Talynn, I try to be a realistic optimist. I try to see the glass as half full as opposed to half empty, but there comes a time when you have to realize that your glass is a paper cup with a pin hole in the bottom. Given all that I’ve witnessed in this country — especially within the last ten years (scorching side eye to cite the crap tsunami we’ve been living in since Tuesday, November 8, 2016) — you pretty much hit the nail on the head with your coded list of the verbal manifestation of oppression is 200% spot on.

Thank you for giving labels to tactics/strategies that try my patience. It’s very much like listening to a child ask, “why’d the chicken cross the road?”. You know exactly where it’s going after the third word, but you go along with it and play your part, smile, nod, and go along to get along, in the name of the “social contract.”

When I encounter what I can now dub the Denial manifestation (“I am not racist. It’s not my fault that Black people didn’t understand what I meant!”), I know where the conversation is going and think “…but it is your fault that you didn’t put forth the effort to state your position in a manner that showed nuance or respect given the context of race in these United States,” and jettison out of the interaction either physically, mentally, or emotionally. Of course, my inner monologue isn’t really that long. It usually consists of a “child, please,” before I hit the escape button.

But there’s power in naming things. The power is that it contains them, it gives them shape and form, and makes them easily recognizable. It affords one the opportunity to arm oneself with a well strategized defense and not get all bogged down with deciphering what the hell is going on, if for no other purpose that to maintain one’s dignity by diffusing, confronting (the person), or withdrawing the situation altogether.

Thank you for the numerous ring buoys you’ve supplied.

Written by

Artist, actor, author, editorial director of Our Human Family (http://medium.com/our-human-family). Connect via social media: @clayrivers. Love one another.

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store