Day 16: Racist or Not

My husband, Mike, sometimes makes comments about people's race, when the race of said person is not important. It's a conversation we have had for years. (and by conversation, I mean argument)

Example: He will tell a story and say, "There was this Asian guy (insert any race) walking down the street. . . "

At which point I will usually stop him and say, "Is his race pertinent to the story or are you just pointing out his race?"

This usually makes him mad and he tells me that he's just giving me details. So I ask him why if it's a white guy walking down the street why he doesn't say, "There was this white guy walking down the street . . . "

This also usually makes him mad.

But, whenever I tell him that it is racist to point out someone's race if it's not pertinent to the story he always says that it isn't and that I need to chill out.

So . . .

Tonight, for the second night in a row, we had to spend about 20 minutes trying to get sand out of our girls' hair. In case you aren't keeping up, our girls are black (or African American if you prefer, though my black friends have told me they prefer the word "black.") And the fact that our girls are black IS pertinent to the story.

You see, their hair is like a short pile rug that is made out of velcro. Once something gets stuck in their hair, it doesn't come out easily.

We have had to come up with some pretty creative ways to get stuff out of their hair (our favorite tool is the lint roller), but SAND in their hair is a PAIN!!!! So we tried vacuuming it out tonight. But, that didn't work too well, so once again we had to rinse out the sand with the sprayer on our kitchen sink. It took about 20 minutes to accomplish this task. 20 MINUTES of two two year olds screaming and crying and begging me to stop.

And at the end of the task I said, "I totally understand why black people don't like the beach!" (I said this because many of my black friends have told me how much black people hate the beach, and I never understood why!)

Mike looked at me and said, "That was totally racist. Don't ever tell me my storytelling is racist again."

All that to say, what do you think?


  1. Hahaha! This is so funny. Well, I am going to have to agree with you. I don't think it is actually racist, but it isn't necessary and like you said, you wouldn;t have said there was this white guy... I did tell my DD a story and it may be a middle of the fence kind of story...
    When I was teaching Pre K I had a precious little black girl in my class named Brittany. One day I was teaching a sequencing lesson and was sequencing pictures of me growing up. One of the pictures of me was in black and white. Brittany had apparently never seen a black & white picture before and she excitedly proclaimed, "Miss Sul-i-ban, you used-ta-be black?!!!!" It was the cutest thing EVER and in this case I think knowing she is black makes the story's cuteness make more sense. Do you agree or would this bother you? I felt torn after telling Katherine her race. I guess I am a little sensitive to this just like you are. But I do think it was pertinent to the story.

  2. I do not think mike is being racist when telling stories. I believe he is simply distinguishing who they are or what they look like to give someone a visual for the story. I do that a lot. Not in a racist or ugly way bc I am neither. I would say the same though if it were a white person that I was explaining a story about. Although, if you are going to say mike is racist for saying "an asian guy ......" then it should be okay for him to say the same to you about distinguishing the girls by calling them "black girls". In my personal opinion the girls shouldnt be referred to as the "black girls with kinky or coarse hair", but only that their hair is the way it is without using their ethnicity, and if it bothers you when mike says "the asian guy..." then he should respect that as well and not say it! =)


Thank you for reading. I look forward to hearing from you.