Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Great example, both bad and good.

I don’t think he realized he was doing it. Well, maybe he did but I’m sure he didn’t realize he was offending her. It isn’t that unusual. I have watched lots of white people do it. Most think it is endearing or proves they are “down”.
She didn’t really know how to tell him it bugged her. We usually saw him when we were all in groups and that makes it worse on two fronts; she didn’t want to confront him in front of people, but then again him doing it in front of people made it even worse.

Whenever talking to her, he would add things like, “you know that’s right!” or “you go girlfriend” to the conversation and would talk with his hands.

She would come away wondering, “do I talk like that?” She doesn’t.
I take that back, she doesn’t talk like that to white people.

She wondered if that’s how he thinks she sounds. Does he even hear me? I don’t speak like that around him, why does he think I sound like that?

It began to bother her a lot and she didn’t want to be around him. She was sure he didn’t really mean to offend but she didn’t know how, or really want, to bring it up with him.

Then he did the perfect thing. He approached her.

“I think I have offended you,” he said. “I’m sorry. Sometimes I don’t really think. I do boneheaded things. Please realize I didn’t mean to be offensive, I made a mistake.”

She was impressed and told him he was the bigger person for approaching her, for doing the thing she was avoiding. She now thinks highly of him.
Just before that, she wanted nothing to do with him.

Lots of people make honest mistakes, few truly apologize and try to make things right.
If more people did, I would have to write about something else.
I would love that.


Mr. Noface said...

I wish more people realized that they've made mistakes in execution or boneheaded moves when it comes to issues involving race. More often than not however, I find that I have to confront the offender with my feelings on his/her offensive behavior and instead of a realization and/or apology, they mentally crouch into a defensive posture.

A world filled with people that are more like the guy in your post wouldn't be perfect, but it would certainly be more managable.

uglyblackjohn said...

"...I would have to write about something else."
Yep, that would be ideal.
The problem is that most people get too defensive (or offensive) when speaking about racial issues.

(Don't tell me you play Rugby too. Man... I tried it. That ish hurts. But it is a nice scrum painting.)

lyric said...


nobody is perfect - but it helps when we are at least trying to be better than we were.

and - the composition of your painting is lovely.

yes - UBJ - the boy is insane and seems to have a thing for doing really big painful boy type games. Fun to watch though.

Corbie said...

I think that Lyric hit it on the head when she said that it helps when we are at least trying to be better people.

We all begin from a different starting line but as long as we are all moving forward and growing and are willing to self-reflect, things are headed in the right direction.

brohammas said...

Sure no one is perfect and its important that we try to improve, but in matters of race relations, how rare is the white person who will honestly apologize rather than defend in the "i'm not a racist" stream of non-self reflection excuse making most of us do.

Rugby isnt so bad you should play. There are tons of great teams for beginners out west.