Thursday, June 25, 2009

Racism Today

Just a couple of comments I heard at work today.

We had a little get together this morning at work, everybody brought some sort of snack. One of the snacks was a very tasty cantaloupe. One person remarked that they preferred watermelon. I responded saying that I don't like watermelon. Since I don't hide my political leanings at work I got this statement in response.

"You can't be an Obama supporter and not like watermelon." That was followed by laughter from a few people there. I just coldly said, "That doesn't seem like an appropriate thing to say." The person who said this is of Hispanic descent and if I had made a comment like 'You should really enjoy the nacho cheese, tortillas, and rice.' I could get fired, but there were no African-Americans around so this person was okay. Bullshit, comments like this are never okay. They are stereotyping and degrading. To me they also show the ignorance of the person saying it.

Then shortly after that another worker comes in showing what they have added to our shipping labels. "Made in America". Well this is actually not quite accurate, we receive parts from all over the world. "Assembled in America" would be the accurate phrasing. This same employee went on tirade accusing the Chinese of putting chemicals in food that will make all Americans become "slant eyed". This employee is a kook and everyone knows it, but again this shows to me stupidity, ignorance, and racism are all still alive and well.


ExPatMatt said...

I don't think stupidity is going anywhere, is it?

There's 'old person racism' where they're just speaking from ignorance, fear and tradition - it's kind of hard to get mad at them, but anyone under, say, 50 has no excuse whatsoever.

I used to work on a building site and the brickies would often remark on how many 'Pakis' it would take to fill in a trench (the implication, of course, being that you would fill the trench in with the 'Pakis' rather than employ them to fill the trench in with material). Eventually I had to leave.

I hate being accused of being 'politically correct' when really I'm just not being a bigoted twat, don't you?

BeamStalk said...

Most definitely Matt. Both of these comments were from people barely in their 40's, both quite uncalled for.

Ryk said...

I just heard a woman I was travelling with say "I am not prejudiced against mexicans but...."
and then went on to list a bunch of things she didn't like about mexicans.

Some of these are cultural practices that I have noticed also, and if she had been referring to her specific immigrant neighbors (who she was complaining about) then I wouldn't have seen it as overtly racist. However she was generalizing about mexicans based on what her neighbors do.

This confirms my continued experience that whenever someone says "I am not racist but..." They are very racist indeed.