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Reflections October 2017

Agelessly Yours

Timing, Tone and Tenderness

By Karen White-Walker

The saying goes, “With kindness you can pull an elephant by a hair,” and I now believe it. And if you think that the ability to laugh at yourself is too simple a solution to ease racial tensions, stop reading right now, because I’m only wasting your time.

What I've learned in the ebbing years of my life is that timing is so vital to humor, lovemaking and life itself. What’s equally important is tone. Speak harshly and nastily to others and you’ve lost their admiration and, furthermore, people want to shove a ramrod down your throat. Think of a certain commander in chief who’s been accused of having an arrogant management style, ugh! But use a light, playful and respectful tone, and you won’t believe what could happen. I was there and I don’t believe it. It has something to do with eradicating stereotyping and dispelling prejudice and ignorance.

The saying goes, “With kindness you can pull an elephant by a hair,” and I now believe it. And if you think that the ability to laugh at yourself is too simple a solution to ease racial tensions, stop reading right now, because I’m only wasting your time. Look, I don’t expect you to love all my articles, but I sure hope you’ve got the guts to read this one.

It was a lavish outdoor affair held under one of those enormous white tents that the Kennedy clan might rent, if they could afford it. The tent came equipped with a dance floor with wooden slates that were just a wee bit too wide, because when your high heels got caught, you went flying into your dancing partner’s arms who went flying into the next dancing couple on the floor. I guess that was the whole idea since the fun-loving, dynamic hostess was really into “Dancing With The Stars,” and bringing back old-fashioned stepping-on-your-feet type of waltzing.

But what does this all have to do with eradicating stereotyping and dispelling prejudice? Please, don’t rush me.

Now if you mustered up the moxie to continue reading, I’ll again warn you that only the very healthy, no chip-on-your-shoulder types will appreciate the incident and gain a little insight into human nature. Others will be aghast.

Michelle, an African-American and Carla, a Hispanic, were the only minorities invited to this plush affair. Why, you might ask? My rebuttal is: Why not? Other guests seemed to gravitate toward them because they both had hysterically funny personalities; infectious laughter and both oozed such self-confidence. Halfway through the evening the party started going south and the hostess noticed that was probably because Michelle and Carla were suddenly missing. “I saw them heading toward the house,” someone yelled out.

Had it been two white women, would the hostess have checked it out? Of course, because the hostess had to use one of her four powder rooms, so “checking it out,” wasn’t her reason for going to the house. Just as she entered the massive estate, Michelle emerged from one bathroom, Carla from another. The atmosphere was warm and friendly otherwise, what happened next could never ever have transpired.

“Okay, ladies,” the hostess quipped, “So you’ve been here casing the joint, huh? Up against the wall and clean out your pockets and purses.”

It was Michelle and Carla who first broke up laughing. Why? Because the hostess’s tone and body inflections told them she was simply having fun with them. Within minutes the incident was circulating around the party. The secure guests hardily laughed, but the suspicious, prejudice ones thought there could be some truth in the hostess's question.

“Why?” asked Michelle. “We only went to the main house, or is that the ‘BIG house?’” and once again she roared that infectious laugh.

“I want personality and one hell of a good time at my next bash,” spoke up a prominent figure, “so Michelle and Carla, you’re both invited!”

“Not unless we can come with deeper pockets and bigger purses,” piped up Carla.

Those are some women! I tell ya, in this angry world that incident was so refreshing.

 

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