ADMIN: Guest Comments – browser issues & racism follow up

Disclaimer: this is a place of learning, safety, and hope. Take what you want from the post and forget the rest. Maybe this will help you. Maybe it won’t.

Browser & Loading Issues

Last week, multiple guests commented about some browsing compatibility issues or slow loading issues with the website.

Untangled Connections does not use plug-ins, and both the customer support engineer and I did not encounter loading or compatibility issues using Safari, IE, or Firefox.

To be safe though, I also reduced the number of comments/posts that load at one time to increase loading speed.

If you run into issues, please check your browser for updates or try deleting your cache. That sometimes helps. Also refer to the FAQ sticky post here and information about browser compatibility here.

Racism Follow Up

A few guests asked me if there would be a follow up to my post about racism. I decided not to continue on that topic right now for a lot of reasons.

One, I am not black and don’t want to take away from the importance of that message.

Two, I am an ally for ending racism period. I DO NOT FOLLOW CURRENT EVENTS OR WATCH THE NEWS, POLITICS, ETC so continuing to write about current events and politics here is not useful, supportive or helpful.

Three, I support and promote diversity by writing about many topics associated with discrimination, bullying, and racism here. At the same time, I am not willing to write about something I don’t know or have experienced/researched.

That does a disservice to all of us by spreading misinformation.

What I will do is share a story with you that happened to me 6 years ago. It still affects me now and has been on my mind a lot since people are talking about Pride month and other types of discrimination.

The Story

6 years ago, I was living on the east coast in a relatively safe and clean apartment building near the border of Rhode Island. It was a small city with an old fashioned downtown center with many small or family-owned businesses surrounding the police station and government buildings. I walked a mile from my apartment through the downtown to get to the commuter rail station.

On my walks to and from the apartment, I passed by many restaurants and a grocery store owned by people whose first language wasn’t English. It became a habit to shop locally because the food was excellent and the people were polite. Plus they were closer than the big box grocery stores and restaurants.

We (the store owners/employees and I) became friendly as I became a “regular” customer and always tried to be respectful, if not friendly. The grocery store owners and their family came from a Latino/Spanish speaking background, and not all of them spoke English, but we worked it out over time. I am stating this, not because I have anything against them, but because it’s important to the story. And I don’t know what label to use.

One night, I was shopping on my way home from work and chatting casually with the older man at check out. He looked old enough to be my uncle or grandfather and didn’t speak English, but understood it quite well. The store was mostly quiet and the atmosphere relaxed. The man was careful packing up my groceries, and I appreciated that since I still had almost half a mile to walk before getting home.

As I waited, a young male (between 20 and 30 probably) walked up to us and gestured impatiently. We ignored him since the old man was only half way through the check out. The young man said or did something again, but I didn’t see it since he was standing to my left just inside of my peripheral vision.

The older man continued to ignore him, but I started to feel uncomfortable with the staring (I could feel the young man’s gaze on me).

So I turned towards the young man as I addressed the older man (to my right) and said it’s okay for him to answer the other person’s question – me being polite. Then I stepped back and went back to my ebook. My body language and attitude expressing disinterest in the conversation.

That changed when I heard this man speak in a lisp with a condescending tone of voice as he slowly and loudly asked the older man where to get a toilet plunger in the store because he couldn’t find it on the shelves. I was shocked and upset on behalf of the older man at this young man’s rudeness.

The older man mumbled something in broken English about waiting until he finished with my purchase. Then turned back to checking out the rest of my groceries. Without careful observation (and yes I was observing because my survival instincts kicked in), you wouldn’t know the older man reacted at all. But his eyes and mouth tightened before he looked down and away from both of us.

The younger man kept repeating himself, so I stepped in and spoke up. I apologized for interrupting and repeated what the older man said. The young man looked down at me, called me “honey” in a dismissive tone and told me it’s okay that I interrupted because I couldn’t help myself being what I was.

Then went back to harassing the older man. I spoke up again and asked him if he understood what the older man and I said. If not, I could explain what the older man said again. The younger man told me that I was confused and didn’t understand the problem. So I agreed I might be confused before repeating the whole conversation almost word for word. Then I asked the younger man to explain where and how I was confused.

A short silence. Then the young man stammered something about having to leave because he just remembered an errand and left. The older man looked at me with surprise and respect. I asked him if he was okay, and he smiled and nodded before finishing my order. On my way home, I had a panic attack and flashbacks. Did not sleep that night.

What upset me most?

The young man was white, obviously wealthy or well-to-do, wearing a fashionable outfit that shouted “I am gay and proud”. As a gay person, he’s probably experience some discrimination and/or racism. But he didn’t even consider it was wrong to treat this older man (and me when I stood up to him) with such disrespect.

Conclusion

I’ve seen black people with dark skin discriminate against other black people with lighter skin because they “aren’t black enough”. I’ve seen latinos and latinas discriminate against each other because they come from different Spanish or Portuguese speaking countries, neighborhoods, etc. I’ve had Chinese people step back from me in disgust and fear because I am bald. I’ve seen Chinese people from China discriminate against American-born Chinese and vice versa. Asians against other Asians and so on.

Where I live now, complete strangers (all white of different ages and genders) have gotten up and walked out of restaurants after staring at me with hostility while I bought food and then sat down at an empty table to eat. White salespeople at Nordstrom have glared at me and followed me around while I was shopping. Even gone so far as to ask other white people if I was bothering them while I shopped because we were looking at the same clothes.

A man of mixed race with a Spanish or Mexican accent stopped me on the street one day and asked me “where are you from?” and “What are you doing here” in a hostile tone of voice. When he asked me “what are you?” I stepped around him and walked away. Black people sometimes call me a “banana” because I like to wear beanies, headscarves, and “street style”outfits. What “street” style is I don’t know. I wear what I like and feel comfortable in all the time.

A young girl was polite the first time she saw me with a hat covering my face. The next time, hat off, she refused to look me in the eye or speak to me other than to take my ticket. She was white too. In a dentist waiting room at a large hospital (teaching clinic), three or four white people in the waiting room turned to stare at me as I sat down. Then started talking about me as if I wasn’t there. When that didn’t bother me, a man walked over and spoke at me. I don’t remember what was said because my alters took over, but he and the others left me alone after that.

Finally, if you’ve read past posts, you know about my past experiences with bullying, discrimination and racism. That position hasn’t changed even if the world has. You also know my feelings and thoughts about politics and religion, about why I stay neutral about politics and only share my views about religious and spiritual practice – inclusive and accepting.

So please understand that I will only write about current events and current politics if they are something I can speak about with acceptance, respect, knowledge, and inclusiveness.

Thanks for reading.