A white reader named Margy wrote the following question, which some other white people undoubtedly have as well -- are there situations when it would be better to not step up and call out someone else's racism, even though we're ready and willing? If so, is the following one of them? And are there others? ~macon
I have a question that comes from an experience I felt I handled badly. I was grocery shopping one day when I heard a middle-aged White woman refer to a Black employee as "young man." I was standing down the aisle from them, so I wasn't sure if I knew who she was talking to, but I was worried it might be a middle-aged employee that I knew.
As I moved closer, my hunch was confirmed that she had just called someone of similar age to her (he has greying hair) "young man." This set off alarm bells about the fictitious kinship/denial of adulthood White people use to keep POC 'in their place.' By the time I was close enough to call the racism out, they were each moving on in their business.
So, my question is this. Is there ever a time when calling attention to racism could cause more pain for a POC?
In this case, I was worried that by the time I recognized the employee for sure, I would be calling more attention to something painful that had already passed. But, it could very well have been my own moment of weakness.
Please answer if you can, for this situation and anything that could bring light to my question.
Thanks so much.