As mentioned in my previous post, I rarely encounter a situation that irks me or inspires me to rant in daily life, so I have to go “looking” for a fight sometimes in order to justify the existence of this blog. And the internet ALWAYS delivers Rantable fare aplenty. Actually my source, is from a delightful blog I am begging my mother not to read this – The link is directly below.
In her post she describes how a crazy event during a DMV visit where an employee was ranting hateful obscenities, inspired her to write a few letters to report this incident to government authorities. And her story got me to thinking about all the opportunities we have to stand up in our daily lives against all the UGLYisms we encounter today – Racism, Sexism, Ageism, Classism as well as blanket bigotry against any other type of people who are generally condemned by society-at-large or within your community.
‘How?’ you may ask.
Ever been having a normal conversation with a friend, co-worker, neighbor, family member – and some stomach-curdling prejudiced/hateful statement spurts out of their mouth like a toad – and instead of you saying anything, you keep silent? You do this to supposedly keep the peace, right? But when you keep silent, you feel like a despicable and spineless turd for doing so?
Well here’s another option – challenge what they say with the intention to open up their minds. Getting raw and wild and righteous in their face, may be what you want to do. But never mind what you WANT – do what is MOST effective! The best way is to bring some humor to it, and treat the person with respect but show the falseness of their ideas. It may feel uncomfortable, but if you do it in a way that encourages discussion rather than defensiveness on their part, then you will find it goes surprisingly well. And this is how we lay the ground for a more peaceful world, among people who are programmed by politicians and the media to hate and distrust each other.
My blog-length responding comment is as follows :
Really impressive on all levels – started out funny and then bam it catches your breath. It is important to write letters, especially when you have a specific incident to share with authorities. And especially when you have a strong writing voice. And I believe that all of us who care passionately about this ongoing heave-ho of changing the world, and have the capacity and time to write blogs or be involved in any media, shouldn’t fucking hold back.
I think we often feel it is better to be agreeable and quiet. For what? So the assholes will like us? Maybe we stop because we don’t think it will help, but MAYBE IT DOES. We don’t need to be super-heroes and try to change everything in one day. Who are we kidding?
Tao Te Ching – Lao Tzu – chapter 78
Under heaven nothing is more soft and yielding than water.
Yet for attacking the solid and strong, nothing is better;
It has no equal.
The weak can overcome the strong;
The supple can overcome the stiff.
Under heaven everyone knows this,
Yet no one puts it into practice.
We can’t all be sticks of dynamite. And for all of us, whether we are writers or activists or not, we often have opportunity to challenge the prejudices of our friends and family or acquaintances. This is where our REAL power lies – if we challenge the hateful/ignorant opinions of those who know us – we have more influence.
The other day, a Latino friend of mine ( I wouldn’t point out his ethnic “label” except it is actually key to the story) was saying some crap about black people. Asking me why a friend of his, he was looking at Facebook, was dating a black guy.
I said – He’s probably a good guy, what other reason would she have?
He– But he’s black!
Me – So, what?
He – Well blacks are (something offensive – seriously I didn’t even want to register the slur in my brain).
Me– Well, you know, lots of people have the same feeling about Latino’s, do you feel that is fucking fair?
He– Well, many Latinos ARE (whatever the offensive word is) too.
Me– Listen, there are LOT of assholes in the world, and I can name a bunch of WHITE one’s – Can you top Hitler, or Dick Cheney, or Anne Coulter? Seriously – give it a rest, no race, religion, gender, sexual preference group, no color of the rainbow (and here I am just fluffing the story up it really was just color) – has a franchise on F’d up.
He– Yeah, I guess you are right.
So that was my small success of the evening – but I am seriously wondering about his internalized racism against his own ethnic group : (
I guess I did get a little RIGHTEOUS in his face, but hey we have a history of heated conversation – and we can dish it out to each other as well as take it. For years he used to call me “B” – guess what that means? And I would call him “A” – guess what that means? Needless to say we have never had a cuddly sweet friendship.
Beyond this, we all should make extra efforts to get to know different types of people, especially people we have been “afraid” of … you don’t have to be all awkward weird and act like you are on a mission of discovery. Just talk to people like people, IF you have a friendly chemistry – over time you can both share your truths naturally. FOR goodness sake don’t ask stupid questions and treat people as if they are a lab rat, or some organism under a microscope to be experimented upon and studied or PATRONISED. People are people and have every right to their privacy as you do. Just be open to new people is all. Baby steps would be to visit blogs that address groups of people whom you have never known socially. And you can do your “research” there. But if you want to reach out and be part of the particular blog’s community, it is best not to hide your identity. Don’t pretend to be Eskimo, if you are black, or homosexual if you are straight or whatever weirdness so you can fit in … that is creepy …
If more of us really knew each other and had friends from all different kinds of backgrounds, all this prejudice would just disappear over time, because we would always have each other’s back. And we could tell the Politicians to
Bugger OFF and FIGHT your OWN wars!
We are busy making Peace over here! When you get over your petty selves and your addiction to Power-Pushing the world around , you can join OUR PEACE Party – where we will PARTY till the dawn of the next millennium!