Okay, I know that’s a weird-ass title, but bear with me.
Today I was talking to an older neighbor. I like her. She’s Taiwanese, spunky, smart, and funny. But in the past two conversations I’ve had with her, she’s denounced at least two ethnic groups, insisting they were all either lazy or did shoddy work. I just smiled at her, as I had been smiling the entire conversation. I didn’t agree, because I don’t.
I have read so many memes and write-ups lately that say that if you do nothing in this situation you are as bad as the problem. When I read them, I gave them thought. But what are they in practice? Am I really as bad as the problem if I don’t alienate my neighbor?
Do you tell an elderly woman to her face that she’s wrong in her beliefs? Or do you let it pass because frankly you know that she’s not going to change her perception because of the things you say and that you will damage a friendship? I let it slide. I know she has her own opinions, which she won’t change because of me. It’s much like politics. The other side is just not going to listen to you unless they are open to listening to you.
Now, flip-side. An older friend of mine, a woman, who recently started being vegetarian was invited to the home of a new acquaintance who provided chicken salad for lunchtime. She told me she ate the chicken salad because that’s what you do. You don’t want to offend. You just go with the flow.
I have been fortunate, mostly, in not being in that situation. Most people who know me know that I don’t eat meat and haven’t for going on a decade. But what if I were in that situation where the only thing offered contained meat? For me, it’s become a religion. I don’t eat meat. Period. If that’s all that I am offered, should I eat it? To not make waves? I don’t think I could. I’d rather claim that I’m fasting or something else than eat meat. Now, I know that for you omnivores this is a head-shaking concept, but take something that you firmly believe in, ethically believe in, and replace it with that. What would you do?
But maybe that’s the difference. After all of these years, I am invested in my religion of not eating meat, even if it makes some waves.
So. Are there any similarities between these two cases? What would you do? Do you have a similar situation? How do you treat someone who obviously has discriminatory opinions of another race? If you’re vegetarian, how do you deal when all there is is meat? I wanna know!
xoxo Sascha D