YESTERDAY I WAS AT A RECORD LAUNCH IN DETROIT IN A HIPSTER STORE 89% FULL OF WHITE PPL LIKE ME
and I made this horrible socially unconscious word vomit to two girls I admire who live and work in Detroit.
They were crouched on the floor with Leah talking about Detroit, like living there etc and how Leah and I haven't spent much time there. Feeling left out, I chimed in about visiting houses in Highland Park with my mother back when Leah and I were considering buying property in the city.
Only I started with my foot down my throat.
*looks at girls* ok name the worst neighborhood in Detroit (I honestly couldn't remember where I'd been when I saw houses but ugh why elysia.)
Leah reminds me it was Highland Park as both girls look uncomfortable and slightly crestfallen.
Then I go on and on about how my bougie mother was in her big new car and I was like plz mom stay in the car and don't talk to anyone.
The girls look aghast.
I keep putting my foot in it while desperately trying to justify myself, saying that my mother doesn't understand how to talk to ppl in neighborhoods like that. *facepalm*
What I meant was--my mom is a Christian liberal who claims not to see color and would likely say something undermining or just plain ignorant. Leah comes to my aid and tries to explain this too.
One of the girls raises a hand and says, I just want to say it IS okay to talk to people. Gah.
I know that. Of course I know that I just mean I was nervous parked on the lawn of a house with four pitbulls in the yard. But in America we don't say pitbulls. We say dogs just like other dogs. Neighborhoods just like other neighborhoods. No one here is saying the black people in Highland Park are dangerous. I wasn't. And I'm not. But I do think I can talk about sensitive issues like this without feeling guilty and checking myself so many times that the outcome is a loop of me punching myself in the face. I do think that I can say I didn't know the community and my mother didn't know the community and I just wanted her to realize that. A huge part of having conversations like this comes down to listening and asking and having respect. I shouldn't have told a story but instead should maybe have parceled the story out into questions and statements?
I've dedicated a lot of today to thinking about this and I'm writing now so I can continue to think about this and engage with ppl who have insight or ideas.
For now though, i'ma think before I speak. And not speak at all sometimes. Just for now.