I had a brief FB conversation with a friend the other day about a mutual friend of ours and the fact that I was upset by some of the subject matter in their status updates and posts. I was upset because I found them to be racist, homophobic and sexist more often than not. My friend kind of knew where I was coming from but at the same time felt the need to play Devil's Advocate and kind of made me feel like I was taking things too seriously. And that's how I felt all of yesterday afternoon and evening. Like a wet blanket, race-baiting, super-sensitive bleeding-heart liberal that can't take a joke.
|My sad emo state literally turned my world sideways...|
kinda like Drake.
It made me sad, sad to the point of tears I could not control and then very very angry because it seems like we're always telling the victim or someone who's been disenfranchised that they have to "lighten up", have a thicker skin or don't make waves. So now not only are we responsible for teaching those who don't have to suffer from racism, discrimination, sexism, homophobia or any of the other "isms" how not to be a racist, discriminator, sexist or homophobic j-hole we have to pretend like their attacks don't hurt us so it doesn't hurt their feelings or kill the mood?! It is not 1950 and my birth certificate does not say Step and Freakin' Fetch It last time I checked. In fact, it's people like the Cab Calloways and Moms Mableys,the Toussaint L'Ouvertures and Desi Arnaz, the "suffragettes" and Betty Friedans, the Emma Goldmans and Harvey Milks of the world that mostly suffered in silence and paved the way so that we can live in a world where all feel equal to voice our opinions and speak freely. Which includes the right to tell an off-color joke and the right to cuss somebody out because of it.
|Besides, without racial humor his set would only consist of the words; the,|
to, from and Lassie. The dude in the back, too.
|After graduating summa cum laude from Stanford, Peter was devastated to|
find out Pedro here had stolen his internship, selling oranges off the on- ramp.
And also his cup o' noodles.
My point? I know I had one somewhere in here... o yes! My point is: some stupid joke from one of my non-minority FB friends isn't cause for me to sound the alarms and I don't feel like my temporary discomfort upon seeing them is equal to the too-real realities of inequality that we face every day. After all, I know what it's like to be called the "n-word", I know what it feels like when somebody thinks they're complimenting you by telling you you're so pretty for a black girl oryou don't really need to know this (Algebra!!!!), just worry about finding a husband. Most of us have to try and make it through our day knowing haters gonna hate. I certainly know the difference between mild annoyance and outright discrimination and for most of my life have given people the benefit of the doubt even to my own demise. But the connection from point A to point B isn't that far in our hearts sometimes. I certainly don't intend to cut ties to my other friend for failing to see the reality that this particular person may be "just playing around" but it doesn't mean they don't also think that way for real, hidden deep within the grey matter, maybe even hidden from themselves. Bigots don't all wear the Big Bad Wolf costume and identify themselves. Oftentimes they don't even see that they're part of the problem. They look like our family, our police officers, our bosses and politicians and sometimes even our friends. How in the hell can we expect for people's perspectives to change and for people to see things for what they truly are if we all think we're the good guy? We can't all have home field advantage, I need to know who's playing shirts and who's playing skins?! These are the things that (no lie) keep me up at night. And I feel God-smacked when I realize others don't really think of it at all. What a luxury! But the battle to end "isms" must forge onward to a destination, I don't really know where. And if I excommunicate every person that offends me instead of helping them see the lesson, I do so not only to my own detriment but to theirs as well. I just wish we could all get our heads out of the sand... like if we just all ignore it and play nice that racism, discrimination, sexism and all the other isms are going to go away. They won't. It just doesn't work like that.
--- Vanity in Peril