los Angeles; I lived in Germany for 18 months and spent time studying in Italy. I appreciate culture. Everyone is different. I respect that. But you can't blame a 19-year-old girl for wanting to fit in with a group different from her. The same story goes for every 19-year-old girl, in every culture. (I did glean a few fantastic fashion tips from two of those girls – they were immaculately dressed.)
Anonymous’ comment: "I especially disdain your comment 'Dat's coo. I gots dis.' Is that what people in Utah think African-Americans sound like? I am especially shocked that you are conducting tours for programs related to public relations. As a good rule of thumb, don't automatically categorize a young black man dancing as Usher, and refrain from talking about 'white girl dances' or any other racially based descriptors."
My comments: I made that comment in my head - it's what we hear portrayed on TV, in music, literature. Does that make it right? No, you're right, it doesn't. However, not everyone speaks like that. Same goes for the fact that not every American speaks with a Texas or New York accent. (Everyone knows some Texans speak with an accent, right? And New Yorkers? Or are my ears just a little off?)
You have every right to be shocked that I conducted a tour for a program related to public relations. You'll be happy to know it was my first and last. I was simply a volunteer - like all who were running that conference. I was a student at the time, in the PR program, and obviously had a lot to learn. Thank you for continuing my education today.
I stated that the young man “leaned back like Usher” because I didn’t know how else to describe his movement. I’ve seen Usher make that movement before, so I thought other people would understand what I was trying to visually describe for them. And, I use the term “white girl dance” very loosely – my friends and I have used that term for a long time at dance parties – by my definition, I would say that a white girl dance is literally, a white girl trying to dance hip hop, but failing badly. That is MY definition. But, I didn’t clarify that in my first post, so you have every right to choose to be offended at that. I apologize.
Anonymous’ comments: “Try to avoid racism in your work in PR. I would appreciate a redaction on your blog, along with an apology.”
My comment: I am not a racist person. This post was not meant in any way to racially profile anyone. Stereotypes have been set in our culture today, and I was simply playing off of them. I think a few of these things were also misunderstandings or misinterpretations - a lack of clarification on my part.
No redaction will appear, because what is posted on the internet, stays on the internet. It would still be available to the public even if I were to delete it. I will however, post this apology at the bottom of the post for future readers to reference.
My sincerest apologies, Anonymous. I appreciate your comments and truly will be much more aware of my wording and writing in the future.