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Michelle's corner

Michelle Knight. Writer, photographer, programmer, truck driver and general, all round nut case. Life is a journey and that's what this blog will probably end up being. Let's see where we go, eh? ;-)

Currently reading

Science and Philosophy in the Indian Buddhist Classics
Dalai Lama XIV, Ian Coghlan
Progress: 23/433 pages

Author's novel being cancelled

This one interested me on a number of angles, especially being an author and 25 year veteran of the internet myself. - https://eu.usatoday.com/story/life/books/2019/05/11/natasha-tynes-book-deal-halted-amid-metro-shaming-backlash/1176291001/


A publisher says it has postponed a book's publish date and is seeking to officially cancel the project after author Natasha Tynes was accused of shaming a black woman who works for the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority for eating on the train.


I don't think anyone can argue with the fact that we, as humans, need to be courteous to each other at all times, unless there's an obvious reason... like someone running towards us with a knife in their raised hand and blood lust in their eyes. Diversity training (which we had to go through... along with some personal life experience) taught me that the assumptions I made about people and circumstances, are usually wrong. The conclusions I jump to, are pits of death (or more often embarrassment) and as such, if I publicly externalise any of my assumptions, then they are more likely than not, to come back on my face, omelette style. Spanish, Denver, Hangtown Fry, they're all messy and none of them are overly positive for the complexion.


When you engage with social media (and BookLikes is very much a part of that) then you've got to police yourself. The extremists have got away with being extreme for so long, but law makers are now starting to come down heavy. Recently in the UK, a senior police officer called for effectively banning/blocking platforms if they don't cut the social mustard - https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-48236580 - a move which is likely to receive sympathy in some circles.


But the critical thing that's missing here is that if someone finds themselves self-policing a comment they wanted to make... then just maybe, that comment/thought was wrong in the first place. A jumped-to assumption, with no basis in fact except to re-enforce an already screwed up personal belief. And in order to self-police... then the person knows it was wrong in the first place.


Is there wiggle room in Tynes' actions? After all, the employee was not only eating while it was banned on the Metro, but is/was a Metro employee and in uniform; they should have been setting an example to customers, if anything. In this case, perhaps she should have sent it to the Metro privately. For all we know, the person might have just pulled a double shift and had no chance to get a rest break... or be one of those Americans who Bush lauded for having three jobs, just to make ends meet. The problem is that we rarely have the full story before jumping to our conclusions.


At the very least, Metro should have had the chance to investigate deeper; if that employee was, indeed, having trouble, then a responsible employer would take steps to help them out.


It's easier to hold a company to public account for certain behaviours, than it is an individual person. These judgement calls aren't easy; but one thing is for certain... if you're going to do that, then you'd better be prepared to be judged for your own judgement of others.