Racism: You Can’t Determine What Is Offensive To Someone Else

Most African Americans have experienced racism at some point in their life. The problem is that most White’s in this country are apathetic to our plight. They tend to think the problems that we have are self-inflicted and our bouts with racism are over-exaggerated. I contend that another person, particular someone who is not of color, will never understand exactly what racism is & how it can affect generations of people.

White people don’t deny that there is some racism out there. And we already know that most racist acts are committed against African Americans – not Hispanics, not Asians, not Indians – but African Americans. So if we all can agree that racism exists & that African Americans are victimized more often, then we must agree that there is a perpetrator. After all, racism cannot exist without a catalyst, right?

Let’s talk about the “n-word”. There are some White people that think because some African Americans use that word, that it’s counterintuitive to discourage Whites from using this word. They can’t seem to understand why we continue to perpetuate a term that has such a hurtful past but get upset when they use that word. Here’s my response to any White person who says that:

SO WHAT, YOU DON’T GET TO DECIDE WHAT IS OFFENSIVE TO ME!

The aggressor (in this case: White people) doesn’t get to decide whether or not it’s okay to use a word that I consider offensive coming from someone else. It’s the same example that I gave in an earlier post – if I call someone fat that’s considered rude even if they call themselves fat. And unless you grew up under a rock, everyone knows that the n-word is offensive to Blacks coming from White people. So why would you use it (especially in public)? White people aren’t always the aggressor and all Whites aren’t racist, but when it comes to race relations they don’t have the privilege of appearing to be a racist. It’s the same way with sexual harassment – if I say my co-worker is sexually harassing me then my company has an obligation to investigate even if my co-worker doesn’t agree that sexual harassment took place. Even if you don’t agree that using that word is wrong, you still know that it’s considered offensive so just don’t use it.

Some things we don’t have to agree with or even understand – Feelings are subjective. If someone is offended by something, you don’t tell them that they are wrong for being offended, instead you respect the way they feel.

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