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I'm a racist pig

  1. May 7, 2006 #1

    Ivan Seeking

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    I just ran into town for a latenight dinner-to-go from Sharis. The local auto races had just ended for the night, and since Shari's is the only place open this late for twenty miles in any direction, the restaurant was absolutely packed. In passing I made the comment, "boy, you are really hopping tonight". The guy looked at me like he wanted to kill me.

    At the time I was wondering what's wrong with this kid. He continued to glare at me the entire time I was there. Only after leaving did I realize that this kid is probably one of a half dozen black kids his age in town. Being a small rural community with a dying but still kicking stock of racism, I am sure that some people have called him "boy", with the sole intent of degrading him. I often use the word "boy" as a sort of damped explitive, but I would never use it in a racist sense. It was a very unfortunate misunderstanding. I feel badly now. :frown:
     
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  3. May 7, 2006 #2

    Curious3141

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    It's all in the inflexion. "Boy...", when said with a sense of wonder or whimsy, especially when there's little to no pause after the word, and quickly followed up by some exclamation, should be understood to be a non-racial usage.

    Whereas "boy" with a deep Southern accent, accompanied by a long degrading pause complete with a look one normally reserves for cockroaches, *that's* racist.

    If you clearly did only the former, forget about it. It's the "boy's" own stupidity for misinterpreting your intentions. It's not like you sprang an N-word or something.
     
  4. May 7, 2006 #3

    Mk

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    Maybe you were unknowingly on the losing end of a staring contest.
     
  5. May 7, 2006 #4

    Pengwuino

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    Yah im sorry, the meaning "boy, you are really hopping tonight" and "boy, don't your kind know nothing!" and how they are taking have absolutely nothing to do with one stupid word. If you said "boy, you sure are smart", i'd call the guy racist if he thought you were the one being racist. Don't feel bad, hyper-sensitive people like that are the problem, not the solution.
     
  6. May 7, 2006 #5

    Astronuc

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    Well, if this dude is a regular at Shari's, the next time you encounter him, just explain what you meant.

    And the next time, use "man" in lieu of "boy". :biggrin:

    Or since you're from SoCal - use "dude", as in "Dude, this scene is totally rad, man!" :biggrin:
     
  7. May 7, 2006 #6

    wolram

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    It is lucky i do not go to any ethnic sensative areas, i would be bound sure
    to put my foot in it, heck i call a thing by what it is, i do not know another
    way, i often wonder why people take offence when i call them by what they
    (are), they can do the same to me if they like, and as long as it is true in my mind i will not take umberage.
     
  8. May 7, 2006 #7
    I would have told the guy "what are you staring at???" As a general rule, I am not nice to people who work in stores that act unprofessional.

    Don't feel bad because the guy was an idiot, feel bad becasue you did not put him in his place for giving you a bad glare. He was way out of line, and you let him get away with it.
     
  9. May 7, 2006 #8

    Moonbear

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    Ivan, don't feel bad, it's his problem. The way you'd say "boy" to mean something like "wow" is not at all racist. You'd say it the same way to anyone who worked there, or even to someone who didn't work there, "Boy, is this place hopping tonight!"

    But, maybe it wasn't taken that way at all. Maybe he was just in a bad mood or had a date planned and got called to work when it got crowded, or everyone was pretty much saying the same thing and he was too tired to respond anymore. Or, maybe he's never heard the phrase, "really hopping" before and didn't know what to make of it. Or maybe he's just never seen a gray guy before. :biggrin:
     
  10. May 7, 2006 #9

    arildno

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    Or possibly, he mistakenly thought an "r" wasn't present in the above sentence. Some people glare due to such trivial differences.
     
  11. May 7, 2006 #10

    Ivan Seeking

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    HEY!! hey! whoa, hold on there...never lose the "r". :biggrin:

    It is always possible that I misread the situation, in which case this kid would be a little scary. :uhh: But I'm virtually certain that this is what happened.

    It can still be pretty rough around here that way - racism. Oregon is a fairly liberal state, but the rural areas lag behind the larger cities. I just felt badly that he believed this is what I said as I know how much this sort of thing can hurt a person. If I see him again I will try to say something.
     
  12. May 7, 2006 #11

    dav2008

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    This is exactly why I don't like saying anything to random people.
     
  13. May 7, 2006 #12

    Astronuc

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    Ivan, was this guy an employee at Shari's? If so, maybe you could drop in again, find him and explain what happened. On the other hand, he might not be inclined to listen. One does not know another's experience, so its hard to tell sometimes.

    I usually watch what I say around people depending on the situation.


    When I lived in Houston, I used to go into some pretty rough neighborhoods, and in some cases, I'd be the only white dude around for miles. :biggrin: I was never hassled, partly because the bad dudes thought I must be pretty bad myself to be there. :rofl: I did quite often get some interesting comments regarding my sanity, and some of my friends thought I had a death wish. :biggrin:
     
  14. May 7, 2006 #13

    Curious3141

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    My intuition (which usually doesn't serve me too well, I must confess) leads me to envision a really awkward conversation if you decide to explain the misunderstanding to this guy the next time you meet him. Seinfeld was built on encounters like these. :rofl:

    If you do decide to relieve the tension, just a little word of caution, please, please, *please*...

    ...don't start the conversation with "Hey, bro!" :biggrin:
     
  15. May 7, 2006 #14

    Pengwuino

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    This sounds very Larry David'ish
     
  16. May 7, 2006 #15

    Ivan Seeking

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    I was thinking the same thing. Probably best just to let it go.

    And please; hey bro? :rofl: :rofl: :rofl: But in all seriousness, it had to be tough for a black kid growing up around here. Not very long ago this was a timber town that hadn't changed much since ~1895 - the year the mill was built.
     
  17. May 7, 2006 #16
    Maybe you should go buy him dinner and flowers, you seem to care about his feelings so much :yuck:

    The guys just some idiot behind a cash register, let it go...........
     
    Last edited: May 7, 2006
  18. May 8, 2006 #17

    Ivan Seeking

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    Why the sarcasm? Does it bother you if I care how I affect others? Are you uncomfortable with being kind and considerate?
     
  19. May 8, 2006 #18

    wolram

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    Ivan, you are such a nice person, remember it is the one that is (willing)
    to push the the button to start a war,that is the bad guy.
     
  20. May 8, 2006 #19

    Moonbear

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    :eek: :confused: Just some idiot? You know nothing of this kid, yet because of the job he works, you assume he's an idiot? Not at all possible he's a smart kid trying to work his way through college, or a high school student working to help the family out while still managing to make straight-A's? Labeling the kid as an idiot IS insensitive.
     
  21. May 8, 2006 #20
    I was talking about this with a mate a few days ago. We're pretty lucky here, people are very tolerant, and its pretty hard to put your foot in your mouth. Australia is so multi cultural you can't afford to take offense at things like that.

    My roommates are from french, welsh and jewish backgrounds, my girlfriend is south african, i live in a greek style house in an italian neighbourhood with pakistani neighbours, and at the lab I work in, I work with 2 australians, a nepalese, a chinese, an indian, a greek, 2 indonesions, a canadian, an australian aboriginal and an iranian. So I'm sure I've said plenty of things that could be misinterpreted by someone as offensive, but people really need to learn to understand one another better than that.
     
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