Tuesday, August 9, 2011

This is America

Someone on Goodreads that I follow added the book 35 Dumb Things Well-Intended People Say: Surprising Things We Say That Widen The Diversity Gap, by Maura Cullen, and it interested me enough to check it out.

Here's the summary:
EVEN WELL-INTENDED PEOPLE CAN CAUSE HARM Have you ever heard yourself or someone else say: "Some of my best friends are... (Black, White, Asian, etc.)"? "I don't think of you as... (Gay, Disabled, Jewish, etc.)"? "I don't see color, I'm colorblind"? These statements and dozens like them can build a divide between us and the people we interact with. Though well-intended, they often widen the diversity gap sometimes causing irreparable harm personally and professionally. If you've ever wanted to be more effective in your communication with others, or have been afraid of saying the wrong thing, then this concise guide is essential to becoming more inclusive and diversity-smart.
So the summary isn't all that specific, but it gets that job done well enough I suppose. I'll probably see if the library has it since it's been too long since I read a non-fiction book, but what really interested me was one of the reviews.

From Jilian:
In regards to Dr. Maura Cullen’s book “35 Dumb Things Well- Intended People Say”, I am utterly shocked at the hypocrisy and self-righteous attitude the book displays. I was given the book at a college orientation session, where I had the words diversity, community, and acceptance thrown in my face for eight hours. I am a white female, I am straight, I come from a good neighborhood, a great family, and I am Christian. I’ll bet you just formed a judgment of why I am writing this review, right? I don’t know where this arrogance comes from, but it is disgusting. Dr. Cullen, I believe is a gay women, and though her sexual orientation is not anyone’s business besides her own, I can guarantee that if an average American male or female, straight, and of an ordinary faith, had written this book, it would not have been as widely accepted as it is. Let us remember that America was built on Christian beliefs; meaning this new policy of “acceptance” towards gays, lesbians, bisexuals, and transgender are against everything this country was built on. It is not my responsibility to accept these people nor is it my responsibility to write a book proclaiming how one should properly communicate with them. This is American, the land of the free. If a person wants to be gay or lesbian or whatever, I do not have to accept it and I sure do not have to watch my way of speaking to better accommodate their feelings. If anything, this new breed of people should watch their speaking, their attitudes, and their beliefs because it goes one hundred percent against what America is about.

Why is Dr. Maura Cullen any smarter than the next person; because she has an opinion and wrote a book about it? Why should anyone choose to listen and follow a self-righteous author who decided to write a book because she was not accepted properly by society? Number 13 in the book is “Saying to GLBT people, ‘What you do in the privacy of your own bedroom is your business.” It states that people make this remark to “convey that a person’s sexual orientation is not their business.” IT’S NOT! Since when do we have to walk around and point out whose gay, and who was once a female? WE DON’T. If you don’t want to make people uncomfortable, don’t talk about your sexual orientation publicly. As far as I know, it is not polite to put your sex life out in the open anyways.

Number 33 on the list is “Asking a transgender person if they’ve had “the operation”. Once again, if you don’t want people asking questions, don’t put your business out in the open. Odds are if you’re in a conversation with a transgender, they will openly tell you “Yeah, I had penis attached.” If one of the parties in the conversation can’t deal with that, I think we all know how to walk away.
Those are only a few examples of the idiocy of this book. If everyone followed this books guidelines, no one could say anything. We would all have to tiptoe around to make sure we didn’t piss anyone off or hurt anyone’s feelings. Once again, this is America. We can say what we want, when we want. If I want to dislike gay people, so be it. If a transgender person wants to have the operation, terrific! No one, especially, not Dr. Maura Cullen is going to tell me how to speak and communicate to make sure the weirdoes of this world are comfortable. It is not my responsibility to openly talk with GLBT people. It is not my responsibility to accept them. It is not anyone’s responsibility to alter their beliefs, their way of speaking, or their manner in general to better accommodate the people of this world who make odd choices. This book was written by someone who has a formed opinion of everyone is isn’t like her. Therefore, if you are white, black, straight, Christian, or basically the majority of people on American, you are the one who is expected to read this book and change YOUR way of life. The gays, lesbians, bisexuals, transgender, atheists, foreigners, the weak are too continue on feeling sorry for themselves because they are not “accepted” and diversity isn’t what they want it to be.
Would you guess that Jilian also joined Goodreads just to write this review? It appears that way. I don't even know what to say, but her response is what really sold me on the book. I take comfort knowing people like this are a dying breed.


  1. I'm always surprised when people openly admit they are bigots. I guess I shouldn't be because if there weren't any, no one would have to write a book like this. It actually looks pretty interesting and I may pick it up soon. I need to force myself to finish my English novels before school starts (I'll have all day soon when the kids go back to school *yay*)

  2. Yes, exactly. Though I know better, I can't help but be surprised. Maybe it's because people like this are so brazen. I mean, “Yeah, I had penis attached?!" wtf?

    I can't wait for school to start. I feel restless and need time to myself again. I didn't have to read any novels for my English classes surprisingly. I probably would have this semester for Diverse Women Writers, but I ended up dropping the class.

  3. I just read that review and had an overwhelming urge to slap Jillian across the face.

    Odds are if you’re in a conversation with a transgender, they will openly tell you “Yeah, I had penis attached.”

    I'm going to go ahead and wager a guess that Jillian has never been in a conversation with "a transgender."

  4. I know. That part really highlighted what an idiot this woman is.

  5. I'm going to go ahead and order this book, asap. It looks awesome. Probably at least in part because of how drastic this reviewer's reaction was. I'm...floored. And I think I may have actually gotten just a little physically ill from reading it. This is the kind of thing I like to tuck away and show people when they tell me there's no such thing as bigotry, anymore. *Shakes head* Thanks for the lead on the book!


  6. I totally agree! At least most people have the decency to pretend they aren't bigots.

  7. "This is American, the land of the free."

    I feel like that kind of sums it up, no?


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