Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Get It, Got It, Good

Apparently, I just don't "get it."

I don't get it about women. I don't get it about God. Definitely don't get it about white folks and racism. Man, it seems like on just about every topic in the world, I just don't "get it."

At least, that's what I've been told.

Any of y'all had that experience? You disagree with someone, point out what you feel is a valid and thoughtful critique of their comments, and suddenly you're being brushed off with "You just don't get it."

I call it, "The 'Get It' Complex."

This affliction affects folks of all stripes. Smart folks, dumb folks, rich and poor. People who typically enjoy nuanced conversations can contract the "get it" complex. Folks who only like to deal in the most basic cliches are victims as well. Hell, I've caught the disease myself at times.

There's nothing worse than being told that you don't "get it." It's as succinct a critique of your intelligence as you'll find. When somebody says that you don't "get it," they are basically telling you that you lack the acuity necessary for them to want to engage in any sort of debate or discussion with you. It's the ultimate brush off.

Which is why folks use it erroneously all the damn time.

Look, I'm not saying there is not a time and place for telling folks they don't "get it." Sometimes it's impossible to impart feelings or emotions to others unless they themselves have walked in your proverbial shoes. Unfortunately, too often people say "you don't get it" when they really should say "You're kicking my butt in this argument and I'm tired of losing." Or, when they should say "I just don't agree with you, but don't want to admit any merit in your position."

Honestly, I'm tired of hearing about people not "getting it," and since I hate hypocrisy, I've decided to try to eliminate the phrase from my vocabulary. Even when it's legitimate that phrase shuts down conversation. It is a slick way to belittle people, and, truthfully, I can be more creative when I want to belittle someone.

While some people truly don't "get it" most of the time, they understand our point and choose to ignore us. It's not a lack of understanding, it's a lack of agreement or empathy. The sooner we're all honest about that, the easier it will be to have productive conversations.

Get it?



Darth Whitey said...

Guilty as charged... sometimes. Great analysis!

macon d said...

Yeah, I get it. And I get that sometimes too -- "You just don't get it." The most recent instance came when I challenged a white American friend who said, "But I'm not white. I'm Irish!" This friend has great grandfathers on both sides from Ireland who came to America; this friend was upset about Ted Kennedy's death, not because of his life's work, but because he was "such a great Irish person." When I pointed out that anyone looking at my friend would see a white American, I was told -- yup -- "You just don't get it. You'd have to be Irish too, then you'd get it."


Big Man said...



You were making a salient point, but in your friend's mind you just didn't understand the real issue.

We've all been guilty of it. But, I think it's time to think about what we're saying.

Deacon Blue said...

I think about the only time the "you don't get it" is legit is when the person is assessing YOUR feelings and getting it completely wrong.

Tit for Tat said...

We get it, we've all gotten it. Some worse than others. I guess the thing is, we will always feel the other hasnt gotten it until they get it like "I" do.

Black Diaspora said...

Actually, we often don't get it, unless we belong to the same intellectual fraternity, or doctrinal school of thought.

And when you think about it, it's actually not that surprising: We're all coming, most of the time, from different levels of thought. That doesn't make any one level bad, just different.

Honestly or dishonestly blacks are often called racist, a term historically (at least in this country) reserved for white bigots.

Using the term in its purist sense--the belief that a race is superior to another--often constitutes a misnomer when applied to blacks.

Chalk it up to our uniqueness (although some social conditioning level things a bit), our different experiences, and our individual responses to the various things that impinge our senses.

We're not emotionally, intellectually, or experientially constructed to "get it."

Which suggests that nature prefers uniqueness over conformity.

Big Man said...

Nice response Black Diaspora, although I use a different definition for racism.

Tit for Tat said...

Using the term in its purist sense--the belief that a race is superior to another--often constitutes a misnomer when applied to blacks.(Black Diaspora)


Black Diaspora said...

"Why?" T4T

If you have to ask, YOU JUST DON'T GET IT!

Big Man said...

Now that's cold.


I would try to explain, but I wouldn't want to put words in Black Diaspora's mouth. I have my thoughts on why it doesn't apply to black folks, but those are based on a different idea of what constitutes racism.

Tit for Tat said...

Im wondering if Black Diaspora means its a misnomer for Black Americans? Because it is pretty obvious that there are racist blacks in other parts of the world.

Black Diaspora said...

Tit for Tat said...
"Im wondering if Black Diaspora means its a misnomer for Black Americans?"

Precisely, as I can't speak for all blacks, just those I've interacted with over the years.

Some blacks dismiss the claim of "black racism" because they feel a requisite component of it is missing, namely black power.

Racism, a belief in racial superiority (a social construct, since factually only one race exists), can only find expression when power can be exerted over the hapless soul who's the target of it.

As long as it's resident in the heart and mind of the racist, bereft of the opportunity and means of delivering, those who believe in the power/racist construct would see racism as a toothless tiger.

Although an all or nothing argument can always be disproved with one instance, it would be foolish to say, categorically, that no blacks are racist, even in the United States.

That some blacks might embrace such a mindset toward another race, white, Mexican, Asian, is more than likely and highly probable, but as a collective, I'd say blacks, generally, in America, aren't racists.

To be racist one would require a history of interaction with the other, a decided effort to point out racial stereotypical deficiencies within the other, and proof (mostly manufactured) of the other's inferiority, using whatever criterion that's handy (color being the easiest) to advance the interest of one group over the other.

Here's it's called "white privilege".

Blacks as monkeys, as deficient in intelligence, as lazy and slothful, requiring the heavy hand of white superiority, divinely bestowed by way of a curse on Canaan, to compel blacks to do what's not in their nature.

To broaden the discussion, "better than" is the bane of our world.

My nation is better than your nation. My race is better than your race. My ethnic group is better than your ethnic group.

My religion and religious beliefs are superior to your religion and religious beliefs.

My political party is better than your political party.

We will have progressed as a people when we finally put "better than" to rest.

Big Man said...

Black Diaspora

I'm really glad you started stopping by. I liked that "better than" argument. Might have to use that in future discussions. I've made the point before, but not as eloquently.

Black Diaspora said...

Big Man said...
"Black Diaspora

"I'm really glad you started stopping by. I liked that 'better than' argument."

Thank you.

Raving Black Lunatic