Rarely do I write a personal column using personal pronouns.

I did it last week and now I have done it again.

While I try to write topically or about people, places and things in our community, last week I wrote about myself.

It is sort of my secret challenge with myself to share my thoughts and feelings on a subject without using personal pronouns and without being completely self absorbed. 

I internalized a very sensitive topic and shared with readers how I choose to approach that topic in my own life. 

And wow.

What ensued was something a little less than a firestorm.

Perhaps the vitriol was simply because I dared to use the word “racism.” 

If I had shared the same thoughts and feelings about anything other than racism, I tend to think the values, principles and ethics shared in the column would have resonated with most people. 

Some conversations are difficult. 

Some topics are regarded as taboo.

And then there are those things which have become kerosene in our flammable political and social environment. 

Racism is one of those topics. 

Oddly, I am completely OK with the pushback, the naysaying and the provocative commenting. 

We are all made better by listening to others, considering opposite — or at least other — points of view, and anyone who values the First Amendment and free speech rights for themselves, must vigorously defend it for others. 

Growing up in a church in the rural Tennessee mountains, I remember the visiting preachers we loved the most when they came to the white, wood-framed, one-room building with the hand-hewn, straight-backed pews and coal-burning stove at the Gunntown Community Church of Christ. We really didn’t admire the ones who beat around the bush and simply told us what we wanted to hear. Grandpa Hoot called them “mealymouthed.”

We liked those who challenged us, told us like it was and stepped on our toes a bit, or a lot. They were plainspoken, straightforward and sometimes just a little rough around the edges. We regarded them as truth tellers. 

Now, so many years later, I happen to like my newspapers pretty much the same way. 

Well, at least that’s the way I see it. 

So now I have done something which I don’t think I have ever done before in all these years of newspapering. I have written a personal column using more than 25 personal pronouns, a new benchmark I hope never to exceed. 

I think I have that out of my system now.  

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