To those offended and to those who wondered if they should be ...

My most recent blog post has sparked some conversation that I would like to address more fully. It was brought to my attention that the party I threw on Martin Luther King Jr. Day was "extremely offensive" and possibly perceived as "flip and insensitive". 

As always, I do apologize to any and all that were offended by our party and to those who found it flip and/or insensitive. That is never my intent.

I would like to express several points on the matter. Naturally, any and all can freely agree or disagree and that is okay!

The first point I would like to express is that I have received way more support regarding the activity than negative feedback by far! It should be noted that this feedback comes from highly intelligent and educated individuals. Some of which are extremely schooled in United States history and the courageous fight that Martin Luther King Jr. and countless others battled, and even sacrificed their lives for, for which this country will be eternally indebted. 

This event was in no way shape or form to make light of those battles or lives that sacrificed so much for the freedoms of Americans, Americans that were persecuted and restricted the basic rights of human life, which was appalling, immoral, horrific and unacceptable. This event was in no way shape or form meant to represent those events or those sacrifices. 

I can tell you what this event was intended to do. It was intended to bring friends together to celebrate the day in a fun, light-hearted nature that would still call remembrance to Martin Luther King Jr. and those events. 

If I am to be brutally honest, even after the negative feedback, I still firmly believe it is much better to remember the day even in a fun, light-hearted way than to not do anything at all. Personally, it would make sense to me that if those who were offended by the event, or found it flip and insensitive, should find the "ignorant" people who don't bring remembrance to the day at all even more offensive, because I do not know a soul that uses this day of solemn, somber remembrance. To my knowledge, most Americans use it as a day to spend time with family and friends, which I think is absolutely wonderful. Additionally, there are some people who straight up refuse to honor the day and fought against it becoming a national holiday. Perhaps that would be a more appropriate place for offense to be taken?

So, that is what I did, I made an attempt to remember Martin Luther King Jr. in a fun, light-hearted way, which will likely make this past MLK day more memorable for anyone that was in attendance at the event than their regular MLK day from years past and future. 

Lastly, the day was intentionally placed to be observed around his birthday. I think we threw a nice birthday party for him, if I do say so myself. And I don't know Dr. King personally {obvi, I am not that old}, so I truly cannot speak for him, but I'd have a difficult time believing he would be offended by me trying to have a fun way to remember him. 

Again, for those offended or see how this could be offensive, I am deeply sorry. But hopefully, this can shed some light on another perspective that shows no intent for offense and possibly even reason to not be offended. 

Carry on, good people of the world wide web. Carry on. 


Amy Fashion Blog said...

very well said.

The Suzzzz said...

You have explained yourself well and I think people who regularly read your blog have come to know that you would never intentionally hurt anyone and that you strive to be kind, fun, and positive.

You have apologized for hurting feelings if you caused offense (which isn't easy), but you defend what it was that caused the problem in the first place. It does seem like your intentions were good and that your apology was sincere, but it doesn't seem as if you understand why people are offended.

I have a lot of minority friends, one of whom is a civil rights attorney. I've been to protests and marches with them in Los Angeles and DC. Some of them have been beaten and harassed for being black, latino, gay, transgender, or simply supporting people who are. Racial inequality and discrimination are still very real and to them there is absolutely NOTHING light hearted about civil rights.

I didn't send the link to your blog to them because I knew that they would bombard you with harsh criticism without knowing your character and you definitely don't deserve that. But I did copy your post and share it with them to ask their opinion, but first prefaced it with your apology. Without exception every single one of them were shocked and outrage, several said that it was one step away from blackface to have a group of middle class white young people playing pin the mustache on "good ol' martin", especially given the racial tension in this country over the last year.

I'm not trying to troll, but I recognize that most people in Utah are blind to white privilege and what it means to people of color around us, even when we think we are "color blind", even when we would stand up to someone who was being overtly racist. We think that because we are nice and don't intentionally cause offense that is enough. But being "nice" isn't enough.

The Suzzzz said...

Please try to image if a non-LDS blogger that you read and respected decided that they would have a General Conference party the way other people have oscar parties. They would invite all their non-mormon friends and they could play pin the trumpet on angel Moroni, make signature cocktails named after the prophets, they would eat off of gold plates, and they would turn conference talks into a light-hearted drinking game, and reference Good Ol' Joe Smith. Then post the photos and tell people they were celebrating Mormonism and sharing the good news about how Mormons are cool and to show how far they've come in the world.

I can't say for sure how you would react, but if I saw it I know I would be sad and discouraged and possibly offended. I would want to let them know that even though they meant well, that what they shared was not OK, in a manner that was enlightening but not condescending. Please imagine what your party looked like to a young woman of african and puerto rican ancestry whose brother was beaten so badly he had to have 8 reconstructive surgeries, simply for being in the wrong neighborhood and looking too black. Imagine what it looks like to the Friendship 9 who waited over 50 years to have unjust convictions overturned, they were convicted for sitting at a whites only lunch counter. Imagine what it looks like to the japanese american transgender woman who spent her childhood in a WWII internment camp, served her country in the army in Vietnam, and was still discriminated enough for not being American enough. Imagine what it looks like to Trayvon Martin's mother.

We all have our agency. We can choose to be offended and angry, or we can choose to learn, share, and forgive. We can learn to see our mistakes and open our eyes to a new perspective, or we can defend ourselves and our blinders. I choose to believe that you intended to do something fun to celebrate a solemn occasion and didn't realize what it would look like to people of color. Maybe next year you might consider hosting a screening of a civil rights documentary, participate in the day of service, or join a civil rights vigil.

I don't write this to bring you down or to upset you. In fact if I didn't think you were a good person with a strong moral code and integrity I wouldn't bother posting anything at all. I share this because I respect you and want to share another view with you in the hopes that you will be able to see. Thank you for sharing your thoughts and thank you for allowing me to share mine. I wish you all the best.

Ellen Ross | Ask Away said...

So i read this post and then I went back to look at the post you were referring to. I know for an absolute fact that you did not mean any harm , but I think that it's inevitable that people will be upset by this. And while as a human being you are totally given the right to celebrate what you want, when you want, and how you want..it probably wasn't a good idea to blog about it. I only say this as a nother blogger because I see how stuff can upset people. I just think that while it may be a lighthearted holiday to you , to a lot of others it's a more serious thing. Personally, I consider MLK and MLK day the same as anything relating to heroes that helped people out during the holocaust, etc. So there isn't that much of a lighthearted aspet to any of those situations.... Sometimes HUGE moments in history that change or have a big impact on life as we know it, arent lighthearted at all and i def think this was one of those things.

I totally dont hold any of that against you and I don't want you to think im making a mean comment, I just wanted to explain how other people may be seeing it. I think the whole point you were trying to get across in your original post was that you were simply having a themed party... I fyou want to have an earth day themed party you would likely decorate with plants, leaves, fake trees , etc... For valentine's day you would decorate with pink and hearts, and for MLK you chose to decorate with black and white items. There is nothing wrong with that.... You had a themed party and thats fine I just think that people will automatically become a bit up in arms when they see it as a "celebration" of something that is not necessarily a happy moment in history, but more of a painfully empowering moment in history.

Summer said...

I thought the black and white party is adorable, but I'm a young white girl who lives in Utah so I guess that makes me an insensitive racist. When you are Caucasian, you just can't win. If you were a minority celebrating with a black and white party, I can't imagine anyone criticizing you!

I think it is wonderful that you were able to celebrate an important day in history. I myself didn't do anything to honor the sacrifices of Mr. King and those who followed him.

Cheri @ Overactive Blogger said...

One of the problems is as that MLK Jr, his work, and his legacy are still relevant today. Many of us had uncles, cousins, or grandparents who marched alongside him. Family members who were sprayed with fire hoses, shot with rubber bullets, and tear gassed in the fight. Making light of this is making light of a struggle that continues today. We have come SO far, but things like this, folks using the n-word (I was called the n-word and chased from our neighborhood when I was 16), and the continued oppression of black people make it very apparent that we still have some ways to go. This party seemed to make light of a very very serious struggle that applies today.

Mindy said...

The party was in celebration of the GOOD he did. It was in no way making light of the struggle and sacrifices. We were focused on the better world we live in because of him and that was cause for celebration. Again, I apologize you were offended. But the intent and result were entirely tasteful. I feel if I were to only focus on the battles yet to be won, THAT would be entirely disrespectful of MLK and all he sacrificed for and the change he did make in this world.

Mindy said...

Thank you, Summer!

Mindy said...

You can always share another view. :)

As mentioned before, we were celebrating the better world he created for us all and got that, I continue to feel it was entirely tasteful. If that can't be seen or can and is still seen as offensive, that is the choice I'd the offended.

Mindy said...

If someone observes this day as a solemn and somber day, I totally get their offense. But I ask they see I view it as celebrating the good he did, which to me is joyous. Never in my life have I heard of anyone observing it as such, so it didn't cross my mind I should. When I've read history it was intentionally placed on yore day it was to be around his birthday, so I celebrated it as such to celebrate his life. That's all.

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