Friday, January 18, 2008

Y'all still are cracking me up

As we are approaching the holiday weekend, I thought I'd share some more thoughts. And it just seemed appropriate, given the holiday.

The other day I published a post that some of y'all took great offense to. Guess what? I still don't give a flying fuck. If it made you feel uncomfortable, then you probably needed to hear it. In order to make change, you need to be willing to talk about those things that make you uncomfortable. Otherwise we are just preserving the status quo.

I think what probably surprised the most was how some folks thought they were voicing an "original" idea. Let me tell you something. I've heard all of your arguments before. Thus my pissed off state. (That also means that I probably have a lot more experience at responding than you do. It's also really depressing that people after all this time have not been able to come up with anything novel. It's kind of like the guy who uses the cheesy pick-up line that we've all heard too many times.) And what is it specifically that pisses me off? It's the attitude of, "Well, this is just the way it should be," and acting like there is no room for discussion. Because that's how it comes off. Someone tries to show you a different perspective of the world and you just want to shut it down because it doesn't align with your world view. Yet another thing to make me sad. Because as long as this type of unwillingness to truly participate in the discussion exists, there will be no change. And maybe you're happy with the status quo but I sure as hell am not. If we were married, then I'd want a divorce.

The talking in movie thing was just an example -- a minor one if you ask me -- of how my feeling, at least, is that decisions about culture have been made in this country. I am not asking others to agree with me about whether it is acceptable or not. What I heard when I read those other blogs was, "I don't really like this behavior and I really don't care why people may behave in that manner." And to me that showed a complete lack of awareness of cultural differences. Because believe me when I say that people of color are fully aware of the dominant culture. We deal with it on a daily basis and are not given a choice about it.

What I would like to see is that we all get to the point at which we can discuss things so that we can come to a consensus. Because as a person of color, it often feels like decisions have been made about who and what I should be while I was not allowed to take part in the process. How can someone realistically expect another person to buy-in to an idea when that person was not a part of the process to begin with?

So here's the deal. Why don't you try opening up your minds? You know. Like what I'm asked to do on a daily basis.

To give you some further insight into my world, this is the city in which I grew up. There's even a movie about my city. I didn't go that high school even though I was supposed to. It wasn't until recent years that I would freely say the city's name. Might have something to do with people's reactions to it. "You're from where? You don't seem like what I'd imagine someone from there to be like." Because people read stuff like this and they get scared. When I was in college, I'd tell people about this because it is one the strong memories of the city from when I was in high school. Because it's always a good sign when "60 Minutes" does an expose on your police department. But there are things to proud of like this place. And now I live in a city in which the holiday is called "Indigenous People's Day." And in which Malcolm X's birthday is a holiday in the public schools. And I love that in these cities I have met so many wonderful people who are willing to take part in the dialog.

Oh, and on another note, BWB confirmed one of my fears the other night. She was telling me that she went to the store to buy oxtails and they wanted $7.99 a pound. What the hell?! I shared the story with my mother. My mother said, "That's just like the catfish."

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