This weekend at work, a colleague said to me “I don’t mean to sound racist…” So I stopped him and said: “Well, that means that whatever is about to come out of your mouth is going to be blatantly racist.” He went straight on the defensive. “No, no!” He responded. Anyway, I stopped what I was doing, looked him directly in the eyes and heard him out. “This should be good”, I thought.
He started again in his Essex/cockney accent: “I don’t mean to saand racist but I ‘ate it when foreigners who can speak English speak their language to other people that can speak English an’all. It does my head in.” Pause. Now, I don’t I need to tell you what race he is…. And so it continues….
Now if his point was that it’s rude when someone speaks their mother tongue (that you don’t understand or can’t speak) in front of you, totally disregard your presence, then I would have understood what he was saying, because I myself find that annoying at times. But that wasn’t even the point he was making.
“Well”, I began challenging him, “Supposing English isn’t their first language and both people feel more comfortable speaking their mother tongue to each other?”
“I don’t care!” He replied in anger “If they’re in this country they should speak English.”
He tried to explain himself but I wasn’t having it. I dismissed him, at which point he took the liberty of informing me that he wasn’t speaking to me any more. Ha! “Is it cos I is Black?” I asked humourously, just infuriating him further. As if I actually cared. He’s not even deep enough to hold an intellectual conversation with.
“Listen” ,I added while he began throwing his toys out of his pram, “Just because you can only speak one language, don’t knock those that have the ability to speak two or more.If you want to bring up an issue with me, make sure you actually have a valid point because right now you sound dumb.”
I don’t like to pull out the racism card any time someone offends or discriminates against me because I would forever be paranoid, but the prejudice undertone to what he said really opened my eyes to his true character. What he said wasn’t actually racist but the intention behind his words was fueled by racial prejudice.He was totally showing his ignorance.
I find it rather amusing whenever an ignorant white person assumes that because I’m Black, I eat jerk chicken, rice and peas every day of the damn week. Don’t get me wrong. I love to tuck into a good Caribbean dish, but erm I’m African and also enjoy the delights of my own traditional cuisine. But they wouldn’t know that simply because of some of their lack of willingness to learn about different cultures (and why should they when staying in a little bubble is much more fun?)
For goodness sake. I speak and write far better English that the guy telling me about the language itself and I wasn’t even born in this country.
Maybe he’s blind, but last time I checked I was blacker than black. If that’s how he feels about “foreigners” then he was speaking to the totally wrong person. He should have made that point to his white friends, who, I’m sure would have appreciated it far more than I did. They would probably agree with him and have a good ole hyena laugh about it while drinking a pint of beer and scratching their balls.
There’s not one person on this planet that can honestly say that they have never said,thought and/or done anything racist at all in their lives. Racism exists. Fact. In some people is dormant and others, very active.
Racism: the maximum of hatred for a minimum of reason.
I once saw on twitter: “Question: When does a black person become a nigger? Answer: When they leave the room.” Very clever, I thought to myself sarcastically but the irony is that they were actually showing themselves up in that “joke”.
Maybe it’s an inferiority complex that they have, but the sooner racists start seeing individuals for their human worth rather than as a colour, the sooner they’ll actually start valuing their own selves. Rant over. 🙂