Take it from the queen of verbal mishaps, there may not be a right way to start a conversation but on the wrong day, a poor choice of words could get your tongue snatched out of your mouth. Believe me when I say, you do not want that problem on your hands. So, to minimize your risks, I’ve narrowed down a solid list of WRONG ways to start a conversation, with the hopes that you’ll take heed and have more thoughtful discussions in the New Year.
I’m not condoning violence of any sort but I can tell you with absolute certainty that you are in great danger if you say any of these things to the wrong person. Choose wisely.
She was asking for it
If somehow in your mangled mind you believe that a woman who dresses provocatively, gets drunk or “chooses” an abusive partner deserves to be assaulted, well you might just deserve to lose a few teeth. The reality is, we could all make better choices from time to time but you don’t get to be the judge of anyone but yourself. Victim blaming is never okay. This type of thinking perpetuates a culture of abuse. You’re better than that…right? Hold abusers accountable for their actions. If you can’t do that, just be quiet.
If you can say “nigger/nigga,” why can’t I?
Why are we still having this discussion? I mean, really. We’ve only been talking about this for the last 60 years. You need to be more concerned about your twisted obsession with wanting to say that word. What is it in you that just cannot accept that there is a word born out of hatred that you should not use? Even more so, why does it bother you that a marginalized group of people have taken the power from an otherwise derogatory word and transformed it into a term of endearment. If you cannot understand that this does not involve you, you have bigger problems than using the “N word.” You’ve been warned.
Are you pregnant?
You know good and well I’m not pregnant. This age old attempt to body shame women has gotten many people hurt, from the ancient times of Jesus of Nazareth to the current age of the Kardashians. Taking cheap shots at a woman’s body is simply a bad idea. If you’re genuinely curious to know if a woman is pregnant, you’ll just have to wait until she announces it. If the news never comes, well there’s your answer. If you’re concerned that she could possibly be gaining too much weight, start an exercise group and invite all of your friends to participate.
The earth is flat
You would think a person would only say this in a conversation for shock value or to be provocative but it turns out this is actually a thing. There are real people out here who refuse to believe the earth is round and this is problematic. This conversation would likely start off with laughs and jeers but quickly turn ugly when the flat-earther suggests you’re stupid for allowing yourself to be brainwashed by live footage from outer space, actual satellite images and scientific research. It’s only a matter of time before this debate transforms into a full on brawl and somebody ends up in the ER.
What are you?
What do you mean, ‘what am I?’ What are you? I’m a human being who is minding my own business and not walking around challenging other people on their ethnicity. Biracial and multiethnic people do not owe it to you to satisfy your curiosity about the realities that exist outside of Mayberry. I’m sorry if your limited understanding of the world leaves you confused and intrigued. Find a travel agent and book yourself a trip to another zip code. And while we’re on the topic, ‘no, you cannot touch my hair.’
Some accidents in life are preventable. Hopefully, this guide will help you avoid conversation calamities in the New Year.
#AskMe Tees spark thoughtful and meaningful conversations about important and fun topics but we cannot keep up with the shenanigans and tomfoolery of habitual line crossers. Simply put, there isn’t a t-shirt for every conversation. So, we created this.
Ayanna Smith is the founder of #AskMe Tees, the award-winning Escape Lounge breakout games in Washington, D.C., and Ridlz. She is brutally honest, sharp-tongued, quick-witted and hard to embarrass, yet philanthropic, service-oriented and deeply compassionate. Between her budding business ventures and family, she has a lot to talk about!