Wed | Feb 21, 2018

Gordon Robinson | Shouldn’t we do unto others?

Published:Wednesday | January 24, 2018 | 12:00 AM

One thing I've learnt during my lifetime is not to judge others.

I see readers' eyes rolling into their foreheads: "Yu gwaan! Yu judge all di time inna dese columns." No. What I'm relentless and unapologetic about is analysis beyond superficial; assessment based on clear thinking; and fearless but fair exposure of truth. I leave the judging to you.

Okay, so maybe my incomplete opening salvo should've been not to judge others until you've researched, analysed, assessed and found truth. Or, simply put, until you've walked a mile in the other person's shoes.

On Sunday, October 15 ('Judge not Bath's 'lass for a lass'), I encouraged readers to suspend judgment on a mother whose corporal punishment of her daughter with a cutlass received widespread opprobrium. But the entreaty also applies elsewhere and definitely in fashion and relationships.

I wear tight clothing, high-heel shoes.

It doesn't mean that I'm a prostitute (no, no)

I like rap music, wear hip-hop clothes.

That doesn't mean that I'm out sellin' dope (no, no, no)

Oh, my, forgive me for having straight hair (no).

It doesn't mean there's another blood in my heirs.

I might date another race or colour.

It doesn't mean I don't like my strong black brothers.

Why, oh, why must it be this way?

(Oh, oh, oh, oh)

Before you can read me, you got to learn how to see me, I said.

 

LEGITIMATE REASONS

 

We shouldn't assume a young lady with the apparent behaviour of a gold-digger doesn't have legitimate reason or motivation which, if we'd witnessed her life's experiences first-hand, we'd understand and support. Furthermore, suppose she turns out to be a real, honest-to-goodness gold-digger? If some man partners her and seems happy being her 'finance', who are we to judge? Ours not to reason why! They would be known to law and morality as consenting adults.

Free your mind and the rest will follow.

Be colour-blind, don't be so shallow.

Free your mind and the rest

will follow.

Be colour-blind, don't be so shallow.

In life, nothing is as it appears, so those of us quick to judge will be wrong most times. This is what has led me to view the latest feminist propaganda warfare against men ('Me Too' and 'Time's Up') with apprehension. The principles are sound but methods suspect. The resounding, almost worshipful applause greeting Oprah's charismatic address to the Golden Globes frightens me. This is part of what she actually said:

"I'd like to thank the Hollywood Foreign Press Association because we all know that the press is under siege these days, but we also know that it's the insatiable dedication to uncovering the absolute truth that keeps us from turning a blind eye to corruption and to injustice - to tyrants and victims and secrets and lies. I want to say, I value the press more than ever before as we try to navigate these complicated times, which brings me to this: What I know for sure is speaking your truth is the most powerful tool we all have. And I'm especially proud and inspired by all the women who have felt strong enough and empowered enough to speak up and share their personal stories ... . So I want tonight to express gratitude to all the women who have endured years of abuse and assault because they, like my mother, had children to feed and bills to pay and dreams to pursue."

I know Oprah didn't say this, but the world HEARD a clear message that every woman accusing a man of sexual impropriety is speaking the truth. Her address offered no space for due process and the judgment train carrying the idea "all men are dogs" has become an unstoppable juggernaut.

As Rawhide Kid might say, "It don't make no never mind to me," because I've been married too long to remember what sex looks like and continue to be overjoyed that, before Oprah was born, my father never stopped asking (would be called "harassing" today) my mother until she gave in. But I'm sorry for today's young men who must think thrice before approaching any woman especially at work where they'll spend 50 per cent of their waking hours. All men aren't dogs, but they're in imminent danger of becoming obsolete.

Hopefully, the views expressed by En Vogue's 1992 hit Free Your Mind (written by Denzil Foster/Thomas McIlroy) will eventually find a gender-neutral home and be applied to men's behaviour as well as women's. After all, shouldn't we do unto others ... ?

Peace and love.

- Gordon Robinson is an attorney-at-law. Email feedback to columns@gleanerjm.com.