Yesterday, 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.