Our little dude is off for his first week long overnight camp. As you can see, he’s having lots of fun. We got a letter from him yesterday which basically said, “hey, you were right! I’m having loads of fun and don’t miss home at all!” TJ and I, on the other hand, seem to be having a tough time finding our stride without him around. I will say that there has been an extraordinary amount of swearing, junk food, and nudity in the past few days. It’s just very strange not to have to take care of someone else. Not that he needs loads of care but still…
The thing that prompted me to post today is something that bothered me and made me want to shout at the person talking. I’ve got a co-worker – really nice guy whom I like – who tells me about the troubles he and the other middle-class, white males deal with in their neighborhood. These things are generally so fucking trivial that I can’t help myself in saying something like, “if that’s the worst you’ve got to complain about, you’re doing pretty damn well.” Sometimes that works and he’ll keep his problems with living in white suburbia to himself. Other times, I’m not so lucky. Today I wasn’t lucky.
There have been times when he’s made racist comments (using a terrible fake Asian accent, pointing out, for no apparent reason, that someone was non-white, using racial stereotypes) or shown his ignorance when it comes to LGBTQ people (“who’s the man?”) but he doesn’t make these comments maliciously. He’s just lived his life in that priviledged white, christian male, middle to upper middle class lifestyle that most of us have never experienced. I honestly think he’s the only person I know who has lived pretty much the Beaver Cleaver ideal.
For my part, I try to educate him where I can. I don’t call him on everything but I call him on a lot. And he’s receptive and he listens and he thinks. We had a few talks about why civil unions and domestic partnerships aren’t the same as marriages and I wasn’t sure if he was really paying attention. A few days after one of the marriage equality wins not that long ago, he came up to me and told me how he had had a heated conversation with a friend or neighbor – I can’t remember right now. He told me how this guy didn’t know what he was talking about and that he had educated him on why marriage equality is so important. I nearly fucking cried. Of course, I didn’t let my friend know that. It would ruin my hard as nails reputation.
I know it’s not always possible – or safe – to call people on their ignorace, but when you can, please do. It makes a difference.