On Being Nice

The other day a student in one of my classes made several homophobic comments. Without revealing too much detail, this student is not a person that, because of some of her own personal learning/social issues, I did not feel I could jump all over–I felt I would destroy her. And I don’t want to. Well, I do, but I also don’t.

This has been making me think. (I hate that!)

The person I want to be is definitely conflicting with the person I actually am. In theory, I would love to be the sort of person who has the patience and big-heartedness to accept everyone’s opinions, to believe that all beliefs are equally valid. I want to be the sort of person that can rise above, not get bogged down with petty concerns (my power point presentation is going to be better!) and sure, there are times when I can do that.

And there are other times–many, many other times–when I want to smack someone’s head in. At least verbally. When I want to use the fact that I am reasonably smart to smack someone down because I find what they are saying hateful and I experience it as bullying, whether or not it is intended that way.

I was combative all day. I could barely look at this person. A friend and I were chatting in the elevator and yes, we used the word fuck, on a college campus. A prof I didn’t recognize informed us that he would “make an issue of it” as long as he teaches at UDC if we don’t find another way to express ourselves or some shit. And I confess,  I would like nothing better than for someone to make an issue of it, because then there would be a clear, easy enemy, someone to fight against.

All of which to say, trying to be tolerant and kind, create safe spaces, etc? It’s really fucking hard.


One response

  1. I would have chewed the person out. Even if it “destroyed her” There is absolutely no need for racist/homophobic remarks anywhere in the world.

    You should check out Tim Gunn’s new book, Gunn’s Golden Rules: Life’s Little Lessons for Making It Work. It’s an excellent book.

    October 9, 2010 at 7:18 pm

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