The Mind Wobbles

So many things to absorb, think about, deal with and put up with - it simply makes the mind wobble...

Monday, September 10, 2007

The "N" Word and Me

On Saturday afternoon hubby and I went to a a good friend's house to watch the University of Miami vs. Oklahoma game - we lost horribly.

Anyway, as it turned out I wound up being the only woman present, in addition to hubby there were three other men. This has never been a problem for me, as I have always been comfortable in the company of men. Of the remaining three men two are good friends of mine and the other (a close friend on one of the other guys) an acquaintance of over 15 years - we see each other regularly at parties, casual gatherings, etc.

So, I wind up sitting next to the acquaintance - a professional, fairly reasonable, 45 year-old man, father of two. In discussing the new UM coach, who is Black, and his newly implemented disciplinary tactics, this guy drops the "N" bomb on me as part of a joke! Obviously he has never heard me use that word before, nor has he heard anyone else use that word around me - what the hell makes him think I would be OK with that? What is wrong with people?

Since my stunned silence was not the reaction he expected to his stupendous display of humor he actually said to me "Did you hear what I said?" to which I icily replied "Yes I did and I really don't want to hear it again." But, I don't think he understood that I was offended.

What more could I have done? How could I have made it clear to him that I don't appreciate that kind of language without making everyone else uncomfortable? In the past (when I was younger and much more hot-headed) I asked someone who used that type of language to leave my home, but it was *my* home. And once at a dinner party another person said the word and I excused myself from the table and went to another room - thankfully we were having dessert, but that guy definitely understood why I had left.

Why would someone assume people are OK with this? Has it not been made clear enough that a significant number of people are offended by such language? Have we not yet created a zeitgeist where such people would at least curtail their use of hate speech unless they were sure they were speaking to like-minded individuals?

The mind wobbles...



Blogger TroyBoy said...

I am having a hard time imagining you remaining quiet in such a scenario. Kudos to you for being so level headed. It obviously caused you great discomfort. You had to suffer ignorance and a loss for the Canes. Damn if you didn't have a lousy Saturday!

10:47 PM  
Blogger sari said...

I was visiting my grandparents a few years ago and my great-aunt came over and was talking to my grandma. My great-aunt just let loose with that word in regular conversation like it was nothing - I was pretty horrified. I mean, I just didn't think that happened in this day and age, but shockingly, it does.

3:10 PM  
Blogger Muffy St. Bernard said...

The mind wobbles indeed!

Maybe he was trying to shock you and show how "unconventional" he is?

Even my father -- king of the "I'm a shocking rebel" comment -- no longer uses the "N"-word. I think we all stopped responding to that piece of stupidity and he eventually dropped it.

8:49 AM  

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