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Have each other's backs?

中国日报网 2018-05-29 11:54


Reader question:

Please explain “having each other’s backs” in this sentence: She explains that Book Club is about female solidarity and women having each other’s backs.

My comments:

It means women should be supporting each other – and show unity (solidarity) in fighting common causes.

Common causes, such as equal job opportunity and equal pay, right to abortion and other women issues.

Anyways, let’s return to women “having each other’s backs”. Literally, that means women should watch out for each other lest, figuratively speaking, anyone be ambushed or attacked from behind.

Having each other’s backs means literally watching and seeing what happens behind them.

Our back, you see, is the opposite of our frontal view. It’s what we cannot see. It is our blind side.

Imagine two soldiers working together in battle. The best way for them to move about is to have themselves facing each other rather than in tandem, one following the other. Obviously, if they walk one behind the other, they have to constantly turn around to see if any enemy soldiers may pounce from behind.

By moving about facing each other, they are able to keep in view what happens behind each other. This way, both are kept safe from sudden attacks from behind their back.

Hence and figuratively, if we say we have someone’s back, it means we have got their back-side covered. In other words, they have our support and protection.

Women having each other’s back, therefore, means that they are ready to support, fight for and defend one another.

They certainly need it.

All right, no more ado. Here are media examples of people having someone’s back in different situations:

1. What have you done lately to thank that special person in your life? The one who stuck by you for better or worse, the one who had your back when you were sick and needed someone to pick up the slack, the one to whom you trust personal secrets.

I’m not referring to your life partner.

Many people in the working world have found a different kind of partner - one some of them call their “work wife” or “work husband.”

Bosses and their administrative assistants have been mirroring the marital partnership for centuries, and they are not the only ones who form close relationships in the workplace, the kind that move past a good co-working arrangement and into a mutual bonding with some level of commitment.

The best way to respect and appreciate that work spouse - as well as the one you have at home - is to keep certain boundaries in mind.

Great Neck, L.I., therapist John Donofrio has extensive experience counseling couples, and has seen familiar patterns emerge in personal relationships where one partner is especially close to a co-worker. It’s easy for these situations to develop, Donofrio said, “especially because it often distracts people from their stress.”

How can you keep your significant work relationships from affecting your significant other at home? Here’s the advice Donofrio dispensed:

Co-workers often realize when they stray into uncharted territory, but don’t verbalize it. Donofrio recommended getting past the awkwardness.

“It’s important that this be brought out into the open because, if not, it will come out under stress,” he said.

Be aware of the boundaries if more than just good feelings are developing. If there is any attraction, “You need to get a hold of that before boundaries are fractured,” he said.

- Best way to avoid too-close coworker relations? Establish boundaries and open lines of communication, by Carolyn Kepcher, NYDailyNews.com, January 10, 2011.

2. The email always read simply: “Pls call.” You see, Jerry Weintraub didn’t do emails: “You’re a writer; you write. I’m a producer; I talk.”

Boy, was he a producer — the only real producer we’ve ever had the privilege of working with. He had your back, not his own. He wasn’t protecting his relationship with the studio or the network; he was protecting you and the project: “Everybody’s just scared. Not me — I don’t give a damn.” And he didn’t just attach his name and disappear: The minute he finished reading our spec script for The Brink (less than 24 hours after he had received it!), he became our irrepressible teammate, constantly meeting, calling, strategizing and pitching in on all fronts: “We need a big director. I’m having lunch with Jay Roach tomorrow — I’ll give him the script.” Just like that, we had our director.

- ‘The Brink’ Creators on Jerry Weintraub: “He Had Your Back, Not His Own”, HollywoodReporter.com, July 15, 2015.

3. Sndra Gonzalez of Aurora would normally be home at 5 p.m. getting ready to eat dinner with her husband, but on Monday night the Spanish teacher at West Aurora High School elected to be in downtown Aurora to stand up for those caught in the dispute over the future of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program.

“I think it’s important we show our support to these people as this is something that personally affects me,” Gonzalez said. “There are members of my family that are undocumented and I personally came from a mixed status. And I have friends that are DACA as well.”

Members of the citizens group Indivisible Aurora held a rally Monday to acknowledge the original deadline of March 5 set by the Trump Administration for phasing out DACA.

President Donald Trump on Monday hailed a federal judge’s decision upholding his right to end the program. However, Monday’s ruling by a judge in Maryland does not alter a nationwide injunction issued by a federal judge in San Francisco. The earlier decision requires the administration to continue renewing work permits granted these immigrants under DACA.

“The deadline has been extended now that the Supreme Court has ruled that the Circuit Court has to rule on the issue, but there remains a lot of uncertainty,” Indivisible Aurora Executive Board member Gwyn Ciesla said.

Ciesla said “a police presence has always been at our events for protection” but that previous marches and rallies have been peaceful.

“Sometimes someone driving by will roll down a window and say something, but I’ve also seen people crying at these events,” she said.

A pelting snow was falling shortly before the rally began Monday evening, which was staged at the corner of Galena and Broadway in downtown Aurora. Southbound vehicles on Broadway honked supportively as the rally grew from just a handful of people to well over 30 people.

Allie Klepec of Minooka, a teacher who works at East Aurora High School, said she felt compelled to fight the weather Monday “as the district is at least 85 percent Hispanic” and that “making a difference comes from using your voice.”

“People think voting can make a difference, but I think in the end, it’s these smaller grass-roots efforts that produce the most change,” she said.

Greg and Denise Elsbree of Aurora said they have regularly attended the Indivisible Aurora rallies and want to be advocates for its causes.

“I haven’t missed any of these events,” Greg Elsbree said as he hoisted a poster. “I’m dedicated and a big advocate to help those who need a voice. I’m here because I think events like this are effective and we are supporting those that hide in the shadows. We’ve got their back. This is what Aurora is about and is a receptive city.”

- ‘We’ve got their back’: DACA supporters rally in Aurora, ChicagoTribune.com, May 28, 2018.


About the author:

Zhang Xin is Trainer at chinadaily.com.cn. He has been with China Daily since 1988, when he graduated from Beijing Foreign Studies University. Write him at: zhangxin@chinadaily.com.cn, or raise a question for potential use in a future column.

(作者:张欣 编辑:丹妮)


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