Lars got Racism!

This happened yesterday evening. Walking out of a supermarket I noticed a small group of young men. They noticed me as well, pointed at me a couple of times and laughed. I just walked on minding my business.

Then one said “Guys, let’s try this! Hey, Paki!

Well, I just walked on, without acknowledging that. I figured they would get cocky (“Oh-ho, so he’s frightened!”) if I made eye contact, and maybe risk an attack, so I just walked on.

So I’m fine and dandy, only just now I realize the stupidity of thinking “Gosh, he’s not a member of our tribe! Let’s lambast him!”, and fearing those that look or behave differently.

What happened to me is a small thing, a very small thing, I’m aware of that, but it really opened my eyes. First I just dismissed racists in particular and prejudiced people in general as stupid, but now I’m aware of their fear, and of the need of transforming it into some kind of ego-boosting activity.

There’s a funny thing: I’m Italian. But I have to say I have been mistaken for Indian, Greek, Iranian, Portuguese, Turkish and yes, Pakistani (more than once), by other Indians, Greeks, Iranians, Portuguese, Turkish and Pakistanis. It doesn’t happen much now - after two years in England I’m really paler - but I found it sort of heartwarming when it happened. :slight_smile:

Must have been a slow evening in Newcastle-upon-Tyne, if that’s all they could do for kicks.

You found that heartwarming because they mistook you for another race?

Sorry to hear that Lars. Not all Geordies are like that, thankfully! And if you really want to experience racism, try coming to the South West - in terms of thought and attitude (and fashion sense, but that’s another story), it’s still 1952 down here.

It was a bit ambiguous of my post, I admit that: allow me to explain. Getting mistaken by Indians for an Indian, by Greeks for a Greek and so on was heartwarming, because I would think rosy thoughts like “We’re really all alike at the end of the day”. Of course the situation was different with the goons I met; they were just thinking “Here’s an outsider, let’s drown our fears of the unknown”.

Ah, so THAT’s why you call yourself “Lars.” :smiley:

It’s an Etruscan name. Nothing to do with Scandinavian languages. Surprise! :slight_smile:


Whoops, I mean “insert smackie here.” :: slinks off ::

I don’t know where you are, but I grew up in Somerset and Dorset and I never really had a problem with that stuff after I got out of prep school. Parts of London, on the other hand (Twickenham in particular) were terrible though.

For some reason I refuse to believe you.


Heh. The Italian/Arab confusion is more widespread than you might think. My mother always thought my paternal grandfather, god rest his soul, looked exactly like Saddam Hussein.

I live in Florida now and I constantly get accosted by Spanish-speakers thinking I’m Puerto Rican. I’m half Indian (dots, not feathers), so it’s understandable.

After 9/11 I was tempted to hide in the University library basement with the Islamic Students’ Association… people often think I’m an Arab, too.

By lineage I’m as Anglo-Saxon as they come (pay no attention to the username), but I’ve been mistaken for Greek, Italian, Mexican, Spanish, and “Eastern European” (whatever that may be), usually by people of that nationality themselves.

I agree with Lars Aruns that it’s kind of fun, it makes me realize that you really can’t judge a book by its cover (or a person by their color).

So, are we ever going to get around to talking about Metallica’s drummer?

I’m still to find anybody who can rival my uncle’s wife’s lineage…Jamaican-born Jew, raised in USA and Japan (entitled to American and Japanese residence btw), spent adult life in Sweden and Italy. Fit that into any pigeon hole, and I give you a million of your local currency :cool:

It would be pretty easy to pigeon hole him - he is a good for nothing flatlander! :wink:

My cousin’s a blond Mexican Jew of Irish and Polish descent. She’s got dual citizenship already (US and Mexico) and will be marrying a British guy this summer, after which she’s moving to London. Her fiance’s parents (maybe one parent? I haven’t met the guy yet) were diplomats in the Middle East and he was born in…oooh, now I forget, maybe Qatar or the UAE, and he speaks Arabic. Their kids are going to be something else. British-American-Mexican English-Spanish-Arabic speaking Jews.

I dunno, Random, if you got the bolded part right, I would think that GM’s uncle’s wife was truly unique. (Plus, there is nothing flat about Israel or Jamaica and most of Japan, Italy, and Sweden are on the incline. I suspect that even most Scots will recognize that they are not the only hill folk.)

I’m in Devon, and I’m not talking about overt, BNP rally-style racism, it’s sort of insidious, and ingrained. People move here precisely because there are virtually no ethnic minorities. As an example, a couple of weeks, in a conversation about a local businessman with a reputation for dishonesty, a co-worker described him as “a right bloody Jew-boy”. No-one, but no-one could understand my reaction to that (which was kind of a spluttering “WHA??? You - I can’t believe - You can’t…” disbelieving sort of reaction, btw); and my boss even defended my co-worker’s "right to express an opinion! And that wasn’t a widespread incident, it’s commonplace.

I wonder if Random was using flatlander in the Larry Niven sense, i.e. someone who lives on Earth.