stephen, I had to check my dictionary to make sure that I was using the term “common knowledge” correctly. I was. According to my laptop’s dictionary, common knowledge is something known by most people, which was my intended meaning.
“It’s ‘something known by most people’ that white Americans have a different life experience than black Americans, but that doesn’t mean that because they’re white they don’t have the capacity to understand.
See, it still holds water. I think we can all agree that the white American experience is the general American experience; “general” defined as affecting or concerning all or most people, places, or things; widespread. But the white American experience is “normative.”*
I have to disagree with you in my choice of words/style. There are plenty of folks out there willing to and capable of searing off limbs with a white hot truth. That’s their choice. And it works for them. My choice to use “careful words” reflects my personality and reinforces the very message I deliver in practically all my essays: to treat people with respect and dignity. For me to have a take-no-prisoners approach would betray who I am and my message.
Besides, this style seems to be working just fine for me. (See Brian Graham’s comment directly above this yours.)
Thanks for commenting!
*Thank you, John Metta. Never heard of the word till I read in your Norman versus Briton article.