Thursday, March 1, 2012

Easily Offended or Easily Offensive (Black People Can Dance)

How should we deal with those who say or do things that can be perceived as prejudiced? Do we let that person know? Do we let it go? What if it's an ongoing situation with someone whom you are forced to interact with almost every day?
Pictured: "Blue Congealed 
Wobbling Blob of Copyright",
Abi Paramaguru

I like to avoid issues that deal with racial prejudices. It's not that I'm in denial or anything like that. It's that I'd like to move on from the whole situation of being “oppressed.” I don't like being reminded that my ethnicity or race limits me because of what others think about it. I could waste my whole life wallowing in the injustice of it. I think if I can live the life that I'm striving for that that will send a stronger message than focusing on what's wrong, what could be better. I'm trying to live better, and I think that I should be living for God and me, not somebody who's trying to keep me down.

Then there are the situations where it's not that the person is actively trying to keep me down, but his or her ignorance is nevertheless doing that. This is very difficult to deal with, when a person's intentions are not lined up with the actions the person makes. In fact, these very people may be only trying to help, but their underlying beliefs and values are doing the opposite of what they meant.

These situations are relatively common in my life. I know they mean me no harm, but harmed I am. I’m usually at a loss as to how to deal with people saying things that, on the surface, sound positive but make me question these people’s perspectives.


I’m pretty sure that everyone knows that this is not true. But I hear it said too often in what are supposed to be modern times. What’s wrong with thinking this? It means someone thinks you have talent! Um, no. Someone thinks that if I “prove” this assumption to be true, then it’s not because I worked my butt off to hone my talent, but I was (undeservedly) gifted. It’s dismissive thinking. So what if this black person can do these things well? They’re all good at it; they didn’t earn it. It actually reminds me more of the “black people are lazy” adage. It’s not possible that this person worked hard. He’s black! What could explain it time after time? I know; that’s just what black people are naturally gifted with. A freak accident.

Like a dog that can “talk.”

When I hear a person say something like this, I have no defense. How do I explain all the history behind careless prejudice? There would have to be a lot of persuading. Most of the time I don’t think it’s worth it. Especially when it means telling someone that they are saying something hateful and I know that they aren’t trying to be.

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