Monday, December 04, 2006

Take This Blog & Shove It

So… It has been awhile since we have had an updated blog. I apologize. My tardiness in posting a blog is inexcusable and is a disrespectful display against our scared domain. If there was an excuse for my lateness it would be the sensitivity surrounding the subject that I wish to discuss. Racism.

Unless you live in a barn you have surely heard about Michael Richards’ recent racist tirade. This rant has sparked a debate among all races regarding the use of the N-word and other racially offensive words. I am not going to pretend that those reading this blog have no idea what those words are, nor will I be even more na├»ve to assume that those reading this blog have never spoken a racially insensitive word in his/her life. The issue I have and desire to discuss is the level of comfort some individuals possess when speaking in such racially insensitive terms.

We have all been in this situation. The situation where someone chooses to tell a racial joke or begins a sentence with, “I’m not a racist but . . .” I personally hate those situations. I usually choose to respectfully listen and give my nervous laugh but inside I am anxious with uneasiness. Is there an etiquette rule in this situation? How do you tell your friend, uncle, taxi driver, etc. that you do not approve of what they are saying? I guess what bothers me the most in these situations is how those who choose to speak in racially insensitive terms are not concerned that the person(s) to whom they are speaking with might not be comfortable hearing those words.

The easy thing to do in this situation if you are the one hearing the racially insensitive comments would be to ignore them. To ignore the comments spoken would avoid an awkward confrontation ending in a lesson on racial sensitivity or anger fueled by embarrassment. Also, to ignore the comments spoken would allow the offending individual to continue his/her life comfortably speaking in offensive and racial terms. However, you are still sitting there feeling uncomfortable. Ignoring your lack of comfort in these situations defeats the purpose of the feeling. You are supposed to feel uncomfortable in these situations. If you do not, there is a problem.

There is a reason you feel uncomfortable. The uncomfortable feeling one gets in these situations is the cue to speak up. All that needs to be said is, “I am uncomfortable with your comments.” No self righteousness needs to coincide with the comment nor is this an opportunity to get on a soap box. With those six words you have the opportunity to change another person’s perspective. And now you have made the offending individual uncomfortable and maybe next time he/she will not be so comfortable speaking such offensive language.