Dark Continent

Dark continent: (n) reference to Africa

Although it’s never really organized, there is a definite attempt to rally for the victim—or make numerous excuses for the bully.

Both positions suffer from a weakness.

The bully and all his advocates appear defensive.

And the victim, trying to come across sympathetic, is often anemic—maybe even a little suspect.

Maintaining the insanity of racism requires a verbose bully and a wounded victim.

And may I say, as long as this profile is bolstered, the roles continue—bully and victim.

For perhaps two hundred years, Africa was referred to as the “Dark Continent.”

It was a conversational way of allowing the ignorance of our society, permitting them a tenuous explanation for egregious actions.

After all, the word “Dark” is simply a more clinical phrasing of “black.”

And adding “Continent” clarified that it was not part of Western expansion by the European explorers.

Merely consider how the slave traders were comforted, easing their conscience concerning stealing human beings by gently reminding one and all that these pieces of property had been poached from a Dark Continent.

Hell, they might even have done them a favor—escaping the treachery of their own surroundings.

We must remember that racism never really goes away.

It just changes its lingo and softens its rationalization.

 

Cutlet

Cutlet: (n) a slice of meat, especially of veal, for broiling or frying.

One of the more shocking aspects of life is when you escape your childhood home and begin to mingle with the pilgrims on the way to the Promised Land, discovering that all the things you heard in your house did not translate into the lives of other beings.

For instance, my mother used to say, “Don’t freeze your typooker.”

As a child, I assumed there were typookers from sea to shining sea.

But the first time I spoke it aloud in front of friends, post-high-school graduation, they laughed voraciously, and hee-hawed even more when I became defensive. No one had heard of typooker (though one girl thought it was something naughty.)

So I was surprised when I realized that the pressed-together hamburger/ground round patties I was familiar with as a child were universally referred to as “cutlets.”

During my growing up years, we called them “cube steaks.”

I don’t know whether this was wishful thinking in the minds of my impoverished parents—musing that referring to them as steak translated them during dinner time—or if they had run across a cult of “cubers,” which they immediately  joined, touting fake steak.

But it was embarrassing.

I was on a date with a girl and asked the waiter if they had some sort of cube steak. He looked at me, much more bewildered than necessary, and humiliatingly asked, “Could you draw a picture of it?”

My date for the evening, instantaneously sure she would never go out with me again, mercifully stepped in and said:

“I think you’re talking about a cutlet.”

Prideful and unwilling to sacrifice the turf, I responded, “No. I’m talking about cube steaks.”

At an impasse, the waiter suggested the beef stew (if I had ever heard of beef or stew). I was bruised.

Language is so powerful, yet so personal.

And it is so easy to convince ourselves that the words in our mouths are much more sacred than those lodged deep in the throats of our brothers and sisters.

funny wisdom on words that begin with a C

Crusade

Crusade: (n) any vigorous, aggressive movement for the defense or advancement of an idea or cause

During one December vacation from traveling on the road, I focused in on a seven-word slogan which I planned to use for the following year’s touring.

“No one is better than anyone else.”

I was so excited I could barely contain myself.

I couldn’t think of a better crusade to embark upon, to bring people together, point out our similarities and to hearken one and all to the commonality of humankind.

When it came time to go and do the production, to emphasize this beautiful seven-word crusade for human peace, I met resistance.

People didn’t like it as much as I thought they would.

To some, it seemed to be definitive and absent the possibility for discussion. (Yes—it is absolutely true. There are people on this Earth who feel the concept of love requires a debate.)

I was offended. I was defensive.

I found myself hoping that someone would question the beauty and integrity of “no one is better than anyone else,” so that I could argue with them—knowing, of course, that my stance was pure and holy and theirs most certainly had to be riddled with prejudice.

So rather than becoming a “repairer of the breach,” I succeeded in just making a more intelligent and merciful breach.

It upset people—to be common with others.

I was ready to do battle, like the knights of old—to climb onto my stallion and go into the Holy of Holies and establish the dominance of my particular edict.

Finally, one night I just sat down and came to two conclusions:

If you find yourself fighting, you’re not loving.

And whatever is written will eventually have to be rewritten.

 

funny wisdom on words that begin with a C


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Crass

Crass: (adj) without refinement, delicacy, or sensitivity; gross; obtuse; stupid

How does one write in such a way as to communicate that the thoughts being shared are in a whisper?

Great question, huh?funny wisdom on words that begin with a C

Well, if you would imagine that I am whispering, I will tell you to calm your spirit and listen carefully.

There is one secret to life and one alone. It is the thing that prevents us from being crass.

After all, crass is when things go along real well until someone threatens our sacred cow, never actually having any intention of killing it.

And at this point, people argue. They challenge. They bicker. And more often than not, it ends in some uncomfortable stand-off, where the footing is slippery, and the grudges begin to ice up.

We are all crass until we learn one valuable idea:

Don’t be defensive.

If someone makes a statement in your direction that offends you, don’t immediately leap to share explanations of your motivations or calibrate the correct insult to fire back.

It is really what is meant by “turning the other cheek.” It is not allowing somebody to punch you and then giving them permission to beat the hell out of you. No, it is refusing to become defensive, and instead, measuring the moment to see if you want to put yourself in the middle of a lengthy discussion, or would rather just go home.

Candidly, wasting time is more aggravating than being insulted. Consider the source, consider your heart and soul, consider your time.

We become crass when we feel it is necessary to defend ourselves whenever anyone darkens our countenance with their disapproval.

But crass by its very nature always leads to an overblown objection that makes the other person defensive, and then two defensive people defend themselves until everybody’s offended.

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Corrigible

Corrigible: (adj) capable of being corrected or reformed:

During a Q & A one night, when the audience had stopped having much interest in seeking any additional inquiries, the host who was conducting the interview with me, asked, off the top of her head, “If you could isolate one thing a person could do to make their life better, funny wisdom on words that begin with a C
what would it be?”

Before I got a chance to answer, comments suddenly arose from the audience, who moments earlier had looked ready to head for their cars.

Someone jokingly piped up and said, “Money!”

This prompted another to offer the word “beauty.”

It became almost like a list of the three wishes you might select if you rubbed the lamp and a genie appeared.

But when somebody intoned the word, “power,” the whole audience groaned in approval.

I turned to the person who made the suggestion and asked, “What kind of power? And how would you get it?”

He was a little surprised that I singled him out, because he was just trying to participate, or maybe just be funny. But it did draw attention back my way, and everyone seemed a little interested at what my response would be.

I replied, “If I could start over again and have one virtue that was sustainable throughout my life, it would be the ability to be corrected without copping an attitude, becoming defensive or making excuses. I would choose to be a corrigible human instead of considered an incorrigible brat.”

My answer was not quite as popular as “power.”

Yet I still contend today that anyone who can stand to be wrong, hear it and set in motion a plan to change it, immediately has beauty, will soon have power, and the money will follow.


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Chump

Chump: (n) a foolish or easily deceived person.

Self deception eliminates the possibility of blaming anyone else–and the best ways to be self-deceived are to be arrogant and defensive. I have done both.

I didn’t need to, but I was so afraid that I would be left out of the complexion of the new face of an idea that I got really fussy, picky and
ultimately intolerably pushy.

I became a chump.

Truthfully, there is no way to avoid becoming a chump unless you acknowledge the parts of yourself that initiate such a transformation. If your Dr. Jekyll does not recognize the stirrings of your Mr. Hyde, you will certainly find yourself apologizing for the actions of your lower self.

I find there are three things that always bring out the worst in me:

  1. Jealousy
  2. Fear of losing my virility
  3. And failing to sit down and realize what I have before I demand more.

I become a chump.

Unfortunately, there are people across this country who know me only as a chump because I’ve never had the chance to change my image, in front of them … to champ.Donate Button

Bunker

j-r-practix-with-border-2

Bunker: (n) a reinforced underground shelter, typically for use in wartime.

We have begun to create bunkers to buffer us against contact with one another.

We don’t view it that way–we call them political parties, church denominations, clubs or ardent study of cultures.

But the more we try to segregate that which we believe makes us special, the less and less valuable we become to one another.

If Washington, D.C. is a bunker, and your local church is a bunker, and your community is a bunker, and your race is a bunker–then isn’t it just bunk?

Bunkers are meaningless attempts to make people unique by alienating them from one another, placing them in positions to be defensive.

In the process, we all become perniciously offensive to one another.

How do you know if you’re in a bunker?

If you have to go somewhere else to hear ideas that aren’t your own, you’re probably already buried in the ground.

 

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