Generation gaps can create some glaring differences especially when dealing with the equality of all humans. The old ways of treating people of color are no longer accepted by the majority of people, however some people in older generations still do not make it a priority to make all people feel welcome and valued.
This situation could not be more real for Redditor u/statuethrow who says My [28M] relationship with Mom [60F] and Step-Dad [~60M] is straining because of a controversial lawn ornament.
Here's how it played out:
My mom and stepdad last year moved into a new house that came with a lawn ornament depicting a cartoonishly caricatured black boy dressed in a jockey uniform. I did some research, and it turns out that it was a Jocko style Lawn Jockey. Apparently these were popular back in the day with people that wanted to evoke that old Southern style of welcome that includes casual racial prejudice. The more I learned about these things, the more uncomfortable it made me. It can't just sit there in the yard. They would have to store it, paint it, get rid of it...something. Anything less I feel would be an endorsement of what this statue represents. We are all white, and I don't want to get into a situation where I bring friends over, they see it and get the wrong impression about my folks. I told my mom my feelings about it, and she indicated that her and my stepdad were aware and were talking about what to do about it.
The next time I visited them, they moved it off to the side yard, and this time it was in the same spot and they had put a garbage bag over it. I mean, it's good that they covered it, but I don't understand why they still have it, and it's been a year. I don't think either one of them are racist or anything, I just see the history of this object and it's relationship to racism and it disgusts me. Neither one of them seem to share my disgust, which is frustrating. My gut tells me that I'm in the right, but at the same time this is driving a wedge between me and my step-dad, and my mom feels caught in the middle between us.
Mom and I just had a tearful conversation about this. She's worried that I'm judging them negatively for this, which definitely isn't the case for her. (My feelings about him are up in the air right now.) She seems to agree that this thing is more trouble than it's worth. I offered to take the statue and dispose of it, but she said no and that it was up to my step dad. He seems to have taken an opposing stance on this and doesn't see much reason to get rid of it. Apparently he did his own online research and concluded that it wasn't a racist object, and that I'm wrong and I need to let this go. He says the statue has historical value and he shouldn't be made to feel like a racist for displaying it. I'm aware of the content he's basing his claims on, and will try to show him how they lack a basis in fact. Mom has told me though that he did agree to get rid of it, but I don't know how much I believe him.
I'm now at the point where I don't know if I'm making too much of a big deal about this. My folks and I are on opposite ends of the political spectrum, but that hasn't really been an issue until now. My next step I just want to be able to visit my folks and not have to worry about this s***. Am I right for pushing them towards action on this, or am I making a mountain out of a molehill?
tldr: parents inherited a statue of a caricatured black youth. I detest it and want it gone, stepdad thinks it's fine. How to proceed?
Update: Thanks for the feedback, everyone. Just to clear up a few things, I don't think I could persuade them by saying that the neighbors are judging them, they live in a very red area, there was a guy who wore a MAGA hat on the beach with his family the other day and no one seemed to care.
Also, I should have been more specific regarding what I meant regarding the tearful conversation with my mom. I had meant that we both were crying. There wasn't manipulation there. She was genuinely worried that I was thinking about cutting her out of my life, and I was upset about this whole thing. I'm generally averse to conflict and it takes a lot for me to make a stand about something, especially when it leads to this kind of friction.
I feel empowered by your words, and I know that I can't just let this go. I'll be as respectful as I can, but my feelings about the statue haven't changed and I'm not going to really feel comfortable there until they do something about it.
What are your thoughts?
Play dirty in the name of justice and equalityGiphy
I wrote out a lot of analysis, but then decided it was pretentious and deleted it.
- It's not your property, so ultimately, legally, you can't do anything.
- You've made your case. They doubled down. Logic wouldn't appear to work.
My advice to you would be that for every gift-giving occasion, be it birthdays, anniversaries, Christmas, Labor Day, whatever... I would send them a card, and include the receipt for the donation you made in their name to the NAACP, the United Negro College Fund, or the local black historical/heritage society... you know, since history is so important to him.
You're not going to wear them down, so go with the semi-regular notification that he's being an ahole, and maybe the thank you letters from the assorted charities will eventually make him feel like enough of a doofus to take an appropriate action on his own.
You can't teach an old dog not to be an a**Giphy
Yeah, he's a big ole racist. No way he actually googled "lawn jockey"and came away with the idea that its not racist.
Create some distanceGiphy
OP, I'm with you on this one. The statue is horribly racist, and cringe-worthy. I'd go as far as to not visit your mom & step-dad at their home, and only see them away from the house.
It's a two way streetGiphy
Lol @ the pearl clutching over your mom crying about feeling "judged" for participating in racist s***. Honestly, f*** manipulative tears. You get to decide what's more important to you: your relationship with your mother or your principles regarding race. I know what choice I would make. And remember that torching a relationship goes both ways. So your parents also have a choice: their f******* son or their beloved racist lawn ornament.
Ask the right questionsGiphy
Ask them how the statue makes their lives better. Seriously.
Ask them why they feel the need to keep it, even though it causes friction between you guys. To prove how not-racist they are?
It's not like they're rare. There's no historical significance to speak off. They're ugly as shit. Seriously, there's no reason to keep it, except to "stick it to them libruls".
The extreme route...Giphy
It's racist. Them keeping the statue is racist. The lovely thing about racism is it's a great place to take a stance. I would cut back contact with your family significantly and steal and destroy that awful statue.
Stay away from those peopleGiphy
It is IMPOSSIBLE to google "lawn jockey", and not immeidately understand that this is racist. He knows it's racist, but he doesn't care. Your solution is not to take friends around there. You have spoken your peace. Do not argue, justify, or explain your position, because that is as preposterous as trying to explain why you don't walk down the street and randomly punch strangers in the head. It doesn't even bear trying to have a rational discussion about it.
Simply state your position. "Hey mom, I find that statue to be racist. I feel like if you google lawn jockey, and do your own unbiased reading, it is impossible to come away with any other conclusion. Therefore, I will not be visiting your home while you choose to have such casual disregard for a racist statue." That's it. And yeah, I'm sorry to tell you but it sounds like your parents are racist if they feel that displaying that lawn jockey is that important to them.
Let them lay in the beds they madeGiphy
You know what OP, your parents were being ignorant-and there is NOTHING wrong about being ignorant to a subject, we don't know everyone's deal, HOWEVER, you took the time to research this object and educated them, this crosses the line into WILLFUL ignorance, and quite frankly, point blank racism.
I would not visit them until its removed, they know what theyre doing-its not like it pays them rent or adds deep value to their lives, and someone WILL call them out on it, don't be around when it happens.
Stand up to the root of the problemGiphy
It sounds like your mum is just fretting because she's trying to please you both but she's not really thinking about this or taking responsibility for herself. My mum did this with her ex and me, she'd get all tearful and do that mum thing of 'I just try to please everyone' etc. Could you sit down and ask your mum what she really thinks hand on heart. It concerns me that the stepdad sounds like a jerk and your mum isn't standing up to him, either that or your mum is racist too. It could help you to figure out which one it is.
Judge the f*** out of them until they learn their lessonGiphy
How to deal with casual racists: "Don't make me feel bad, it feels like I'm being judged!" "It should. Because I'm judging you."
Talk about the moneyGiphy
Lol have u read Stephen kings duma key be glad it isn't chasing u they should sell it it actually does have value but gives the wrong impression for sure I'd push ur step dad that way he'd probably be more likely to get rid of it if there was money in it
Get rid of it yourselfGiphy
Am I the only one who would throw caution out the window and smash the s*** out of that stupid, racist piece of garbage?? (The lawn ornament, but maybe the stepparent, too. Up to interpretation. )
Hoarding may be the issue hereGiphy
Does your stepdad have hoarding tendencies?? Like, is he scared to get rid of it because he thinks it is worth something?? Look it up on eBay, and see if ANY of them have sold, and what they sold for. Offer to sell it for him??? If it's what I think it is, it's cringe inducing, and I wouldn't want to be associated with the house that displays it.
A different point of viewGiphy
Well, it's not your house, so while you don't like it, it's really none of your business. You are forcing an issue between your mother and your step-father about something at THEIR house.
That said, I think you are also wrong about what you think of the statue, based on a few minutes of my own research:
"The jockey, in a similarly secret way, pointed to safe houses along the Underground Railroad.
"These statues were used as markers on the Underground Railroad throughout the South into Canada," says historian/author Charles Blockson, curator of the Afro-American Collection at Temple University in Philadelphia. "Green ribbons were tied to the arms of the statue to indicate safety; red ribbons meant to keep going.
"People who don't know the history of the jockey have feelings of humiliation and anger when they see the statue," he adds. "But this figure, which was sometimes used in a clandestine nature, and sometimes without the knowledge of the person who owned the statue, was a positive and supportive image to African-Americans on the road to freedom.""
From a 1998 article in the Chicago Tribune.
I'm not researching it any more to have any more of an opinion. Not your house.
The important questionGiphy
You are right for feeling as you do about the lawn ornaments. But I would ask, is it worth straining your relationship with your mother over? I get the impression that your step-dad is taking an opposing stance not because he actually likes or cares about the statue but because you have taking such a vocal position, it's almost like he's doing it for spite. Also, he might feel that you are accusing him of being racists and he's being defensive and doubling down. I bet if you never mentioned the statue to him again it would eventually disappear. Also you mentioned that your Mom said he agreed to get rid of, give him the chance to do the right thing.
Raise your hands--who had an emo phase in the 2000s? I know I did, as did a lot of people around me. All of us heard “It's just a phase" from our parents at some point, but when you're a kid, life as we know it seems so permanent.
Of course, most of the time, it was “just a phase". And looking back, those phases are regrettable, to say the least. Here are some prime examples of that.
What was your biggest/most regrettable "It's not a phase, mom. It's my life." that, in fact, turned out to be just a phase and not your life?
The enthusiasm of a young person can lead to some unexpected changes that parents are just not ready for.
I was VERY into The Transformers when I was a wee lad in the 1980s. One day, I decided to change my name to the name of my favorite Autobot. My name was lame, and I wanted an awesome Transformer name. And I was VERY insistent that my parents only call me by my new name. Calling me by my 'old' name would cause a big fat tantrum on my part.
So for the better part of a week, my poor parents had to call me Wheeljack.
Very 2008.Ariana Grande Shrug GIFGiphy
My cat-ear phase. I wore cat ears every single day. Everywhere. I had like 20 pairs of them. Now everyone thinks I'm a furry.
I find that very cute and wouldn't have thought you'd be furry. Even if you'd had cat mittens. I think my suspicions would have started if you moved a bit like a cat, displayed catlike grooming habits or got a cat mask.
Not gonna lie, that car sounds cool.
I went to a car show once as a teen, and the only newer car there was some chick's PT cruiser. It was hot glittery pink, and at the time I was obsessed. I insisted that one day I would have a hot pink car, with pink seats, pink dash, pink carpets, etc. I was pretty heavily goth at the time, so my parents just rolled their eyes.
These phases can often lead to some very strange fashion choices.
When I was a teenager (early 00s), I was waiting for my mother to pick me up and was wearing one of those sh!tty sports wristwatches. It was itching me so I took it off for a second, but then she arrived and because I was struggling to get it back on my wrist, I looped it around the equally sh!tty chain I had around my neck in a rush to get out the door.
My mom asked me about it in the car, and I told her this was my new style and I planned to wear it like that every day. She rolled her eyes.
I wore that watch on a chain around my neck every single day for 3 years or so. There are even professional family photos where I'm wearing it because I refused to take it off.
One day, the chain broke and I lost the watch. I was in high school at that point anyway and it was a major lady repellent, so... phase over.
Not everyone can be Eminem.slim shady eminem GIFGiphy
Baggy pants, being a rapper someday and being a professional skater.
When I was about 14 and Eminem was starting to blow up I bought myself a keyboard with a synthesizer. It cost like $200 which was all the money I had saved up. It finally came (this was way before amazon prime and such) and I tried rapping.
My sister told me "you're effing horrible" and I gave up right then and there.
This should be a sin.
I used to button the top buttons of polo shirts.
I must say, this is probably the worst one I've read.
Looking back at our regrettable choices, all we can do is cringe.
An optimistic look at bad tattoos.check me out season 3 GIF by PortlandiaGiphy
Being a tattooer. Regrettable because of those poor people who have my awful doodles on their bodies.
Take heart! My favorite tattoo is the one I drunkenly got my buddy to do in his living room one year during March Madness! It's dumb and frankly mediocre? But such a good story and has such good associations I smile every time I see it.
My friend and I decided we were going to open a bar in Jamaica with exotic snakes in glass cages in the walls at each booth. We convinced ourselves it would be amazing for at least two years in college. It was going to be called Fredro's.
My entire family made fun of me for it. Once we got out of college, we realized it was not feasible and joined the office grind. We're also two white guys with no ties to Jamaica.
Talk about cringey.
I wore a top hat with an anime pin on it for around a year. Met one of my current best friends while wearing it, idk how he could bear to speak to me after that.
My weirdest phase was probably when I insisted on wearing knee-high rainbow socks to school every day. But honestly, I don't regret it. I rocked those socks, and I wish I still have a pair.
To all the people out there cringing over their past selves, remember that you were just a kid, and to be easy on yourselves. After all, we've all been there
It should not take much for a consumer to be satisfied with the products they purchase.
Yet, too often, manufacturers who oversell their products fail to deliver what is promised and are inevitably left with angry customers who want their money back.
Whether the merchandise was defective or ridiculously overpriced, strangers online shared some of their worst purchases when Redditor BooksMcGee asked:
"What is the worst product you ever paid money for?"
Short Life Span
"This NERF gun that's supposed to shoot tennis balls for your dog. I bought it cause I thought you could load 3 at a time and shoot them far, but it's just one and it's super loud and the gun broke after like 4 shots (reading reviews later, this was a common issue)."
"There were these toys called squiggles when I was a kid and the commercials made it seem like the toy was alive. It looked like you would get this crazy little fuzzy worms as pets that would follow you around an so sick tricks and listen to your every command. It was really just a piece of fluffy string tied to another piece of string with googly eyes on it. People may say that it was supposed to be a magic trick but they should also explain that to a 5 year old who really wanted a pet."
"Not their fault, but I paid $70 for a Yugioh card hours before it was limited to one copy. Probably dropped to $20 by the end of the day."
These purchases were bad for your bum.
"A bicycle that literally fell apart before I made it out of the parking lot."
Not Worth Sitting On
"Joybird brand couch. Was so terrible, we returned it. Still hard to believe, we returned a freaking couch."
Going Nowhere Fast
"A 2000 VW Beetle (used)."
"Biggest piece of sh*t that literally had to have just about everything replaced before 100k miles and would still break down every time you left the driveway to the point where the tow-truck driver knew us on a first-name basis."
"An Oldsmobile Achieva from one of those buy here pay here places. I should have known better, but I was young and thought I was getting a good deal. I had the thing for about 5 months, I drove it for maybe 3 weeks. The rest of the time it was either in the shop, or in my driveway waiting until pay day so I could afford to fix whatever broke on it this week. Eventually told the dealer just take it, I'm not paying for it any more. He said nope, and I will make sure your credit is ruined. I said well you sold me a lemon, do you really want to go this route? He came and took it. Never reported anything to credit. I heard he got sued by several other people who sold sh**ty cars too and eventually went out of business."
"Always amazes me when I see them driving around still, I can only assume there's enthusiasts who just love repairing horribly designed cars."
These Redditors were not convinced what they ingested was edible.
"A box of plain Cheerios. Thought they were honey nut, poured a bowl, was very disappointed."
"If I wanted to taste cardboard, I'd just eat the box."
"A burnt frozen pizza at the air and space museum cafe in DC. I Don't wish that experience on anyone. There are some amazing restaurants in DC, don't settle."
The following electronics just gave off a bad charge.
"Asus Transformer Pad TF700"
"This was one of those early 'high end' Android tablets that was grossly underpowered, and it showed. Thing was slow as sh!t in no time flat. Rookie mistake investing into shiny new tech while they were still working all the bugs out. Think I paid somewhere in the neighborhood of $350-400 for it..."
"macbook pro 2018 13" touchbar. 2 years old and dead (battery). they're asking $300-$400 to change the battery. malfunctioning keyboard with double presses and missing presses. that's a lot of money for bad design."
"Past winter my old room heater broke down and I had to buy a new one. Went to a store nearby and somehow got convinced to buy a very costly heating device.. It's also my fault, since there were some sligthly cheaper options around, but nope. I wanted the expensive one thinking it will make my small room a volcano with little to no effort/cost (that's also what the seller told me). Long story short the device wasn't doing ANYTHING. No significant temperature changes, too much space, a weird noise, and was doubling my previous device in utility cost. I still gloom over those 80 euros.."
Some of my disappointing purchases was clothing, but only because I purchased them online. Unless they are a brand I'm familiar with, I'm usually fine with buying new jeans off of their websites.
But when it comes to graphic tees only available on specialty shops, an M-size shirt is not necessarily the same size as those found in other reputable stores.
I bought a medium sized T-shirt from a boutique store online because I loved the look of the design. But when it arrived, the supposed medium fit me like an XL.
At least I gained a fierce cleaning rag from this impulsive purchase.
We all know the job interview butterflies.
We sit outside the office or wait for the phone call and our foot taps at rapid speed. We run through some rehearsed answers, but worry that they'll ask a slew of things we never even considered. We try not to sweat too much.
Often, it turns out alright. We may not get the job, but we're respectable, give solid answers, and learn a lot about the place we're trying to get hired.
Other times, however, all of our far-fetched worries seem to come to life.
Curious to hear just how bad an interview can go, Redditor UIGrimsen asked:
"What was your worst job interview?"
Plenty of people had some truly bizarre stories to share. Part of these train wrecks were bad luck, and part were the insane antics of the people giving the interview.
But for us, they're simply hilarious.
"I applied for a job in a Planetarium, the interview was conducted in a big dome."
"Problem was, another part of the Planetarium staff was doing fire alarm tests during the interview. The dome amplified the sound so much, it was deafening. The interview staff acted like nothing was going on. We had to shout so we could hear each other."
"My mom raises chickens … and during COVID one of them got sick (not COVID). She had it inside to feed water hourly to try to nurse it back to life. My mom has to run an errand so I'm in charge of this chicken for the afternoon."
"I was on a phone screening with a candidate for a position in my office and this chicken starts having a seizure and dies on the middle of this phone call. I look over and it's laying almost like it was crucified."
"The candidate heard the commotion and asked if everything was ok … Which I relied 'yeah, the chicken just died.' "
"She withdrew her application the next morning."
"1.) I walked in as the HR lady farted"
"2.) it was a small office with no windows"
"3.) I asked her questions about their employee retention rate that she couldn't answer"
"4.) the fart stayed the duration of the interview"
"5.) I hope the fart got the job, because I didn't want it"
A Very Instructive Moment
"Applied to work at a vet clinic. Veterinarian did the interview while spaying a cat, apparently one of the cleanest and quickest surgeries they do. I fainted."
"Was not offered the job (after I woke up)."
Others shared moments when their excitement was deflated instantly. They encountered such closed-minded interviewers that there was almost no need for discussion.
That Bus Perk
"As an interviewee It was when I applied to a job as a Junior programmer and in 5 minutes the guys goes 'look, I'll be honest, there is no job, you can get an internship, no pay, we offer the bus pass' "
Plains, Trains, and Automobiles Later...
"I took vacation days to interview, bought my own plane ticket, and paid for my own hotel. First thing the interviewer said was, 'I have no intention of hiring you. This is just a courtesy because I knew your brother.' I had 8 more hours left in my interview day. It was painful."
"They ended up offering me the position many weeks down the road because they couldn't fill the position. I politely declined and got a very passive aggressively worded survey to fill out explaining why I passed."
There's a Right Answer??
"Wanted to work at H&M, got interviewed by the worst person ever."
"One question was and I am legit not lying, 'What is your favorite color and why?' "
"I answered 'baby blue because it's calming and not too harsh to the eyes.' My interviewer then said Oooh, sorry! Red is what we were looking for. And then proceeded to show me the exit."
Last, some shared the times they arrived for the interview excited and enthusiastic, but quickly learned how out of their league the position was.
These interviews looked more like brutal interrogations from the FBI than job interviews.
All the Principals
"Fresh out of college, I was looking for my first teaching job. I applied at a small district for an elementary school position."
"I walked in, expecting the principal and a few teachers. Instead I had the superintendent of the district, some high-level admin, and every single elementary school principal in the district. Probably 15 people in all. They peppered me with questions for 45 minutes."
"I had zero experience, just my student teaching. I did not get the job."
Shove Your Masters
"Finished up a masters degree in physics. Got a phone interview and was was told it would be an introductory chat. Was confronted with a technical interview panel (over the phone) of 6 PhDs, 4 of which had graduated from the research group I had just left. We walked through my research project in about 10 minutes."
"Then the pain began... felt like I'd only learned kindergarten physics."
An Extremely Intimidating Position
"Got an interview for a job as a floor manager at a gigantic steel foundry. I have some background in metallurgy so I thought it'd fit. It paid $90k and I was qualified resume-wise. I got there, turned out it was a group interview with three other applicants, to hear the pitch."
"If something messes up, the company loses $100,000 (some shockingly high amount, I don't remember if it was exactly 100k) per hour and it's your sole responsibility to fix it. They said you'd have to be on call 24/7 to handle anything that comes up."
"I got to the solo part out of curiosity and the interviewer they put me with said something to the effect of 'I know this job sounds bad, but actually it's even worse.' I was desperate for a job because I didn't land one straight out of college, but I was glad not to hear back from them after the interview..."
Here's hoping you don't have a job interview scheduled and this just amplified your anxiety 1000%. The nice thing to remember is that these horror stories are few and far between.
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Believe it or not, Canadians don't live in igloos or freeze to death all year round. If you go to Germany, it's highly unlikely that every German you meet will be cold and uninviting. Hop over to the United Kingdom and you're not going to run into tons of people with terrible teeth and bad hygeine.
These are called stereotypes, my friends, and it's best you leave them at the door. People were more than willing to strike down some stereotypes about the countries they know and love after Redditor HelloThere577 asked the online community,
"What are some false stereotypes about your country?"
"When most folks envision Scotland, they think of kilts, whisky, bagpipes, and red hair.
All of those things exist (and are common) here.
People might also imagine verdant hillsides, rocky bluffs, and skies that randomly switch between clear and cloudy.
Once again, that's completely accurate.
However, one stereotype which has absolutely no foundation, in reality, is the assumption that Scotsmen are constantly hunting haggis. In fact, haggis-hunting only takes place in February (which is the season for deosil haggis) and May (which is the season for widdershins haggis). For the rest of the year, the haggis is more or less left alone."
"I am originally from Portugal and moved to the United States. Around 80% of the people that I have met thought Portugal was either in South America, owned by Brazil, or a part of Spain. When I first came here it made me really sad."
"If the wildlife hurts or kills you in Australia, it's generally because you are f***** stupid. You are 10000 times more likely to be injured or killed in a car accident in Australia than by anything in nature."
This is likely very true, but knowing me, I'd probably be easy pickings for one of those huntsman spiders.
"That we end every sentence with "eh" and drink maple syrup by the gallon and have moose and igloos in our backyards."
You mean... you don't?
Just kidding. Canada is lovely––visit sometime. It's a lovely place.
The United States
"That we always have a shotgun at the ready. A shotgun is a home gun where a pistol is your everyday gun. Your revolver is your dress gun, for special occasions. Then of course your assault rifle is for when you're kicking back and cracking open a cold one with the boys."
"Anything related to The Sound of Music."
Probably gets annoying afer a short while. Great movie, though. Still dreaming about a trip to Salzburg.
"A lot of Americans seem to think we're inbred because we're an island. This is dumb, because it's a very big island (10th biggest in the world), and it's not isolated, we've been invaded, invading, and trading with the mainland for thousands of years."
"That we are car thieves. Crime was widespread in Poland in the 90s but today crime (including theft) rate in Poland is low."
"We do gesticulate a lot, but we definitely don't yell like crazy."
It seems Italian Americans are the ones who could learn a thing or two about being more reserved.
"Iceland. We're not some utopian Disneyland filled with quirky superstitious people that all believe in elves."
Remember: The world is an enormous place filled with people from all walks of life, and they don't take too kindly too stereotypes. Expand your horizons by having conversations with as many people as possible. You'd be surprised how quickly your preconceived notions will vanish.
Have some stories of your own? Feel free to tell us about them in the comments below!
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