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Posts Tagged ‘microagression’

Words I’m Not Allowed To Say Anymore

Recently my youngest son said these words, “A girl at school told me my eyebrows were on fleek.”

Me, “Huh?”

Boy says,”On fleek, it means on point or good…something like that.”

An hour later I tried to use the term. “Honey, dinner was on fleek, tonight.”

“Sorry mom, that’s not working. You probably can’t say that.  Sounds too weird.”

Vocabulary is a bizarre thing.  It can make you seem cool or really really old.  Slang words come and go so fast by the time adults figure them out they are out of style.

Hearing an older adult still using the word “bling” is embarrassing and painful. Bling faded out at least ten years ago. If I used the word “cheddar” in place of money my kids would probably push me out of a moving car.

I remember how horrified I was when my fifty year old mom said , “Vice President Dan Quall  ‘delish. I’d scoop on him.'”  Noooo!  Everything about the sentence was wrong, especially her use of the term “delish and scoop.” Grosss!

So this year when I looked at the new words in the dictionary I told myself to be cautious.  I’m not gonna jump up and tell a client not to “throw shade” at me if they treat me disrespectfully.

I’m not going to tell my husband his idea for fixing a lamp with duct tape is “weak sauce” and I’m not going to accuse my co-worker of a “humble brag” when she tells me she “only volunteered at the homeless shelter twelve hours last week.

The one word I might hang onto is “microagression”. Because that’s legitimate. Microagression is subtle or unintentionally saying something that belittles a minority or group.  There’s an older  guy at work who constantly refers to women as “you girls.”  He says things like, “Well you girls just couldn’t understand how important it is to change your oil on a regular basis.” Hey, I’m not a girl and of course I understand the importance of oil changes. He doesn’t mean to offend me but man he pisses me off.

It’s fun to study the new words and phrases, but if you’re older than thirty be careful. You’ll end up sounding older than you are, I’ll have to give you the “side eye” then “ghost.”

PS…I learned yesterday “on fleek” is already out.

 

Ugly White People

mary goatYesterday, my oldest daughter, Mary called after work.  I was driving Sandor to Taekwondo.  She works at an inner-city boys and girls Club in Indianapolis. There are days she’s the only white person in the building.

I answered and put her on speaker so Sandor could hear too.

“Momma, listen to this. Today at work, this little girl, Jasmine, who is seven, was playing with my hair. Then she leaned over and said, “I think white people are all ugly.”

Sandor and I started laughing, loudly, then I croaked, “What did you say?”

“I just said, That’s your opinion. I kind of wanted to ask her if she knew I was white but I’m pretty sure she did.”

Mary is 27, beautiful and has always been volatile and passionate. She reacts strongly, to injustice in the world. It simply drives her crazy when people don’t act right. She gets offended, early and often.

The comment didn’t bother me in any way and apparently it didn’t really faze Mary! She wasn’t mad. My child who has been offended by so many things in life, upset and pissed off by politicians, rednecks, school teachers, grocery store clerks and old men, just let the comment roll off her back. And I was so proud.  It was my win for the day because life is much tougher when everything pisses you off and leaves you feeling offended.

Recently, I had a conversation with a friend who is attending Yale. She  explained the term “micro-aggression” to me. that’s when everything is taken as an offense. Comments are all taken as a sign of racism, sexism, ageism when in fact they are just comments. But everybody wants to be offended all the time, by everything. Apparently “micro-aggression” is very prevalent among young, well educated folk. That makes sense.

Being offended by everything is exhausting and often times stupid. So relax.  Just because a little girl things white people are ugly you don’t need to be offended. You’re actually not ugly, so it doesn’t matter what she says. Her words are harmless, sad, but harmless.

On a nice note Mary sent me a sign some of her kids made this morning.

ms mary