Throughout my life, some bigot has said that I "need to learn my place". As if s/he were somehow qualified to decide or define where that is. Hahahaha....! Indn rolls on floor, wheezing & laughing.
The first time I remember it happening, I was 5. We had just moved to my grandmother Pearl's town. A neighborhood boy & I were playing - until his mother came along & dragged him away, saying, "I don't you playing with any nigger bitches - especially not tipi nigger bitches." I smacked her on the leg (all I could reach) & said, "I'm not a nigger!" & stomped home to complain to my mother. The unsaid reference to the rest of me makes a fine joke - & a prophecy. But more on that later. ;-)
Needless to say, she hit the roof, & The War Was On. Or maybe that's The Wars Were On. No matter - we were 'there'. I was very dark-skinned as a child & this "nigger" stuff followed me - with or without "tipi" or "wigwam" before it - for years.
It didn't help that I learned to read when I was 3-1/2, & then, as now, was a voracious reader. Those jokes about kids reading under the covers by flashlight aren't all jokes, takoszja.. I did that. Readers are leaders - whether they plan to be or not - & my birth mother taught me to stand up for myself; to not be shy; and to speak up & out. So when people called me one kind of 'bitch' or another, I came to respond, "I'm the Queen of the bitches, and you should properly call me "Your Majesty". Stopped them cold in their tracks then & still does now. As my grandmother Pearl taught me, "If you act as if you own the place, most people will believe that you do." Here, you could substitute ".... that you are". The Queen.
And of course then they really complained that I "didn't know my place". I heard this nonsense just a few months ago - from an elderly white woman in a supermarket. Whose husband was stunned to learn he had been married to a bigot for 40-some years, & was so0o embarrassed! He hauled her out of the store like she was a recalcitrant child, apologizing to me as they went. I just smiled. It aggravated her & soothed him. Store management nearly died of embarrassment too. It speaks about her, not him or them.. and even less about me. If bigots actually thought, they'd know that, & keep their pie holes shut. No matter -
I grew up with a seemingly constant parade of bigots trying to force me into their view of "my place". Which was always "downtrodden" & "silent" & apologetic for my heritage. It didn't stick. (Obviously.)
For those who have been or are being bullied, I advise what my grandmothers & uncles taught me - "No one can make a doormat of you unless you let 'em!" So then the obvious 'next thing' is, "DON'T LET "EM!"
My reply to those who have tried to convince me that I didn't know my place & that "my place" is far down the social ladder, mute, and apologetic - if possible, feeling guilty for being however The Great Holy made me, is: "It's obvious you want to try to make me feel smaller & weaker than you already do. But since that is not possible - no one could feel smaller or weaker than you already do - & since if I weren't a powerful, admirable individual in your eyes, you wouldn't be trying this shit, I'll just thank you for the back-handed compliment & observe that next time, you could just send Hallmark." 99+% of bullies leave when I say this to them. The very small percentage who have tried to get physical have lived to regret it greatly. I have a wicked temper; I not only hit back, I continue to hit until they stop twitching, & I grin like the berserker I am (when enraged) while doing it.
So - Do I know my place? Ab-so-l;ute-ly! It's wherever I care to go & can achieve without stepping on anyone else to get there. You're welcome to join me, & to pass this on to anyone who can make good use of it. Give headaches, don't get them! :-D