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Dear Sue

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Dear Sue,

One of my friends acts really racist. It ranges from well-known racist jokes to full blown racist comments. I don’t mind the jokes, because we occasionally have unofficial “worst jokes you can think of” contest. And, in that context, it’s not bad, but she does it all the time and will make degrading comments to people not of her same race. It just gets awkward. How do I get her to calm down?

-Tolerant and understanding

Dear Tolerant,

It’s not okay, especially in today’s society, to be blatantly racist. Most people want to live in communities where they aren’t being openly insulted about aspects of themselves they have no control over. The best thing to do is try to get your friend to understand that race doesn’t matter. We’re all just people; no one is inferior or superior to anyone else. If you were to look at a person’s DNA, you wouldn’t be able to tell what race they are.

If logic doesn’t convince her, then try to bring her along to multicultural events on campus. A lot of areas in America aren’t very diverse, so she may not have been exposed to people of different races or cultures. Even in areas that are culturally and racially diverse, people are still hugely affected by the people they group up with. If a person grew up in a racist environment, it may affect how they see the world. This isn’t to say everyone is like that, or that it justifies her actions.

Sometimes people are too set in their ways to change their opinion, but hopefully she’s an open-minded college student and will become more accepting of other people. But, if all else fails, you could just tell her that her comments make you uncomfortable and to tone it down when you’re around.

~Sue Z. Maroon