Cautionary: (adj) serving as a warning.

The word “cautionary” usually travels with a tale but often does not have the brains to fill a head. Most of the things I have been warned about in my life have proven to be false, or at the very least, exaggerated.

When I was twelve years old, a sociologist came to our school to discuss race. Actually, her function was to explain to our dull but fertile
minds why it was important for the races not to mix.

It was a slide show.

So we observed that when a black person and a white person get together and create children, the results are uncertain and often catastrophic. She provided pictures of children with splotchy skin, tumors and obviously suffering in some sort of miserable configuration.

She was so official–so well-studied. She explained that “it was just not good for the children.”

There are two comical things about this story. First, we lived in a community where the nearest black person was 25 miles away. And secondly, everything this well-educated and maybe even well-intentioned woman told us was bullshit.

Yet if you had been there to hear the cautionary tale, you would have been totally convinced you should avoid all contact with “Negroids”. (I believe that’s the word she used.)

When is a cautionary tale really of value?

When it asks us to mind our own P’s and Q’s instead of trying to change the ABC’s of life.



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