Domestic Terrorism (or When working with people suffering from unchecked privilege)

I have a coworker ,who I basically can’t stand, decide she wanted to share her thoughts about “12 Years a Slave” with me.

PSA: If you are a Non-Black person don’t bring up slavery. Don’t tell me I need to see a movie about slavery. Don’t tell me how eye-opening the movie was (because did you fucking think slavery was a cake walk before you saw this movie?) Whatever you do..don’t say any of the shit this white skinned, light eyed Latina said to me.

Here are the highlights:

“OMG Slavery was so terrible” – BITCH REALLY? You just figured that out? SHUT UP!

“I’m glad my ancestors are from South America instead of the South..I couldn’t take it if my ancestors owned slaves” – WHAT? Do I need to draw you a map of where they dropped my people off? I replied that there were slaves in South America too.. especially in Brazil where her mom was from. This chick was like “oh yeah race relations are still bad there” and then told me that her dad’s people were somewhere in a jungle during that time. WAIT a second though, you remember a few lines ago I said she was pale skinned with light eyes right… I wanted to stand on my desk at this point and ask her how she got so damn light if her ancestors weren’t somewhere raping people and if she thought that they prob were also holding others captive..but I didn’t.

Oh and how dare you sit across from me and play that “glad that wasn’t my family” bullshit to a person who walks this earth EVERYDAY as the product of both Slave and Slave Owner? How the fuck do you think I feel?

“it was nothing like Django…at least at the end of Django all the white people got blown away” – You wanted a happy ending to a slavery movie? This is where I started to cry on the inside. She wanted a happy ending to a movie about slavery y’all..like she was DISAPPOINTED that there was no happy ending. Can we get a happy ending in real life from those hundreds of years? No? Ok.

I am still feeling some type of way about all of this. The last place I thought I would have to have this idiotic and insensitive conversation was at my office..my office full of women and people of color who have dedicated their lives to fighting and healing oppression. I work with all of these people who GET IT..and one idiot who has no idea what IT is. She’s a narcissistic liberal in the ¬†middle of a sea of over achieving revolutionaries.

This is a fucking assault on my sanity. This along with an incident where I was portrayed as irrationally angry and called “rowdy”. On top of being constantly bombarded with her name dropping and high-fiving herself and her white liberal feelings about Trayvon or her son’s school dressing him in a head dress or how she had a hard time getting her white ass boyfriend into some baptism because the lady at the front door thought they were tourists.

I thought I was working in a safe space..not an environment where I would have to watch people throw around their unchecked privilege and I refuse to make it part of my job to call someone else out on their shit EVERYDAY.

Fuck.

I’ll get through this though… just keep focusing on the work I tell myself. Just keep swimming.

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