I had an interesting conversation today where someone told someone else that they won’t do what a black person was asking them to do, but they would do it for a white man if they asked. I chuckled and said “that’s funny and partly true”. The person I was speaking with was caucasian. She immediately became offended and in a very defensive tone played out a Miss Milly scene from the color purple but modern day… “have I ever made you feel like less of a person? have I”? Then she walked off in a fit because she didn’t think it was funny.
While I agreed that the comment should not have been made, yes it was funny to me and partly true because it is partly true. Most of the time we overlook this form of paternalistic behavior because we refuse to believe that it exists. Instead of crucifying the person who made that statement, they should at least find out why he/she feels that way. Perhaps they have EXPERIENCED it first hand and thereby formed that opinion that when they ask someone to do something, they dont’ do it, but if the same request is made from “da white man” the same parties jump at the chance to do whatever task is asked.
Whether we want to believe it or not, this type of action still exists as a part of our culture. I realized that we won’t ever be able to bridge the gap until people listen and stop being offended so easily. Most caucasian people will never understand until they have walked a mile being black or a minority. We know that will never happen because it is virtually impossible. We have to count on them listening but if they walk away whenever the conversation gets heated, we’ll never be able to talk.