Growing up, I would often see my mother sitting around our kitchen table with others from the neighborhood chatting away. Anytime we (the kids) would approach, the chatter would stop and they’d ask what we wanted or needed. Once fulfilled, they would continue their conversation as we left to go play. As I got older, I became acutely aware of this phenomenon. I finally asked my mother one day why the chatter would stop when my friends and I came in the room.
Her answer: It’s Kitchen Table Talk
I learned that this Kitchen Table Talk was a place where the grownups could share thoughts and opinions about people, places, and situations without being judged. From discussing bad behavior they’d witnessed and neighborhood politics to just needing to vent, nothing was off limits. However, it wasn’t for public consumption. Whatever was said at the table stayed at the table.
Somehow, modern kitchen table talk has morphed into (1) talking without caring who hears it, (2) making accusations without any evidence to back it up yet stating it as truth, and (3) saying cruel, hurtful and racist statements. What’s worse is that we’re living in a time where this behavior is trying to be ‘normalized’. It’s irresponsible to our neighborhood, our community and our nation to normalize this behavior. The hypocrisy it creates is numbing. I’m in elementary and middle schools on a weekly basis where strong anti-bullying campaigns are happening. Yet, it’s the children asking how this matches up with the behaviors they see daily from those the adults have elected to lead our country.
It doesn’t add up.
Do and say whatever you want in the privacy of your own home, but respect others as members of the community otherwise. It’s time to stop normalizing and excusing bad behavior and start being accountable for questionable statements and actions. With the recent Fire District Commissioners’ demeaning and “racially insensitive” statements, it shouldn’t matter if it was said outside of their official meeting. What matters is that it was said. Understand and acknowledge your role in the community.