A Rant

(Warning:  Soapbox rant to follow!!)

Somebody help me here!  Really!  I need help understanding how people can still be so insensitive and so clueless and so racist!

Ouch!  Racist.  That is a harsh word, indeed!  But, come on!  Are you serious?

I am amazed at how often people make racist comments in everyday conversations.  Hello??

Recently, in a conversation with someone whom I don’t know very well, we were talking about nearby neighborhoods.  The example that my friend used was of a particular neighborhood that had really gone downhill over the years.  It had deteriorated, according to her, because there was “a black area” nearby.  Wow.  Did you just say there was “a black area” nearby that caused the neighborhood to go to the pits?  Wow.

Another time, a friend whom I had known for years was telling the story of another friend’s daughter who had been making some bad choices and was in a lot of trouble.  “And she’s dating a b-l-a-c-k,” she spelled with upraised, appalled eyebrows.  Wow.  Did you just spell black, as if it were a four letter word?  Really?  While my black son is playing with your son in the next room?  Wow.

And believe it or not, people tell me racist jokes!  Tacky, distasteful, bigoted jokes!  And then they’re surprised and offended when I don’t find the jokes funny.  Really??  Wow.

How can it be that people find it okay to talk this way?  Don’t they get it?  Don’t they see?

When will they believe with their hearts and with their mouths that Jesus loves red, brown, yellow, black, and white??

When will they see that every time they make a tacky, hateful comment about the color of someone’s skin, they are casting hurt on me and on my son and on my family and on a whole race of people??

When will they see that what they think is an innocent remark or a cute joke is really hate??

It kills me to hear it!  It kills me to know that before long Zachary will start to hear and notice those comments.  And it kills me to know that some of those comments might come from people he loves and respects!

But, let me add that it is not only racist comments about African American people that upset me.  People are rude and hurtful about many races and religions — Hispanic, Asian, Jewish, and many more.  I’m sure you’ve heard the jokes.  Perhaps you’ve felt the hate of those comments.  All of those comments and those jokes are a terrible, bigoted attack.

It all really makes me sick.  It amazes me.  Folks, this is 2010.  We have come a long way, but jeez-o-pete, we are still galaxies away from accepting all people.

And would you believe it if I told you that friends even make hurtful comments about people with handicaps?  Yes!  Several times lately, people I know have used the word “retarded” and “retard” in their conversation. (www.therword.org)  And several people have made cute little jokes about “the short bus.”  Really?  Did you just joke about riding the short bus??  And did you just call him a retard for making a silly mistake??  Wow.  Come on, folks!

Those words cut deeply.  They hurt.

Want to know how to be more accepting and more loving and more civilized?  Try dropping all racist, bigoted, hurtful talk.  Try dropping even the hurtful thoughts!

If you feel like I’m stepping on your toes, then I hope it leaves a bruise.  And I hope the bruise causes you to rethink the things you say.

If you are fighting the urge to yell, “Amen!  Preach it!” then step up onto this soapbox with me.

If I have offended you for speaking so frankly on this topic, I hope you will try to understand the offense that so many people feel as a result of the types of comments I have been ranting about.

A soapbox?  Yes, a big ol soapbox, indeed!!

Wow.

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7 responses to this post.

  1. You go, girl!

    Reply

  2. Hear ye, hear ye!

    Kelly, you are so awesome. We were out of town last week so I’m just now catching up, and as I read through your blog I wish you could see me nodding (homework, ugh!)… grinning (the envelope of cash)… wiping my eyes (the beautiful letters to your children)… and blushing with shared shame (my daughter never had her 9yo checkup, thank you for reminding me, that was two years ago and I thought I had put that episode behind me).

    Reply

  3. Posted by Heidi on March 1, 2010 at 10:04 AM

    It has to be said!

    Reply

  4. Posted by Stephanie Canipe on March 2, 2010 at 4:46 AM

    Kelly,
    Thanks for writing this. Unfortunately I think the people that need to hear it can’t “hear” it, even if they read your poignant words. God is the only one who can change men’s hearts. I think there is overall a lot of ethnocentricity that prevents people from seeing reality. Interestingly, from a bit of an international perspective, when I visit america I’m amazed at how FEW black people there are. It feels strange and looks disproportional to me to see SO many white people! Funny isn’t it? Perspective makes a big difference.
    I’ve been hurt too by people’s insensitivity and sometimes outright rudeness. Even now I’m praying that I won’t take offense at another child’s (and her parents) unkind criticisms about my special needs child.
    Love and blessings to you and your precious family!
    Steph x

    Reply

    • Thanks for your comment, Stephanie. You’re right that just reading my rant isn’t going to push someone to change. That IS God’s job, isn’t it? And, yes! Interesting international perspective! I pray, too, that your heart will be protected from the hurtful criticisms that were directed at you and your child. I believe that MOST of the time people don’t mean harm when they say things — they just don’t know what to say. But those things still hurt. Hang in there, friend!

      Reply

  5. Posted by Heidi on March 2, 2010 at 10:12 AM

    Bravo!

    Reply

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