I read an interesting article over at Gawker about race and this election. I find it funny to believe anyone would be offended by straightforward curiosity about something they didn’t know. As I’ve grown up in different environments I’ve had friends of different races ask me a myriad of questions about myself and about my ethnicity. Most questions used to start off with them not being able to make eye contact me or nervously seeking the correct way to phrase the question so they wouldn’t offend me. That’s when I would put the breaks on the question/conversation entirely and let my friends, acquaintances or hell anyone know this:
“If you are truly interested in knowing something about me, don’t worry about offending me AT ALL, just ask me the question.”
I could see the weight lifted most of the time, and most of the time it was a question about what my hair is like or if I sunburn and things like that. As much as it is more wishful thinking than anything I do wish that more people would be more straightforward. In the article they quoted a white woman married to a black man who still felt uncomfortable about asking racially sensitive questions:
“Even Mr. Rice’s wife, Becca Knox, 43, who is white, said that despite being married to a black man for six years, finding a comfortable way to talk about race with people of other races, particularly African-Americans, that is sensitive but not self-conscious, candid but not offensive, is still “a constant, constant struggle and process.”
If someone wants to genuinely seek answers to racially sensitive questions the best way is to be straightforward with it. I can’t believe a wife can’t ask her husband a sensitive question without struggle no matter the background. You can chalk, asking a “racially sensitive” question it up to ignorance, but you’ll be a more informed person by receiving an answer to your question and gaining knowledge on a subject you didn’t have before.
Even if you have to say nigger. You’re not calling me it, so don’t be afraid to say it.
[Blacks, Whites Finally Have Something to Talk About] Gawker.com