Racism in Action

Troy (T) and Firda (F): An interacial couple.
Man 1 (M1) and Man 2 (M2): Men of west asian descent.
Cashier (C): Cashier who would rather be elsewhere.
Lesbian 1 a.k.a. Bitchwhore for reasons to be explained (BW): The reason this story is being written.
Lesbian 2 (L2): Indifferent lesbian, who remained quiet, and was hopefully ashamed of the Bitchwhore but not likely.
Scene 1
The scene opens at the register in a Value Village. The cashier is helping Man 1 with his purchase. Man 1 and Man 2 are either friends or family and know each other. Troy is the next person in line, holding a basket of merchandise. Firda is immediately behind Troy, followed by Bitchwhore and Lesbian 2.
Cashier To Man 1: Would you like a bag for your purchase?
Man 1 does not answer immediately. He has zoned out for a moment, or doesn’t completely comprehend what the cashier asked him.
Man 1: I’m sorry?
Cashier To Man 1: Would you like a bag for your purchase?
Man 1: No thank you.
Bitchwhore Speaking loudly to lesbian 2: I can’t understand why Canada keeps allowing these immigrants to enter Canada when they can’t even understand the f’ing language!!
Troy and Firda hear these comments. Troy begins to get agitated.
Bitchwhore Loudly: They want respect but they don’t respect our language. Blah blah blah.. f*@kity blah!
Anyways that is the start of the story, as far as I can remember it. By this point I was so enraged. My heart was thumping super fast, my hands were shaking, my brain was working to figure out what to say to this Bitchwhore. I shot a couple hate filled glances at the Bitchwhore. I think the cashier understood that I was angry since she didn’t say much to me.
I wanted to turn to this Bitchwhore and say “They deserve respect because they are human beings”, I wanted to say “for being a lesbian your are pretty intolerant”, I wanted to say “The man had probably zoned out for a minute, give him a break”, there were dozens of other things I wanted to say to the Bitchwhore. In the end we left without saying anything, which I regret but was probably for the best since I know the Bitchwhore wouldn’t have listened. I also envision myself getting so angry and filled with rage that I would have to be pulled from this Bitchwhore with bloody fists, and I don’t like that thought.
Firda and I went out for dinner after this incident. Firda shrugged it off. She said “There are people like that everywhere, you can’t let it get to you”, but it did. I calmed down during dinner. I still wish I had the guts to say something to the Bitchwhore. I know I would have done something if they were physically harming Firda or the gentlemen the comments were directed at.
During dinner we came up with the perfect response to the Bitchwhore’s rant. I should have turned to her and yell “Sieg Heil Mein Fuhrer”, while doing the Nazi salute, as a mockery of what the Bitchwhore just said. Also because they could have very easily been convincing in Nazi costumes.
So once again my “image” of Canada has been shattered a little more. Racism rears its ugly head. I can’t believe people like this still exist in the 21st century.
I’m off to bed now.

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  1. I’m afraid that I wouldn’t have been as strong as you were and would have most certainly made a smart-assed comment (and then regretted it afterward).

  2. That drives me crazy too! And I can’t believe how often I hear stuff like that in Portland, Oregon.
    If I weren’t almost 39 weeks pregnant, and worried about mine and my baby’s safety, I would definitely say things to people. But the thing is, you never know what these people are capable of. Never know if they might have a gun, a knife, or just a violent tendency. (Although BitchWhore was probably pretty harmless… you just never know.)
    So usually, I just leave, annoyed, without saying anything, because it’s easier than having a violent altercation.
    So tempting at times, though. Seriously. I would love to just kick some ignoran’t fool’s ass!
    Sorry you guys had to go through that.

  3. k&n

    Nick Griffin (the leader of the BNP) was recently up on charges at the Leeds court and Nasser and i walked by a demonstration (which, bless – for me and my not-so-darling naivety I took for a LIverpool United football rally…). Believe it or not, the banners were supporting the right to free speech (Griffin has been charged with inciting racial hatred in his speeches for the BNP rallies).
    Gets ya right there don’t it?
    Last year around this time, a friend stopped by a local off-licence for a bottle of wine and heard a similar dialogue to what you experienced from a couple of customers to the asian shopkeep. When they left she apologised for not saying anything to them or stopping them. He responded by saying that it was okay, he has to live and work in this neighbourhood (which is, by the way, the same one where the London 7/7 bombers built their bombs – in the house across the road from me…), and, in an eerie paraphrase of Firda – he can’t let it get to him or he wouldn’t be able to have his business.
    I wish I could say that i would have stood up to bitchwhore but i wd have done exactly what you did – the shaking, angry looks, and the after-rage. But though i do not believe the adage that all evil requires to flourish is good people (the original has ‘men) to stand by and do nothing (cause really, who are these ‘good people’?) – i do believe that if i do not start speaking soon, there will be no one to speak when they come for me.
    (Here is the original for my last line – I can’t claim it for my own, so here it is ripped off of Wikipedia – a voice of the people!)
    When the Nazis came for the communists,
    I remained silent;
    I was not a communist.
    When they locked up the social democrats,
    I remained silent;
    I was not a social democrat.
    When they came for the trade unionists,
    I did not speak out;
    I was not a trade unionist.
    When they came for the Jews,
    I did not speak out;
    I was not a Jew.
    When they came for me,
    there was no one left to speak out.
    It’s attributed to pastor martin neimoller (umlaut over the ‘o’).
    My image of Canada has achieved a little more of a shine actually – because i know that people like you and Firda are the backbone of my country. You can’t let these people get to you, I agree – but we must keep being angered and shocked with the ideas they express.

  4. Sadly anymore the chance of a violent reaction is always there. Most likely any comment directed at BW would have gotten said violent reaction or indifference.
    To be more outspoken is on a lot of people’s wishlists. Mine included.