Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Don't call me whitey...

I am a child of the middle-south and/or the southern Midwest. I spent the better part of my early childhood in the "Inner City", and small town America. I lived in an apartment complex (with my mom) where I was literally the only white kid, and I knew kids (near my dad's house) who had never actually met a "black person." Race was never an issue for me as much as it was an issue I didn't get. I had family who if they felt they were in "sensitive company" would simply say "them people" and that's as polite as it got. "You know, that's how them people are." It always baffled me.

Black folks are no MORE different than white folks. When my mom remarried and moved out to the 'burbs I learned of a whole new class of white people that were more different and foreign from my rural family than our black neighbors had been. Poor is poor. Soul food and Country cookin' is the same soup in a different pot. I think that's why I was always quiet as a kid. Seeing all these different types of grow-ups all of the time. None of them really made sense to me. I always wanted to be around the adults. To listen to them talk, listen to their jokes, and complaints. It always seemed so important: jobs, mortgage rates, kids and family gossip. It wasn't much different then, and for a lot of the 'grown-ups' I know now, seemingly a world away, talk jobs and a mortgages. It's not much different here.

Since we've established that categorically there's not much difference, why insult someone racially? I've gone round and round with some of my relations about this. It doesn't make sense to impugn an entire class of people when you really want to insult one jackass individual. If someone does something stupid, and I call him a "blue-eyed devil" I let HIM off the hook. He can write me off as prejudiced. If I call him a jackass, then there is no PRE-judging. He has been weighed measured, and been found wanting. Which means either:
A) there is something off about my judgement
B) he really is a jackass.
Let's not muddy the waters with outside factors that don't matter into the argument.

This blog entry got me thinking about this stuff.