I’ve told this story a couple of times, but I’ll share it here, too, because it seems appropriate:
Hubby came home from work and told me that day they’d had Sensitivity Training.
“What sort?” I asked.
“Oh, you know, the usual. Teaching people not to use racial epithets like ‘kike’ and ‘nigger’ and 'spic.”
“‘Spic’ is a racial epithet?” I asked, puzzled.
All my life, I had thought a “spic” was a mean way of referring to person who was uber-compulsive about keeping their house clean. As in “Spic & Span.” Thank God I’d never used it.
When I was about seven, my grandfather came in from the garden where he’d been picking cucumbers. He had forgotten to take a basket out with him, so he was carrying some in his hat and he had them shoved in all of his pockets. I chirped out a line I had heard in a movie: “Is that a cucumber in your pocket, or are you just happy to see me?”
He thought it was hilarious, but my grandmother was shocked, and gave me one of those outraged gasps of hers. I had no idea what I’d said, but I never used that line again.