I just wanted to chime in on the “What to say to a racist/queer-hater in everyday conversation” conversation.
I work in a town that has not evolved far from its village roots. When a public official says something obviously racist, it’s hard not to remain silently petrified — which, I regret, I have done. However, here’s an example of a time things worked.
old fart: “…talking to his lawyer won’t help you…he’s black, too…”
me: “will his comments be inaccurate, or…?”
old fart: “no, it’s just…you know how blacks all stick together.”
me: “do you think he’ll agree with him because he is also black?”
call it a poor example, but I think the key here is a) he did not find in me the comfort he sought and b) tone.
Rather than saying “Is that a problem?” in an offended/accusatory tone, for me, it works to take a curious tone.
This is often natural, as I am genuinely curious to find out why people are leery of queers or blacks, etc.
It may be considered a wimpy reaction, (part of me thinks I should just stab my pen in his eye…) but ultimately, I think people respond better when they are forced for a mille-second to back-up and examine their own opinions.
Not to say the old fart went home and shed himself of his prejudice, but.
I know I learned a lot from a professor of Black Media who asked me (or “the class”) questions about my privilege as a white chick.
We are all at different points along the scale. We probably say things that are “obviously ignorant” to minorities or gays all the time.
As for the gay thing, the old farts will never get it.
In other news, yes, Cat. Promotions sans pay raises still count.
I’ve been telling everyone I got a promotion. I like to think it is. I’ve been assigned a different beat on the northwest end of town. Bigger paper, later deadlines, timely news coverage…people actually reading. It’s a reporter’s dream. I’m preparing to take down 51 years of success when they hand me the reins in a few weeks.
or do I mean reigns? You decide.
Anyway, congratulations to Cat. If nothing else, it gave me the perfect opportunity to talk about my own achievements!!!
(seriously, good work)
(and good luck, Nadine)
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