1. A couple is at a mall. She has a couple stores she wants to visit, and he’s hungry, so they separate for a half hour or so while he goes to the food court. While separated, the woman accidentally bumps into a man while she’s leaving a store. She apologizes, but he calls her a “f*cking bitch.” She confronts him after he says it. (“Wait. What the hell did you just say?”) But, he ignores her and keeps walking. Pissed, she leaves the store. The boyfriend, however, is still at the food court. Or maybe he walked to Macy’s. Wherever he is, he’s not there.
With that in mind, If you’re the woman in this situation, do you tell your man about what happened? If so, do you wait until he comes back to meet you? Or do you go find/text/call him immediately? Or do you do none of the above and just tell mall security?
I posed this scenario to my fiancee last night. Her reply was that she would tell me. But not if it meant I would do something about it. Which manages to make perfect sense and absolutely no sense at the same time.
It’s not her fault that it makes no sense. The scenario is pretty much a lose/lose. I understand her urge to tell me. I also understand that she wouldn’t want me confronting (and potentially fighting) random assholes. This is how people (and by “people” I mean “Black men”) get arrested. And worse.
But at the same time, as a man, you can’t not do anything when someone insults your woman like that. So, even if it’s not her intent, telling the man in that situation is basically forcing a confrontation.
My perspective makes just as little sense. You definitely don’t want your woman to keep something like that from you. But — and I think I speak for most men here — you don’t exactly want to have to confront and potentially fight someone either. Of course, you’ll do it if you have to. But it’s just not something you want to have to do. If anything, this could make you more upset at the asshole, because now you’re thinking “Man, why are you forcing me to f*cking confront your silly ass? I’m a f*cking grown up! I don’t want to do this. She doesn’t want me to do this. And, you definitely don’t want me to do this. But now, I have to do this. F*ck!”
With this in mind, after reading that Kanye West reportedly punched a man who called Kim Kardashian a “nigger lover,” I sympathize with him. Although he wasn’t necessarily right, I’m sympathetic to the position an act like that can put a man in. Most men — yes, Black men too — are not actively looking for fights. In fact, while you don’t cower from physical confrontation, part of making it to a certain age as a Black man is learning how to avoid situations where that’s a possibility. So, even if the “nigger lover” comment (more on that later) didn’t get him upset, when someone makes a comment like that, they’re effectively removing choice from the person the comment was directed towards. Yes, you can still choose to turn the other cheek, but he’s forcing your hand by making you have to consider unfavorable options. And, while that may not be enough to punch someone in the face, I understand.
2. I’ve never been called a “nigger” (at least not to my face), and I feel like I’m missing a valuable rite of Blackness by not experiencing that. Now, I don’t want it to happen — I’m happy to continue with my “nigger”-less life — but I do wonder what would happen if it did. I think I’d be more incredulous than anything (“They still make people who call people niggers? Damn! Who knew?“), but I can also imagine putting on an angry act out of principle. Maybe I wouldn’t start throwing shit at the walls, but there’d be some furniture moving. Well, maybe not some furniture. But my brow would be furrowed like a motherf*cker.
Seriously though, although the Glover skit I linked jokingly alluded to this, there really isn’t a wrong emotional reaction to being called a nigger. If it upsets you, that’s reasonable and understandable. If it doesn’t upset you, that’s also reasonable and understandable. I wouldn’t quite call it a racial Rorschach test, but I do think the reaction to something like that says a lot about how you personally view race and racism.
3. Kim Kardashian is known for dating Black men. She has a child by one, and is engaged to that man. Her popularity is also largely due to the fact that she has certain physical features commonly associated with women of color, Black women specifically.
But, as VSB contributor Maya Francis reiterated in a Facebook status last night, she is not a Black woman.
“As black women, many of us get a lecture and/or figure out on our own there’s some things we best keep to ourselves… because police. As in, I’m not calling my boyfriend/brother/father because someone called me names. You call in the army when you’re ready for war, otherwise, hold your head high and block it out. I’m not saying it’s fair (and this is one of those intersectionality moments), but black women (for right or wrong) don’t often call in for reinforcements as a means to protect the men they love.
So here lies Kimmy’s teachable moment about “not seeing race” if she decides to take it that way. I’m not saying that Kim wasn’t within her right to call him. I’m just saying a lot of us wouldn’t want to. I’m not even saying that Kanye’s behavior is extraordinary; I’m sure many a black man would WANT to do exactly what he did under this particular set of circumstances. However.
I’m not sure many of us would’ve made that call. I’m sure many of us would’ve walked in the facility and called security, and told our boyfriends/brothers/fathers before the day was over while explaining why we didn’t tell them when it happened. Is it fair? No. Do black men have the right to defend us? Absolutely. But police.”
—Damon Young (aka “The Champ”)