We all need to be ok with being uncomfortable
I recently had an exchange with an acquaintance where I made them uncomfortable by stating my feelings on the pulling of "Baby It’s Cold Outside" from some radio stations. Where I made them uncomfortable was my reaction when they said come on, we’ve all tried to get laid and that they believe in freedom of speech. The social justice warrior in me snapped. Whether they were joking or not, I took their flippant attitude toward the creepy-ass lyrics, which have not aged well, as disturbing. I began to tell them that no, you should not pressure anyone into having sex and that using the freedom of speech argument does not apply here, because once you infringe on other people’s rights and safety, it is no longer freedom of speech. Hence the slippery slope of hate-speech. I was obviously becoming upset and recognized this, so I stopped the conversation by saying, “…I have made my peace, and I don’t want to talk about this anymore.”
For me, that was the end of that. Later on, it came back to me that I made that person uncomfortable. To which I said, "So?" Now, I am not insensitive to the feelings of others or this person I particular, but everyone needs to be ok with the idea of being uncomfortable. I am not sure if you can imagine, but I am made uncomfortable all the time in several situations (most of my own doing because of interactions like the above) but also because I am open to people challenging my way of thinking (in a certain manner, I still have feelings myself).
I have curated my social media to ensure that I follow some outspoken people of color; and when I say PoC I mean some radical indigenous rights and Black Latinx folks. As a white-passing woman of color, I am enlightened to some harmful ways of thinking that I have been unknowingly perpetuating. It’s hard not to feel embarrassed or uncomfortable when you are told that a certain way of thinking is not the greatest, and I am grateful for those moments. I am ok with being made uncomfortable. It means that I am learning something about myself and the greater world around me. Hell, if all of us were ok with being uncomfortable, the situation and treatment of immigrants at our border would be non-existent, right? That is what xenophobia is; fear of the unknown.
In hindsight, yes, I could have handled the situation differently, I get it. I could have invited the person into a conversation as to why they thought that way, but instead, I pounced, immediately putting them off. But at the same time, I am not going to dance around topics like this because when is the “right” time to talk about them?