Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Please Don't

It kills me when I hear people tell stories and they just have to say the race of the person involved when it has NOTHING to do with the story. It's usually white people who have to say that the person in the story was black. White people never say that the person in the story was white.

Drives me up the wall.

For example, someone (white) was telling me a story today about a neighborhood. She said, "There were two rough looking black guys sitting in their front lawn." The fact that these men were black has nothing to do with the point of the person's story. Yet it was said.

I had to hold back---because I had and still have no idea how to respond. I could be snarky (maybe rightfully so) and say, "What did you state that the people were black?" Or, like I did, I said nothing and then mentally milled over the statement over and over and over in my mind and then cursed at myself for not saying something.

Oh, and when white people say "black"---they look around the room to make sure there is no black person around and then they whisper "black" anyway.

Black is not a bad or dirty word. It doesn't need to be whispered.

It also doesn't need to be in a conversation that has nothing to do with the person's race.

Because what I find is that "black" is used from one white person to another to say something about the character of the person in the story. Like we are supposed to take white-person-stereotypes of black people, heard the person in the story is black, and then apply those stereotypes to that person. (Am I making any sense here?)

Does anyone else get really annoyed by this?

1 comment:

  1. Yes, this absolutely drives me INSANE!

    Strangely, though, I heard it done by a black woman in reference to a white person a few months ago. I was sitting with two young black women, and I was the only white woman. One girl was telling a story and she stumbled all over herself because she qualified the person in the story as "white" but never did for any of the other people in the story who I assume were black. It actually struck me as really funny, because I've seen it happen SO often among white folks. At least it works both ways. ;)


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