This reader says below that I'd know best how to answer her question, but actually, I'm sort of stuck with this one; I also think a lot of readers here could provide better answers than I could. . . what do you think this non-white person should say to her vexatious white teammate? ~macon
Hi Macon! I am a frequent reader of your website, but have never commented or emailed before now.
I wanted to ask your advice on something because it seems like you'd know best. I hope you can answer!
My intramural sports team is my life--the people on it are some of the most interesting and fun people that I've ever met, and we've all bonded over time and become really close. Lately though, I've noticed some things about one of the newer members that bothers me a lot. I've tried to ignore it but I feel like I've gotten to a point where I will explode the next time it happens.
She's a really awesome girl, and apparently has many friends of color. . . but she has this nasty habit of emphasizing race over anything else in any given situation, and it makes me feel awkward. For example we played a team that had two really amazing players of color--one was black and the other asian. When discussing them/their performance, instead of calling said players by their team names or numbers, it was always "that black girl" or "that chinese girl" with that sort of inflection.
This is always the case...once, when describing her hometown and the differences between their dry summer heat and our moist, humid heat, she kind of jumped into this tirade without being prompted: "oh and the black people there are very different from here, they all act preppy and classy, y'know?" I didn't know what to say. It doesn't seem that she has any filter on this, and I'm not sure if she does it with her other friends of color...
I don't want to lose her friendship or alienate her in any way, but how do I tell her I dislike this without starting a huge fallout between me and her? I don't want anyone else to jump in it either and tell me I'm being too sensitive or any of that crap, but it's so frustrating and hurtful...*sigh* Please help if you can.
Torn in Mississippi