I had an interesting conversation today with a man that I work with. We started out talking about Halloween, I told him that I never trick or treated because my parents believed Halloween to be demonic and thus came to the conclusion that if their kids “celebrated” it (i.e. dressed up like cats or witches or whatever) we’d end up forsaking Christ. Or eating candy with razorblades in it. Sow we’re on the subject of pagan holidays, which somehow led to us talking about Oedipus, which led to us talking about Greek Mythology, which led to us talking about The Odyssey. Whew. And this is all within like 5 minutes. We were all over the place. Kind of what happens when people don’t want to work, I guess.
We talked about how we loved the book and then he asked me if I’d ever seen the TV movie. I immediately flashed back to a moment in college where my female professor was pointing out the distinct difference of the Penelope in the book (strong, wise woman who waits tirelessly for her husband) from the Penelope in the movie (wilty flower who faints upon seeing her husband for the first time in years) and I ask “Why did they have to go and change her? What a cop out!” Manly-man says wilty flower-like women are what sells. Yes, his wisdom runs deep. Then he goes on to tell me how a man would get paid more doing what I do, simply because he’s a man.
“But that’s just the way the world is, you just have to deal with it. I know it sucks, but sometimes you have to push that stuff to the back of your mind, cuz it won’t change.”
I stare at him. “You wouldn’t say that if you were a woman.”
He nods. “Yeah, you’re right, but it’s the bitter truth. There’s nothing you can do to change it. I mean, and it’s not just women. Everyone has to deal with something…hispanics, blacks…”
“And me being black and a woman means I have to deal with things doubly so. I’m not going to sit and be treated a certain way and sweep it under the rug just because that’s the way things are. I’m going to say something about it.”
Then he…amazingly…says, “Well, things were a LOT worse in the fifties.”
And I get so pissed that I say (or something along the lines of), “I could care jack about how it was worse.” Which did NOT come out the way I wanted it to. Of course I respect and admire everything that was done in the civil rights movement but just because things are better now does not mean that you stop trying. I don’t have the: “Oh, it was worse then, I should stop complaining!” way of looking at things. Nope. Things still need to change.
I mean, seriously…people can still be cruel and racist, they’ve just learned to hide it better. Covert racism is still racism.
So, yeah… he just stood there and looked stupid.Sweet Moses, this guy has some massive cojones to say that shit to me. I love how this man is telling me to get over something because it’s never going to change as he continues to have a life of entitlement based on his color and sex. LOVE. IT.