I’ve been told I’m confrontational. But I’m a novice compared to this woman:
“The N-word on the 4th of July.” In the essay by Brittney Cooper, appearing today in Salon.com, the author shares a very brave account of confrontation. In a nutshell (though please do click on the title of the essay in order to read it first hand), Ms. Cooper, a heavy-set black woman, is seated next to a white woman on a plane. She catches sight of a text sent by the white woman, which reads, “on the plane, sitting thigh to thigh with a big fat n[——]. Lucky me.”
And the author, remarkably, posts what she reads on Facebook, and then catches the attention of her seat-mate, and shows her the post, holding her accountable.
I can’t express adequately how much that impresses me.
Ms. Cooper concludes with the hope that the woman’s children don’t follow their mother’s ignorant example. I hope so, too. But what impresses me is not the fact that Ms. Cooper’s confrontation might change an outcome in that family, but the fact that it will likely change nothing. And it was done anyway.
Why did Ms. Cooper bother? Why confront, or “face up to and deal with (a problem or difficult situation)” when the problem or difficult situation may not be resolved?
“I had to say something,” she writes.
Perhaps for her, the pain of doing nothing was greater than the pain that comes with confrontation.
We all have different pain thresholds. I wish the pain threshold for doing nothing were lower, for so many.