Dealing with ignorance

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Recently I had a conversation with a young white woman about the word “cunt”, a strong piece of profanity viewed as the worst out of the bunch by many people. I didn’t really get why this word was so taboo compared to the rest, as this white woman continued to go on and on about just how horrendous the term was and how important it was for me to not use it. She then randomly, with the calmest of demeanour, went on to say that the word “cunt” for white people holds as much weight as the n-word does for black people… crazy, right? As the girl was someone I was on friendly terms with, I was shocked disappointed and angry at her comments; as it was not what I was expecting to hear from someone that I often joke around with. The level of confidence she said it with was astonishing, her face was as innocent as can be; as if she didn’t just compare a term with a history of pain and suffering to a word that simply sounds too dirty. I didn’t know how to react without raging, cursing her out, and providing her with a profanity-laden education lesson, so I simply looked her blankly in the eye and walked away; not wanting to ruin my day by dealing with ignorance. This isn’t even the first time I’ve experienced a situation like this, a white woman who was supposed to be my line manager also showed me her levels of idiocy when she went on to share her views on what she deemed “race politics”; she simply said she doesn’t understand them and said that she doesn’t see why the n-word “is that deep”. Angrily I said “what?”, she then went on to tell me how she had grown up rough, has black people in her family and was incredibly poor. Ignoring that unnecessary story, I again repeated “what?”, in hopes to find some kind of relevance or some kind of reasoning, and still as confident as ever, she simply said: “I just don’t understand it”. Great.

Firstly, why did these individuals feel comfortable enough to look me in my eye and say this to me, even if we did have that level of friendship, which we don’t? Why is this then okay to say to me, a young black man or any other black individual for that instance? In both situations, there have been people who are older than me; people who don’t even know me that well and people who only know me from work. It’s like they were just waiting for the moment they could get these comments out, and share them with me; a black person. Maybe they thought since I’m younger and am a pretty relaxed individual that I wouldn’t get too angry, or that maybe I’d be more understanding if I took it wrong, or maybe they simply didn’t care. In the time we live now, with race relations arguably the worst they’ve been in a while, you would think people would be wiser with their words and knowledgeable of the issues going on in the world around them. The level of ignorance is just astounding. We’re at a point now where the excuse of ‘I didn’t know’ is unacceptable, in the age of social media and technology it’s impossible to be oblivious to everything going on in the world. I as an individual know that I need to take time to mature, so that rather than letting the anger get a hold of me, I can calm myself and take that time to educate individuals or at least harshly school the ignorance out of them.

This was basically me just venting out something that had annoyed me, rather than keeping my anger in, I thought why not share it and use this chance to get advice on how to better handle situations such as these.