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Sticks and Stones.

June 22, 2013

I really love my friends. I’d defend all of them to the death.

They are great people. I really don’t like crowds of people, and quite frankly I’ll do almost anything to avoid some people.

When I woke up this morning (2pm), I heard a vacuum cleaner running outside my door. I found this to be strange since I’m the only person that I’ve heard vacuum in this house for a little bit. I walked out in the kitchen to find my roommate chatting with a vacuum sales man.

I personally feel if you open the door to a salesman it’s your responsibility to shoo him away. I mean I can’t make a deal on a vacuum that costs 3,000 bucks. I don’t even have a job.

Also, anyone who knows me is fully aware that I can’t really have a warm conversation with anyone right after I wake up. It takes me 20 minutes to become normal. I avoided talking to this stranger with a sales pitch because over the years I’ve realized something: you have to be careful about what you say to people.

When you don’t know people so well, you take what they say to heart. When you know people beyond love, sometimes you’ll take what they say to the grave. Your words are important. Almost every religion talks about controlling your tongue. A “double edged sword” is a powerful weapon. Some great teachers even stress the importance of silence.

A loose tongue could end or begin a marriage.

The rhetoric behind the things you hear growing up is really powerful. I’ll make a confession about some of my triggers. I get seriously overwhelmed when I hear people make light of racist remarks.  I become afraid that the people who are closest to me think with the same sentiment.

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard one of my gay associates make a statement about not finding black men attractive. “Oh my god, this black guy messaged me on grinder. I’m totally not into that.”

I can’t count how many times I’ve hear this statement from random people, “She’s really pretty for a black girl.”

Black people are this strange species of people who come secondary to all other people. Rarely they are known to have intelligence, and seldom are they actually attractive. That is why racist jokes are so funny.

I suppose if you have a grandma who lived during segregation, her idea of the way people perceive black people doesn’t help shake off paranoia.

My grandmother was always sure to let me know how she thought people would perceive me. “You have to be twice as smart and three times as quick as any other person in this world, or you’ll never survive.” She felt that every time someone met me, they would assume that I was stupid and ugly. She believed that even if a person who was not black smiled at you, they secretly thought you were dirty and inferior. She said that they passed that sentiment onto their children. Even when we thought people would let go of these racist notions that they would really never disappeared. The hatred would still exist, collect, and build under the surface.

My grandmother, who seriously hates white people, is a firm advocate of gay rights. She thought I should go to law school and work for the ACLU. I believe that she felt a sort of kinship with the LBGT community, and drew parallels between their struggle and the civil rights movement.

I think it would break her heart to know that minority groups don’t find a kinship with each other, but they fight against each other.  We all think that our struggles are unique as groups and individuals. Perhaps this is the reason why we find it so hard to connect with people who are unlike us.

It would break my heart to know that my grandmother’s paranoia had a thread of truth to it.

I don’t think my friends think I’m a hideous person who is an idiot with group like violent tendencies.

Every culture on every continent in this world has this negative view on darker people. Tan is fine, brown is not so great, and dark is the worst.

I don’t care what most people in this world think, but I’m partial to a few.

This isn’t a rant, it’s a reminder. Remember that your words matter to some people, and that friendship is a bond that you should work to protect. It took me a long time to figure that out. I try not to have seriously conversations too early in the morning.

2 Comments leave one →
  1. Anthony Coker permalink
    June 22, 2013 9:18 pm

    What statement was made that morning that brought on these sentiments?

  2. Emily permalink
    July 15, 2013 2:31 pm

    It’s amazing how much and how little thought goes into what people say. Myself included.

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