Keep Your Tolerance I Want Respect
- Racist Attitudes: Still Alive and Well in the South
Not ignorance, stupidity. I live in the Southern United States. I was born in Canada, a fairly liberal country. Canada calls itself multicultural, multilingual, and boasts the highest per capita immigration...
The Hub; Racist Attitudes; Still Alive and Well in the South, by Tammy Lochman sparked something in me. I felt the need to include inflections directly from the horse's mouth so to speak. I am a black woman living in a state where eighty percent of the racial makeup is Caucasian. In this racial climate the day to day niceties that make up a persons day can be marred by the idiotic remarks of those ignorant of others feelings.
At this time in my state the prominent religious sect of the region is on a campaign of tolerance of ethnicity. I have a problem with the word tolerance - it's definition; fairness toward different opinions. Respect - it's definition; worthy of respect, decent. I personally could careless about earning anyones tolerance, but I demand to be treated with respect as a human being. You can say it's not about race, but yet it is.
My husband is employed by a major grocery retail chain located near one of the regions most prestigious religious institutions of learning. On a daily basis these "so called" Christian students insult this over fifty, adult black male, and it comes so natural to them I don't think they really understand or care how disrespectful or hurtful some of their remarks can be.
My husband stands six feet tall, a buck one eighty give or take, light skinned, sporting a mustache, long wavy hair kept in a ponytail, uniformed, coupled with a name badge. Every single day he is the recipient of such disrespect that it boggles the mind.
Some of the examples; he's been told that he looks just like Morgan Freeman, Richard Pryor, Red Foxx, Lionel Richie and even Sammy Davis Jr., by young and old . He is greeted with man, dude, brother, boss, captain and dawg by college students and patrons alike who can obviously read his name badge. Because he does not respond in ghetto slang, he was once told by a white student that he wasn't Black!! Like he would know..I guess he's an expert from all the rap videos he devours.
I work as a Loan Processor in the mortgage industry and have been called "girlfriend" so many times by female bank representatives that I'd be rich if I had a dime for every time it's uttered. I've also been told that I look like Oprah Winfrey more times than I care to count even though I look nothing like her.
While those of you may feel that these are compliments you're not on the receiving end. It smacks of the racist anthem handed down from generation to generation that we all look alike. Unfortunately, these educated idiot's brains are not engaged to decipher the difference in our appearance before comparing us to the only Black celebrities they know and opening their pie holes.
Briefly, back in the day, some educated simpletons in Northern California, came to the delightful conclusion that Blacks needed to be spoken to via "Ebonics". This is another racist misconception that sticks in my craw. We're constantly spoken to in hip hop slang that some jerk feels is necessary that they mimic, because obviously we're not familiar with the kings English. To bad these racist in training can't see an instant replay of just how stupid they look trying to flash "gang" signs and speak slang to grown ass adults who haven't the faintest idea what they're talking about. All aforementioned is rude boorish behavior demonstrated by supposedly educated adults.
1. Blacks don't all look alike.
2. We don't appreciate being called out of our names, which is a throw back to slavery times when the massa's had so many slaves they couldn't remember their names. Nor did they care because our ancestors were considered inventory not people.
3. We are not all gang bangers, live in the ghetto, have criminal pasts, use welfare as a lifestyle, or like rap music.
4. Nor are all Black men rapist, thugs, pimps drug dealers, absentee Fathers or have the desire to ravage all the white women on the planet.
5. Our women are not all "sapphires" a derogatory term used in the thrities, forties and fifties, because all Black women were and are still considered whores (even by some of our own so called "men")
6. Nor are we babies mamas. Some of us don't have rhythm, can't hold a tune, and don't love root beer, fried chicken or watermelon.
7. Newsflash; when President Obama does something you don't like stop complaining to the first Black person you see. Contrary to popular belief we don't all know each other nor are privileged to call him and tell him of your concerns.
My current employer had the audacity one day, during a discussion regarding Bill Cosby's old sitcom, to tell me that the series was not based on truth because Blacks don't have a two party professional households, well the Obama's showed him to be the fool.
This is the ignorance that we as a people must "tolerate" daily. Over time it all becomes quite tiresome and irritating, please people think before you open your mouths. I will never understand why Blacks or minorities in general are stared at, mocked and disrespected.
I remember an incident while working at an aerospace plant in eighties; on my first day one of my white co-workers went into her repertoire of black jokes. Even after another co-worker, who was also white, asked her what her problem was her retort; "They shouldn't be so thin skinned." Her behaviour was totally uncalled for and unprovoked. Why did she and do others feel it is necessary to offend someone they don't know? I had to keep my mouth shut because I was a new hire, who needed a job, and I was on a three month probation period. Needless to say the day after my probation period was lifted I verbally let her have it.
Unless it happens to you I might as well be talking about an alien abduction. Blacks get the same look when we complain about being stopped by police for "driving while black". This and everything I mentioned above happens to Blacks twenty-four seven, three hundred sixty-five days a year in this nation. It's a total lack of respect of a people for nothing we've done except exist. Yeah, I've heard it all before "racist suffer from self loathing, low self esteem" well it must be a national epidemic which I've dubbed generational mental illness.
That's the reason for my title; keep your tolerance and give me respect. Some words of wisdom; if you haven't anything nice to say, don't say anything at all; it is better to remain silent and appear the fool than to open your mouth and remove all doubt. Words to live by, before you judge a person you need to walk in his or her shoes, stop generalizing.
The aforementioned items are just a tip of the iceberg, I'm not paranoid or thin skinned. Until you've walked in mine and other minorities shoes you have no idea what we face just getting out of bed in the morning. So again I say keep your tolerance and give me just a little R-E-S-P-E-C-T is that too much to ask? A little civility and respect for Gods sake!
More by this Author
Black History Month - Hattie McDaniel, Academy Award winner and her missing Oscar.
Erma Bombeck author
Haunted Hollywood, Golden age Hollywood, Jean Harlow's mansion and Sharon Tate.