In Support of Friendships with Racists

I had a great, deep, fun conversation with a racist/misogynist. What’s more? I want to see him again and become better friends.

Let me tell you about it. Last Friday, I wanted to decompress after a long work week with lots of late nights. So I went to Corner Pocket Sports Bar, which is quickly becoming my favorite bar. There’s a lot of activities to do there (pool, darts, games), they play my favorite music, the beer and food selection is great, and it’s only 5 miles away from my apartment. I’m finding I always have so much fun.

Anyway, there was this tipsy, old white dude who seemed sort of lonely who struck up a conversation with me. Within the first ten minutes, I knew I didn’t agree with him politically: he thought President Obama is part of the Muslim Brotherhood and he told me quite a few objectifying things about the women waitresses.

Now look, 18 year old me would have been pissed off. I would have argued with this dude and told him to fuck off. But you know what? I continued talking with him, redirected the conversation, and asked him open-ended questions. And you know what I found out? He shared a lot of the same deep values that I do, namely: loyalty, a commitment to positivity in the face of interpersonal conflict, and a deep and deeply reflective emotional openness/honesty.

Throughout the night, we kept on cracking jokes and sharing stories and relating and bonding really well. Lucky me! I had found another fellow traveler in life who I understood and who understood me!

And what’s crazy, again, is that: I would have written this guy off if I had met him just a few years ago. But there is more to life than just politics.

That’s powerful, so let me say that again: there is more to life than just politics.

It is not uncommon for me to spend 12-14 hours a day at work, talking with people and building worker power. I work a lot. And when a worker committee is facing the oppression of sexist men in that committee, I have conversations with those sexist men about their sexism to get them to realize how their sexism is hurting their campaign. I do my part for the movement.

But hear me out: we live in a really oppressive world. I think we can all agree on that. Sometimes the oppression is too much, and you gotta shut down. (I’ll be the first to admit that I benefit from hetero-cis-patriarchy.) But I’ve found a way, with time, to bond with people and still have lots of fun outside of politics. I wish I could tell 18 year old me this. That: it gets better. Because if you’re going to let every little oppressive thing get to you and hurt you, you’re going to live a miserable life.

Choice is yours.

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