Today was an interestingly difficult day at work. I made the mistake of making a joke about myself and my race in a text conversation with a Caucasian woman and two Black women. Someone mentioned something regarding this commercial and because I don’t have cable and don’t really watch T.V. or basketball… I had no idea what they were talking about.
Admittedly, this is something I should have joked on myself regarding something other than race. But, at 7:30 am, I said the first thing that came to mind and seemed funny (“white girl don’t get it” – referring to myself). So, later in the day, a coworker who happens to be Caucasian as well, confronts me regarding my comment and tells me that I need to be careful because while they (the women in the group text) found it funny, others could be offended by it.
For some reason this upset me. It really and truly upset me for many reasons. First and foremost, it upset me that I made a poor choice in words and put myself in this situation in the first place. Secondly, it upset me because I work in a community of amazing people whom I think very highly of and at least 75% of them are Black – and I would never ever want to offend anyone!
note: I use “Black” when referring to someone’s race because it is simply the best term I know. They truly aren’t black, they actually just have more melanin in their skin than I do – some are a milky chocolate color, others more of a dark chocolate. “African-American” is assuming that someone or everyone whose skin is dark has origins tracing back to Africa – which is just an ignorant assumption.
I make a choice on a regular basis not to be offended when something is said in casual conversation regarding race in my workplace. There is a small piece of me that is bothered thinking this confrontation probably doesn’t happen on a regular basis and there is also a small part of me that wants to scream “STOP being so dang sensitive”.
The color of your skin does not define you. Unless you let it or you choose for it to. It’s 2014 people! I’m not “white” – although at this wintery moment in time I certainly feel pasty white – I’m actually more of an olive-peach tone and my origins are a melting pot of ethnicity’s.
Although nothing truly dramatic happened here; the women I was texting with were not offended and the person that confronted me was truly just being nice, this is still a topic that isn’t discussed openly and objectively often enough. I suppose writing this blog is my way of aiding that conversation.