Dear Amy: Am I racist? A couple of teenagers were at my front door, and I shouted to my husband: "There are some Black kids at the door, and I don't have time to deal with them."
Kids at the door in my neighborhood are usually selling something or are looking for yard work. That's what I didn't have time to deal with.
My biracial future daughter-in-law was present and took offense. Apparently, behind my back, she and my stepson discussed how "un-woke" I am. As soon as I learned she had been offended, I sent a note of apology to her.
I am in my 60s and was raised in the South, but I was active in civil rights during my youth. I was the first white student at my high school who insisted to be put on bathroom cleaning duty with the students of color. (The white students got to work in the office.)
As a reporter for a newspaper in the South, I had a gun pulled on me as I was covering a boycott of white businesses. But these kids have never bothered to ask.
I don't enjoy receiving a lecture on being "woke" from two suburban Midwesterners. I know their hearts are in the right place, but what about giving someone the benefit of a doubt?
Amy says: Do you identify white people who come to your door using their race as the primary descriptive? I assume not. So yes, you doing so only with Black people is a racist way to communicate.
You seem to believe that because you have demonstrated some admirable moments of not being racist, this means that you have conquered racism. This is an extremely flimsy defense.
You also believe that this young couple should not throw down the race card because you have faced a variety of racial issues over time.
But if your previous experiences (including reporting for a newspaper) didn't teach you that all human beings need to continue to learn, grow and change, then what was the point of having these experiences?
If you have apologized without understanding what you are apologizing for, then your apology doesn't mean much.
The word "woke" is being bandied about a lot lately and applied in many different contexts, but I take being woke as the ultimate goal of the lifelong process of awakening to the human experience, as it is lived by others.
So, wake up, already!
A leaky trust bucket
Dear Amy: Is it me, or is there only one way to interpret the response I quote below from my boyfriend of four years?
I heard from him at 7:30 p.m., and then heard nothing until 3:30 p.m. the following day. Here is what he texted:
"Love you, but I'm not going to do the 'it's been this many hours and you haven't messaged me so you must not love me' thing. Your bucket of trust has to be able to hold the water I've given you to make it through 24 hours."
Amy says: There are many reasons for couples to be in touch other than having to replenish a partner's leaky "bucket of trust."
Without context, I would say that a brief "goodnight" text or call to someone you love is within the norm.
And while I appreciate the concept of a "bucket of trust," your boyfriend is implying that yours is empty. Either you don't trust him as much as you would like to, or you simply desire more frequent affectionate contact. Your boyfriend is telling you — very clearly — that he's not willing to do that.
Send questions to Amy Dickinson at firstname.lastname@example.org.