Monday, December 31, 2007

I Almost Said...

Living in a world in which we have to deal with other people and their -isms/assumptions/stereotypes, the art of telling people off is a valuable skill to possess. In my late teens (three or four years ago), my proficiency was limited to "Bitch, I know you didn't-" and name-calling.

But over time, I have honed and refined my ability, learned to use the sweetest words to make the sharpest point. Sometimes, I am so clever and adroit, that it takes people a minute to realize they've even been told off. There's nothing like watching that uncertain, flickering smile disappear from the face of someone who has insulted you as awareness dawns.

Time has wrought another change as well--I'm not as easily offended as I once was. I've learned to bite my tongue, give people the benefit of the doubt, and comfort myself with the knowledge that I know the truth that undermines ignorant assumptions.

Still, there are the occasions when I feel the need to set people "right." And there's no worse feeling than lost opportunities. I've been thinking of times I should've told someone off and was simply too shocked or too slow to do so. Prime examples:
1. When the white girl with whom I'd been having a pleasant conversation in a store reacted with shock at my assertion that I'd taught classes at Louisiana Tech. "Are you sure?" she asked me, "It must have been Grambling [the local HBCU]. I'm sure it wasn't Tech."
2. When the best friend of a person I'd been sharing a reciprocal flirtation with told me he didn't think I was his best friend's type because of my Pretty, Hot, And Tempting physique. Not that his friend had said anything like that but he'd never seen his friend with someone "like me."
3. Every single time I pass this certain male professor in the hallway and he looks me up and down then smirks. I can just see his desire to pet me on the head.
So, whom should YOU have told off?

6 comments:

Professor Zero said...

You could have taught at a university, but not known which one it was ... and yet this person can be sure ... ??? Like the time a doctor told me I might have had sex and not remembered it. I should have understood the insult and told him off but I was just perplexed and stared at him with a disbelieving frown: "what? how?"

RageyOne said...

It would have been #1. Like you don't know where *YOU - yourself* are an instructor? You actually forgot the University you are employed by? Oh please! I would have had to say something to that lil' gal! hmpf!

trillwing said...

The supervisor who always OK'd my projects and told me I did good work, but then told future employers and coworkers that my priorities were misplaced. WTF?

Gwyneth Bolton said...

Shoulda cussed all three of them the hell out! I think 2008 is the year for us to stop holding our tongues and letting foolish people slide. I'm tired of giving passes. It's time to start telling folks off. It's better for our health. :-)

Gwyneth

ALEXANDRIA said...

How about that time when we went to the mall to look for your neice and my best friend's dress. We passed by the Coach purse department and you were verbally admiring the purses and the WHITE associate made this very IGNORANT and OUTRAGEOUS comment "It's okay to dream" and then to top it all off she reffered to us as "SWEETIES". What kinda mess was that!!!!!! And then you know me I had to repeatedly refer to you as DOCTOR L to get the point across that "BOO can afford that purse". LOL "Boo might bring it back when that particular associate wasn't at work but BOO can afford it.

Jeremy Young said...

This shuttle bus driver who was sexually harrassing a female customer. It was him, her, me, and two ladies who didn't speak English, so it was definitely my role to tell the guy off. Unfortunately, I was too scared.

Revelations and ruminations from one southern sistorian...