Once upon at time
not long ago, I stumbled upon a most interesting conversation. This was a conversation being held by three white guys who worked with me. They were talking about welfare and how America needed to add the stigma back to the use of the welfare system. One of the gentlemen made it a point to note that anybody who needed public assistance was somebody who just needed to work harder. You know, coming into the game on some modeling sh*t.
These guys kept going in more and more until I, at one point, joined into the fray by letting them know that I was the child of a mother who was a recipient of welfare and food stamps and that her need for help didn’t diminish the type of person she was as a human being. Of course, the guys immediately dispersed the conversation with one levying a, “sorry if I offended anybody” missive in my general direction. I told him to do what he does and to keep it moving. I also nearly went into the co-worker’s office to let him know that there were no hard feelings and that he’s subject to his opinions. Then I thought better and realized that…
…sometimes white people need to be made to feel uncomfortable. It would seem that questionable decision-making and messed up ideologies run rampant. So I ran Forrest ran. I’ve noticed, even within myself, that at times I have attempted to make people feel better about the ridiculous things that they have said so as not to breed confrontation. And yo, son, yo that is wack, yo. But you know, this same thing plays out across racial and gender lines. For instance…
…the name of the Washington Redskins. I had a lengthy convo with a coworker about this phenomenon. While I’m generally indifferent to the name of the Deadskins, the arguments that I’ve heard about why using the word and likeness wasn’t a bad thing were effectively, “It’s the Redskins. Period. Get over it.” But here’s the better question: if anybody were to actually see an injun in the streets, would they call them a “redskin?” Probably not. I had this same argument with my coworker that got pretty hardcore at times. And again, I didn’t want him to feel guilty for thinking the name was okay and I was all prepared to go into his office to let him know that there were no hard feelings.
But again, maybe he needed to know that what he said hit a nerve.
See, in my attempts to attempt to make these folks feel better, I would have lost my own perspective and encouraged them to go further with the completely jacked up lines of thinking. But the really real is that ever so often, somebody needs to be totally checked about the attitude they bring to the table, especially in a room with one Black guy who hears it all. Every now and then I feel like it is my duty to call out somebody else’s views. And sometimes, they just need to be uncomfortable.
While that’s as far as the challenge tends to go, it does all the service we need at that point to further the cause of race relations in this country (I’d use Canada too but you know they have beady little eyes and big flopping heads….haaaaaaaaay boo). I’m fairly positive that my coworker didn’t change his opinion about the welfare system based on the fact that he actually knows who happened to have lived in some less than stellar surroundings from age 3-6. But he got a different perspective from me in such a way that he might at the very least refrain from speaking pure f*ckery into existence next time. Killa Cam.
Anyway, folks of VSB, have you ever intentionally made somebody (and by somebody I generally mean white people) else uncomfortable after speaking up about a jacked up opinion? Do you think they cared? Why do we park on driveways and drive on parkways? Did the minor check change the way they speak to or with you? Basically, does everybody need to feel a little bit of discomfort at some point??
–VSB P aka THE ARSONIST aka TANGLE JIG P aka GIIIIIIIIIIIIRL HE A 3