I have to disagree with you here, hon.
To say I am unaffected by racism is to ignore the last 20 years of raising my daughter with a black lesbian as my parenting partner and having to defend her again and again against those who called her my daughter’s nanny.
To say I am unaffected would mean that I never got a phone call from the police checking out whether I was trying to sell my daughter to the black woman I handed her off to in a parking lot because I got called in to work suddenly.
There are countless other examples from doctor’s offices to the adoption lawyer we consulted who refused to handle the adoption because she was black, and on and on.
We may not be affected in the same guttural way that POC are affected, but, we ARE affected. Many of us. There is a definite effect.
And it’s not just because I am in a deeply committed relationship with a POC that I am affected. I feel it in my gut whenever that word is used.
I have taken beatings from my parents because they felt it ok to use that word and I didn’t and told them so.
I also feel that word cut my friends as if I am being cut.
So, yes. It does affect us. Just not in the exact same way. But there’s an effect nonetheless.
But, you’re right… I can go sit on a bench at the bus stop and read a book and not be considered a threat.
I just feel like you’re being a little too dismissive here about the impact of that word on people of good conscience, and I had to call you out on that.
I think the discussion Elliot was trying to start is an important one. Because unless and until white folk start recognizing casual racism for what it is, it’ll never stop. It’s an uncomfortable discussion, even a painful one, no doubt. But it definitely needs to be had. Like the examples H. Nemesis Nyx provided, to soften the message could potentially bring more harm than good.
And white people who engage in casual racism don’t need anything softened. They need to be smacked upside the head with their ignorance and hopefully learn something.
Some of us ARE listening. And some of us want to start speaking up about what we see behind that white curtain. Things that POC almost never get to see…
Like that guy sitting in my friend’s kitchen who thought it would be ok for him to use that vile word just because he was surrounded by white faces.
That’s the kind of shit that has to stop. And that’s the kind of shit Elliott was talking about…
All of that said, I understand why you’ve written this, and I fully expected that someone would bring this side of the argument. Hell, it’s why I didn’t want to click on his OP in the first place!
But, I do think it’s an important conversation.