*This could wind up being a long post depending on how much I ramble so consider yourselves warned. Now, to quote Dennis Miller, "I don't want to get on a rant here, but..."*
I started a new job a few weeks back. The job itself is a combination of boring and hard, but the people I work for and with are just awesome. It is without question the most diverse group I have ever been a part of. Our team numbers about 25 strong and consists of my boss who is a sex addicted mountain man on lone from Colorado whose accent sounds like it belongs in the movie "Fargo" rather than West/Central Texas, and my other boss who is a straight redneck from East Texas (where else) who loves to brag about the smoker he built that can smoke 20 briskets at one time and the fact that given a week, he can manufacture by hand pretty much any type of firearm imaginable. We also have a guy who moved here a couple of months ago from Leeds in the UK, a guy who moved here a few weeks ago from Kenya, two older folks who are just a few years removed from their native Mexico, a hyperactive Canadian and a guy who, judging by his tattoos and references to our team as a "PC crap induced bag of M&Ms", I'm pretty sure is a white supremacist. It's been interesting to say the very least.
Anyway, the point of this thread is that I'm teamed up with a Hispanic guy about my age (late-teens to early-20s) that is like a darker skinned version of myself. He's a big, sport addicted, somewhat arrogant and very laid back guy... just like me. It's almost impossible to get this guy mad because he is so laid back and he loves to tease and joke around... just like me. Anyway, when I first started working with him, he called me what some might call a "racial slur". He didn't mean anything by it and I knew it so I laughed and promptly replied with a slur of my own. We both laughed and since then we rarely call each other by our real names but rather a plethora of racially inspired nicknames that probably don't belong on this board. When we're around other people or customers, we refrain from using such language, but the rest of the time we let 'em fly and have a good laugh about it. Mind you, none of our "slurs" are directed at other people... just at each other.
All this has got me asking a few questions of myself... questions that I now pose to the rest of you. Is what we are doing wrong? In a way, I guess we are perpetuating racial stereotypes, but both of realize that these stereotypes are stupid, for the most part baseless and because of that they just don't offend us. He told me the other day that I would never get with a certain girl because "white guys are too boring" and I have asked him "How many family members can you squeeze into a single cab truck?". That's small and relatively tame example of the kind of rhetoric I am talking about. Neither one of us were even remotely close to being offended by the other's remarks because I think we both know how ignorant those stereotypes are (though to be fair, I am a little boring).
I fear as though I am conning myself into thinking that I am a front-runner for a new wave of American's that views racial stereotypes as ignorant and uses them for punch lines in an attempt to squash some of the racial divides that persist in our country. In a really narcissistic way, I almost envision myself (as well as my co-worker) as modern day rebels, leading our generation into a brave new world free of the racial binds that have held us down. Perhaps my arrogance has taken over because I don't understand why some people are offended by such ignorant remarks and I wish others felt as I did. It is my opinion that racially offensive remarks are only offensive if you let them be, and it is that quickness to get offended that has kept some of the racial divides in our country in place over the last several decades. In other words, I wish people would lighten the hell up and laugh stuff off instead of running and pouting in the corner when somebody says something. I really feel that if we took this relaxed attitude and stopped crying to mommy ever ten minutes, the racial walls in our country would slowly begin to crumble and we could start to see the eloquent words of the Declaration of Independence - "...all men are created equal..." - start to manifest themselves in our nation.
I think I’m starting to get full of myself because in many ways I feel like I’m at the forefront of a radical, and even controversial movement that can laugh off racial stereotypes while at the same time appreciating another human being for what they are… a special creation of the good Lord himself… no better or worse than myself. I try to keep my ego in check because I realize deep down is side that my own insignificance prevents me from being what my ego sometimes tells me I am. I don’t have an inflated view of myself mind you… quite the opposite I have battled depression and self-esteem issues for a good part of the last decade. I realize and understand what I truly am… Bono stuck in Tony Siragusa’s body, but my mind is off somewhere else… attached to the body of someone who can actually do something signifigant it would appear.
*And so concludes the tormented and somewhat juvenile ramblings of a madman. Thanks for listening.*