Tag Archives: white male privilege

Black Lives Matter, But Thank You for Flaunting Your Racism

23 Dec

Ew. Ew. Ew. Next time a white male says to me, “All lives matter,” I’m not going to freeze up. I’m going to say, “Check your privileges.” If only I’d said it today. I could have done so much better.

I was at the post office to ship two boxes of gifts—one for a friend who lives in St. Louis. The white male behind the counter said he grew up in St. Louis. He should have stopped with that. That’s a normal thing to say if you see a St. Louis address on a package. But he didn’t stop.

He talked about living in different parts of St. Louis. He talked about moving to different neighborhoods and even mentioned a specific intersection that I tried to picture. He mentioned a family member moving out of the city and into a certain part of the county.

He proudly stated that four of his cousins work for the city of St. Louis. When he said that they work in law enforcement, I started getting uncomfortable. I lived in St. Louis for about a decade, so I know what it’s like to be harassed by St. Louis cops for being female and for having an Indiana license plate. I remember the stories that black and female friends recounted about their experiences being harassed by cops in St. Louis. I’m pretty sure every ticket I’ve gotten was in the St. Louis area, and that was a lot of tickets. A friend of mine called St. Louis “a fascist police state.”

He said that one of his relatives worked twelve hours a day in Ferguson—as in when the cops killed a black kid and there was a huge Black Lives Matter protest that made national news. I saw a powerful play about it. I said, “I’m glad I left St. Louis before that,” because I was thinking about how overtly racist and hostile St. Louis is.

It wasn’t until well after I left that I realized HE WAS BOASTING BECAUSE ONE OF HIS RELATIVES WAS ONE OF THOSE POWER-TRIPPING RACIST COPS IN FERGUSON. You know, the ones with a tank.

It wasn’t until he said, “All lives matter, I say,” that I finally froze up in shock and couldn’t make eye contact with him anymore. He’s lucky I’m so slow to process. I’m ashamed that I didn’t call him out.

I used to work in retail in St. Louis, and I have horrible memories of racist white people coming into my workplace. (Not to mention of course fundamentalist Xians jamming their religion down my throat, anti-vegetarians, ignorant hicks who claimed I have an accent and asked where I’m from and ridiculed me when I said that I was born in Indiana… and sexual harassers.) And that was before that sexual predator neo-Nazi narcissistic sociopath started squatting in the White House and emboldening white surpremacists. But I don’t live there anymore, and today I was on the other side of the counter.

So, yeah: the post office needs to tell their employee to read So You want to Talk about Race by Ijeoma Olua … and he and I both need to read the book How to Be an Antiracist by Ibram X. Kendi.

The last thing he said was, “Merry Christmas.” Another assumption.

I should have replied, “I celebrate Hannukah. But thanks, I look forward to giving feedback.”

Today’s Asshole Award Goes to: Mansplainer

3 Apr

Today’s Asshole Award goes to the arrogant white male directing traffic with confusing communication skills.

No, your delusions of entitlement don’t mean it’s okay to blame me for your bad communication skills. The way your arrogant white male ass held the stop sign combined with your confusing hand gestures meant I was having trouble figuring out when you wanted me to move forward.

When he seemed to be telling me to move forward, I began to do so–but then he abruptly directed me to stop. He not only stole my right of way, he also directed me to roll down my window, which I did, only for him to condescendingly say, “When I say move forward, you’ve got to move forward.”

I replied, “I DID move forward.”

The asshole talked over me and said basically the same thing. I was too shocked to yell, “YOUR BAD COMMUNICATION SKILLS ARE YOUR OWN FAULT!”

It wasn’t until I got home that it occurred to me that maybe he thought he was directing me to move forward before it was clear he was doing so. Wrapping your hand in a fist and holding the stop sign sideways in no way indicates that you want me to move forward. And of course I have no idea what he was saying until I rolled down the window.

Mansplaining, condescension, disrespect, and false accusations each push my buttons, and all simultaneously particularly infuriate me. Your shit communication skills are your own fault, fucking assfuckinghole.

After this asshole mansplained at me, a woman took his place, and I had no trouble understanding when she directed me to move forward. You can bet I fucking hit the gas pedal.

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This is what I emailed the city:

At approximately 1:20 PM on Wednesday, April 3, while I was waiting to turn right out of the parking lot on Tyinn St. off West 11th, an arrogant white male was directing traffic with confusing communication skills. I sat waiting and trying to interpret what he wanted me to do; folding up your hand in more or less a fist and holding the stop sign sideways doesn’t make any sense when directing traffic. His lips were moving, but directing traffic is nonverbal, and I couldn’t hear him.

When he seemed to be telling me to move forward, I began to do so–but then he abruptly directed me to stop. He not only stole my right of way, he also directed me to roll down my window, which I did, only for him to condescendingly say, “When I say move forward, you’ve got to move forward.”

I replied, “I DID move forward.”

He talked over me and smugly said basically the same thing and returned to his post. I was too shocked to yell, “YOUR BAD COMMUNICATION SKILLS ARE YOUR OWN FAULT!”

It wasn’t until I got home that it occurred to me that maybe he thought he was directing me to move forward before it was clear he was doing so. Wrapping your hand in a fist and holding the stop sign sideways in no way indicates that you want me to move forward. And of course I have no idea what he was saying until I rolled down the window.

After he mansplained at me, a woman took his place, and I had no trouble understanding when she directed me to move forward. His terrible communication skills are his own fault, not mine.