It's clever and it's startling because, well, while I actually haven't said or done some of those things, I have to admit that some of the things I've said and done, in the early years of healing my own racism, I've come pretty damn close to saying and/or thinking some of those things.
In that way, the video is very instructive and important. It also helps that the young Black woman dresses and talks like a Valley Girl. I think I may just have to include it the next time I do an Anti-Racism training program.
I hasten to add that I am not healed of my own racism. Racism is in the ether. We breathe in its toxins every minute of every day. I have to confess it every day or my soul will be in peril.
In the same way, so are sexism and heterosexism and homophobia. Just because I am a Queer woman does not prevent me from suffering from internalized sexism and heterosexism and homophobia.
So, one of my daily prayers is "Let me not be an instrument of the oppression of others. Let me not be an instrument of my own oppression".
Which I prayed again just this morning. Which is when I had this idea that I could do a list of my own. "Dumb things straight people say to LGBT people." I wish I could do a video of this list and be as effective as this young woman is, but you'll just have to use your imagination.
Here are some things that have actually been said to me. Most of them by genuinely well-intentioned, straight people, but some by LGBT people. You could probably add some of your own.
I've also added some of the responses I've made - or wished I had made - or regret I've made. You could probably add some of your own.
"This is your partner? What business are you in?" (The 'love business' - it's a family enterprise.)
"Are you two sisters?" (Yes, my mother and her mother are both mothers.)
"Is that your mother?" (No, but we are both mothers. Oh, and thank you.)
"Oh, you're wearing purple! Again! Of course, that would be your favorite color!" (Yup, just like Tinky Winky! You might have noticed that the bishop wears it, too!)
"But, you don't have a pinky ring, a cat, or wear Birkenstock sandals."(Don't like a lot of jewelry. Allergic to cats. Much prefer Dansko clogs. It's what all the really 'cool dykes' are wearing.)
"Is that lipstick? Are you wearing lipstick? And, eye makeup?" (Yup. I got special permission from LGBT Central.)
"Well, you dress very stylishly." (Thank you. I never go shopping without one of my gay male friends.)
"Do you own a motorcycle?" (Nope, and I don't have a pack of Lucky's rolled in the sleeve of my T-shirt, either. But, I do have a tattoo.)
"So, you're divorced. Does that make you bisexual?" (Actually, it makes me divorced.)
"Was your husband 'too small'? Or, was he 'too big'?" (Ummmm....Oh, look! Our hostess just brought out some more of her homemade salsa. Would you like some?)
"Why do you hate men?"(Why do you ask?)
"Is anyone else in your family gay or lesbian?" (Alas, I was kidnapped from my crib in Lesbianlandaville by a wild heterosexual couple who couldn't have any kids of their own.
"Are any of your children gay or lesbian?" (No, alas, even though we do want what's best for our children. They were just born that way, I guess.)
"When did you know you were lesbian?" (When did you know you were heterosexual?)
"Why do you want to get married, anyway?" (Why did you want to get married?)
"What's wrong with Civil Unions? Can't you people ever be happy?" (There's this little thing called the Constitution of the United States....maybe you've heard about it?)
"You people....." (Hubboy, here we go....)
"Your lifestyle...." (I don't have a lifestyle. I have a life.)
"But, the bible says...." (The Bible says lots of stuff. So, you may not want to eat that scallop wrapped in bacon. And, you may want to stop playing football.)
"That's so gay...." (That's so dumb!)
"Ewwww....it's just so...icky to think about." (Then, stop thinking about it. And, grow up!)
"You could 'change' if you really wanted to." (If I were able to 'change', would you really want me to marry your son?)
"I knew a gay man once who .... (fill in the blank)...died of AIDS / committed suicide / drank himself to death." (I know lots of heterosexual men and women who have died tragic deaths. We all make bad choices. That doesn't make us bad people.)
"If it's so difficult to be gay, why do they call it being 'gay'?"(It's just our little 'inside joke'. If you're not gay, you just wouldn't understand.)
"How did you come to have so many children?" (Did your parents ever tell you about the birds and the bees? How about the sperm and the egg?)
"Does the state know you have so many children?" (The IRS certainly does.)
"Well, at least you don't ever have to worry about birth control!" (My, how very astute!)
"Some of my best friends are gay." (No way! I also have some great friends who are straight! Imagine that!)
"I've been to a gay bar. Twice." (Get out! Me, too!)
"I've been to a Gay Pride Parade." (Get out! Me, too!)
"I took my daughter/son to a Gay Pride Parade." (Get out! Me, too!)
"I bought you this rainbow flag as a housewarming present." (Thank you. I'll be sure to put it out in June.)
"You know, I was going to get you a macrame plant hanger, but I couldn't find one anywhere." (Well, it's the thought that counts. No, really.)
"Do you have a gay friend who could help me ....
(1) pick out a good wine?(Yes. Yes. Yes. And, yes. This is also part of why we call ourselves 'gay'.)
(2) help me with my window treatments?
(3) help me remodel my bedroom?
(4) pick out a dress for the party?"
"I'm sorry, I can't rent this apartment to you." (Yup, I get it.)
"I'm sorry, that position has already been filled." (Yup, I get it.)
"You don't have any trouble with homosexuality, do you?" (Nope, not at all.)
"What books would you recommend that I read?" (Oh, where to begin? Try the library.)
"I don't understand this book you recommended." (Did you not understand or did it make you feel uncomfortable so you couldn't concentrate?)
"Can you help me understand homosexuality?" (No, actually, I can't. That's your responsibility.)
"Who does your hair? You are so lucky to know so many gay men!" (I know, right? How lucky am I? That's part of why we're called 'gay'.)
"Do you know the words to this 1940s Broadway Play? Or, do you need to call a gay male friend? How does that work, anyway?" (Hum a few bars and we'll look it up on Google.)
Well, that's probably more than enough for now. You get the picture."I love Lady Gaga. And, Madonna, too!" (No way! I also like Tom Cruise and Denzel Washington.)"Why is it that lesbian women don't molest children but gay men do?" (Why is it that anyone molests children - especially heterosexual men?)
"I don't care what anyone does in the privacy of their own bedrooms. I just don't like it when you people flaunt it." (If I'm a 'homosexual' and I scratch my nose in public, is that a 'homosexual act' I'm 'flaunting' ?)
"Is it nature or nurture?" (Actually, it's a spectrum.)
The thing of it is that we all say dumb things from time to time. We all have a lot of healing to do. That's because prejudice and bigotry are social diseases. We are all carefully taught.
Sometimes, the best way to 'unlearn' something is to learn to laugh at ourselves - and others who say dumb things that can be hurtful.
Laughter may or may not be the 'best' medicine, but without it, our humanity is diminished.
Indeed, I think laughter is one of the greatest statements of faith. If you are able to laugh in the face of the evils of sexism, heterosexism and homophobia, you know God is, ultimately, in charge.
The only 'medicine' I know, besides laughter, is forgiveness.
The healing really beings when you begin to forgive yourself.