The recent “flap” over New Jersey governor Chris Christie’s “controversial” use over the word boy in a speech he was giving at a Black church just proves how words can be your undoing. Granted, Gov. Christie isn’t catching too much flack for it, but still, the story that he used the word “boy” towards an African-American man made the media rounds on Twitter which is like yelling fire in a crowded room – pretty soon the fire actually exists and Brick will have killed a guy.
And Lil Wayne will have died.
To be clear, I’ve watched the clip numerous times and there’s no way you can convince me he was calling the guy “boy”.
Anyway, I’m going to make a fairly significant leap here into something that I thought about whilst picking a dandelion the other day on a particularly warm March day:
As long as you don’t say anything particularly controversial, then you aren’t controversial.
And the crowd said, “duh”. So what do I mean? Glad you asked.
Let’s paint a scenario. If I’m a white man and I never ever date another person outside of my race, or don’t really interact with other people of other races, does that make me racist?
I don’t think so. I think it just makes you white in America. That’s totally possible. Hell, if you live in South Dakota that might be your entire existence. Forever. And that’s okay. Just because options exist doesn’t mean you have to take them…right? Everybody’s got their own prejudices and biases anyway. Hell I don’t like women with one gray eye and one grey eye. The vowel change really bothers me.
But the second you utter the words, “I don’t date people of other races.” Or even, “I really don’t date Black people” then, well, congratulations, you’re a racist. And not even the fun kind like, like the kind who can appreciate Black women hugging. So here’s my point, while you might be a racist at heart, you ain’t a racist until you say some racist sh*t. Which also translates into many other facets of life. Such as?
Glad you asked.
“I don’t really want to date a handicapped person.”
I’ve heard this with my own two ears. I got what the person was saying when they said it. Hell I understand it. But you just can’t saaaaaaaaaaaay that sh*t out loud. You just can’t. No amount of volunteer work at the Special Olympics or backtracking is going to make you sound like anything but a total douchebag. Which is probably unfair since I think most people tend to be about that status quo lifestyle. Status quo kind of implies “whole” person. But, again, if you say it, you just sound like a douche.
There is almost never a good way to use the term “those people…” and it not turn off somebody listening to you. And why is this? Well because 174 percent of the time that the words “those people” are being used its in order to draw a distinction between yourself and whoever it is your speaking about. This group usually includes but is not limited to midgets, Black people, immigrants of color, Muslims, gypsys, circus performers, rappers (of all colors), Asians at top tier institutions or in the hood, Black people in Europe, any and all Afrians, etc. You get the point. Any group that can and has been maligned is usually who is being referenced in the “those people…”
However, it ALSO gets used in the other direction by liberals to include (but not limited to): Republicans, Tea Party activists, gun nuts, homophobes, heterophobes, phobes, White people that don’t live in urban areas, etc. You get the point.
Everyone’s a little bit racist.
“I’m glad slavery happened, otherwise we’d still be stuck in Africa.”
I’ve heard this said as well. And you know, amid this young man’s mis-informed and utter ridiculous statement, I knew what he was trying to say. It’s just stupid, inaccurate, and insanely dangerous. Which brings a point up that, silence is golden. If you ever have to say “I don’t know how to say what I’m trying to say” then you probably need not say it. Love 40. This statement was made in one of my classes at Morehouse. By a Black dude. And he got raked across the coals for it. Rightly. You just can’t say that on television.
Which reminds me of another statement I once heard in undergrad…
“We’re all judging, but if back in the day it was common for men to take and sleep with little boys, maybe it was just okay then.”
Again, I get what he was trying to say – don’t hate the player, hate the game – but there’s just no way to make some grand statements like that ever sound okay. Condoning child sexual abuse in a historical context is going to get you the side-eye like a motherf*cker. Trust me. And no, I didn’t say that, I side-eyed the sh*t out of the cat who said that.
For more direct examples of things you just can’t say out loud, revisit the #Steubenville conversations via Twitter the past few days.
So, good people of VSB, as language can ruin your life, what are some other examples of feelings you can have all the live long day, that you just can’t say out loud for fear of reprisal?
-VSB P aka THE ARSONIST aka MR. I AIN’T SAY THAT SH*T aka GIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIRL HE A 3
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