Originally Posted by RedOakMomma
I DO base some of my decisions based on what others tell me they've experienced. If people tell me that term is hurtful to them, or if I hear it consistently and also read into the historical racism implied in the term, then yeah...I listen to their experience and I change my behavior.
Exactly. It's common courtesy.
This isn't directed at anyone in particular, but I find it interesting when (usually white) people who claim to be extremely caring about others are put out about having to "remember" every word that "might" offend someone, to the point that they passive-aggressively claim they can't even speak to other people - especially people of color. Isn't that caring more about your own comfort level than the other person's? We will ALL offend people. It's unavoidable. Put yourself out there, do the best you can with potentially sensitive terminology, and if you slip up or meet with a difference of opinion, oh well. Your intentions were good, and reasonable people of every color appreciate that. Take note of it, and now that you know better, do better. Don't treat people as landmines - just treat them as people. Otherwise you'll miss out on an awful lot, hiding your head in the sand like that!
This poem by Pat Parker really brought these concepts together for me:For the White Person Who Wants to Know How to Be My Friend"
The first thing you do is to forget that i'm Black.
Second, you must never forget that i'm Black.
You should be able to dig Aretha,
but don't play her every time i come over.
And if you decide to play Beethoven--don't tell
me his life story. They made us take music
Eat soul food if you like it, but don't expect me
to locate your restaurants
or cook it for you.
And if some Black person insults you,
mugs you, rapes your sister, rapes you,
rips your house, or is just being an ***--
please, do not apologize to me
for wanting to do them bodily harm.
It makes me wonder if you're foolish.
And even if you really believe Blacks are better
lovers than whites--don't tell me. I start thinking
of charging stud fees.
In other words, if you really want to be my
friend--don't make a labor of it. I'm lazy.
-from Making Face, Make Soul
edited by Gloria Anzaldua
San Francisco: Aunt Lute Foundation Books, 1990.