Tuesday, January 03, 2006

Trash knows no color

This post may change some readers opinion of me, however I feel it necessary to post. I tried to write with the most open-minded intentions possible, but sometimes people annoy me to the brink of irrational thought.
I have a confession. Yesterday I was rendered temporarily racist. I'm not happy about it, in fact I'm ashamed, but it was a fleeting moment and does not represent my general feeling towards people of other races. Here's the story: Toni and I went to the movies. To see "Chronicles of Nardia" in fact. Yes it was meant to be a kid's film, and yes there was a high chance there would be kids there, but we went anyway. Everybody knows the old cliche gripe about why people bring their kids to the movies, but this particular example needs describing to explain my apology. OK, a couple and their three kids were right behind us, a toddler and 2 kids around four or five. Throughout the movie: The toddler proceeded to blurt out baby talk periodically; the 2 older kids had complete discussions about the action on the screen; food wrappings were being wrustled throughout the film; somehow soda was splashed on me not once, but twice; and the parents did nothing to prevent any of this. And they were black. This final note needs pointing out only because on our way out of the theatre, as Toni and I were discussing the inconsideration of bringing toddlers to movies, I said to her, "I'm sorry, this is going to sound racist, but for God's sake, get a job and hire a babysitter..." Yeah, incredibly un-PC of me, for sure. I'm not sure why I felt the need to tag it as a racial statement, as it could have just as easily been a white couple with their rowdy little kids behind us, but for some reason for that split second I rationalized that a white couple would have just been plain inconsiderate (however employed) as opposed to the black family. And I apologize for that.
But this incident made me think about a few things. First, I don't discriminate against race, I discriminate against assholes. Specifically assholes that lower my quality of life. Whether it be someone who harasses me in a parking lot, someone who runs a red light and almost hurts or kills a member of my family or a friend (or myself for that matter), or someone who brings a crying child to a movie. Color is definitely not a factor in this. A real racist may argue that most blacks or Puerto Ricans or Jamaicans or whatever fall under this category.... but I don't buy it. I've met plenty of decent hardworking respectable ethnic people, and have run into PLENTY of white scum in my time, mostly in the form of "White Trash". And then I started thinking about this term: White trash.
The label "white trash" is almost racial in itself, but not in the way you might think. Think about it: if you listen to other people tell stories about their encounters with problematic people, they always feel the need to label them. "This black guy harassed me for change", "This Hispanic woman hit my car..." This white-trash couple stole silverware from the restaurant..." AHA! back up... Why not just "this white couple..."? Why do we have to specify that THEY are trashy, but it seems to be automatically assumed in the other cases. This, my friends, seems very racist to me. I'm sure many of us are guilty of this too, it's just the way society seems to have dictated our way of communicating. But it doesn't make it right. Therefore I am vowing to try to avoid describing people less by their ethnic background (except where in pertains to the story) and more by their tendency to piss me off. "That Jerk... That Asshole...... That Trash......." What color was he?? It just doesn't matter.

No comments: