In a recent intercultural development and training workshop, I learned about the concept of “Oops, Ouch, and Educate”. I don’t know who came up with it, or if that’s even the exact title, but the spirit of it is this: if someone says or does something that is offensive to you (“Oops!”), you tell them. It might sting or being uncomfortable (“Ouch!”), but then you educate them on why it was offensive AND share with them what might be a better way to be in communication with you going forward. So in the spirit of that, I’m writing this post to offer support and encouragement to a very special group of people that I’ve encountered throughout my life. If you see yourself or someone you know in these words, feel free to ‘fess up and/or share! No judgment past admission…we are ALL works in progress…!
As much as I can appreciate the attempt to “relate”…it baffles me when a non-black person automatically assumes that I speak “homegirl”…then commences with the “mmmhmm”s, “girlfriend”s, soul food/music references, neck rolling, lip twisting, or (THE WORST) COMPLETELY UNRELATED references to their mixed children or black [WHATEVER; i.e., boy/girlfriend, spouse, best friend, college roommate, grocer…you get the point]. While I’m glad to know that you are “down for the cause”…you’re going about it ALL WRONG, and further widening our gap of communication. Not to mention, really annoying the sh*t outta me. Because NOW I’m in my head, trying to figure out what the hell in our interaction (besides my skin color) made you break out into this alter ego that was non-existent in your communications with other people groups. And I’m also wondering if you think you’re somehow mirroring me…which is the subject of an altogether different rant. But for now, I want to encourage people of color the world over (and “white” IS a color…for those who seem to have missed that memo; so YES, this is for you too…ESPECIALLY, actually): the best way for you to relate to ME, is to let me see YOU…the REAL you, not the “my friend’s grandma’s fried chicken” you. Nkay, pumpkin? K. Thaaaaanks.