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Thursday, March 23, 2006

I see stupid people

Though not one to usually piggy back off of other’s posts (I feel like I’m stealing when I do it), this post from I-66 inspired me in so many ways to write one almost similar, but in bullet form and with an option to expand on his ideas. You see, I’m from upstate NY. Land of the free, home of the white man. It’s cold and dreary for 8 months out of the year and it’s boring unless you’re the skiing/hiking/boating/camping type of person. I’m into all of the above except for skiing, which I did for 5 years and hated every second of. Then again, I only did it because I thought it would make me popular. It didn’t.

But when he mentioned how people speak different types of English based on who they’re around and/or where they are from, I thought of the numerous times that people have pointed out to me that I speak differently. I speak differently? As in I can use the phrase “you abhorrent motherfucker” correctly?

I think we need some examples for this exercise in asshat-ry to work properly:

  • The cab driver bringing me from Georgetown back to my apartment who asked where I was from, because I spoke very well for a black person. (it should be mentioned that I-66 said he would’ve spit on the cabbies money. That’s a tactic I’ll use for next time)
  • The stranger in my local liquor store who asked where exactly I was from because I didn’t sound like I was from here. (No comment)
  • The man who the cabbie picked up on my way home one evening, who asked where I was from. I told him upstate NY and he, in all his very perceptive glory, said that it’s cold up there and that there are a lot of trees. Also? There aren’t a lot of black people. (thank you for pointing that out to me, you can go shave your back hair now you dumb fuck)
  • The 150 times that people have been visibly shocked to meet me after speaking to them on the phone and saying that my name is Heather.
  • Or, my personal favorite, the dozens who find it odd that I golf and/or wear polo and/or shop at the gap and/or shop at J.Crew. Obviously I must be white if I’m shopping at any of those places, because it’s apparently unfathomable that I own argyle. (For the record, I enjoy argyle, cashmere, and little polo playing men monogrammed on my sweater)
  • And finally, anyone that says incredulously “You’ve been to Martha’s Vineyard??” For the record, there’s a whole slew of black people that reside on Martha’s Vineyard, but if you took the time to heal after that severe head injury that made you a dumb fucktard, then you would know that
  • Oh, forgot one, all the times I've been met with astonished faces when I say that I attended American.

Now one would think that I would become enraged upon hearing all of these things or that I’d be doing some serious kicking and or punching (“I don’t sound black? Well you’re about to find out what a person with no teeth sounds like”). But alas not. What’s the point? If I spent my time trying to discipline every ignorant shithead to cross my path, I would have no time to write about it on the internet or to enjoy Five Guys or burritos. Over the years I’ve learned to just give a weak smile and a ‘heh’, though annoying as hell, I’ve seen the very serious side of reacting to one’s words on race – whether or not intended to hurt or not – and it’s not pretty. Meanwhile, I’ll sit here and watch the dipshits of the world self destruct, because it’s pretty much inevitable when you’re that stupid.



Anonymous Jacynth said...

People never cease to amaze me. I hope you got a good slap in with some of those dumbfucks. Having to spend summers in FL from CA, I was dubbed the girl from the land of "fruits and nuts" immediately. People assumed I surfed to school, probably had lesbian tendencies and ate a lot of oats. Should we blame tele? Ya, that would be easy.

6:39 PM  
Blogger babyjewels said...

What idiots. Sorry you have to encounter them. Now, can I borrow your cashmere sweater? Please?

6:47 PM  
Blogger Erinn said...

I can totally relate. Ive been told by white people I dont sound "black" and black people I dont sound "black". Since when does race influence how you speak.....proper does not equal white.

7:20 PM  
Blogger Namaste said...

what is up with that? a good friend of mine is from England. and he's black. of all places, we were in the Armani Exchange boutique in Aspen a few years ago, and he tried to ask a sales clerk a question (in his heavy cockney accent), and the guy looked directly at him and said, "I'm sorry, sir, but I don't speak Spanish." !!!!

No shit.

His response, "I'm speaking the queen's bloody english to ya, you cock sucker!"

big sale, huge. but sadly lost.

what's up with stupid people, HB?

7:45 PM  
Blogger darlin nikki said...

Picking and choosing the battles, you're a smart one. Somedays it's nice to think of their heads exploding though eh?

9:01 PM  
Blogger Larissa said...

great post. yeah some people are morons. altho let's hope as time goes on their numbers fade. it's a hope i'm hanging on to!

9:16 AM  
Anonymous Angela said...

I can kind of relate. Although I've never had to deal with any race related stereotypes, I have had to deal with geographical ones. Being from the deep south I've had people ask me if I had alligators in my backyard, if we had to row a boat to school, if people where I live fly a rebel flag, and my personal favorite is when they ask me to "talk Cajun". I guess we all have preconceived notions, and it's just that some of us have a filter and some people are just assholes. But hey, what do I know, I'm from the South!!

10:37 AM  
Blogger blake said...

Like Angela, I too am from the South and have been stereotyped ALL MY LIFE. And that shit just drives me crazy.

Certainly, there are "geographic accents" (just listen to the people of Fargo, MN), but to label or peg someone based solely on race or location is utter bullshit.

Will we, as a country, ever get past that? Probably not in our lifetime - which is a shame...

Ok, I'm stepping off my soapbox now.

11:02 AM  
Anonymous MappyB said...

It sucks about all these comments you've received from people.

12:36 PM  
Blogger Heather B. said...

Jacynth: Are you saying that not everyone in CA is blonde and living in the OC? I'm perplexed and shocked.

BabyJewels: Yeah, sure come on down and grabe one of them. Only this is that they're all in pastel colors like lilac and pink, so if you still want you're more than welcome.

Erinn: Hmm a little bit of a Gland trend here.

Isadora: no clue what's up with them, but if you figure it out, let me know.

DN: if I didn't pick and choose my battles, I'd be in a lot of trouble.

Larissa: thank you and I'm hoping the same thing

Angela: I suggest you remove that "Long live Dixie" bumper sticker from your beat up ford pick truck. It's so tacky. ;-)

Blake: The funny part is that I speak the way that EVERYONE in upstate NY speaks. I can't make up an accent based on a stereotype. People annoy me.

MappyB: agreed.

12:51 PM  
Blogger HomeImprovementNinja said...

Heather, I can relate to this post. When I was travelling in spain someone told me "it's so great to see educated people speaking spanish, back home I can only practice it with the busboys and dishwashers in the restaurant where I waitress". I gave her a dirty look and said "well, we don't ALL wash dishes, you know."


2:19 PM  
Blogger Neil said...

I don't care what you look like, Heather, but argyle -- c'mon now!

2:21 PM  
Blogger Sue Ellen Mischke said...

Interesting stuff. People do make a lot of assumptions. Most of the time it's not mean-spirited, but it gets old. Like my Italian thing. . . people for some reason feel it's okay to ask me if I'm part of organized crime. So you're wondering if I'm a heartless brutal outlaw? And If I was, would I TELL you that and NOT shoot you in the face when I'm done answering your idiotic question?

6:02 PM  
Anonymous jenn said...

I am with Neil on this: argyle, really?? I think you should model some argyle for your readers to demonstrate to us, its awesomeness.

6:30 PM  
Blogger Liz said...

I've been too traumatized to wear argyle since 5th grade, when Brandon the stupid fucktard made fun of my sweater.

I will live vicariously through your fashion sensem which I know must be as awesome as you are.

9:47 PM  
Anonymous nabbalicious said...

Wow, I'm sorry you have to encounter that at all. Isn't there some far flung island we can send all the ignoramuses to, never to be heard from again?

1:41 PM  
Blogger missbhavens said...

Ugh. being a little o'this and a little o'that, I hear this crap all the time. Makes me's been said before, but it's true: pick your battles...

...but also spit on the money.

8:21 PM  

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