Thursday, April 28, 2011

"There Was This Black Guy"

Before I begin, let me apologize for the lack of a photo. I just couldn't find anything appropriate, non-cheesy, or un-biased. There was one of a baby with the caption "arrest black babies before they become criminals" but I don't want to give the wrong impression. Besides, I'm not certain what message it is meant to convey.

Moving along.

Sometimes I need to vent. This is one of those days. As you can all see from my picture on the left, I am White/Anglo/Caucasian/European-American/whatever. If that matters.

I have this pet peeve, see. When someone (non-black) is telling me a (true) story about something that happened to them or that they saw, more often than not, if a Black/Negro/African-American person is part of the story, they are going to specify the race.

For example,
"I was walking down the street and these 2 black guys stared at me as I passed them"...
"This big black lady at the grocery store was my cashier and she was so rude"...
"We went to the park this morning and this little black kid pushed my kid off the swing"...

You get the point.

I have to bite my tongue because I always want to say, "Um, does it really matter that they were black? If not, why did you mention that fact?" Maybe I should sometime. I just don't particularly enjoy putting people on the spot. Usually.

Why is it, that people feel the need to tell me that the person in their story is black? I almost feel like it's pretty safe to assume they are white unless I am told otherwise. Now, of course, sometimes Asians and Hispanics are mentioned too, but never in my life have I heard (at least from a non-black person) "So I was driving down the highway, looked over at the car next to me and this white guy flipped me off." No, they're just going to say, this jerk, or this dude, or the like.


Does this mean that people are trying to prove that blacks are more [insert adjective] than non-blacks? I don't get it. Does it really matter in your story that the person you are telling me about is black? Do you think it would make me feel differently about the person if I assumed they were white?

Forgive me, because I just don't understand. I'm not jumping to conclusions that these people are racist, it just makes me wonder WHY people have to unnecessarily include race in their descriptions of events. As if they think I need to know that the person was black so that I can perpetuate whatever mindset I have toward that race.

So, I ask you (whether you consider yourself racist or not):

Should race always/never/sometimes be indicated? Do you find yourself doing this? Should it only be mentioned when absolutely essential? Why or why not?


  1. I totally understand what you're saying, but I want to throw my two cents in.
    I grew up in a town where there were NO black people. No seriously. There was one or two families. It was weird. Fast forward to college, moved to Kerrville. No black people. Fast forward a little more, moved to Arlington, AHA!!! FOUND THEM! Eamon was the only white guy there. The. Only. One. And you know what I noticed? White people have been conditioned to think it's not okay to mention race-BY minorities. I have lived in neighborhoods where the majority of my neighbors are black for the past three years. We're talking about complexes where there are HUNDREDS of residents here. It is absolutely FINE if someone who isn't white to say "that white chick" or "that meskin guy" but they will JUMP you if you do. Case in point, I called the courtesy officer one night on a noisy neighbor. Wasn't even aware who it was. Ten minutes later, said unknown neighbor came down to our apartment, starts threatening us because we're "racists". Yup. The threats got so bad we had to move. Had no clue this guy was black. When my husband said "We had no idea who lived up there, just that you're being too loud" he started throwing some n words around and I guess itching a scratch that he had...oy.
    It used to irritate the crap out of me when people mentioned race, but I guess living where I do has made me desensitized. Eamon now says that I'm "an equal opportunity racist" meaning I don't care if you're white, black, brown, or yellow, I'll mention your race. I don't hate anyone because of it, but I know better than to think that their race has nothing to do with the situation.

  2. You can go ahead and think less of me now too, lol! I swear I love everyone! [granted you keep your music down while I'm trying to sleep!] I should also add that I think I mention everyone's race because mine isn't defined. Black people point out everyone who's not black, Mexican and Asians are the same...does that make sense? Probably not. Now I'm rambling and everyone on your blog thinks I'm crazy ;]

  3. No. African American which I refer to when speaking about individual or the country if I know where they are from. If someone used this brown lady which I would be offended . I do not use description because the story does not matter what color skin. Does it matter? The story should count only.