Monday, August 8, 2016

What Do You Do When Someone Is Blatantly Racist to You?

I was the recipient of racism last week.

Yes, I know I’m white, but hear me out.

I went to dinner with four former coworkers, a white gay male in his 40s, a 32-year-old Philippine woman and a 32-year-old light-skinned African American woman, all liberal. And as usual, we got onto topics I inadvertently have to keep my mouth shut for.

I don’t think that makes me a coward. There’s just only so much breath I’m willing to waste.

My gay friend once got onto an anti-Republican rant well after he knew my political stance. So I asked him – with a teasing, intentionally friendly tone – why he was attacking my views. Yet he reacted by getting extremely defensive, completely turning the conversation around to justify his own beliefs instead of his behavior.

Besides, he’s not the most closeminded in this group. That title goes to my African American acquaintance. I can’t call her a friend when she made it clear she didn’t like me when we first met. And she’s since proved to be an utter narcissist wrapped in a professional, petite package.

Every word that comes out of her mouth has to be validated. Even if she’s assessing my emotional reaction to a purely non-political personal story I’ve shared, I need to agree with her. Otherwise, she’ll leave the table in a huff.

Knowing that, I shouldn’t have been taken aback by this next part. But I was. Big time.

I don’t remember how we got on the topic, but we started talking about racism at some point, and my AAA bursts out with this: “Yeah, white people are using the N-word. That’s a thing.”

She said it right at me with nary a blink of hesitation before or regret after: “White people.”

Who says that about an entire, diverse group of people whose only connection to each other is the skin color they were born with? And in public among mixed-race company too?

If I had made an all-inclusive “black people” comment like that, she would have been horribly offended. With good reason, too, since “black people” don’t fit into a neat little box.

The thing is neither do whites. And claiming otherwise is racist.

I just stared at my AAA when she said what she did. But my Philippine friend instantly agreed with her. Which doesn’t surprise me; she’s made her fair share of anti-white comments before.

But how do you argue with that kind of bold bigotry? Is there some way to politely point it out?

If you figure it out, please let me know. Because I have no clue whatsoever.

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