Wednesday, January 2, 2013

The Only Thing I Can't Tolerate is Intolerance

I mainly use my Facebook page for business purposes.  I use the fan portion of Facebook to promote this blog and the books that I have published.  Additionally, I run an in home daycare, so I use the personal Facebook page to run that business.  As every marketing consultant on the planet will tell you, it's imperative for small business owners to stay active on social networks.  So, I use the personal profile to post about my kids and my daycare kids, so that the daycare parents can learn about me and who I am, while hearing cute stories about their kids' days.  Additionally, my far away family members can stay up to date on my kids.  Very rarely do I feel compelled to post anything serious or personal on Facebook, because I find that immature and stupid. 

BUT...

My son came home from a week long visit with his dad and revealed a very disturbing story about a racist conversation that took place in front of him.  I gave his dad a chance to give me his side of the story, but he confirmed that the conversation did take place, and so I went off.  Dad gave me a version that conflicted what my son said regarding exactly who had made the vulgar comments, so in order to "get the message" to all parties involved at one time regarding my stance on this behavior in front of mine, or any child, I posted the following on Facebook:

"People who think they're cute having racist conversations in front of my son won't think it's so funny when they figure out what a big time bitch I really can be. When Jacob today revealed to me some racist things that were said in front of him, I cried. He's at a very delicate age to be having his mind polluted in that way. He told me though, he had wanted very badly to comment about how black people aren't different than white people, but he'd been afraid of getting in trouble. It made me proud. I told him, when he knows something really important like that is right, it is OK to speak up, and stand up for what you know is right, even if you get in trouble."

Needless to say, the general response was that people were proud of my son for being such a strong and smart little boy.  However, one person pointed out that people have the rights to their own opinions and to express them as they please.

Ah, the first amendment.  Here we go.

 Here's the thing folks, its pretty cut and dry, but people don't seem to get this.  Yes, you have the right to express your opinion.  As long as your opinions don't infringe on somebody else's rights.  That's the key point people seem to misunderstand.  The right to express your opinion is null and void when it is your opinion that somebody else doesn't have the same rights that you do.  And that, my friends, is the foundation of racism.

So many people will make TOTALLY racist comments, followed by BUT, I'm not racist.  Really?  Then why on Earth would you say something ignorant about a person of another race?  People have endlessly made fun of ME when I get bent out of shape about off color jokes and comments, because, "Hardy har har, Dawn, it was just a JOKE!"  Really? Well, since you were just joking, then of course, you're not a racist. 

Here's a quiz to tell if you are a racist:
1. Do you have racist thoughts?
2. Do you make racist jokes?
3. Do you laugh at racist jokes?

If you answered YES to any of these then guess what, YOU'RE A RACIST.  I understand that people who have uttered a sentence that includes the phrase, "but, I'm not a racist," truly believe that they are not.  But, the first step to truly freeing yourself of the chains of racism is to acknowledge, yeah, I've done that.  Its wrong.  No shades of grey, it is wrong.  Then NEVER do it again.

Further, I'd like to comment on another one of son's dad's comments.  He said, "all I said is that I have a problem with my daughter dating a black guy."  I repeatedly asked him why, and tried to get him to alliterate this statement, which he was unable to do.  He could provide absolutely no reason why he had a problem.  I won't even go into what I think of that.  However, commonly people will say they have a problem with it because they don't want their loved one to face some sort of adversity caused by the interracial relationship.

Let me say, there is not a relationship on Earth that is free from risk of adversity caused by opposition.  A relationship doesn't have to be interracial to be opposed.  My relationship with my husband is vehemently opposed by many people.  I was even once physically threatened over it.  We're both white.  My friends and family didn't say, "0h, you shouldn't be with Adam because some people oppose it."  They said, "be with Adam, you clearly love him very much!"  So, if Adam were black and people said, "Oh, don't be with Adam because some people oppose it," then, this would be a big indicator of RACISM.

Again, a lot of people who have a problem with interracial relationships don't consider themselves racist, but I'm sorry folks, call a spade a spade.  Try and think of it in simpler terms and think of yourself in the place of being told you shouldn't love the person you love.  And then, if you can't consider changing your thinking, then keep your nose out of it.

It's always stupefies me I have called somebody on making racist comments when they respond, "well, I'm not racist, I have friends who are (insert ethnicity)!"  To this I respond, well then you should be EVEN MORE ashamed of yourself.  Son's dad even went so far to say that his African American (my term, not his) friend even uses derogatory racial terms to refer to herself!  So, that's why its fine for him to say it.  *sigh*  It DOES NOT matter WHO says the word, that does not detract from the word's WRONGNESS.  Shame on her too, if that's the truth.

The person who opposed my posting on Facebook is a person who I love very much.  It hurts me to believe she may have been affected by racist mindsets.  There is no form of racism that is OK, that is the point I am trying to make.  It isn't an opinion that is OK, because it HURTS other people.  It isn't an opinion that is OK because it spreads HATE.  It isn't a joke that is funny.  It is a matter that IS worth speaking about publicly, loudly, in any forum.  The fact that it was said in front of my child is NOT THE POINT.  The point is, if you ARE NOT A RACIST, these things should never cross your lips, in any setting.  If these things do cross your lips, then you might as well own it.  You are a racist.  If admitting it makes you ashamed, then fix it. I understand that when you are in a setting where the conversation turns to a racist nature, it is unlikely that you will change anyone's mind by starting a confrontation about it.  There are very few things in life worth starting a confrontation about.  You can't change stupid.  However, in matters of tremendous importance such as this, the value of making your feelings known is that, though they will likely retain their racist opinions, they will now know that it is NOT OK to talk like that in front of you and a change has been made.  Of course, one person cannot change the world.  But everybody making small changes CAN.