Race Race Race….no not the kind you run but the one that folks all seem to be talking about. And we all know when everybody is talking about it somebody is gonna slip up and say something that sounds racist. ….after reading at least 3 personal inboxes this week asking me why I’m friends with racist people & why I allow racist people to make the comments that they do…..I’ve decided just responding to them won’t help the rest of y’all who are probably thinking the same, are one of the people that they are asking about, or has been and will be someone I have to eventually tell that they said something that sounded racist.
The sucky part is …that unfortunately I have learned (thanks to J Smooth) to always have a plan in place for how to approach the inevitable that sounded racist conversation…….. The what they did conversation vs what they are conversation…. 2 totally different conversations……………words and actions vs trying to explain that what they did and what they said makes them racist. At that point I’m merely drawing conclusions and speculating about their motives and intentions, which are only things that I can guess at & can’t ever really prove which in turn takes the conversation away from what they actually did & makes it way too easy for them to derail the whole argument……..its not a bad thing to say someone is racist because you might be wrong…..its a bad thing because you might be right!
There are so many scenarios that tie to race lately in the news that its quite frankly hard to keep up with……..from the current issues going on in Ferguson to the drama filled political posts about the President who because he’s black…naturally we gotta talk about it….to just plain every day experiences that reflect the society that we are breathing in.
I’m blessed to have a seriously and deeply diverse friend base, grown up in an area that did not look like me, experienced living in more than one state to show me horses of different colors, and have had the opportunity to experience traveling to lands where you aren’t labeled by the color of your skin but the land you come from. I’m also blessed to be married to a man who comes from a similar background who is able to be the devils advocate to my rants, raves and reviews.
I certainly am not naïve enough to think that growing up in an area filled with elite privilege that I was somehow immune or had a cloth of diversity wrapped around me. I am not blind to being followed in stores and stopped by police simply because my race makes me an optimal target depending on the area that I am in. As an adult the husband and I decided to raise our children in the same area and environment that we grew up in. We knew the day would come that every black parent fears…..the day their child is called the N word. I’m sure that fear lies in my friends who are any race or ethnicity that has coined a seething stereotypical historical slur that has continued to breathe life and has crossed over years decades and centuries to continue rearing its ugly head.
Since the husband and I work so close in proximity to each other we decided to start car pooling a year ago. We listen to sports radio and have real life conversations during our commute EVERY DAY. During a recent conversation….backstory…I was fussing about something that someone said that sounded racist……our conversation:
Me: I cannot believe that people really think our society is race free and have the audacity to say such craziness that frankly sounds racist even though they say they aren’t
Husband: They are just saying how they feel. For some it comes from a place of ignorance to facts, some it comes from hate, some it comes from pure aggravation to what is going on. That’s like you getting mad cuz you missed out on a sale or reacting to how you are treated when you go certain places. You just say the experience you are having and that’s your reality
Me: (looks over at the husband) So you don’t think that folks say racist stuff?
Husband: I didn’t say that, some people do, but if you think your friends are saying racist stuff, call them out on what you think they said that was racist. If your friends were true racists, they definitely wouldn’t be your friend, no matter how long you have known them
Me: So you are saying that what they said vs what they are is the perspective I should focus on
Husband: Yep, their reality is not the same as yours. and if you feel that it sounded racist, that’s a small battle you will have to decide if you want to fight
End of conversation………..Thankful for a balanced marriage!
So when people ask me why I have racist friends or allow them to post “stupid shit”….my response is………they are not your friends, you don’t know our history and if you feel that what they have said is racist or believe that they are racist, you may fight that battle together. I will deal with them in a private way without calling them out on live social media because we have a relationship. Sometimes people just need a little love to show them that while what you said sounded racist…..I don’t believe that you are…..unless you prove me otherwise.
I definitely have had to tell folks that they are blind to the facts of the world and live in a bubble but going down the path of resistance with friends like that has ultimately lead to distance and the proverbial social media defriending and unfriending in real life. It happens and perhaps there really was some deep seeded racist underlining that forced the relationship to end. Because they are gone….all I have left is my opinion. Such is life. If they really are racist….they won’t care what I think! I have way too many Real friends to worry about drama and have learned that I deserve better and give the best to my friends.
I want my friends to be real, to be open and to be honest. Some cross the line of pure harsh hate, others cat dance around the subject, others jump on band wagons to have back up. I don’t really care……what I care about is my safety when I’m in their presence and the safety of my family when I am not.
The husband and I also talk about the rules of the road and survival together. Rules that we have to tell both of our children……especially our son to abide by. Most of the rules come from what our parents taught us and others from our own experiences.
Here’s our list. Its kind of a shame that we have to have a list. But its pretty simple. First and foremost………follow the golden rule and don’t put yourself in a position that would cause you to have to have a gun drawn on you by ANYBODY. Drop to your knees and beg not to be shot if in the presence of an officer so that you don’t appear to be a threat. Here are our others:
1. When in a store of any kind: Leave your backpack in the car. If you must take it in with you….make sure it is not open at anytime except to pay. And when you leave the store, never leave without a receipt so that you can’t be accused of stealing….no matter how small the purchase is.
2. If pulled over, keep your hands on the steering wheel at all times. If the officer asks you for your license and registration, tell him explicitly step by step what you are about to do and use one hand to do it. Except the ticket and we will take care of it. No arguing. We got lawyers on retainer…..we don’t play in the Lowery house.
3. Watch your back at all times. While YOUR friends may have your best interest at heart……..those who do not know you at the same function may have other plans. Press record on your cell phone should a racist altercation present itself and let it play out.
Here’s to understanding the difference between the what they did conversation vs what they are conversation. Everyone is accountable for their own actions and words. I cannot control what type of crazy folks will bring….but I can control how I react. CHEERS!!