The character Earnest has invented his name to conceal his identity when in the city, and when his fiance confesses that she could never love a man whose name wasn't Earnest, he finds himself in quite the dilemma: should he tell the truth and lose her, or should he keep on lying?
Yesterday I asked what we should do in a situation in which we can't be nice, but have to confront people to protect ourselves and others. Should we keep on lying to ourselves and say everything is okay, or should we tell the truth, regardless of the response?
Ms Micah's answer: niceness is godly.
You know, that IS nice, but I - and others - wonder, by whose definition of nice? Yours, mine, ours?
Ms Micah's definition of niceness is the absence of rudeness. You can be firm, but you should never be rude. But this begs the question: what should we do in situations in which the other person sees firmness as rudeness? How can we be nice, and yet get our point across? Ms Micah offers this as a solution:
There was a time in American culture that black people were encouraged to start their own schools because they were unwanted in the white schools. Some white folks were even “kind” enough to help fund black schools. Well-meaning people give advice that seems reasonable in a moment of frustration, but “reason” often lacks long-term “wisdom.”
In reality, black people should have generally refused to start their own schools and white people who cared about this fight should have insisted that they join the existing schools fully and everywhere. Now, in 2015, we are still advocating for black lives to matter as much as white lives (Read the whole article here).
Black people should have rejected white people's "kindness" and fought to integrate the existing schools.
But how can you fight and be nice at the same time?
When nine students in Little Rock, Arkansas decided to integrate the local school in 1957 they sparked a hostile response, because the local white people didn't like the idea of integration and they thought the idea was, well, rude.
In the past few days I've watched as egalitarians and feminists, and especially women of color, have been told by their fellow egalitarians that their questions will go unanswered because their questions have lacked grace and love. Jory Micah makes no excuses about this: she is in the business of protecting feelings, especially her own; rudeness will not be tolerated. But I wonder how she expects us to break the glass steeple if those who protect the steeple are as worried about their own feelings as she is, and instead of listening, retreat behind signs that say, "We won't go to church with a woman pastor."
Just as Earnest in the hit play had to find at least one parent, for losing both parents was considered carelessness, I suggest that Ms Micah looks around to see where her true allegiance lies. Is it with feminism and equality, or is it with those who won't let anyone rock the boat because the majority are sleeping and don't want to be woken up, because that would be rude?
As for me and my friends, we won't be silenced.