Monday, July 6, 2009

Which is More Stupid - The Question or the Questioner?

Recently, as Michael and I sat in a subway station awaiting our train, we were approached by a twenty-something black man who asked, "How can you live with yourself, being a white woman?"

"I'm sorry, what?" I replied, not sure I had dug my post-shower q-tips deep enough into my ear canals that morning.

"I just don't know how you can live with yourself as a white person," he said. "If I was a white person, I would be filled with so much guilt I wouldn't be able to live with myself."

Yeah, it's a wonder I was able to drag my guilty white behind to the train station that morning. And I told him so, more or less: "Get over yourself," I said. And then I rolled my eyes at him and stepped on my train, dooming some other fair-skinned person to be pestered by the man.

This sort of thing just irritates me. This man was young, clean, able-bodied, and healthy-looking. He was well-dressed and wore expensive athletic shoes. And yet, he obviously harbored some sort of picked-on complex that compelled him to approach a woman in a subway station and inform her that she should feel guilty about the color of her skin.

Martin Luther King would be pleased.

I may be a pampered white female, but come on, this is America. If you are being held back by "the man", start checking your mirror to see if you've handcuffed yourself to his ankle.

And try giving up your seat on the subway once in awhile. That might be nice, too.


Sara said...

"If I was a white person, I would be filled with so much guilt I wouldn't be able to live with myself."

Oh boy. I don't even know where to begin. Except I have no guilt. Because I've never knowingly discriminated against anyone, regardless of color.

And I've even given up my subway seat (though I'm inclined these days to take whatever seat I can find wherever I am so I can rest my poor legs from their labor of slugging around this growing kiddo of mine).

Cameron and Nonie Gay said...

wow. really? Are people that shallow? Well, I'm certainly glad that you were born and have made a great contribution to this world. again, wow

Megan B said...

ugh. I hate that.

Rob and Erin said...

Wow! How amazingly ignorant. I liked your response. I probably would have been too shocked to say anything. I'm going to practice my witty responses to all nonsensical questions I can think of starting now.