Drive-By Racism

So I wonder how many of my white peeps can relate to being blindsided by other white people’s racist comments? I gotta tell you, it’s getting kind of tiresome that in the year 2009, when we’ve elected a black man to be our president, I’m still dealing with those of you who think it’s ok to make racist comments as long as there are no black people around. What the hell, fellow white people? And the LOOK you give those of us who don’t appreciate your lame, “I’m among white people so I feel like I can let my inner racist out of the closet” attitude when you get busted because OOPS!, I’m married to a black man and I have an interracial child. Like I should have warned you I’m not “one of you” before you spoke. I’m not part of the “we’re all white people here” sister/brotherhood, and in fact I am positive that your ranks have dwindled significantly in the last 20 years or so. But obviously y’all are still out there.

Listen…be glad that I told you I was married to a black man the very minute you made the first comment. I could have let you go on and on, digging yourself ever deeper into that hole of “We’re both white so I can say what I really think about so-and-so dating that black man”. I took pity on your ignorant ass and very casually said “Oh, my husband is black” as soon as you WENT THERE.

I thought about letting you ramble on just to see how far you’d go, but honestly…after a lifetime of listening to racist nonsense, I just don’t want to deal with you people anymore. Why can’t you move on and realize that it’s not ok for you to express those racist sentiments? And while you feel “ambushed” by finding out that your racist remark was not appropriate (like we white people who aren’t down with racism should wear a sign so that you racist people could know this before you open mouth and insert foot), how do you think we feel to know that people with your attitudes are still clinging desperately to them? You could be my child’s teacher, my next-door neighbor, my coworker. You hide your antiquated attitude in the closet and only trot it out at certain moments when you feel “safe”. I’d be a lot more comfortable if you would just be openly racist, maybe a sign on your front lawn so that I could decide whether I want to live next door to you or not? Because we’re moving next weekend and while the neighborhood looks nice, I’m always wondering if I’m going to get a nasty surprise in the form of a neighbor or two who thinks that my family has gone against “nature”. I don’t think it’s fair that we have to worry about this anymore, but hey…I give people the benefit of the doubt. For the most part we’re all playing nicely together. You just reminded me last night that STILL, in the year 2009, I can be among friends, having a few beers and a great time, and then BOOM!…some asshole will explode the racist stinkbomb in my face.

I hope you remember this from our interaction last night…that I didn’t call you out on it, though you deserved it in my opinion. That I casually told you that my husband is black before you could continue with your line of racist commentary, and graciously continued our conversation even though I’d have rather not talked with you anymore. I didn’t try to make you feel stupid, I could see that you knew you’d said something inappropriate and I allowed you your clumsy recovery without any confrontation on my part. You know why? Because I know how racist attitudes change, after a lifetime of hearing this stuff from white people.

One person at a time. I’m very patient…but I hope some of you who do this stuff read this and reconsider the next time a racist thought pops into your head. BEFORE it rolls off your tongue, please. Most of us don’t want to hear it.

 

8 comments

  1. God almighty. My uncle married a black woman, my aunt, of course, back in 1967, and the ignorant (and worse) comments I've received over the years about having a black aunt… People are idiots, so much of the time.

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  2. It's hard–especially when lines are so firmly drawn, and people don't dare to deviate. It's hard when people of either race continue to act stereotypically. It's just hard. But, yes, people should shut the hell up. And, nobody, whichever side you land on, should behave as if they belong to a club that doesn't let others in.

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  3. Slouchy, isn't that the truth? Most of the time I give people the benefit of the doubt, but it gets tiresome to hear the same ignorance over and over again. Liv, it is hard. It's hard for people to have conversations about racial issues, everyone gets so defensive. Stereotypes abound and sometimes they're true, even I fall victim to stereotyping at times. Bob, where on earth have you been? I keep looking for a new blog post from you. Still overseas?

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  4. My mind immediately goes to sooo many prejudices. As the mother of a lesbian, aunt of a gay man, etc. etc. my first defense when I hear any remark is to come OUT. I try not to include anyone else in my out but at least it spares me the sneering and bigoted comments. I like your thoughts.

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  5. I am SO excited that I found this blog. My boyfriend is black and I have experienced this so many times. Even people who KNOW we are together still tend to say things… the other day I was driving with my best friend and her boyfriend and he threw out the N word, followed immediately by an apology. So it makes me wonder what happens when im not there. And usually its by people who claim to not be racist. Excellent.. I love what you have to say, I'm going to follow your blog 🙂

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  6. The thing is there are a ton of folks out there who haven't thought about throwing out the N word or making asinine comments and those are the people I want to surround myself with – I won't miss the others at ALL. Well said and well written.

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