Tuesday, April 08, 2008

What I wish I'd thought of to say...

...to the bigot down the street, who asked pointedly about my (Black) downstairs neighbors, and mentioned that they were the first Black family on the street, and that they (the neighborhood, which apparently speaks through her) thought, upon learning that they now had Black neighbors, "hmmm...well, we figured we'd see how this goes":

Option 1:
"Well, I can imagine how they must have felt, moving into such a racist neighborhood."

Option 2:
"Really? So 'how does it go?' Because I've got to tell you, so far, First Black Family - 1, Asshole White Neighbor - 0."

Option 3:
"What on earth would make you think that that is an appropriate thing to even think, let alone say out loud?"

Option 4:
"Apparently you are under the mistaken impression that I am White."*

*I am White, but I'm borrowing from Noel Ignatiev's "Race Traitor" approach to resisting White privilege.


Anonymous said...

Why didn't you say anything?

I think that silence implies that you either don't care or agree with racist sentiments.

Sure, sometimes one does not have the time. But you've written about this neighbor a lot.


andi said...

I once had a job where a co-worker was allowed to spout racist comments pretty much at will. Till I looked at the boss and told him. "I may LOOK white, but I am not and I will not tolerate that sort of speech around me."
Boss replied " I don't see what one person can do, so you'll just have to deal with."
I replied back: " I may not be able to but I assure you that the EEOC takes a dim view of such things, you know that whole pesky "Hostile work environment" thing and all."
Co worker was shut up inside 15 minutes and quit soon after.
Setting someone on notice that you are not what they think, that you don't tolerate what they are spouting, ect works well. If this person persists in making these comments, Tell them that the Folks at Equal Housing and such will take a dim view of them making life difficult for the neighbors.

Plain(s)feminist said...

MG - Nope, believe it or not, this is another neighbor, one whom I've never written about before.

And I *did* say something, just nothing that was especially profound.

Andi - that is *awesome*.

Anonymous said...

Good for you for speaking up then!