Put Away the Black Marker

I voted for Bob Dole instead of Bill Clinton. Now a popular revolutionary slogan is tattooed on my shoulder.

I became a teacher to do something noble with my life. Found out I don’t like kids and went running back to work for fancy pants attorneys.

This was a long year for everyone.

I married a guy who wanted children, and we had names picked out for three of them. See previous paragraph.

Instead of kids, we decided to take naps and travel.

These are just three instances of when I changed my mind about ideas I felt strongly about at the time. A couple weeks ago, The Guardian published an article about popular feminist comic Amy Schumer, pointing out that at times she has had a blind spot about race, including a particularly troublesome joke about Hispanics. Schumer’s initial non-apology was met with some backlash, and she later replied to a tweet with this.

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Regardless of her motivation and sincerity (her movie opens tomorrow), or whether an apology was even warranted and the possible effect this has on the state of comedy (if I see one more g-d think piece on this…), at face value, and at its core, is a message that has increasingly resonated with me as I get on in years: Things change. I change. It’s OK to change.

Perhaps in addition to my running journey this blog has been nothing if not a series of essays about old ideas being put to bed. I grew up in a rigid, fierce, and disciplined family, and one of those deeply engrained precepts is that changing your mind is weak. Draw the line in the sand and stand firm on your principles. Black marker, thick and heavy, through the names of people who have wronged you, whether real or perceived.

As with most of my attributes, this well-intentioned tenet has served me well in some ways. I’m super loyal and passionate about people, ideas, and food choices. I.Love.Hard. This quality has also made me unforgiving and stubborn as fuck. Somewhere in my thirties I came to see that holding my ground because I didn’t want to sound flip-floppy, or continuing to identify myself a certain way because I’d always identified that way no longer served me. I realized that it’s natural and mature to grow in one’s views as I got more information or changed.

I brought up Amy because my latest about-face was…well, it was about her. I enjoy and admire Schumer’s comedy, but as an immigrant WOC, I bristled at her “I used to date Hispanic guys, but now I prefer consensual” joke — especially in light of Donald Trump’s recent statements about Mexico sending its rapists to the U.S. I was heated. That was not funny, and Amy was about to be relegated to the Dead-to-Me part of my ledger. But over the past week, and after ongoing discussions with two other POC, I came around and saw how I may have misinterpreted her, as well as my own pettiness and bias in my assessment. I also fully admit that there are going to be times when I just don’t want to hear a white person joking about brown and black people, regardless of their intent or my bias. In this case, though, I like Amy, so we’re good, Boo. Luckily I didn’t have to announce our reconciliation on Twitter.

Now look, if you find me wearing a Clippers jersey or catch my husband and I getting down at a swinger’s club, know that the end of days is nigh. Short of that, you may find me sprinkling raisins on my food, rocking some skinny jeans, or having lunch with the former receptionist at my office (Ha. Just kidding. Bitch.) I’m open to and interested in re-examining whatever it is that I think I’m so sure about now. With the acquisition of more information and the inevitability of evolution – mine, others or circumstances – everything is subject to revision if not complete erasure.

Trainwreck opens this Friday.

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