Saturday, April 11, 2009

Have you ever met someone and wondered whether they were racist or just plain stupid? My husband and I went to happy hour after work yesterday to chill out and have a few drinks. There was a guy sitting at the bar alone and we took the two seats next to him. I could tell he was a talker.

So, we order our drinks and he immediately starts up a conversation. It was going okay and then he started talking about selfish athletes that keep getting into trouble and how the "poor kids" who are looking up to them suffer. He said "those kids" suffer enough and they don't need their heroes letting them down. He considered their heroes to be rappers and athletes and thought it was disgusting how they all wanted to be "gangsta."

I told him that white kids buy way more rap music than black kids and they definitely bought into the "gangsta" image even though they probably have all the advantages that you'd think would lead them to knowing better. I also let him know that every black child does not want to be a "gangsta" or professional athlete and black people do raise their children. I was too amused with him to be pissed off.

He shuts up and the conversation goes to the terrible New York Knicks. We talked about the Knicks of old and how we knew their time had come and gone. He looks at my husband and says "You know what we call the Knicks?" He touches his arm and says, "Don't be offended." Now, whenever someone says that you know they're about to say something offensive. I braced myself and looked at my husband. Before he told us his Knickname, he asked that no offense be taken again.

All I heard was Niggas blah, blah, blah. I didn't hear the rest of what he said. It was as if time stood still. I immediately looked at my husband's hands to see if they had formed fists. My husband is not one to ask questions or start a debate over a situation. He will just bust your ass. He was surprisingly calm. Even though I was heated, I bounced off of his calmness and looked at the guy like he was an idiot. From that moment on, he no longer existed. I must say I was very proud of my husband for not knocking him out.

He continued to try and hold a conversation with us. I basically either ignored him or looked at him like he was stupid. My husband actually talked to him. I was amazed. He started talking about "this black guy" he was friends with that my husband reminded him of. The guy was big and muscular like my husband and he used to "gang bang," but he turned his life around and became an evangelist. He thought it was funny that this big guy was preaching. My husband told him he should attend some of his services because he obviously had a lot to learn. He laughed, but my husband looked at him with the most serious, scary, face that he got up and went outside. He didn't know how lucky he was.

We didn't really talk about him when he left. He wasn't worth the words. It was more important to enjoy each other's company. That was the reason we were there. We'd both had a tiring week and wanted to unwind. He came back and tried to talk to us, but eventually realized that the moment had passed. He said something about hoping we weren't offended by what he said because he didn't mean any harm. I told him he should think about what he says before speaking because he could get himself hurt one day. My husband gave him another deadly stare, I turned my head and watched the Yankee game, and he left.

I eventually asked my husband how he felt about what happened and he said it was clear from some of the things he said that he was use to being around black people who let him say whatever he wanted. He didn't necessarily think he was racist as much as he was ignorant. I'm still not sure. I was just glad he left, even though he wasn't ready to go.

So fellow bloggers, what do you think? Racist? Stupid? Ignorant? A combination of them all? I'd love to get your opinions on this one.


SLC said...

I'll probably reply again later, but I think it's definitely a combination. I think racism and ignorance are bed-mates. This fella had more of the ignorance gene. However whatever the bartender served up brought down the common sense quotient and obviously lowered all inhibitions resulting in an explosion of stupidity. I applaud your husbands restraint. I would secretly applaud even if he had bust him in the face.

The Fitness Diva said...

I have a theory about some of the people who do this.

Some are ignorant, and they're sticking to it, because, darn it, that just works for them. It's a comfort zone they feel privileged to be in. They know on some level that not all black people (or Asian, Latino, etc) do ______ , but their stubborn little brains just feel more comfortable seeing the differences between them and us. So, even after being shown otherwise, they still try to hold onto the stereotypes they hold so dear....and that give them that smug little sense of superiority. It's comfortable... and no matter how much you educate these types, there will always be a part of them that sees the differences first.

It's a comfortable habit, almost, like smoking. You know it's bad for you, and have been thoroughly educated on how many ways it can kill you, but you do it anyway...because it makes you feel good, and you are addicted to that good feeling. For many racists, being racist does make them feel good, and able to hold onto that false sense of superiority. That shit is vital to them on some level.

Others are smarter than they let on, and just want to see your reaction to their inappropriate comment. These people are not ignorant....just stupid. They get off on trying to push your buttons. It ticks them off to see you not 'living down' to one of their favorite stereotypes, and being what would be termed in the past 'an uppity Negro that doesn't know his place', so they need to take you down a peg or two, and kind of let you know that no matter how far you've come, they will always try to see you as a _______. These people are dysfunctional and insecure in their own little ways, and once again, need to step on you to feel better about who they are.
Okay. That's my two cents! ;)

By the way, glad Ed didn't put his lights out. A night in jail would not have proven the point! ;)

CareyCarey said...

Well Miss Strong, I ain't going to bust you out like you did me *LOL* ...just kidding. loved you comment, thanks.

Anyway, a couple of thangs. I believe a racist is much bigger than having a racial attitude. A racist would be less proned to even talk to you let alone share a seat next to you.

This appears to be pure ignorance. He just didn't know that he was in harms way. You have a good man. I liked the fact that he continued to talk with him ...that's big. Next time yawl might consider having a good comback that will kick him in the "you know whats" without laying a hand on him. Like a fastball, high and tight ...the old brush back pitch. There's another stupid drunk white guy waiting around the corner ...get ready. I think I heard your name called in the bullpen *wink*

Yvette said...

I think he was ignorant. A lot of people are. said...

Hey there...

People are ignorant...some don't even realize that their comments are bigoted until they are TOLD...

White privilege has kept many bigots in the dark about how bigoted their thinking is.

Sunshinelovespeace said...

I think the guy was just being white. I mean lets be real this is a white mans country and the only value they really find in black people is in our ability to entertain them and spend all of OUR money at all of THEIR comapanies. I think that he more than likely only interacts with black people that are in his socio-economic bracket and as a result thinks that black people in that category feel the same way that white people do about the "other black people". You know, the ones like those poor kids that look up to rappers and athletes.
I wish I could say that this guy was totally to blame for his attiude and comfort at speaking that way to you and your husband, but I think we allow people like him to continue thinking the way they do. Whenever they come in contact with black people we are so quick to want to "get along" that we allow them to feel like we are all the same, and "the same" to them means that we have given into the belief that white is right and black is to be tolerated only when we can behave ourself in their pressence.

This is just my opinion. Peace

Lamika said...

"You should attend some of his services because you obviously had a lot to learn." Hahahahahahahahaha