Cory and I had a strange conversation the other weekend, and I've been mulling over it intermittently since then, trying to figure out if there was a different, better way I could have handled it.
I don't even know how the topic got started, maybe we were discussing the election, but he said, "I'm not a racist, but..." and you just know that when someone adds that "but", you're not going to like what you're about to hear. Sure enough, he proceeds to tell me that he's squicked by black guys dating white girls, and also, as an aside, he's not tingly in his junk about gay guys kissing, but (and I quote) "lesbians are hot."
And I was just fucking floored. I've encountered people with these views on the internet, and simply written them off as douchebags, and all was once again well in my section of the world. So to have someone I know and like - someone I'm friends with - come out with something like this... Well, it makes me thankful that I've cultivated a good poker face.
My first thought was literally, oh my fucking cheese goddess, which should give you some indication of my mental capacity at the moment. Second thought?
"Why?" It slipped out before I could frame it any better, and he seemed kind of taken aback by it, like he'd expected me to just nod my head or something. He said that his dad is kind of a bigot, and it's just way he was raised, it was the attitude he grew up with, and this is where I cut him off to ask him why that meant it had to be his own attitude, too.
"Well, I don't know."
"That's not an answer. Why does some stranger just living their life bother you?"
"It doesn't, I just don't like seeing it, you know?"
"No, I don't. They're just people. Besides, I'd rather see two gay guys holding hands than some straight couple dry humping on a park bench."
"Yeah, but I just don't like it."
"But they're not doing it for your benefit."
This sparked a whole other discussion about discrimination, misogyny, mitochondrial DNA, genetics, fundamentalism, and racism (not necessarily in that order). As I'm sure you guessed, I did most of the talking, and he did most of the listening.
I'll give Cory some credit. As often as I challenge his beliefs about shit, he takes it well. We have a decent discussion and move on, and there's no hostility or harsh words. It makes me wonder if maybe he expects that from me, that I'm going to challenge his limited world view and make him think.
Maybe that's just narcissistic of me, though.