Breaking Brown

October 15, 2013

Yvette Carnell: The Proper Reaction to Racism

Yvette Carnell: The Proper Reaction to Racism

“Once you get to be a man,” though, Ejiofor noted, “the small incidents of racism are unaffecting.”



When Oprah went to Switzerland and accused a shopkeeper of racism, the Black community quickly jumped on her bandwagon. To me, that was disheartening for a number of reasons, most of which I mentioned here. But even if we agree that Oprah did experience racism at the Swiss shop, what would’ve been the proper reaction? To that question, I find Chiwetel Ejiofor’s answer instructive.

In a interview, he discusses how everyday racism impacts him:

“I don’t really give a shit if somebody says something about me,” he said. “I couldn’t care less. If they’re trying to harm me physically then well, we’ll all know about it but – the incidence of ‘this person looked at you funny’ or ‘this person followed you around the store’ I don’t care about it in the slightest. What I do care about is when societies affect the lives of some of the population and they affect them in different ways. And they affect them in negative ways. That where you start to feel, hang on, this is impacting people’s lives in the real world.”

“Once you get to be a man,” though, Ejiofor noted, “the small incidents of racism are unaffecting.”

He’s a grown man in charge of his emotions and reactions. He chooses not to allow random acts of racism to ruin his day or distract him from his goals. There is no one size fits all approach to racism, but if we’re making a choice to maintain healthy blood pressure and peace of mind, then I implore everyone to consider adopting Ejiofor’s reaction as opposed to Oprah’s. You do not and should not require anyone’s validation, especially not that of a racist.

If you’re discriminated against in a major way, such as employment, by all means seek legal counsel, but if a woman in a random Swiss shop behaves in a way that you perceive as racist, just take your money elsewhere. Either way, that woman’s opinion is certainly not reason enough for you to cry into your corn flakes or mention her during an interview. The opinion of a stranger should mean nothing to you. If it does mean something, then that tells me you still require validation from outside of yourself. You still have work to do.

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34 thoughts on “Yvette Carnell: The Proper Reaction to Racism

  1. TalithaMcEachin says:

    I completely agree Yvette. It’s all about knowing your own self worth & giving no attention to the bs of others whom you don’t know & will probably never see again. I think Oprah misunderstood the woman, who didn’t even know who she was.

  2. ShakkaZulu says:

    There is “no proper way to react” since we should not be put upon and have to deal with racist people, society and culture…We as individuals who’re victimized will react to racist incidents based upon our background, personality and the situations themselves as they’re presented…Sometimes it’s best to let people know you’re not going to put up with their shit, that’s why we have so much self abuse of drugs, alcoholism as well as spousal and child abuse in the Black family, we displace that anger upon ourselves and family more readily rather than on those who victimize us since we want to keep that job if it’s our employer/immediate supervisors, us not going to jail if it’s the police etc and we end up dying early from a very poor quality of life as a result of living under this stressful racist system

    1. TalithaMcEachin says:

      ShakkaZulu I think you totally missed Yvette & Ejiofor’s point. *Sigh*

  3. mearldunlap says:

    Mearl Dunlap

  4. LizzyBriscoeWilson says:

    I disagree about ignoring racism, like someone following you in a store, or ignoring when you are needing help in a business, you need to let them know. Immediately or they will continue to do it to others and say they were not aware of what they were doing. You must make them aware of when they are practicing racism, it means an individuals is using their perceived power, to act superior to you or with hold service, this is “racism” and it should be confronted and stopped. This is how we “teach” people they have no power over us.

  5. MizZyna says:

    That is like saying little lie big lie when it is just a lie. However, in the Oprah incident I think or at least my perception is it was more in line with I am a Billionaire and you refuse me that is joke. Why would someone think that Oprah could not buy the Thousands of dollar Purse? Well, if the clerk had maybe just maybe looked pass the skin she would have saw Oprah. Now it is wrong to assume anyone pocketbook and this was a great lesson learned if we as a people will allow the lesson to be learned. We always want to show thick skin no other people do that if they are insulted they state that fact. People need to know what you will accept and what you will not accept done. I am a 57 grown Black woman not angry but I demand respect. I also give respect. Nobody gets a free card. Rude is unacceptable. You do not raise your children by saying you can be nice sometime you act like you have manners sometime no you teach them to be kind to all of Gods people.  Just a thought

  6. EIESOC says:

    I didn’t realize there was a proper way.I believe it depends on the mindset of person at the time of blatant racism!

    1. EbonyB says:

      EIESOC  I totally agree.  There are times to not react but there are times one must  react.  One commenter stated that we are the only people that are always told to suck it up.

  7. Empress Mennon says:

    come on, we are people with feelings. do not discount that. thank you.

  8. Empress Mennon says:

    Furthermore, I believe that clerk knew exactly who was standing before her in that store but her need to diss her outweighs all semblance of decency. that female dog had dinner with her friends that night and bragged about how she put the rich and famous oprah winfrey “in her proper place”.  we all know that this is the way they think about Black people.

  9. Empress Mennon says:

    that Black actor probably got a white wife. I put my money on it..

    1. Uncletom715 says:

      Empress Mennon You are absolutely correct he does have a white wife/girlfriend

      1. Empress Mennon says:

        Uncletom715 Empress Mennon  I do not know whether to take you seriously or not by your tag name. is it suppose to be a joke? I don’t get it. are you trying to be cute?  I don’t like your name – please advise.   yours truly, Honkey24.

    2. browniegirl360 says:

      Empress Mennon  He does…you are right and had you bet you would have won.

  10. Uncletom715 says:

    What are  you confused about ? Most black actors & Actresses who have a white husband/wife are culturally so compromised they become indifferent to their own people’s racial struggle to their detriment and detriment of the black community

    1. Empress Mennon says:

      Uncletom715  I told you I am confused about your tag name, uncletom715. are you illiterate? I asked you to clarify YOUR TAG NAME.  why is that so hard for you to do? I already understand the context of your comments.  I want to know why you use the name uncletom?

    2. alabbasu says:

      Uncletom715 I am married to white woman. We both work togather on racial issues. What do think? Marrying outside your race is a matter of personal nature. It has nothing to do with being callous towards the sufferings of your own people.

      1. Empress Mennon says:

        alabbasu Uncletom715  you answered my question. I read between the lines and understand that you are a white man who is mocking Black people by calling yourself uncletom.  you are the filthy devil that I think you are. shame on you but that;s right, you have no shame and certainly no empathy. phucking psychopath.

      2. browniegirl360 says:

        alabbasu Uncletom715 Exactly. i too am with a white spouce and have been for years. Loving a white person does not make you less or aware of being black.

    3. MorganaLeFay says:

      Uncletom715 You are right. Personally, I would not judge a person based on the race of their spouse, but I have noticed many interracial couples where the mentality behind it seems to be to distance themselves from their communities. This especially is geared against black women, who have already been so degraded and devalued in the media and by so-called research studies. The black person may become compromised, particularly if they are married to a white person who has certain perceptions about black people. That black person might think ”Should I take a stand and be myself” or ”Should I just go along with it?” Many choose the latter. Let me just clarify, this is not representative of ALL interracial couples, neither is it a sin to date someone of another race because of genuine convictions, but where someone has NEVER had a romantic relationship with someone of their own race, you have to ask some questions.

  11. OtisLGriffin says:


  12. OtisLGriffin says:

    ” He’s a grown man in charge of his emotions and reactions. “

  13. MorganaLeFay says:

    This is absolutely right. No one should ignore any act of racism, but neither should they focus their attention on SMALL events. The bigger picture must never be pushed aside just because of a slur, or a look. The bigger picture is how to get African Americans on a level playing field, which requires confronting much LARGER issues of racism, such as income inequality than not being allowed to buy a bag.

  14. MichaelLofton says: 
    YouTube: “The White Man Made Jesse Jackson Jr Do It” uploaded by Promoting Common Sense One Person At A Time , Feb 16, 2013
    Rednecks Republicans, are making Barack Obama, multiple members of the Congressional Black Caucus, Herb Wesson, etc., etc.betray the Black community???
    “Promoting Common Sense One Person At A Time”- the message that your YouTube Video represents definitely has merit, and you can interchange Barack “the Magic Negro” and other misfits as equivalent replacements for no good Jesse Jackson, Jr., and the message being sent would still ring true.
     YouTube: “The White Man Made Jesse Jackson Jr. Do It ” uploaded by Promoting Common Sense One Person At A Time, Published on Feb 16, 2013
    “They have indicted Jesse Jackson, Jr. and his wife and it is a tragic day in America….I don’t understand why Jesse Jackson, Jr. has to go to jail because it is not his fault, that the money was calling his name. I mean, The boy went to sleep and when he to sleep the money woke him up and said Jesse rise and spend me. It wasn’t his fault. I mean if you ask his Daddy he’ll tell you it wasn’t Jesse’s fault.
    Jesse Jackson, Sr. could you explain to the folks what really happened?
    Well, it is not Jesse’s fault. Let me tell you, it is the white man making Jesse take money. They put the money in front of Jesse. Jesse had to take the money. The money called his name. The money called his name when he traveled. The money made his mistress need that watch and other things. It’s not Jesse’s fault. I think we should sue the white man for making Jesse take the money. That is what we should do.
    Can I get an Amen. I’m sick of the oppression and suppression and rejection and subsection of the Black man. Jesse is innocent. I’m telling you the white man is the blame for putting the money in Jesse’s hands. They knew he was bipolar. If he is bipolar he very well can’t be blamed for this. It is not his fault. The white man needs to stop oppressing the coloreds. We are still at the back of the bus. Jesse Jr. needs to get off because the White man put the money in front of him.
    Thank you, Jesse Jackson, Sr.
    See that is the mentally of the liberal mindset, especially Jesse Jackson.
    See personally, I think it is money’s fault because Jesse Jackson Jr. the money should have known that he was going to steal it. You know just like the gun cause people to shoot innocent people. We ban guns we should ban money. That is the problem, if we had banned money Jesse Jackson, Jr. would never be in trouble, if we just ban the money. No more money in America Dammit. Let’s get money control. We start banning the money we don’t have to worry about the Black man being oppressed by these white folks trying to force them to steal money.
    Now let’s ban money, I’m going on a crusade. I’m want going to get all the Hollywood actors and actresses to go on a crusade and make videos about how money is banned.
    We should ban it, because is causing people of color, people of color, to steal the money.
    Now we know they are not the only ones. As a matter of fact there are some White people that done stole the money too, so I think on that note, Jesse Jackson, Jr. should not have to go to jail because some White people got off too.
    This is the logic I want to use to defend my client, Jesse Jackson, Jr. His wife put a lot of pressure on him to keep up with the Jones. In order to keep up with the Jones he had to steal the money. How do you think he is going to get his house redecorated if he does not steal the money?
    Now, You people are being unreasonable. As a matter of fact he should get a bonus because he only stole $750,000. Now technically that makes him a rich guy because Barack Obama said anybody making $250,000 or more was rich. So we are not going to get him on tax evasion and stealing the money, we are going to get him for being too damn rich. You need to be taxed Son because you were stealing too much money and made yourself rich and you know we are at war with the rich.
    Now why aren’t the media not saying anything about this rich spoiled brat who was born with a silver spoon in his mouth. You know Jesse Jackson, Jr. would not have been elected if it wasn’t for his Daddy. Now come on now this is nepotism. Now Jesse was born with a silver spoon in his mouth, he is a rich spoiled kid, why won’t the media say this. He stole the money because he is spoiled and rich.
    His Daddy had been ripping them off…You know his Daddy is a professional pimp…..He has been pimping and getting money for years.
    As a matter of fact why hasn’t Jackson Sr. ever go to jail for anything? I know that boy has got to have done something…to be stealing or something. It is not fair for Jesse Jackson, Jr. to go the jail and Jesse Jackson, Sr. get’s to stay out. As a matter of fact let’s make Jesse Jackson, Sr. the sacrificial lamb for Jesse Jackson, Jr. Come on Jesse, you need to at least go to jail for your son.
    Take the sins of your son up on you, my brother. Jesse Jackson, Sr. would you be the sacrificial lamb for your son? Well you know I would be the sacrificial lamb but it is not Jesse Jackson, Jr.’s fault. It is the white man’s fault so therefore I can’t be the sacrificial lamb. I’m not going to do it. I’m not going to let you suppress, oppress, depress, or Jew press me. Not going to happen. You might as well get another sacrificial lamb.
    How about let’s get a white man to be the sacrificial lamb for Jesse Jackson, Jr. That sounds like a winner to me. Can I get an Amen. That is what I think the problem is. The White man made Jesse Jackson, Jr. steal the money. Now let him off. As a matter of fact give him a couple million dollars.”- The White Man Made Jesse Jackson Jr. Do It” uploaded by Promoting Common Sense One Person At A Time, transcript.

  15. RicardoJones says:

    Corruption of the Black Church involves the EEOC and the Law Dept of New York City. Many in the Black community refuse to admit that we have sellout’s in the Black Elite that reaches to the White House and beyond. This is a story that is like a bad video (Training Day) with Danzel Washington. But, it involves Rev. Anythony L. Trufant of Emmannuel Baptist Church of Clinton Hill, Brooklyn NYC. The Right REV’s wife is Muriel Goode-Trufant Esq, Chief/EEO Officer at NYC’s Law Dept. Ms. Goode-Trufant is the Daughter of former Mayor of Philly and Black sellout Wilson Goode. Other members of Emmannel Church are Jacqueline Berrien Chair of the Corrupt and/or Rogue EEOC HQ’s in Washington DC and friend of the First Lady Michelle Roberson-Obama friends from Harvard Law School. Michelle Roberson-Obama was special assistance to the most corrupt Mayor and/or family in Chicago the Daley’s for 18 months. Richard Daley (brother of Mayor Daley of Chicago and Michelle Roberson-Obama’s former BOSS) was one of Obama’s chief of staff at the White House (Later Replaced). Berrien and Goode-Trufant use Emmanuel Church to recruit Young Black Female lawyers to undermine the Black community. Rev. Trufant on Sunday Morning Good Friday last year (2012) praised Berrien to the church for undermining the Black community with the help of his wife daughter of sellout ex-mayor Wilson Goode. Attorney’s are recruited from the church and trained to sellout the Black community in the Law Dept’s of New York City and/or EEOC. They recieve internship at the EEOC and the Legal dept’s of the city of New York. Later they’re hired as staff attorney’s at the aforementioned.

    1. browniegirl360 says:

      RicardoJones You are so right on this, it is the same way out here in Cali, I too went through this madness but I was able to sue and was greately COMPENSATED. How did I do this? By utlizing e mail to DOCUMENT everything that was going on on the job. I stopped having any and all verbal conversations with my employer as they decided not to communicate with me, which worked to my advantage. I was very descriptive in my documents as everything was TIMED and DATED. This is how I was able to prove what was going on as it was occurring. DFEH department of fair employment and housing will not help black people either. I have assisted HUNDREDS of people over the years on seeking and getting justice. I also have takening on slumlords and crooket, corrupt landlords and have also won. Until black people wake up and realize what is, has and will continue to go on unless we get it together, we will not make it as a people and end up being worse off then we were since Slavery.

  16. BlackheywoodHeywood says:

    Chiwetel Ejiofor’s   is not an American Black man he’s British his views, perceptions and opinion about American racism is different because his experiences are different than Black Americans. Where he would not care about the words, looks or treatment given to Blacks by some White folks it’s different for us. Mr Ejiofor history is not one of legal racial segregation, he would probably not be uncomfortable riding in the back of the bus, after all according to his beliefs he is getting to his destination and no one has harmed him. It’s unfair to take a foreign Black person opinion about racism and apply it to American Black citizens. It’s two different experiences.

    1. Empress Mennon says:

      BlackheywoodHeywood  but yet these british/african actors play the roles of Black americans all the time. it is not their story they are playing but our story. would they use Black american actors to play the roles of british or african characters?  No. I;m not sure I like this. They could not find a Black american actor or a south african actor to play mandela? who feels it knows it.

      1. BlackheywoodHeywood says:

        Empress Mennon BlackheywoodHeywood  The Director Steve McQueen is British, perhaps it was a connection with him and the principal actors are foreigners.The question is IMO why didn’t an American Black Director or a consortium of Black investors invest in telling “our story”. American Blacks are the only folks who are ashamed and attempt to runaway from our GREAT HISTORY and accomplishments under the most brutal, oppressive and psychological terrorism, for the longest period of time in American history. Is if a fair to criticize others who do what we as Black Americans refuse to do. I don’t think it is.

        1. Empress Mennon says:

          BlackheywoodHeywood Empress Mennon  the finances is what allows these films to be made. people who sit at the table to greenlight these films are not Black americans. the british act like the Black american story is their story just like they ripped off the music of Black america.  we are not ashamed of our history. we are proud of our accomplishments under horrific conditions. we.however. want to tell our story. not britain. why don’t they tell their own story of colonialism, rape,murder and theft. it will make an interesting story, too. they need to get off our culture to make a buck. they do not have the right to tell it.  let the africans tell us why they bowed so low to the european. I am waiting to hear that story.

        2. BlackheywoodHeywood says:

          Empress Mennon BlackheywoodHeywood
          We’ll have to agree to disagree on this one. No harm, no foul.

  17. browniegirl360 says:

    That is one thing I don’t like about foregin blacks, thinking they can tell black americans how to deal with every day racism when the experience for them is NOTHING like it is for us. I too don’t give two shits what anyone has to say about me either, but whenever some racist pig decides to take it upon themselves to racially attack you in any way shape or form; you must put their asses in complete check. I know I do. I don’t have to get all loud, but I do politely and professionally put them in their place and do carry protetion in case they decide to take it to another level; then I can defend myself.

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