I’m a ethnic minority living in a predominantly white suburban town. Most of the time life is okay, people are respectful and kind. But there are times when I am the target of both subtle and not-so-subtle insults due to my race. This makes me incredibly angry and bitter and sometimes I just want to cuss them out and kick them in the shins. Obviously, this doesn’t seem like a very Christian response and I’m hoping you can give me some guidance as to how to cope and react. Thank you!
My ancestry is: Scottish, Danish, and a melange of northern european that my grandfather referred to as “swamp yankee”, so I am about as white as white gets. However, I do have plenty of experience with people around me massively misbehaving themselves, so I think I can offer you some ideas.
Before you make the decision to confront someone, it is important to assess whether or not it would do any good. If this is a good person who is ignorant about race or just has an immature sense of humor, then it very well might help to point out something they said that wasn’t cool. If, on the other hand, they are just a jerk, then you might be better off just going with trying to avoid them as much as possible. That’s not cowardice, or not standing up for your principles, it is simply picking your battles.
Another tip, that can be applied to any confrontation situation, is to be very clear about what you are commenting on. “You are a racist” is immediately going to pull up someone’s defenses and the whole thing will go nowhere. Saying “that specific thing you said made me uncomfortable, that wasn’t cool” is a different thing. Commenting on a single incident will have a much better chance of getting through than making a statement about someone as a person.
There are a couple of other little suggestions. Try to stay calm, that ties into not pulling up someone’s defenses and making it easier to have a conversation and also helps you be clear in what you want to say. The cheapest price when you decide to confront someone is always now. If you wait and let things build, you add another layer of complication.
Kicking someone in the shins, you know in the name of Jesus, is definitely a thought that every sane person has had, but direct and level headed confrontation has a much better chance of yield positive outcomes in relationships.
-Matt from The Bridge