How do you describe people?
I ask, because a few weeks ago, I was asked,
“Who is so and so?”
“He’s that black guy we met at…”
“Oh. Couldn’t you have described him by any other feature than his race?”
“ZOMG, here comes another lecture.” But….
STOP THE BUS! Could I have described him any other way? Of course the answer is a resounding “yes.” But I decided to take the path of least resistance and go with the obvious for the following reasons…
1. To refuse to acknowledge a persons race, is in a way a refusal to acknowledge them (my opinion). Being “Black, White, Latino, Asian whatever” is part of that person and unfortunately is an obvious “in your face adjective.” (that’s my high and mighty, morally superior reason)
2. My use of race to describe him was an easy way to start to winnow down the guest list as there were only four black people there, including myself and the other two were female.
Another reason closer to the truth…
3. I had no other available information to go on. You know like job, education, religion, orientation, yada yada ya.
4. I see race before I see anything else. We all do! Is that such a “bad” thing? Now I do not believe that I’m talking about racial profiling or stereotyping. Perhaps I am. I think that I’m talking about the hue of a persons skin…the amount of melanin, that’s all.
So, amici although I do not believe that I was in error. I will admit, that I shall endeavour to use other descriptors when describing people. As I type this I realise that by doing that, I will have to continue my attempts at increased social interactions (conversations) in attempt to learn more about people so that the use of race becomes a “last ditch descriptor.”
Well, I am off out to find myself some breakfast and perhaps have another day of #publictranspostories. ✌️
Ahhh, an over the shoulder reader asked, “why not use hair colour, height, eye colour?”
My answer, “If his hair was any other colour than black, I would have said, ‘the black guy with the salt and pepper hair?’ ” The same goes for height. “The really tall (or short) black guy.” So, I couldn’t escape. ✌️
A pui tardí!