Let’s give the guy a break. He meant well…

A recent article by LZ Granderson talks about two words men should never bring up to women: “fat” and “weave.” He says that men have been socialized to avoid both these topics from either “sexism, wisdom, or fear.” After a comical introduction, LZ gets to his main talking point, how Blaine Stewart mentioned his co-worker’s, Laila Muhammad, weave. Apparently, after blowing out a candle in a jack-o-lantern and mentioning that he hopes the smoke didn’t set off the sprinkler system he mentioned to Laila, “You do not want a sprinkler system and a beautiful weave, because they do not go together.”

As seemingly harmless as his intentions were, the comment was fairly inappropriate, especially on live TV. To be fair, he did mention in an interview with LZ that he knew about the no “fat” talk rule, but he wasn’t aware that mentioning a woman’s weave is a similar rule. In the article, LZ keeps it light by joking that no matter the circumstances this holiday, you do NOT mention a woman’s weave… abiding by this rule, he says, “saves lives.”

In response to Stewart’s tactless remark, Laila wasn’t terribly offended, mostly just shocked and fairly embarrassed. She was quoted saying, “I wasn’t mad at him—but he clearly didn’t know the rule. No I didn’t run to HR. No, I didn’t beat him up off set. NO, I didn’t have to explain my blackness to him afterwards. It was clear he was trying to make a compliment… He didn’t mean to call me out.” Showing good humor and understanding towards Stewart is a very positive approach that more people should attempt after a situation like that. Far too often, people are easily offended and assume the worst out of people, even if they simply misspoke. There is a difference between botching good intentions and just being mean.

LZ then concludes the article by stating some more remarks mentioned in his interview with Stewart, who says that people had some pretty harsh remarks about his comment on TV, calling him a “white devil,” “racist,” or even a “bitchy queen.” He also said, “But its funny, we can talk about fake eyelashes, lip gloss, makeup and all the other enhancements that we do, but when it comes to hair, we keep quiet. It’s the last taboo.” Well, LZ doesn’t agree that it’s the last taboo, stating, “And if he didn’t believe me, he should try bringing up the word ‘fat’ and see what happens.”

I had a lot of things running through my head while reading this article. I, of course, agree that society has made it a rule to not talk about certain physical enhancements women have as well as their weight. Especially their weight. However, I do think that we’ve gone a bit too far in America trying to be “politically correct” about everything we say; along with that, we tend to be a little too harsh on people who simply misspeak. Mistakes happen, and not everyone at every moment is thinking clearly about what they’re saying. Of course, being a TV host on a live morning show requires a bit of careful consideration and conscious word choice. But hey, give the guy a break. He messed up, and the only harm came from some slight embarrassment. It wasn’t sexual harassment, it wasn’t blatant racism, it wasn’t overtly offensive. Laila forgave him and that’s all that really matters. And at the very least, he definitely knows to be more vigilant when he speaks on TV or to women again.

So, let’s all agree to try and follow these “rules,” simply because no woman wants to hear remarks about her weight or hair enhancements. However, we can even include guys; women shouldn’t comment if a man appears to be balding, have a “beer gut,” or an abundant amount of body hair. But if a mistake should happen, get over it.

Simply, be careful about what you say about everyone and their appearance, but at the same time try to be a little less sensitive and forgiving about mistakes.



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