It has taken me years to no longer cringe and blush when a well-meaning person mentions the “blue people”.
You know, the blue people that come up whenever selection process is being discussed i.e. “I don’t care if someone is white, brown or blue, I just want the best person.” These kind of statements bring up all kinds of questions around intention and ignorance, progress and stagnation.
Questions knockin around in my head today:
1) Is it enough that a person knows that race, gender and other identity/demographic factors can be obstacles that are not usually experienced by majority folks?
2)Does someone having good intentions mean you should give them a pass on things like the “blue people” comments?
3) If you “know better” are you obligated to help people understand?
4) If you are white, and you witness mortifying racist behavior being inflicted on people of color in front of you, is there anything you legitimately do to intervene without being even more insulting?
This would be a purely academic exercise if a friend had not recently remarked (and I paraphrase) “at my age, and with a string of letters after my name, I had hoped I would no longer be hurt when white people compliment me, as if they are surprised, on how articulate I am.”
I wished I could apologize for an offense I didn’t cause, but I worry that gestures like that seem like I am just trying to say “I’m not like that! I’m not one of them!” and its not about me is it?
Oy, I think too much. Back into the fray.