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“I hate my new neighbors because they are black.”

“Wow, that’s very racist of you.”

“But I’M not racist.”

“Oh, well that’s good!  So, then why do you hate your neighbors?”

“They’re all gangsters and criminals!  They listen to gangster rap and it’s too loud.”

“Wow, that’s very much a sweeping generalization about a group of people based on one shared characteristic for someone who isn’t racist to make. Have you ever – well, I don’t know, maybe – thought about asking them to turn it down?”

“Of course not!  Do you think I want to get shot?”

“Oh, right, because they’re all gangsters.  So you’ll never get to know them because you’re scared of them because they’re gangsters because they’re black because…. I guess I’m just still trying to figure out…. Can you tell me again how that doesn’t make you racist?”

“I once had a black boyfriend!”

Dear sir, I understand that you deeply disapprove of my career choice.  Your recent tirade has indicated to me that perhaps this has to do with your former girlfriend and the way in which she became that way.

It warms my heart that you could care so much about a relative stranger such as I that you would take time to tell me of my mistakes at length now, at our friend’s first solo art exhibit.  You are putting in the extra effort as a human being and I salute you for it.

You could be chatting with your other friends or even the artist’s parents (who drove across the country for this very event).  You could be drinking the wine or perhaps looking at the art.  Instead, you have opted to explain to me that I will never acquire employment in my chosen profession, which you have, it seems, heard of.  Though I have been slow to come around, you have patiently repeated your point several times in clear English.

When, this most recent time that you clearly and cogently expressed your point, I simply thanked you and called you “mom,” I was attempting to end the conversation.   I apologize for stopping you in the midst of a topic you clearly have so much to give to.  If you would like to continue perhaps we could take it, as they say, outside?

Sincerely,

E. A. Reddy

Sir, I understand that you hold the opinion that I should have a business card.  Respectfully, I must disagree.  While I enjoy my position at this organization, the truth of the matter is that people do not so much attempt to call me as fail to avoid my calls.  Also, I am quitting in a few short months.

The fact that you yourself have a business card seems of questionable value to me.  It is possible that fewer people would be interested in getting in touch with you than with me.  But thank you for its gift.  I will treasure it.

Sincerely,

E. A. Reddy