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Why was I BU? Race related.

(377 Posts)
asixthofafathom Tue 02-Jun-20 18:01:40

I know I was BU and I am sorry about it, but I don't understand.

I have a black friend who is really articulate and passionate and posts a lot on social media about race - the perfect person, I thought, to ask what to read and what not to read at the moment, so as to avoid stuff that is inaccurate and offensive and hear only the authentic voice of those being oppressed.

She went ballistic and unfriended me, then proceeded to rant publicly about how offensive, selfish and insensitive my request was. Her friends chimed in and started calling me names.

I accept that I was wrong. I know it was poor timing, she doesn't owe me anything and it's not her job to educate me. But I genuinely just wanted to learn and understand and show willingness to listen rather than just assume that I understand an experience that I don't share.

Why was I so wrong to ask? Please don't bite my head off (unless I deserve it), I genuinely meant well and was trying to show respect, and now I feel awful.

OP’s posts: |
lljkk Tue 02-Jun-20 18:04:14

You need to repost here exactly the words you used to ask for her advice.

Coldilox Tue 02-Jun-20 18:05:21

Because it’s not up to BAME people to educate whites people whenever they feel like it.

I know you asked in good faith, and her response was harsh, but I get that it’s tiring.

Shinyletsbebadguys Tue 02-Jun-20 18:05:54

I do understand you didn't mean to be offensive OP but it's not other peoples jobs to educate you. The links and research are very much out there for you to find yourself.

I fully recognise you think you meant well, but what you did was make it about you, how you felt , how you wanted to be more educated (asking her suggesting it was incumbent on her to educate you rather than you making an effort to educate yourself)

Can you see the difference ? You weren't offering to listen, you were expecting her to do the leg work to educate you.

I realise you meant well but it may have come across that you were making it about your needs not hers.

gobbynorthernbird Tue 02-Jun-20 18:05:57

Does the google not work on your computer?

MrsTWH Tue 02-Jun-20 18:06:12

I think you know why, OP. You literally just said it wasn’t her job to educate you.

If you want to know, for example, what time the supermarket shuts - you don’t message your friend who works at the supermarket. You Google it.

You’re putting the load onto your black friend. You’re asking her to fix your ignorance. If you truly want to be an ally, fix it yourself. Put the effort in. Stop asking black people to do your dirty work for you. I think you understand that.

Shinyletsbebadguys Tue 02-Jun-20 18:06:44

Err sorry repetitive " I know you meant well" I'm not being snarky...just very tired

PicsInRed Tue 02-Jun-20 18:07:35

I have a black friend

Sigh.

You need to repost here exactly the words you used to ask for her advice.

Please say it didn't include the term "all lives matter", or some sort of polite disagreement with her account of her lived experience.

MrsTWH Tue 02-Jun-20 18:07:48

It’s like saying, “well if you don’t want me to be racist any more, you have to tell me what to do/think/how to behave”.
It’s a bit like victim blaming.

whatareyouhiding Tue 02-Jun-20 18:08:47

Message deleted by MNHQ. Here's a link to our Talk Guidelines.

Butterer Tue 02-Jun-20 18:09:08

I'd suggest reading 'Why I'm No Longer Talking to White People About Race' by Reni Eddo-Lodge
The title itself says it all smile

FTMF30 Tue 02-Jun-20 18:09:39

You know why you were wrong. Just apologise, explain your reason for asking (as you did in this post) and hopefully the two of you can move on.

AKissAndASmile Tue 02-Jun-20 18:09:46

Depends what you actually said, not just the paraphrasing you did here.

bridgetreilly Tue 02-Jun-20 18:10:43

* But I genuinely just wanted to learn and understand and show willingness to listen*

Well, why haven't you done that? There's no shortage of books, blogposts, and other media, giving you the opportunity to do so. You don't have to 'show willing' you have to 'be willing' and that means doing the actual work, not waiting to be spoonfed by your black friend.

DifficultPifcultLemonDifficult Tue 02-Jun-20 18:10:46

I know it was poor timing, she doesn't owe me anything and it's not her job to educate me.

That's your answer right there.

It sounds like she already shares a lot of posts along the lines of what you were asking. Couldn't you just have looked at the sites she shares from rather then ask her to educate you?

Saying "oh you're black, please tell me what sites to look at if I want to learn about stuff to do with black people" is pretty offensive tbh.

doadeer Tue 02-Jun-20 18:10:48

Maybe it depends what your relationship is like... Is she a friend or just an acquaintance who you worked with 5 years ago?

Also how you phrased it?

I'd recommend
BRIT-ish
Don't touch my hair
Black and British a forgotten history

FTMF30 Tue 02-Jun-20 18:10:57

@whatareyouhiding Great display of empathy.

bridgetreilly Tue 02-Jun-20 18:11:48

It’s like saying, “well if you don’t want me to be racist any more, you have to tell me what to do/think/how to behave”.

THIS.

Black people aren't the ones who need to sort out the racism of white people.

Pinkblueberry Tue 02-Jun-20 18:12:04

I thought, to ask what to read and what not to read at the moment, so as to avoid stuff that is inaccurate and offensive and hear only the authentic voice of those being oppressed.

I think this is an odd thing to ask - is this not something you can work out for yourself?

NoSauce Tue 02-Jun-20 18:12:06

What did you say?

bridgetreilly Tue 02-Jun-20 18:12:41

Friends don't behave like spoilt children.

Exactly. Which is why the OP was BU.

GhoulWithADragonTattoo Tue 02-Jun-20 18:12:55

What did you actually say? It’s seems unlikely everyone would agree with her unless you were (inadvertently) offensive.

DontTouchTheMoustache Tue 02-Jun-20 18:13:05

I think it also comes accross a bit like trying to hard to show your friend how not racist you are by asking her. Making sure your 'black friend' knows that you are educating yourself.

DamnYouAutoCarrot Tue 02-Jun-20 18:13:16

@asixthofafathom I can't think of any of my friends who would take this stance if I asked them a question, ignorant or not. If they did, I'd shame them right back.

What's wrong with them messaging you to tell you about what you did wrong, instead of putting you on blast over sm. Attention seeking on their part IMHO.

It's OK to ask questions, it's OK to enquire as to what's OK and what isn't. Not everyone just knows what's PC and what isn't, friends would understand this.

It's not their job to educate you, no. It's also not their job to ridicule you either.

To be clear, you came from a good place, they didn't.

zscaler Tue 02-Jun-20 18:13:29

For several reasons, really.

Because it’s not her job to educate you.

Because this is a time of incredible trauma and anxiety, and you chose this moment to make your interaction with her about the ways she could support you, rather than the other way round.

Because you didn’t even try and find the sources for yourself first.

Because your actions probably felt performative to her, like you wanted recognition for trying to learn, rather than you sincerely trying to address the problem for yourself.

Because you made it her problem to fix your ignorance instead of recognising that it’s your own responsibility to read and learn.

This is good experience to learn from - you will know better going forward.

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