Saturday, January 3, 2015

Things Not To Say To Black People

Sometimes when people complain about 'political correctness" they are really complaining about not being able to openly insult certain people any more without worrying about the insulted person's feelings let alone losing their job. These are the people who get personally offended that at work they can't openly call a black person a n****** when they've already given most people the impression they use the slur pretty routinely with friends and family. So I don't pay a whole lot of attention to some complaints around political correctness. But there are other folks who haven't grown up around different people. As adults they do not routinely work with different people or have any of them within their circle of intimates (neighbors, spouses, in-laws, lovers, close friends, etc). And since they're in the majority they don't really need to know what a minority may consider offensive. So though some people may not mean harm by their statement or question, insult can still be taken. We all have difficulty seeing through other people's perceptions. It's not always easy to determine if someone is saying something from honest well meaning, if clueless curiosity, or instead is expressing racist malice. Often times black people try to discern the difference and decide if the situation is worth verbally chin-checking someone. I generally feel that it is worth the hassle to set someone straight. My experiences have been that when you give some people an inch they take a mile. I have usually regretted it when I've let stuff slide. However there is no right answer to this because we are all different with dissimilar tolerances for what we consider offensive, racist, or just off-color (pun intended). 

Settling conflicts with a co-worker is different from getting into it with your boss or other ranking leaders. Keeping your job or a viable career path could mean keeping your mouth shut. There are some common comments or actions which many black people have heard or experienced. Most of these things are generally considered offensive to a lesser or greater extent. I ran across this video while looking for something else and thought it humorous enough to share. I have experienced some of these comments (and more) at workplaces. Stereotypes stink.

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