Minnesota Representative Garofalo: “There is not a racist bone in my body.”
The short, turbulent life of a tweet.
What we say and do demonstrates who we are. We cannot help but draw conclusions based on the actions we see and the comments we hear. In the end, no one of us can know more than that about each other.
That’s how communication works.
Representative Garofalo’s Sunday Tweet landed on ESPN Monday morning. Tweeters were quick to jump on the tweet, denouncing Mr. Garofalo’s latent racism, Republicans and politicians generally. Colleagues lambasted the tweet and national media held it up for examination, which is to say, the typical circus-posse was formed around these 140 characters. Mr. Garofalo denied racist overtones but ultimately apologized for the tweet as the water got hotter.
Mr. Garofalo’s apology was unusual because he is an outspoken Tweeter and communicator who remains unafraid to confidently assert. The apology was also sort of usual: “to those NBA players and other who were unfairly categorized by my comments….” So, typical of public apologies, this one creates distance even as it acknowledges pain and takes responsibility.
I’m interested in what happens in our quick responses. Responding to each other is one of the fun bits of conversation. Our quick responses are often revelatory: sometimes they show us things about ourselves we did not know. I wonder if in Mr. Garofalo’s case—despite his confident, well-reasoned quote on top—his quick tweet peeled away layers to reveal unseemly categories.
I suspect we all have those layers. Maybe we need to tweet and talk all the more rapidly so we can do the work of peeling the layers.
It can be a painful work—all the more so when put it in the form of a tweet that catches the national eye.
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