Naturally, a person who thinks sensitivity is overrated is the same one serving as a prime example of its necessity. As reported by the Colorado Statesman, Black and Latino Democrats are working on legislation to address various economic disparities between White Coloradans and those of color. Besides merely wanting to do the right thing, these Democrats are mobilizing their efforts in the wake of insensitive comments made by their Republican colleagues in the state legislature.
This includes Sen. Vicki Marble, R-Fort Collins, who last August argued the problem in poor health rates among minority communities is rooted in their love of chicken — barbecued chicken in particular.
When you look at life expectancy, there are problems in the black race: sickle-cell anemia is something that comes up, diabetes is something that’s prevalent in the genetic makeup and you just can’t help it… Although I’ve got to say, I’ve never had better barbecue and better chicken and ate better in my life than when you go down south and you — I mean love it and everybody loves it. The Mexican diet in Mexico with all of the fresh vegetables. And you go down there and they’re much thinner than when they come up here… they change their diet.
Instead of focusing on the quality of food provided to grocery stores in minority neighborhoods (the frail amounts that exist anyway) and the economics behind certain food purchases from poor people, Marble instead blamed our presumed sweet tooth and better seasoning. Marble’s ignorance is not surprising, but you would think after a couple of months of being rightfully roasted, she might want to dig a little deeper. You would think.
When asked about comments, Marble basically said we colored folks and our White friends who know better are blowing the need of sensitivity out of proportion. Why? I mean, she has Black friends herself, yo, so why we straight tripping, boo?
On her family, which apparently spans various races, ethnicities, and religions, Marble said:
“We talk honestly, we talk openly and freely, there’s no sensitivity. We all have genetic traits. That’s what I was bringing up. But where is the discussion going to start?
A quarter of those blacks who die from heart disease and diabetes, those can be prevented if we’re given the right information… We can’t force them to stop doing what they choose to do, but to give them the information. These are our families and our neighbors in the black community…
Before I get to this, you must pay special attention to this part:
“Honestly, I learned how to smoke meat from my black friends down in Texas because they lived with me… and stayed at my house. Did we talk about cooking? Yes. The whole time.”
I will give Marble some leniency here. I do often find that the need to maintain political correctness comes at the expense of honest dialogue. Okay, leniency over. That said, Marble said something poorly thought out if not arguably flat out stupid and deserved to be told that. And the fact that she continues to let the half cooked, barely seasoning thoughts from her brain seep out of her mouth is incredibly problematic.
Regardless of who is in her family, they’re clearly not keeping it completely honest with her. If they were, she’d be less inclined to be so offensive so unapologetically. Or maybe they don’t want to talk to Marble about anything besides cooking because she’s so hardheaded. Evidently, even when Marble is told about the error of her ways, she would rather lecture than listen.
Marble needs to see her own role in why “honest conversations” aren’t happening. To wit, Marble says, “Don’t let your sensitivities get in the way of a healthy lifestyle, or educating yourself about new things.” By that same token, don’t enter a conversation with your whitesplaining that’s rooted in half-a*sed stereotypes you hold base on some old Black TV sitcoms and the two Black cousins by marriage you have.
Respect begets respect. You get back what you put out there. Punks jump up to get beat down. Most of all: Think before you speak.
You’re welcome for this bit of advice, oh wiser White one.