I Am Not You!!!

Today I have a fascinating little story. Well off my usual beaten path. It is the story of Dr. Anthony Fleg, who as a medical student decided to get out of his books for a while and look at the real world. In his case, that meant taking trips to visit important battle grounds for the civil rights movement. 

One of these sojourns took him to Birmingham, where he got to listen to a sermon delivered by Rev. Fred Shuttlesworth, the gentleman on the left of the picture here. A valiant soldier for civil rights. In the sermon, he heard Shuttlesworth describe the  massive explosion at his home. Dynamite planted by segregationists on Christmas night. And the conversation he had with a KKK card carrying cop on the scene, who offered Fred the following guidance. “If I were you, I’d get out of town as quick as I could.” 

Following a pregnant pause, Shuttlesworth calmly responded, “I am not you!” Check this out to get the whole story.

Bottom Line. As usual, this story got me to thinking. What do we actually mean when we say to someone, “If I were you…?” For a KKK cop to say that to Shuttlesworth was clearly the ultimate in chutzpah. The policeman had absolutely no knowledge of what it was like to be Fred.  

But more generally, who do we know well enough to use that pointed phrase? Think about that the next time you are about to utter those four words. Or hear them said to you. 

BTW, take three minutes of your time to watch the John Legend video at the end of this doctor’s blog. The pictures and the music will help you to really understand…

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