Thursday, August 6, 2009

Reason enough

Three women mocking the "Chinese" woman who had given one of them a pedicure that day and had given her advice for getting rid of her toenail fungus.

A group laughing about the fact that a woman thought that the profile of the man on the card looked similar to her husband. The card was from Hallmark's Mahogany line and so obviously was an African American man. The group thought it was equal parts funny and ridiculous that the woman could have thought he looked like her Caucasian husband.

The addition of the racial descriptor "black man" in the retelling of a story about a jerk driving a BMW.

Over the past few weeks, I've been in group situations where each of these occurred. Over my lifetime, I've been in countless similar situations. Each time, I clam up. I don't smile. I certainly do not laugh. I look away or physically move away.

And later I feel disgusted with myself.

I rationalize that these people are strangers I'll never see again. I rationalize that nothing I could say would change their mindset. I simply rationalize.

But then later, as I replay the situation in my head, I know that those rationalizations are crap. Isn't the fact that I may never see the person again reason enough to speak my mind? Isn't the fact that this person is my relative reason enough to let them know I don't think that is very funny? Isn't the fact that I know it is wrong reason enough?

I hope that next time--and there certainly will be a next time--I have the courage to speak up. Because it is never hard to rationalize doing what I know is right.

Original post by Smiling Mama. Thanks for reading!


  1. It is SO hard to confront people in situations like that. My that toenail fungus end up growing all the way into her privates!

  2. MAY that toenail fungus, I mean. Duh.

  3. I've actually called people out before for using "racial descriptors" when they tell stories and then been accused myself of being racist. Like, what's the big deal? He was mexican. If you have a problem with me saying that maybe you're the racist one... yeah..

    But, I also, have let too many moments pass me by.

  4. I know - it's so much easier to just say nothing. I find it to be laziness on my part. So much easier to just walk away than bother with a confrontation. I will say though that while I do agree with you that it's better to call people on this stuff, that will never apply to the old people in my life. Then the "respecting your elders" lessons kick in full force and I just let them air their horrifying/embarrassing/deplorable opinions.


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