Social Question

ibstubro's avatar

When did you not speak up, when you thought you really should have?

Asked by ibstubro (18770points) March 29th, 2016

Over Easter with the S/O’s family, there were a lot of racial terms thrown around.
They were talking about their kids, and the things they’d come home from school telling.

The punch line goes like this:
“So, they should have told him he was nothing but a stupid piece of white trash that can’t even tell a spic from a ni**er!”

Several glanced at me to see if I would comment. I did not.

Observing members: 0 Composing members: 0

10 Answers

filmfann's avatar

When the Congress passed the Homeland Security bill allowing more intrusive eavesdropping on telephone lines. No one spoke up, and I was one of the first, but I did it a year later, and not when it was passed.
I knew what they did, and it makes me angry at myself that I consciously held back, but I thought under the circumstances I would pick that fight a different day. They were scary times.
It didn’t help that they gave it a deceptive name like “The Patriot Act”.

Jaxk's avatar

You don’t have to fight every battle. The fact that many looked to see if you’d comment made it pretty obvious that the comment was over the top. Sometimes it’s better to leave it at that rather than pick a fight that accomplishes nothing. Know your audience and pick the fights you can win.

Coloma's avatar

About a month ago when my housemate had a total snit when I declined to do something and she had to do it herself. Oh, I could have really let her have it but I found it best to just let her have her tantrum and then, as is customary for her, she was all apologetic the next day and gave me several gifts. haha
Best to just let people make fools of themselves, all by themselves, and let them own it.
You know, the old adage of ” give someone enough rope and they will hang themselves.”

stanleybmanly's avatar

A few years back, the wife and I boarded a plane in Portland. We took our seats directly behind a man already seated in an aisle seat, with the window seat to his right which was vacant. A young, attractive woman with a suitcase came up the aisle and was apparently the passenger assigned the window seat. The woman attempted to wrestle the suitcase (which was clearly too large) into the overhead compartment. After a minute or so, the man in front of us (who never left his seat or offered to assist the woman) blurted out “For Chrissakes lady, that fkn bag is never going to fit in there!” The woman immediately shreiked. “I’m not going to put up with this. I’m not flying anywhere sitting next to you!” The flight attendant arrived on the scene in the middle of the tirade, hesitated for a moment pondering a decision, then said to the man “Sir, please come with me”. The man replied “I’m not going anywhere. I’ve done nothing wrong”, and remained in his seat. The stewardess then repeated her request and received the same answer. She then headed toward the front of the plane leaving the woman with suitcase still standing in the aisle. The stew returned with what I assume was one of the pilots who informed the still seated man that he would have to leave the plane. The man remained obstinate, and refused to budge, at which point the pilot told him that he was in for a lot of trouble if he didn’t leave now. The man repeated that he’d done nothing wrong. The pilot then nodded at the stew who went to the front of the plane, then returned with 2 uniformed men with sidearms who told the man to get up or prepare to be drug by his heels from the plane. At this point, the man complied, and marched down the aisle with a cop in front and back of him. The wife and I had both sat silent through the entire ordeal, but I’ve always regretted not having talked to that man about needlessly ruining his entire future.

Pachy's avatar

In “Gentleman’s Agreement,” the superb, still-relevant 1947 landmark film about anti-Semitism, there are many scenes in which characters discuss what you’re asking about. Here’s one:
___
Kathy: You think I’m an anti-Semite?

Phil: No, I don’t. But I’ve come to see lots of nice people who hate it and deplore and protest their own innocence, then help it along by not speaking up and wonder why it grows. People who would never beat up a Jew. People who think anti-Semitism is far
away in some dark place with low-class morons. That’s the biggest discovery I’ve made._ The good people. The nice people.
___

Full disclosure: There have been many times, too many times, when I did not speak up for what I thought was right.

kritiper's avatar

Once I was thought to have been responsible for a phone call to a co-worker’s wife saying that she should be aware that her husband might be cheating on her. At the time I was involved in a minor spat with this fellow employee. I was informed of the phone call by our branch manager. He didn’t exactly accuse me of the call, but implied same. I said I didn’t do it. Then he said that it was a woman who made the call, and everyone thought it was my grandmother. I said nothing, too shocked to respond, but I had already stated that I didn’t do it, so let it go.
But everybody still thought I was responsible, and I knew I couldn’t explain it away. Who would believe me?? I should have been more vocal at this point, no matter how pointless it might have seemed.
Life at this job became unbearable, so one day I quit.
I was still irate at the thought of who made the phone call and had framed me for it, and I spent many sleepless nights trying to reconstruct exactly what had happened.
5 years later I figured it out. The caller had been the branch manager’s wife.
So it wouldn’t have done much good to speak out about my non-involvement with him since he was going to turn it all against me anyway. If I could have known at the time that it was very likely his wife, I would have told my story to the shop foreman instead and maybe turned things around. But without knowing that the branch manager was involved in the phone call affair, or how much, little could have been done without this additional information to go on.
(15 years afterwards, I did go into the business and informed the then shop foreman of the actual guilty parties. This particular gentleman was there when the whole business originally went down, so finally telling my story gave me great satisfaction. And totally blew his mind!)

trolltoll's avatar

@kritiper what unprofessional conduct on the part of your branch manager.

RedDeerGuy1's avatar

A family members marriage. To an asshole. I should have said something.

ibstubro's avatar

I’m normally pretty bold about speaking my mind and at least pointing out gross injustice or screaming ignorance. But yes, @Jaxk, there comes a point where absolutely nothing is to be gained by speaking out.

I railed against Homeland Security from day one, @filmfann, but mostly because I knew it was really just the huge pork barrel it turned out to be.

You’re lucky you have someone mature enough to admit they were foolish, @Coloma. Many (me) don’t.

It probably didn’t ruin his life, but sure ruined his flight and day, @stanleybmanly. Irrationality – you probably would have only drawn yourself into the spider web.

I’ve not heard of that movie, @Pachy. I’ll look it up, maybe play a clip in this, the age of Trump.

At least you finally got closure, @kritiper. That counts for something.

You hate to put a dark mark on someone else’s special occasion, @RedDeerGuy1.

Coloma's avatar

Hah, this is quite appropriate right now. I just yelled at my housemate on the phone.
Sooo…same housemate who has been traveling for the last 12 days did not tell me that our neighbor was coming to take one of the horses over to their ranch across the way for some training tune ups. I go down to feed and bring the horse in for the night and “Cool” is missing!

Gone, without a trace. No panels down in the arena where I turned her out this morning, her stall door was still chained, and so I didn’t think the stall cleaner guy had left her stall door open after he left about 8:45 this morning. I am freaking out! Walked the entire property, no horses and I am thinking someone stole her!

She is a very valuable like 20k performance mare and she is up for sale. Could one of the potential buyers have snuck in and stolen her? Finally after 30 minutes of searching all over the property I called the neighbors and they were all ” Oh yeah, we came and got her before noon.” WTF!

I just called my friend and let her have it! Thanks for the fucking heart attack!
Who the hell forgets to tell someone when they are loaning out a horse?!!
Well, I got my evening workout anyway. Fuck, fuck, and double fuck! lol

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