I type this... as tears stream out of my eyes and my heart clenches in a way that can only be the product of utter exasperation and irritation.
I walked around campus today, and heard and heard and heard the repetition of the word "mother effer..." but you know, the full word. Now, as a woman, mother anything strikes a sense of anger within me, but a word that is so saturated with racist history... well, that hurts.
It hurts me so much, that I could help but start crying when I turned to this boy standing by me. And I said.... "do you know what the word you just said means?" and the one who had made the moronic statement said "what?" As though he was unsure of what I was saying, or maybe that I even spoke at all. Given that my voice was shaking, we were in a room full of people, and well I was the only person who really looked "different" I gathered up my courage, threw a silent prayer to the skies and said "It is the term used, in which slave owners referred to their slaves, because they would force them to breed with their mothers"..... And the boy looked at me... I say boy, but he may have been my age, who knows. But he looked at me as though I was the ignorant one, as though I was the rude one, as though I was the one who spent the last 5 minutes cussing up a storm.
And he said, nothing. Actually, it was more of a "gasp" but not in that "oh my God" kind of way. But you know....
So, I walk away, to pick up my order from taco bell, and he turns to his friend and he's like "I have plenty of black friends, and I've never heard that before".... and then starts cussing me out, like I wasn't 2 feet away, or that he was pretending like I should pretend not to hear him. Now, if you were wondering about his race, I guess his statement makes his distinction clear.... So, moving from that point of distinction, his friend, who happened to be black, was so beautifully eloquent, that I just wanted to hug him on the spot, but resisted the urge. Anyway, the one who used the poopy statement, just went on and on about how I should have not spoken. But from the looks of everyone in the room, I think they all stood on me with this issue, and his friend said "she's just educating you about history".... and they just went on and on.
So, I moved on. Sat down at the first secluded table as I tend to do. And began writing. I decided, that I will write a poem about those words, about this encounter, but I am not quite ready to do so yet. Some things are better left unsaid, and sometimes the messenger gets shot, but someone needs to 'deliver the message'. I think he was upset that a small little quiet girl had the audacity to say something to him. I'm sorry for verbally castrating you stranger, but sometimes things are worth saying. Some things, like those words, are better left unsaid....
Now, why the post? Well, it hurts that people are so naively ignorant. Just because you never heard something before, doesn't mean there is no history to it. Science is the discovery of preexisting things, moments, times, experiences, and/or all of the above, and giving it a name or label. Not that I am reducing science to that meaning only, but in this instance I will stand by that definition. I instantaneously started crying when I heard this young man. Tears just poured out of my eyes, as though I was actually standing outside in the rain, rather within the shelter of a building. I hope that people become more aware about the words they use. Or willing to accept advice from a stranger, who has nothing to gain and everything to lose when giving their thoughts to someone they may never see again.
I don't know where I am going with this. But I know this, I am too sensitive when it comes to words. Maybe it's a product of being a student of philosophy, but I hope that people just develop a tiny bit more understanding and respect to their surroundings.
I don't know. I guess I'll never know. Thoughts anyone?
Some posts I'd like to share:
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2 years ago