Wednesday, November 7, 2018

Wednesday Factoid: Dealbreaker

Today's Wednesday Factoid is: When you meet someone new, do you have any major dealbreakers that, once discovered, will lead you to terminate your relationship with them?

Being racist.

I'd love to include the whole spectrum of xenophobia-based intolerances, but if I actually analyze my past behavior with regard to how I have actually TAKEN ACTION to end relationships, I have consistently snapped on racism quicker and more completely than any other -ism.

To be honest, I think this is because I second-guess myself sometimes. I am extremely reluctant to write people off or kick them out of my life for presumed beliefs, partly because I like to think exposure to my perspectives will help bring theirs toward equality. (It's happened before!) And I'm more willing to make excuses for other people if I perceive that their ignorant statements and actions are, in a way, personal insults--if I perceive them to be against groups I'm part of. I worry that I'm "getting offended" personally over the horrible things they say, and I hold them less accountable.

So if you say something antifeminist or misogynistic, I worry I shouldn't unfriend you because I'm just being too sensitive, since I'm a woman.

And if you say something homophobic or transphobic, I worry I shouldn't unfriend you because you're dissing a group I'm part of, since I'm queer.

And if you say something anti-Semitic, I worry I shouldn't unfriend you because I might be more likely to read extra meaning into your words that you don't really mean, since I'm Jewish.

But if you say something racist? I'm white and I've never had to deal with racism. I see you doing it and I have no qualms about refusing to associate with racist trash. This is probably why I just grumbled when this new acquaintance said some incredibly ignorant things about male/female relationships that cast women in a really awful light, and I just rolled my eyes when someone else told me he didn't "believe in" asexuality and believed I was educating people about it so I could feel special, but after I saw him fearmongering about Muslims having a MOSQUE ON GROUND ZERO and using racist slurs about "Mexicans" because he didn't like that so many Hispanic people were in line ahead of him for some service he had to access, I unfriended him and never spoke to him again.

Thinking back, it is actually weird that I didn't do it earlier, considering there were several times he personally said and did objectively awful things to me. I apparently couldn't truly acknowledge how awful he was until he hurt people who weren't me. I've been trained to think that if someone does something gross to me, I'm supposed to offer forgiveness.

I knew he was awful, but he had to be racist before I would do something about it and cut him out of my circle.

I guess it's just easy to see how rotten someone is if they hate people over their race or national origin, and when they choose to express it with slurs and vitriol that's born of foaming xenophobia, not ~national security~ or whatever men like him pretend is their real reason for being a bigot. Looking back, it obviously ties in with all his other gross beliefs about women and non-heteronormative people, and it shouldn't surprise anyone that yet another cisgender able-bodied straight white man is racist. But I guess I've learned that while racism is not the only thing that makes me drop someone immediately, it is the easiest for me to act on because I'm sure it isn't for selfish reasons.


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