That is a bumper sticker quote I read today on my blog buddy’s site – St Tropez Butler.
I’m a Libra and typical to the sign, I hate confrontation. Last week was Pride week and on Saturday, Lise and I attended some of the festivities in downtown Windsor. One of the emcees was a local radio talk show hostess who said something that really bothered me.
A drag queen had performed in a pink 60s-style suit with a little pink pillbox-like hat. When she was finished the radio hostess commented about how the costume reminded her of Jackie O. The male emcee quipped that he didn’t know that Jackie was Black and the talk show hostess said, “Well, I don’t see colour.”
My friend, who is also a woman of colour, asked me if I had heard what the radio hostess just said and if it had bothered me as much as it bothered her. I said that I had indeed heard and that, yes, it did bother me. We talked a bit about the ignorance of the well-intentioned and how frustrating it was and kind of joked that the job of educating the well-intentioned might be best left to someone younger who was still idealistic.
As I sat there and watched the next performer I thought about how that woman probably had no idea what effect the impact of her words had. I thought that as a local personality in a public venue, she should have some understanding of what it feels like to hear someone say what she had said.
So, almost not of my own volition, I found myself walking up to her. I introduced myself and shook her hand and said, “I heard you say that you don’t see colour.” She smiled and nodded. Then, as kindly as I know how and trying hard not to let my voice shake, I said, “I suppose that means that you don’t see people who look like me.”
I won’t get into all the details of our exchange but I will say that it quickly became unpleasant as she responded as if I had accused her of trying to burn a cross on my front lawn. All I could do is sadly turn away from her and wonder why it’s always the well-intentioned who become so defensive and attack in such a way that it shuts off all further dialogue.
The entire encounter reminded me of why I no longer do diversity work. I’m getting too old for this crap.