Departments of Youtoo and Which Lives Matter
I recently overheard snippets of a conversation between two (white) guys about the horrible burden placed upon them during the past couple of years. Alas, it seems that that they can no longer sling sexist and racist slurs with impunity “even joke” about “some stuff – not only that, White Guy #1’s ____ (wife? girlfriend?)  objected when WG#1 defended a friend who’d publicly commented about the body of a female co-worker. White Guy #2 made some kind of commiseration grunt, and said he wished someone would explain the “new rules” (of such discourse, I assume) to him.
It was so difficult to restrain moiself, lemme tellya.
But it was dinner time, and there was a long line behind me in the 15 items or less checkout line, so I took WG#2’s rhetorical plea for explanation in the spirit it was likely intended, and held my tongue. However, if I’d had the time (and didn’t care if I were to be banned from shopping in that store, ever again), I might have said something like the following.
The key thing of it – the “it” here referring to that wonderful/prickly path we trod along with our comrade human beings, – is that to walk through this world as a decent friend, partner, citizen, or even bystander, you have to hold, and act on, two seemingly disparate or incongruous hypotheses:
(1) If you are male and your friend is female, *she* is the expert on what it’s like to be a woman in your culture. Your job is to listen to her when and if she feels comfortable enough to give an account and/or an analysis of her experiences, not to explain to her why it wasn’t really sexism or misogyny, either personal or systemic, when she tells you how
* she (as well as the only other woman who serves on the company advisory board) is repeatedly interrupted and “talked over” by male colleagues during meetings;
* her engineering project lab partner ridiculed and downplayed her ideas to their professor and then later presented them as his own;
* despite her reporting him to their manager, a fellow waiter persists in grabbing her ass when he sees her balancing a beverage tray on each hand; 
* she was not nominated for her party’s candidacy for County Commissioner, despite the fact that she was the most experienced potential candidate, and when she commented aloud on the historical disparity of women in said office a party fundraiser took her aside and told her that he could not effectively raise money for women candidates…
If you are a man and your friend/partner/neighbor/co-worker is a woman, she is the expert on being a woman. Not you. If you want to be an ally – if you want to be One Of The Good Guys, ®  listen to her when she conveys her experiences. Then, hopefully and deliberately, you will strategize on How Not To Be Those Kinds Of Men, and how to influence and support fellow menfolk to do likewise.
(2) Here is where the (perhaps greater) challenge comes in: although your woman friend is her own expert on being a woman, she is not The President of All Women. ® Nor does she speak for all women. She may have hold diametrically opposed positions on certain personal and personal positions and have very different life experiences than, say, her female cousin, or the woman who cashiers at the supermarket. Still, all three of them – your friend, her cousin, and the cashier – are their own “experts” re navigating this world as a woman, while you are not.
Ignore this cranky Italian writer and keep on trying.
The same goes for your black co-worker, who is an expert on being black. Your job as a white friend or acquaintance or neighbor or co-worker is not to whitesplain to him –
when he relates his experience of being terrified, and later enraged, when, while driving his new BMW and committing no traffic infractions, he was pulled over and interrogated by a police officer who wondered why he was driving through that particular neighborhood
– re why he saw prejudice where it didn’t exist, and how difficult it is to be a cop…
Your job is to listen, and to learn, if possible. He is the expert on what it means to be black in America, not you – even though, as per (2) above
* your black co-worker does not speak for the mythical “Black Community,” and
* he may hold political opinions and have had experiences that are vastly different from those of, say, his uncle, who is a rabid Clarence Thomas supporter.
Ditto for your LGBTQ friends, if you are straight, for your atheist/humanist/religion-free friends if you are a religious believer, or for any other “oppressed” or “minority” group. 
Whiteness/straightness/maleness/religiosity has controlled the microphone for a long, long time. You may feel the pendulum is swinging too far to the other side. Tough titties. If it truly is, pendulums being what they are, it will eventually swing back.
Your task between swings is to listen and (fingers crossed) learn. You can disagree, of course, but try reflecting on what was said, maybe even overnight or – gasp, in this world where a six second gif of your brain exploding seems to long – for a few days or longer, before you share your disagreement. Try the proverbial walking in another person’s shoes; wait for a long…long…long time before responding. And consider whether any response (other than a change of heart and/or action) is actually necessary. Will your feedback truly be helpful?
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Department of Disclaimers
The previous harangue thoughtful exposition of compelling social issues was is in no way meant to be supportive two other controversial topics: (1) for fiction writers, the hideous admonition to, “write what you know,“ and (2) the warnings against so-called cultural appropriation. I find both concepts, however “well-meaning” their champions may be,  to be despicable – inaccurate at best and intellectually suppressive at worst – and moiself has commented on such previously in this space.
* * *
Department Of I Am So Not Making This Up
Yet another commercial that I assumed was a Saturday Night Live parody, but which turned out to be deliciously real.
Simply turn on the Wonder Bible, and a pleasant voice reads the book to you.
The product description material says that the Wonder Bible Audio Player contains skip and fast forward functions – tasks which comes in handy for any religion. For generations the “skip function” has been widely and successfully used by clerics (as well as their parishioners), who prefer to ignore the passages of their scriptures which champion violence, genocide misogyny, racism, sexual abuse, child abuse and other abominable/just plain bat shit crazy edicts and stories  that populate the collection of bronze and iron age mythologies which have come to be known as the Old and New Testaments. 
The road to atheism is littered with bibles that have been read cover to cover.
( Andrew Seidel, Civil Rights and Constitutional Law attorney,
Freedom From Religion Foundation )
Those of us happy heretics who know the bible better than most bible-believers can’t help but wonder how the “pleasant voice” narrating “the entire” Wonder Bible will handle such passages as
* “He that is wounded in the stones, or hath his privy member cut off, shall not enter into the congregation of the Lord.” (Deuteronomy 23:1)
* “Slaves, be subject to your masters with all reverence, not only to those who are good and equitable but also to those who are perverse.” (1 Peter 2:18)
* “Behold with a great plague will the LORD smite thy people and thy children, and thy wives, and all thy goods: And thou shalt have great sickness by disease of thy bowels, until thy bowels fall out by reason of the sickness day by day.” (II Chronicles 21:14-15)*
* “If two men are fighting and the wife of one of them comes to rescue her husband from his assailant, and she reaches out and seizes him by his private parts, you shall cut off her hand. Show her no pity.” (Deuteronomy 25:11-12)
* ” And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying…Whosoever he be of thy seed in their generations that hath any blemish, let him not approach to offer the bread of his God. For whatsoever man he be that hath a blemish, he shall not approach: a blind man, or a lame, or he that hath a flat nose, or anything superfluous, Or a man that is brokenfooted, or brokenhanded, Or crookbackt, or a dwarf, or that hath a blemish in his eye, or be scurvy, or scabbed, or hath his stones broken; No man that hath a blemish…shall come nigh to offer the offerings of the LORD…. ‘” (Leviticus 21:16-21)
* “Samaria shall become desolate; for she hath rebelled against her God: they shall fall by the sword: their infants shall be dashed in pieces, and their women with child shall be ripped up.” (Hosea 13:16 )
* “…Judah’s firstborn was wicked in the sight of the LORD; and the LORD slew him. And Judah said unto Onan, Go in unto thy brother’s wife, and marry her, and raise up seed to thy brother. And Onan knew that the seed should not be his; and it came to pass, when he went in unto his brother’s wife, that he spilled it on the ground, lest that he should give seed to his brother.” (Genesis 38:7-9)
* “A woman should learn in quietness and full submission. I do not permit a woman to teach or to have authority over a man; she must be silent.” (1 Timothy 2:11-12)
* “…they warred against the Midianites, as the LORD commanded Moses; and they slew all the males….and took all the women of Midian captives, and their little ones….And they brought the captives…unto Moses….Moses said unto them, Have ye saved all the women alive? Behold, these caused the children of Israel…to commit trespass against the LORD….Now therefore kill every male among the little ones, and kill every woman that hath known man by lying with him. But all the women children, that have not known a man by lying with him, keep alive for yourselves.” (Numbers 31:7-18)
* “For she doted upon their paramours, whose flesh is as the flesh of asses, and whose issue is like the issue of horses.” (Ezekiel 23:20)
* * *
May you judiciously monitor your own skip function;
May you save your pleasant voice for deserving stories;
May we all be One of The Good Guys ® ;
…and may the hijinks ensue.
Thanks for stopping by. Au Vendredi!
* * *
 I don’t know the relationship, only that the person was female.
 And if you use any variation of the dreadful boys will be boys excuse to downplay such incidents, she will be within her rights as a sentient being to Gorilla Glue a hornet’s nest to your boys will be parts.
 Even if you may have legitimate disagreements with those labels.
 Oh, how I shudder to hear that term, for when it’s applied it almost always is used to excuse some kind of verbal or procedural disaster (“She means well….”).
 (All supposedly “inspired” by their god(s) .
 Or, The Hebrew Scriptures, as the OT is sometimes referred to.