I’ve been MIA, as usual. I wish I had some cool, badass reason for being absent. Something like, I got a job as an international spy or an art thief or maybe just a job in general, but it’s only because I’ve been lazy. I go to school three days a week, and then just exist until Monday to start it all over again. I’m trying to get into better habits for my mental and physical health, because, as usual, I’m a mess. BUT that’s not what I got on my dusty computer to talk about. Today I want to talk about racism and prejudice.
If you do not want to read about racism and prejudice this is not the post for you.
Let me repeat: If you do not want to read about anything that has to do with racism then pick a different post of mine to read.
I have always struggled with standing up for my beliefs, regardless of what they are, but I am finding it harder to stay silent as I grow and change. Recently my sorority was in the spotlight for a reason that seems to be a reoccurring theme for a lot of social clubs: racism.
To sum up what happened a woman took two videos of herself using the n-word. In one she asks if it’s okay to say it if it’s in a song or something and the other she just says it over and over and over again and then states “if you’re offended you can suck my dick.” This woman has since been kicked out of the sorority; which is great, but what this has also done is show just how deep racism and prejudice run within our society.
Several sisters of color have come out stating that they’ve disaffiliated from our organization because of this and similar actions; and, while there have been many comments of support for them and outrage at what they’ve experienced, there are also an alarming amount of comments stating that kicking this girl out was going too far and that they should be allowed to say the n-word because it is “used as a way of saying ‘my friend’ or used as a lyric” (almost a direct quote from a comment in the thread). This same sister also seems to believe that everyone says it so what’s the big deal, which is even more alarming. And this is where I decided to stop being a coward, and be an ally. Here is a portion of our interaction: Please excuse the weird formatting and order. I couldn’t put it into a more logical looking order.
SISTER 1 (original comment the rest are replies to this one): I get everyone is upset but you need to understand what we stand for. And not judging other women is apart of that. Yes she messed up, but I’m sure everyone else has as well. Don’t prosecute her…. show her sisterly love and help her understand why she was in the wrong. Jumping to throw stones at someone the first chance we get is not what we are about ladies. Remember who you are.
Sister 2: she didn’t get caught underage drinking SISTER 1, she made a lot of racial slurs and that should not be tolerated from anyone at any time
Me: I’m not Sister 2, but I know I’ve never said the n-word in my life, and I grew up with certain family members saying it (which is wtf!). The thing about slurs is that if you aren’t a member of the group the slur is used on you don’t get to say whether or not it’s offensive. Also, the girl in the video, after repeatedly saying the n-word, says “if you’re offended you can suck my dick”. That doesn’t sound like someone that’s “singing a lyric or using it at “my friend””.
Sister 2:no, I don’t say words like that because I was raised better than that. And I’m not throwing shade at you, I’m just saying that what happened here and racisim as a whole needs to stop being downplayed.
SISTER 1:so you’re saying not at one time in your life you have never used the “n” word? Not even once ? Not even in a song? Have you ever offended another race ? Even once ? If you haven’t then good for you. But I’m sure more people have at least one time. Intentional or singing lyrics. What offends one person doesn’t necessarily offend another. We are all women with different views , races, religions etc. therefore we are not all going to think the same way. So what is okay for one person may not be okay for another. Recognize people are different. Don’t be so quick to judge people. And for further information , a racial slur… meaning used directed at another race with purpose of hurting someone. Saying the WORD as a lyric or saying it as “my friend” with zero negative connotation is not a racial slur. There a lot of slang word that I’m sure you use all the time that offend other people. Just keep that in mind before you throw shade on someone else.
SISTER 1:I never saw the “ you can suck my dick part”. So apologizes on that part. I’m friends with many of color and family members as well. So I do actually feel that i can say wether or not it offends me , seeing that I am also apart of the organization. I just don’t feel that it’s fair to say we don’t judge and accepts all points of view and people when that’s exactly what you’re going against. It’s a bit hypocritical tbh. What happened to “once a sister, always a sister.” We should be begging for this girl to get councilors to talk to her and mediation. Not just kick her out. That’s not right regardless of what she’s done.
Me: having friends and family members that are diverse doesn’t grant you the right to say whether or not something is offensive or not. Most people meet those qualifications. It’s one thing to accept people for who they are and not judge them if they’re bi, trans, have different beliefs, or the like, but another just to sweep racism under the rug. If you scroll up in the comments you’ll read about women that left our sorority because of this stuff. If our sisters of color are leaving because of racism then we need to fix it, and get rid of the racist, not coddle her and allow the sisters she’s hurting to leave in the name of “non-judgement”.
SISTER 1:we can go back and forth but I just feel you’re way too judgmental. I hope that when a similar situation comes up in your life you are given leniency
SISTER 1: On top of that saying I can’t say anything bc I’m not of color can also be turned. You’re not of color so you don’t really get to say that it’s wrong. Think about it both ways girly.
Me: I never said you weren’t entitled to your opinion. Just that you don’t get to dictate whether or not something is offensive. Our sisters of color have said as much, I’m merely trying to be back them up. Also, please don’t call me girly. I’m a grown woman. I haven’t been petty with you and would request the same from you.
SISTER 1:it’s a term of endearment commonly used in the south. Not used as a demeaning term. Lol stop jumping to conclusions.
Me: I’m from Georgia, so I also know it’s used in a petty way. I’m actually one of the founding sisters of our chapter.
I’m not showing this so that someone will give me a pat on the back and a cookie (although I would totally love a cookie at this moment, because cookie), but because I find views like Sister 1’s so common. This “why can’t we say/do *thing* since ~they~ can.” And then when challenged the person doubles down, usually by saying something along the lines of “my uncle’s friend’s poodle’s girlfriend’s owner” is *insert some minority group here* so I’m not racist.” No, that’s not how this works. Almost everyone knows someone, or is related to someone, from a minority group. That doesn’t grant us some magical pass to say whatever we want. Also, unlike what Sister 1 seemed to be wanting, racism should NEVER be ignored in order to appear non-judgemental.
Why is it that we, and when I say we I mean white people, myself included, react so defensively and angrily when our belief systems are shaken? I completely understand feeling uncomfortable, but rather than lash out, sit with that discomfort. Ask yourself why does it make me uncomfortable? And in the case of Sister 1, why does she want to say the n-word so badly? Would she be okay saying it around non-white people? I have a feeling the answer is a resounding “No,” because it’s an unacceptable thing to say, just like all slurs. Personally, when someone around me uses “gay, fag, or queer” and they aren’t part of the LGBQT+ community I become uneasy. I can easily pass as straight, because I married a man and most people don’t know I’m Bi–well, I guess they do now. Surprise!–, but I also know people are still hostile and angry that I exist. And I assume that people of color have similar feelings when they hear slurs thrown around.
Put yourself in other people’s shoes. Would you be comfortable, knowing the history of a word, and having it used around or against you? Probably not. We are all people just trying to live our lives, don’t make it harder by being racist or prejudiced. And if someone tries to explain to you how you or someone else is being discriminatory don’t double down. Try to listen, to learn, and to grow. I know, I have been trying to do that. And also, fight injustice wherever you see it.