I was remembering a conversation I once had with a coworker when I worked for the Florida Department of Transportation. We were doing highway inspections out in the middle of nowhere. I mean, there was nothing or no one around for miles except fields of potatoes, and for some reason he chose that moment to say something really racist.
I had to call bullsh**, as I am wont to do in these situations. I don’t know why I bother. It never ends well. But I can’t just sit back and let ignorance like that pass.
“Dude, I can’t believe you just said that. I can’t believe you believe it, let alone say it out loud.”
“I can’t help it. It’s how I was raised. I was taught—”
“Excuse me? You’re a freakin’ ADULT!!! You don’t have to march in lock step with your parents. You’re not a potato. You don’t have to stay where you’re planted. You’re not a stupid man. You get to decide what your morals and values are. I’d find it refreshing if you took ownership of your hate, and stopped blaming your parents for it. It would be even more refreshing if you got a clue.”
It was a long, quiet ride back to the office. Did it do any good? Probably not. But some things just have to be said.