Thursday, June 16, 2011

About that Memphis Racist

My Facebook status from a few days ago:

Standing on a rooftop watching the Cubs. Meet a fellow from Memphis. Within four sentences he says something racist. Every time. Ugh.

My cousin, Sammy, was right. I did paint too broad a stroke. But it's Facebook. That happens. The commonality was not that all white people from Memphis are racist - the commonality was that both he and I were white and from Memphis. So this dude figured I was part of his tribe and was perfectly comfortable airing his racist bullshit.

The other thing: as soon as this guy opened his mouth, I knew it was imminent. I knew when he wanted to talk about Memphis it wouldn't take long before he would complain about how all Memphis' problems are down to too many "blacks." He telegraphed it the second he found out I was from there too. I've met the exact same guy a few dozen times in my life.

And I'm sure that white people from Detroit, for example, or the south side or any place in America where black people and white people live side by side in an area of some economic distress, have had the exact same experience.

I think it's all really weird. But I'm afraid to tell people I don't like those Housewife shows for fear of offending them. So I really don't get someone just feeling completely at home airing their racist bullshit. They must live in the smallest worlds!

My friend, Susan, tells me she likes to know off the bat if someone is a racist ignoramous or not. And while I can see the benefit of that - if it's just some casual small talk conversation with a person I will never see again, can't they just do me the simple courtesy of putting a fucking cork in their own bullshit? Is that really too much to ask?