Ed Note: A local teen sent us this story, asking for some advice. We didn’t feel like there is a right or wrong answer (well, we sorta thought the asshole deserved her response), but we hope this creates some dialogue.
Saturday night I was working the door at a local music venue, and 4 cishet white guys were also there. We all started to make really fun name tags for each other. Examples were “Awesome Austin” and “Majestic Matt.” So then one of the guys, Chris, writes mine.
I see it, and it reads “Captain Bung Chung.”
The other three see it as well and start laughing with Chris while I just stood there. I was really shocked! So I thought for a minute, and then instead of calling him out as a racist and getting upset and then probably being made fun of for “overreacting,” I decided to retaliate. I told him I wanted to make a name tag for him, and wrote “Cracka Chris” (fyi I don’t use racial slurs and this was solely to get back at him). So I give him the name tag, and he looks at it. Shakes his head at me, and tells me he can’t wear it because it’s unacceptable and unprofessional. The three other men slowly nodded their heads in agreement and looked at me with very serious faces. I then pointed at the name he had given me, and told him to rewrite mine.
My question is:
By calling him a “cracka” as a way to demonstrate his act of racism towards me, does that put me in the wrong? I felt awesome for standing up for myself in what I thought was a cunning way, but the more I think about my response the worse I feel for using a racial slur.
What do you think, readers? (Keep personal attacks to yourself, we’re asking for meaningful contributions.)