Last week, something really good happened.
On Thursday, I had a piece run on McSweeney's.
Now, if you've been reading this for a bit, you know that I have tried on a number of occasions to get published - I had a piece run in December 2018, and since then, a drought. Part of that is that I wasn't writing as much or as often. The other part is that what I was writing wasn't for them.
The funny thing is, I initially thought it was so obvious, I wouldn't even bother submitting it - and I figured, why not them do the work and reject me. I'll still have a piece for my blog. And I honestly wanted them to hurry up and nix it, because I wanted to post it.
Only, instead, they said yes.
Well then. Admittedly, it's funniest for a small subsection of those of us who are theatre nerds and punsters. But that was good. I will keep on keeping on.
I spent the weekend, well, driving mostly. I got to Atlanta Friday around 1PM. Mom and I put together dinner for her boyfriend, his son, the son's girlfriend. I made fish tacos. This is basically cooking some frozen breaded fish filets and chopping a lot of veggies. It's an easy dinner, as they go. I enjoyed it, and so did our dinner guests.
Early Saturday morning, I got up and drove to our cabin for a work day. As you may recall, I was slightly roughed up from my previous weekend and the recent break-in to my home. That said, I managed my day quite well. I had some good conversations, petted a few dogs, did some trimming of flora, met with the rest of the board, and then around 5PM, I made my way back to Atlanta. Mom cooked, we had a late supper together and chatted, and then around midnight, we crashed.
The next morning, I drove home, and I was there by noon. I did laundry, groceries, etc.
Probably the biggest thing to come up over the weekend was something that isn't about me at all.
And it was bad.
Ruth Bader Ginsburg died. I liked her - I always had. She was a total bad ass, and she didn't care if you liked her or not. She did a lot for humankind.
I don't even want to get into why this worries me. I can't tell you anything you haven't already heard. I am worried.
If you know me, you know I lean so far enough left I could be used as a ski jumping ramp. And I worry that the people in power are going to do something questionable and disruptive.
So, yeah - I'm feeling a little anxious.
The ugly happened last night. I was reading a post on Facebook from my sorority alumni group about a racial incident that allegedly occurred between a member of the sorority and a guest at a private party last year. She said things that were inflammatory, and another sister reported it to the officers of the sorority, who investigated it. What happened in the investigation is confidential, so, I don't know what came of the young woman, except that she was not expelled from the sorority.
Fast forward nearly 10 months. There is a grad student on campus who has blown up twitter exposing racist events that the school has swept under the carpet, and she exposed this one. One of the partygoers came to her with the story, and she blasted it (along with the alleged perpetrator's name) all over the twitterverse.
My first thought was, why does a third party shit-stirrer need to get involved in this? And I was annoyed that my organization was under scrutiny, after all the work that we, the collective we, have put into being a well-regarded entity.
And then I realized that my alliance to minority groups and to justice stops exactly at the point where it becomes uncomfortable or inconvenient to me. That if it had happened to a sorority down the street, I would have seen it as "they got what was coming to them".
While I wasn't there and don't know what happened, it's not hard to imagine that a drunk young woman at a party in Georgia shouted racial slurs at another guest. It's not inconceivable that the sorority standards board reviewed the incident and decided that without hard evidence, to take the path of least resistance.
It's easy to see how a woman of color at UGA finally had enough. And that while she has no specific vendetta against or affiliation with my group, she was fed information that needed to be broadcast. And that maybe she's a shit-stirrer because the shit needed stirring.
So, it took me a second to get there, but I'm glad I came to see that this is, I hope, a gift for my sorority to figure some things out and work toward a better understanding of all kinds of people.
But - and I know, I know - but.
I also have to say this. College aged students are, as a whole, not the most informed or rational people. Most of them are leaving home for the first time, and they have spent 18 years being filled with data and stimuli from their parents, shaped from their surroundings, and not having to be responsible or accountable. That is a failing of society, the educational system, their parents... but it's a failing as old as time. Eighteen is a time to think about parties and getting laid, and declaring a major, and not murdering your dorm-mate because she brings random guys back to the room. Sure, some kids, by that point in life have opinions, based mostly on what they've been told and not what they themselves have learned through experience. Those experiences change and grow over time, based on new data, new experiences. Not just in college, but forever.
I grew up without every ill-informed thing I've ever said or done being recorded for posterity on the internet. And that allowed me the chance to make some mistakes, say some stupid things, figure out where I landed politically, ethically, socially.
The young woman who (allegedly) yelled out slurs is probably no more than 22 years old. And she may live the rest of her life working to better understand where she failed, what she did wrong. But she's also had her name put out there on the internet, which is forever. So even if she does come around and realize where she went off the rails, she's permanently derailed by public record.
And maybe that's fair. I'm just saying, while I never got so drunk I repeatedly used a racist epithet, I got plenty drunk and called an ex-boyfriend suggesting that if we were to get in a fight, I could kick his ass. I'm glad I grew up in a time where I had the luxury of making mistakes and learning from them away from mass scrutiny.
So, I guess what I'm saying is, apparently, I still have work to do. I hope that anyone who has read this understands that if I simply didn't care about disenfranchised minorities, this wouldn't bother me as much as it does. So, onward. And onward and onward.
Anyway we have to work toward understanding.
And, by the way, I loved the McSweeney's piece. I read it earlier this week and was thrilled to see you got another one published.