(During WWII, Germany, Italy, and Japan constituted the Axis Powers, yet, for various reasons, only persons of Japanese ancestry were rounded up and imprisoned.)
‘Go Back to China’: Readers Respond to Racist Insults Shouted at a New York Times Editor.
“Scout,” said Atticus, “nigger-lover is just one of those terms that don’t mean anything—like snot-nose. It’s hard to explain—ignorant, trashy people use it when they think somebody’s favoring Negroes over and above themselves. It’s slipped into usage with some people like ourselves, when they want a common, ugly term to label somebody.”
“You aren’t really a nigger-lover, then, are you?”
“I certainly am. I do my best to love everybody… I’m hard put, sometimes—baby, it’s never an insult to be called what somebody thinks is a bad name. It just shows you how poor that person is, it doesn’t hurt you.” (11.107-109).
To Kill a Mockingbird. https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PL95_V8pZbmMA6Hh4_4e2-rTL2wNCgJJpa.
My dearest Shosh and Jaialai:
In the course of your life, you will encounter racists and be assaulted by racist remarks. People of all races and colors have made, and will continue to make, disparaging remarks about other people of different races and colors as well as other people of the same race and color. For example, black people call other blacks “Oreos”, Asians “bananas”, whites “nigger-lovers”, etc.
Know that other people’s conducts are a reflection of their own insecurities, ignorance, and trashiness. They have nothing to do with you. They are their problem, not yours. Don’t take ownership of their problem and think it is somehow a reflection of you. It isn’t. It’s them, not you.
(Differentiate these common occurrences, resulting from the everyday interactions with humanity, with constructive feedback from the few, trusted confidants. True friends will hold up a mirror and allow you to see yourself as others see you. It is wise to heed them.)
When assaulted by the crass, it is best to take the high road where possible. As they say, “Don’t wrestle with pigs. It only makes them happy and you dirty.”
That said, where necessary, speak up. Remember, it is your responsibility to teach other people how to treat you. However, remember also that it is not your responsibility to teach everyone. Their ignorance and insecurities are their problems, not yours. Choose your battles wisely. If it is a stranger, let them live their life in ignorance and insecurity. What is it to you? If it is a classmate or coworker that you must interact with regularly, then address it.
Jaialai provided a perfect example. Once, our very white Ms. J was at the supermarket with all of the kids, hers and mine. A rude woman stopped her and asked if those were all her kids. Before Ms. J could respond, five-year-old Jaialai said to the woman, “You are just rude!” Embarrassed to be schooled by a five-year-old, the woman walked on.
Don’t take ownership of what’s not yours. This is true of other people’s things, and ideas. It is equally true of their insecurities, ignorance, and trashiness. Regarding the latter, it’s their problem, not yours. As Ron White said,
All my love, always,