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Racist Compliments. Learn to Address Them

“When I was a little kid, I thought people were complimenting me,” Dwayne said. “Now I recognize how degrading her statement was.”

He was referring to statements such as:

  • “You’re really good-looking for a Black guy.”

You just insulted my whole race in under ten words.

  • “I can tell you’re not an affirmative action hire.”

Another insult to an amazingly large group of people.

  • You’re so articulate. You don’t sound Black.

Your stereotypical belief suggests that a Black person can’t learn three-syllable words.

Other insulting phrases Dwayne is familiar with include:

  • “Don’t blame me. I never owned slaves.”

No one is asking you to accept the blame. Just try to see how racism didn’t magically disappear on Emancipation Day, and the system suddenly treated everyone equally.

  • “I’m not racist. I have a Black friend.”

Then stop supporting racist policies.

  • “I’m colorblind. I don’t even see race.”

Then you dismiss a big part of who I am and nullify any racism I deal with.”

How to respond.

“People don’t always know they have said something offensive or demeaning. So, usually, I tell them. It’s my civic duty to educate them. Unless, of course, I don’t want the emotional hassle, and I just ignore them.”

(Dwayne’s the kind of guy that can ignore people. Because sometimes they’re not worth his time.”

“If I do point their ‘microaggression’ out to them, they often say something like, ‘That wasn’t my intention.’” Dwayne said. “Never, never, never focus on intent because you can’t prove their intent. I just always focus on how such comments can cause pain to someone who might actually care what this person has to say.”

Dewayne’s last bit of advice is to educate any speaker who is out of line as much as possible and then let it go. “I’m pretty great. I don’t need their approval. I

If you are in an interracial family, especially if you have adopted, make sure you learn how to address these types of statements. Your children deserve to see you handle these types of statements.

Go here to see more suggestions for dealing with microaggressions.