Thursday, May 03, 2012

Do white people resent the people who make them stop behaving in racist ways?

Follow up from the other day when my coworker pissed me off with some casual bigotry and then tried to make me explain why I was offended.

I walked into the bindery on Monday and it was such a busy day and I was so glad that my coworker was back from vacation, I really didn't notice anything.

But on Tuesday, when I walked through the bindery to go to lunch - maybe it was because the machines weren't making their usual racket - maybe they were off in a meeting somewhere - I dunno, but only one guy was in the bindery and the radio was off.

The radio was off.

And I knew. In a monumental moment of being unable to keep his mouth shut, my co-worker had told the bindery people that I thought they listened to racist radio.


So on Wednesday, when I walked out for lunch, I tried to check it out as surreptitiously as possibly, and sure enough, on Wednesday, the radio had been changed from 700WLW to Oldies 103.5.


But one guy noticed me checking out the radio.

He looked at me and I looked him.Without a word being said I knew that word had gotten around.

Now some of you, particularly white people will say, SEE! Happy ending. Win-win. They found a radio station they like and doesn't offend you. Great! Someone told them that you were offended and they moved quickly to correct it. If that doesn't prove they care about your feelings then what does?

It's not so much my feelings I'm worried about.

Some changes, people shouldn't be forced to make. In this case, it's true, no one forced them to change. I never said anything to a boss - and I can't prove my co-worker talked to any of them at all. They could have ignored the whole thing. The fact that they didn't ignore it either shows they care or just don't want to be accused of being bigots. Either way, I don't have to listen to that racist crap anymore and that's a good thing right?

Not so fast.

The battle won't be truly won until white people start making these choices of their own volition -without having to be reminded that there are other points of view and a long history behind them. That certain types of poison, really are poison and shouldn't be ingested.

Just because they change the dial in the bindery - will they in their cars? Their homes?

Their hearts?

I walked through that bindery every day for months - and God only know how long my only other black co-worker has been there - and even if we never worked there at all -  it never once occured to a single white person  there that maybe what they were listening to was not only not acceptable for the workplace but anywhere.

So, it's not about me, it's about them.

And changing the dial is a good start.

But it's only one step the need to take.

I doubt any of them will ever take the next. I have a feeling that many of them will simpy feel they did this to appease me - and at worst, they will resent me for it.

 That's a change I can live without.

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