Racism is terrible, there's no room for debate on that. But sometimes terrible things can also be terribly weird.
Today we're going to talk about instances of racism that left the victim confused more than hurt. Because, apparently, some people need to be told that Asian women are allowed to be named Lisa.
One Reddit user asked:
And fam, I cannot handle it. Some of these people legitimately seem like they mean well - which kind of makes things worse, honestly.
A Kobe Fan
Ok I'm a 17 year old half black male and I'm at the counter at McDonald's, taking orders and such and then this old guy comes up to the counter to order. This was a week after Kobe Bryant's death (I'm not exactly a sports person but it's important to the story)
So I do the usual "Hi sir how is your day going?" And what happened next was the most surreal customer experience I've ever had.
He goes BEHIND THE COUNTER and puts his hand on my shoulder and asks "Are ya a Kobe fan?" Not really thinking because this creepy old dude is right behind the counter I respond with a confused "Yes?"
He goes on to say "Oh I could tell by the color of your skin"
I was really uncomfortable and I nudged over for my coworker to save me and she luckily comes to my rescue by saying that I needed to go sweep and that she'd finish the order. That is still my weirdest customer experience to date.
To See How My Dark Skin Would Reactcoffee winks GIF Giphy
I have a few, but the one I was most confused about happened when I was at the mall. I'm a dark-skinned Black woman and I live in Canada. Even though it's a predominantly white country Black people do exist and it's very multicultural and multiracial so this incident can't even be thrown to a "never seen a Black person" territory.
So, I was at the mall with my sister going down the escalator and there was this white woman behind me holding a coffee in her hand. So as we're going down I feel a light touch on my back and I turn around and she just looks at me in shock.
I realize she was trying touch my skin. This is not that uncommon as many people touch me or my hair without my consent which is another story entirely.
I let it go cause I didn't want to assume anything and it could have been an innocent touch. So I turn around. And all of sudden I feel hot coffee on my back.
This women poured her coffee on my back intentionally. At first I thought it was accidental so before she says anything, I started to reassure it's okay, because who would purposely pour coffee on another person.
But she just keeps looking at the place she poured the coffee just repeating "Wow. I've never seen skin that dark. Wow. Wow. Look at how it slides down. So soft. Wow."
And then it clicks she poured it intentionally to see how my dark skin would react to the coffee. This incident still shocks me today and I just remember thinking....did that just happen?
Sing Something Black
I was asked to sing at a graduation event in college. I was asked because I have experience in musical theater and singing in general and they wanted a member of the faculty to do it.
The director of the faculty sent me at least 10 voice messages telling me what he wanted me to sing. It was just different forms of "something black". Like the first two audios he suggested like 10 black artists, then he said I should sing something from [a black city I am NOT from], then he said something about how it should honor my "roots", then he said he wanted me to sing something soulful, then he went back to mention other black cities he assumed my family was from.
The director and I are from the same city and live in the same neighborhood. By the end of it I was so confused. Also this happened last week and I still don't know what I'm gonna sing but I'm really into the idea of rickrolling him.
I was hanging outside a bar with my current boyfriend and a bunch of other people when an homeless woman sauntered up and said to my boyfriend, "Do you like sleeping with that gook with her sideways vagina?"
Everyone went quiet and she just walked away.
The weird bit was that I was the only person there that didn't know that the word was a slur. So I just stood there really lost after hearing some really old-timey racism.
We Just Wanted Dumplings
My friend's story not mine.
She was invited to another friends house for a dumpling party. It's where a bunch of friends get together and everyone brings dumplings. Everybody gets to eat some and take some home with them.
The host had a friend from school come as well and at the end of the night, that friend said, "Thank you for the cultural experience."
She was completely serious. Lady .. we just wanted dumplings. Sometimes woke goes too far. But now we say that jokingly to each other whenever we go get Chinese food.
Turn Out Your Pockets2 Chainz Pockets GIF by MOST EXPENSIVEST Giphy
My friend invited me over his house and his parents allowed me to stay the night. I was a teen at the time and during dinner his dad said if I wanted to sleep over he was cool.
Well the next morning before I left his grandma asked me to pull out my pockets before I left to make sure I didn't steal anything. To date I've never felt more dehumanized.
I know the feeling. I had cops with guns drawn on me, cuff and slam me on the hood of their car, pull everything out of my pockets and threw it on the ground. They put me in the back of the patrol car and asked what gang I was a member of. I told them the biggest gang in the world, the United States Navy.
They looked at my leave papers, apologized and said they thought I was part of an Asian gang and released me.
The Wrong Slur
Went to a bar while back visiting my hometown. Small town in the Midwest. Drunk, angry hillbilly looks at me and says "filthy wetback".
The brazenness took me off guard, so I wasn't even offended. After the situation sank in, I got my friends and we left, because who knows what a racist piece of sh*t and his friends might try to pull if we hang out too long.
Also, I'm Asian, so if he's not even smart enough to call me a ching chong and not a wetback, he's probably more dangerous than a normal racist.
I went to college at a diverse school - it wasn't like it was at all unusual to encounter Asians. One fresh September day, we have the first TA-led group session for a course.
I was one of the earlier students to arrive, so I chitchat with the TA. She praises my English in a patronizing way, which is a bit off-putting given that I've lived in this country for the vast majority of my life and speak English more fluently than any other language (and not to brag, but test scores and my eventual career suggest better than your average Canadian). I do not have any accent at all.
Once we're all settled, she goes around asking for names, and writes them out on the board to help her remember. When she gets to me, I say "Lisa".
She writes down... Lee Sah.
I laugh and tell her that it's spelled the usual way.
She responds that she's sorry, but she's not sure what the usual way is.
I finally get though when I say "like the white kind of Lisa."
I'm white, but have a good story:
A family member was (is?) convinced president Obama was born in Kenya and his birth certificate was fake. The family member's main "evidence" is that the hospital, Kapiolani medical center, sounds like a fake and made-up name.
One minor flaw in this logic: we lived in Hawaii for several years. We've been to Kapiolani Medical Center--it definitely exists.
As someone who grew up in Hawaii (ironically near Kapiolani), you'd be surprised how many people don't really know that its a part of the US. I've applied for jobs here in the mainland and I've had managers ask for my immigration papers or my passport when filling out my w2 forms.
Dreamy And Racist
Brown guy. I was with a girl I was dating. We had a tender moment ruined when, while cuddled in my arms, she said:
"Sometimes you think a race of people is not attractive and that you would never date one, but one comes along who is so incredibly pretty that he changes your entire world."
I sat there for a moment because she meant it as a complement and she was being all day dreamy in my arms while at the same time I realized how grossly racist it was
Kung Fu In Courtkung fu no GIF Giphy
Asian American, I was born and raised in the Midwestern USA and English is my first and only fluent language. I got a fix-it ticket for a burnt out headlight a couple years back and before getting it replaced I ended up getting carjacked at gunpoint. The guys ended up totaling the car in a high speed chase with the police.
A couple days later I go to my assigned court date for the aforementioned ticket and explain that I won't be getting my headlight replaced since, ya know, I got f*cking carjacked and had a shotgun stuck in my face.
The clerk to the judge (middle aged white lady) looks at me and with a straight face and says: "What? Don't you know kung fu?"
I don't think she meant to be malicious or racist but it's amazing that people are that daft. It's pretty messed up how open racism towards Asian people is just tolerated since we're 'model minorities' and considered to be timid and subservient.
Donuts And Respect
I went to this 24 hour donut/bagel spot. This woman approached me before I began sinking my teeth into a lox sandwich and said: "Just because you're Mexican doesn't mean you don't deserve respect"
That's it. Just said it and dipped. I felt like her intention may have been wholesome, but her execution was poor and came off as her trying to to convince herself that I'm deserving of respect.
Hoo BOY I have a particular confusing racism story I continually bring up:
I was working when a middle-aged white lady came up to me to ask some things. I answered her, it being my job, and she made a face and asks:
"Hey that's an odd accent you have, where are you from?"
I answered "Mexico"
and she said "Oh... you know you're quite tall and pretty handsome, you could get away with telling people you're Italian so you know..."
At this point she left. I was just frozen and baffled. She said this like it was earnest life-changing wisdom.
In America We Don't Do That
I'm an American born Asian. Freshman year of HS, this Mormon kid from Utah moved to my school in a wealthy and very diverse East coast suburb. Randomly, the Mormon kid would say something to me in passing as if in response to something I said or did to him earlier in the day. Except I never talked to the guy and had no idea what he was talking to me about.
I would just shrug and ignore his odd confrontations with me.
One day I'm sitting near all our duffle bags stretching between races at a track meet. The Mormon kid comes up to me and starts scolding and lecturing me that: "In America, we don't just go into other people's belongings and borrow stuff without asking. we have to ask permission, and if the answer is yes, then you can borrow something..."
He was literally explaining to me how I should behave since I'm in America now. I just give him an evil eye mixed with disgust and contempt for lecturing me about something I didn't do, as though I'm a newly immigrated 5 year old.
Still, I'm confused as f*ck about him, thinking he must be psychotic.
Ten minutes go by and another kid I barely know comes up and grabs a hat from the Mormon kids bag in front of me. It's an Asian kid, fairly newly immigrant from China. This kid is a good 40 pounds lighter than me. Completely different haircut. No resemblance to me at all other than also being Asian.
He tells me he's been f*cking with this racist Mormon kid since day 1. He's been pulling pranks like, in this instance, repeatedly taking his hat from his duffle bag and giving it to someone else to wear.
Racist Mormon kid thinks it's me pulling pranks on him this whole time, because he can't tell 2 completely different looking Asians apart from each other. I'm Japanese, tall, and have no accent. The prank boy is Chinese short, and has a very Chinese accent. I already mentioned the hair.
All I could do was shake my head Captain Picard Style.
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