Tuesday, July 7, 2020

You Might Be A Black Woman If ...

Comedian Jeff Foxworthy is famous for his "You might be a redneck ..." skit where he would describe some action or activity that would indicate that "you might be a redneck." I found myself thinking of Foxworthy's skit recently while reading an article by a black author calling herself Marley K., with the title, "Some Insulting Things A Lot of White People Do." In the article, Marley K. has a long list of inconsiderate or rude acts or behaviors that most any American adult probably experiences on a fairly regular basis. But Marley K. attributes these behaviors to racism directed at her because she is a black woman. After finishing her article, my thought was that people must think I'm a black woman because I get treated the same way. So, let's go through the list:
  • If people lock their cars at the grocery store at which you shop ... you might be a black woman. 
  • If a herd of white women walking down the sidewalk don't make room for you to pass ... you might be a black woman.
  • If someone inconsiderately blocks a grocery aisle you want to use at the grocery store ... you might be a black woman.
  • If a white woman grasps her purse more strongly as you brush by ... you might be a black woman.
  • If a you get on an elevator with a lone white woman and she moves away from you or acts uncomfortable ... you might be a black woman.
  • If another person in a store has ever asked you for assistance or mistook you for an employee ... you might be a black woman.
  • If you've ever said "excuse me" to someone to get them to move, and they didn't immediately react ... you might be a black woman.
  • If someone at your workplace has ever taken credit for one of your ideas ... you might be a black woman.
  • If you have approached the children of strangers to try and talk to them and the children seem unsure or scared ... you might be a black woman.
  • If anyone has ever tried to rewrite your nation's or culture's history ... you might be a black woman.
  • If someone of another culture has ever "appropriated" clothing or hair styles, words or expressions, art or technology from your culture ... you might be a black woman.
Of course, unlike Foxworthy's act, there is no humor here because these are things that happen, or have happened, to all of us.

     The sad part of this is that Marley K., and many others like her, are what Gavin de Becker, in his book The Gift Of Fear, describes as a "Scriptwriter":
      The Scriptwriter is the type of person who asks you a question, answers it himself, then walks away angry at what you said. In this regard, he writes the script for his interaction with co-workers and management. In his script, he is a reasonable and good worker who must be constantly on guard against the ambushes of co-workers and supervisors. The things that go wrong are never his fault, and even accidental, unintended events are the work of others who will try to blame him. People are out to get him, period. And the company does nothing about it and doesn’t appreciate his contribution. 
     When you try to manage or reason with such a person, you find that he is not reacting to what you say but rather to what he expects you to say; he is reacting to his script. ...
De Becker does not have any ready solution for disabusing the Scriptwriter of his or her views, but merely suggests getting them out of your life or your business as quickly as possible.

2 comments:

  1. Bullet points two and three are dead on. I've noticed the grocery store aisle phenomenon for years now. It is nothing new. Also the shopping malls. Certain people will absolutely NOT deviate from their course...even though they see you coming a long way off. I've come up with my own tactic for dealing with it. I usually come to a dead stop and start fiddling around with my cell phone, looking down at it. Then they are forced to go around. The only other option is to change lanes long ahead of time...so as not to give the impression that you are yielding to them. Lastly, I only let certain people over in traffic. Why? Because over the years I've observed which type of drivers at least give a wave of thanks...whereas umm "others" simply pull out, cut over and don't even acknowledge the favor.

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    1. The women blocking the sidewalk while refusing to move has long been a pet peeve of mine. If I'm walking side by side with a family member or friend down the sidewalk and am walking on the inside, I will yield to someone walking the other direction as a matter of courtesy, so I don't understand why so many women refuse to return the courtesy. But, like you, if I'm already as far over on the sidewalk as I can go without stepping off, I have started resorting to just stopping and forcing them to either run into me or likewise give way and drop back behind their walking companion. I guess that makes me part of the patriarchy. But the indifference people have to their surroundings and lack of consideration of others goes much further because it more and more common to just see people walk out into a cross-walk without looking for traffic or even check to see if the light is against them. People seem to have forgotten that manners and consideration for others developed as a means of keeping people from killing one another. This is also why I have said in the past that I don't believe an inconsiderate person can develop good situational observance.

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