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Idiot neighbor tonight: "Why can't blacks learn to speak English"?

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liberalhistorian Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu May-19-05 11:14 PM
Original message
Idiot neighbor tonight: "Why can't blacks learn to speak English"?
WTF does he think they speak, ancient Swahili? So they don't sound exactly like him, the way he wants everyone to. He's from West VA, should I complain to him about his "accent" the way he does about "their" accent? I didn't ask him "why can't some people learn to grow a few extra brain cells", but in retrospect, I probably should have.

What I get really sick of is whites assuming that their fellow whites are just as racist as they are. My neighbor assumes that because I'm white, I'll immediately join him in his spouting off of racist bullshit. How do you handle fucksticks like this, anyway? And he's a Democrat, too! That's what really floored me.
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Greybnk48 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu May-19-05 11:16 PM
Response to Original message
1. Why can't the f**king President speak English?
Edited on Thu May-19-05 11:21 PM by Greybnk48
edited to add:

It's amazing. Many people speak hackneyed English and don't notice it in themselves--they focus on the slang of other people. Sadly, some people who have low self-esteem search to find others they can point to and say to themselves "I'm better then they are because..." As far as expecting you to agree because you're white--call them on it.
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napi21 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu May-19-05 11:18 PM
Response to Reply #1
4. That's a GREAT response! Next time your neighbor asks, tell him
you'll learn to speak English as soon as the President does!
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liberalhistorian Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu May-19-05 11:25 PM
Response to Reply #1
9. LOL, that would have, indeed, been
a great response. He can't stand Bush, though, that's the strange thing, he considers himself a Dem. You're right, too, that most people pay attention to how others speak and not how they, themselves, come across. For instance, my neighbor says "don't" for doesn't, and "them" for those, etc., etc.
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kevinmc Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu May-19-05 11:17 PM
Response to Original message
2. Why Can't Sen, Sessions (R) from Alabama?
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Maple Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu May-19-05 11:18 PM
Response to Original message
3. Do you get BBC TV
in your area?

Let him listen to a 'black' news anchor on there. I don't think you'll hear any more thoughtless remarks after that.
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liberalhistorian Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu May-19-05 11:26 PM
Response to Reply #3
13. I'm not sure that we do get it, but
something tells me he wouldn't be too interested in watching it if we did, unfortunately.
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Maple Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu May-19-05 11:32 PM
Response to Reply #13
17. Well I thought
that even 5 minutes of it would show him that 'blacks' not only speak better English than he does on the BBC, but that people generally speak with the language usage and accent they grow up with.

Aussies speak English differently again, and you know us Canucks, eh?
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Orrex Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu May-19-05 11:27 PM
Response to Reply #3
14. Won't work
After hearing the BBC anchor, the neighbor will just sharpen his focus:

"Why can't blacks in this country speak English?"

Tell him that maybe it's because they have that "extra bone" in their ankle. I mean, isn't that essentially what the dumb bigot wants to hear?
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XemaSab Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri May-20-05 05:19 PM
Response to Reply #3
37. Like "Airplane"
where Leslie Neilson is looking for a cab, and the first three cabbies he tries to hire are furriners who don't speak english, and the fourth cab has a formidible looking black dude wearing a dashiki and fez, and Neilson's just like, "Ah, forget it" and leaves without saying anything to the cabbie.

The cabbie turns and in an impeccable British accent says "I wonder what the devil he wanted."
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TahitiNut Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu May-19-05 11:18 PM
Response to Original message
5. Riposte: "Well, I'd tell you to dig the shit out of your ears, ...
Edited on Thu May-19-05 11:22 PM by TahitiNut
... but it'd let the air out and your head would probably deflate." :evilgrin:

FWIW, for much of human history oppressed subcultures have deliberately chosen to speak in terms not generally comprehended by the controlling classes. Cockney Rhyming Slang is just one good example.
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liberalhistorian Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu May-19-05 11:27 PM
Response to Reply #5
15. LOL, I love that,
I'll have to remember that so I can use it myself.
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TahitiNut Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu May-19-05 11:40 PM
Response to Reply #15
25. (grin) It's best delivered with a tone of great concern and solicitation.
Think in terms of Kind Old Family Doctor. :evilgrin:

I've found that when such ripostes are delivered with tone and body language that connotes great concern and empathy, the target is stymied and can't mentally process the perceived contradiction between the words and the manner. When I've been lucky, it resulted in a kind of delayed apoplexy as though constrained by a strait jacket. It's very satisfying to see when one's self is freed of displaying any rage or anger. It's a technique that lots of women seem to master better than men ... but is even more effective when a guy like me (large with prominent features) does it because it's so sweet and old-ladylike.
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BikeWriter Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu May-19-05 11:20 PM
Response to Original message
6. ACK! I'm sorry you have stupid neighbors! :-(
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no_hypocrisy Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu May-19-05 11:23 PM
Response to Original message
7. I'll do you one better: a co-worker asked why can't Hispanics learn to
speak "American".
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liberalhistorian Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu May-19-05 11:33 PM
Response to Reply #7
19. Speak "American?"
WTF is that supposed to mean? There are many, many regional dialects and ways of speaking "American" throughout the country, what an idiot.
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luvLLB Donating Member (394 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri May-20-05 05:38 PM
Response to Reply #19
40. ?Que!
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Massacure Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu May-19-05 11:24 PM
Response to Original message
8. Ask him to spell colour. How much you willing to bet he forgets the U?
;)
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MADem Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu May-19-05 11:25 PM
Response to Original message
10. In my southern travels, I have found
...that a variety of the accents some northern and western folks describe as "black" are actually regional, and not solely color based. Also, if you hang around any high school, you can't tell the Eminem wannabees from the (insert name of rapper of African ancestry here) simply by vocalizations. On occasion, it's a fashion thing, like the chatter you hear in those late 30's/early 40's teen films (often starring Mickey Rooney and Judy Garland) or even back in the twenties (23 skiddooo--WTF?) where the fogey parents have no clue what the kids are saying.

How to handle him? Tell him he is wrong, if you want to get into it. If not, avoid him. Why waste energy on jerks?
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BattyDem Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu May-19-05 11:25 PM
Response to Original message
11. I hate when people assume I'm as bigoted as they are ...
Edited on Thu May-19-05 11:28 PM by BattyDem

though, for some reason, I usually get the anti-gay comments. :shrug:

My standard reply is: "To tell you the truth, I don't have any problem with gay people." (Obviously, any group of people can be substituted.)

That usually shuts them up. Many of them back down and say something like, "Well, I don't have a problem with them ... you know ... I'm just saying ..." :eyes:

If they continue with their bigoted comments, I hit them with, "Listen ... my niece is gay and I don't have any problem with gay people, but I do have a problem with people who bad-mouth gay people, get it?"

That always shuts them up. :evilgrin:

Anyway, my experience has been that by simply saying I don't have any problem with the particular group of people they are criticizing will shut them up and prevent them from ever bothering me with that kind of crap again. No confrontations, no arguments, no debates ... just a simple, honest statement leaves them at a loss for words. :-)



edited: typo :eyes:
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liberalhistorian Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu May-19-05 11:40 PM
Response to Reply #11
23. I hate that, too,
but I really love the expressions on their faces when you disagree with them, or say you have (black, gay, etc.) friends, and then watching them backpedal furiously. It's like all the pompous air just goes right out of them. You'll have the idiots, though, who'll just say shit like "well, of course, there are SOME exceptions, not ALL of "them" are like that!"
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ultraist Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu May-19-05 11:49 PM
Response to Reply #11
28. White code is even more common than the blatant remarks, these days
People are pretty surprised when you break through the white code and confront them on it.

In response to the little sideways digs, I usually ask, "what do you mean by that?" If you continue to ask them questions, they usually back themselves right into a corner because they cannot justify their hate logically. They end hanging themselves so it's very easy to say, "well that's really fucking racist."

What I cannot stand is how they say, "BLACK" with absolute venom.
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The Doctor. Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu May-19-05 11:26 PM
Response to Original message
12. My ex was like that....
No, not 'racist', she just believe so much in her opinions that she assumed everyone else must have too.

The best was when she went out to dinner with my brother and his fiance. This was her first contact with my brother's wife-to-be.

She broke into a diatribe about how the one thing she hated most about schools were cheerleaders...

She went on about the psychology that was represented by 'girls whose main concerns centered around their appearance...' (I'd heard this one before.).

Bet you can guess this setup's outcome...

Yep.

The fiance was a cheerleader for 7 years and throughout college.
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liberalhistorian Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu May-19-05 11:31 PM
Response to Reply #12
16. LOL, boy, would I have loved
to have seen that play out! How did she handle the embarrassment when she found out about your brother's fiance?
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The Doctor. Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu May-19-05 11:45 PM
Response to Reply #16
26. Actually...
Edited on Thu May-19-05 11:46 PM by Dr_eldritch
She ignored it, pretended it never happened.

She actively edited her memories... like many of us. That alone is not such a big deal.

It's the mental resources/adaptations one would need to commit to the problem in direct proportion to the mental/emotional/physiological impact of the event/memory. It's the footprint a memory makes... this would have been a big one for her, but she 'erased' it.
By study - I'm fascinated with the machinations by which people 'deprogram' themselves... but I couldn't live with one who did.

To me - It kind of feels like how artificial intelligence would socially interact.


{oe}-grammar
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ultraist Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu May-19-05 11:55 PM
Response to Reply #26
29. "actively edited her memories" LMAO!
I'm stealing that term. Much more polite than, your fucking lying about what REALLY happened.

But to be fair, we all deny, justify, and rearrange reality to some degree in our minds. How could we live with ourselves if we didn't?
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The Doctor. Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri May-20-05 02:42 AM
Response to Reply #29
30. Integrity.... according to your own well-reasoned
set of ethics...

or not so well reasoned.

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proud2BlibKansan Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu May-19-05 11:33 PM
Response to Original message
18. Our next door neighbor was a racist pig
when I was a kid. 1960s - civil rights news on TV every night. This guy made a racist comment to my dad every time he saw him.

One day a friend of my dad's came over to see him. The friend was black. The next day the neighbor asked who was that guy. My dad said 'Oh, we sold our house to him yesterday'.

Bigot neighbor never spoke to my dad again.
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liberalhistorian Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu May-19-05 11:35 PM
Response to Reply #18
21. Good for your dad!
The neighbor's never speaking to him again was certainly no great loss. When I was growing up, most of my mom's co-workers were black and a lot of them became her good friends. Unfortunately, our neighborhood is a bastion of WASP-ness, so you should have seen everyone's reactions when my parents would have their black friends over to the house.
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proud2BlibKansan Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu May-19-05 11:40 PM
Response to Reply #21
24. We had several black families
we were friends with when I was a kid. They came over to our house and we went over to their houses. And their neighbors stared at us as much as our neighbors stared at them.

And I always thought it would be so much better than that when I grew up.
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Mad_Dem_X Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri May-20-05 08:42 AM
Response to Reply #18
33. Great answer!
Kudos to your dad!
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BiggJawn Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu May-19-05 11:33 PM
Response to Original message
20. Tell him....
"What are you talking about? Blacks speak English, just the same dialect the Southern WHITES taught their ancestors from Africa to speak..."

Shuts 'em up every time.

And I know what you mean about people assuming that I'm a ditto-head dumbass like they are just because we look the same and live in the same place...
But then I had guys ask if I was "Family" when I lived in down-town Indy, too.
Must be a "Village" thing...
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liberalhistorian Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu May-19-05 11:38 PM
Response to Reply #20
22. What did they mean by that, asking if
you were "family?" How weird.
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BiggJawn Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri May-20-05 08:37 AM
Response to Reply #22
32. "Code Word" for Gay.
I lived in what was sometimes called "The Pink Triangle District"

I'd just say "No, I'm a distant relation..."
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Lydia Leftcoast Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu May-19-05 11:45 PM
Response to Original message
27. There have been studies on the speech of black people in the U.S. vs.
black people in the UK.

(I recall these from my days in grad school studying linguistics.)

Basically, other children are the greatest influence on a growing child's speech. That's why the children of immigrants usually speak with an American accent, not with their parents' accent.

In the U.S., housing has traditionally been segregated by race. Black children tend to grow up among other black children, and that reinforces black English usage. However, black children who are adopted by white families or who grow up in a mostly white community tend to "sound white."

In the U.K., housing is separated by social class, not race. Aside from direct immigrants from Africa or the Caribbean, poor blacks sound like poor whites, and middle-class blacks sound like middle-class whites. You can see this phenomenon in British movies and TV programs.
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Vektor Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri May-20-05 03:54 AM
Response to Original message
31. I just look at them, blink innocently, and say...
"They do speak English. Haven't you ever talked to a black person? I have never spoken to one that DOESN'T speak English, but I have met several who speak multiple languages, including French. Can you do that? Cause I sure as hell can't!"
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all.of.me Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri May-20-05 09:09 AM
Response to Original message
34. my dad used to try and engage me in arguments
i learned to ignore him, nod and go uh-huh, uh-huh. otherwise, i'd find myself arguing with someone who thought they were right and whose opinions were never going to change.
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SmokingJacket Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri May-20-05 09:40 AM
Response to Original message
35. I hope this doesn't sound like "reverse racism," but...
When I was a teacher in a mostly black school, I was really astounded by how incredibly verbally clever my students were. Their jokes, nicknames, arguments, repartee, and expressions were extremely sophisticated, subtle, and funny -- MUCH more so than the white students.

Their skill with the language -- must have been English, because I understood it -- was just plain superior. But because most white people don't appreciate that kind of verbal expressiveness, it isn't valued. That just chaps my butt.

Hello, all you racist folks: people are different from each other -- and individuals are more different from each other than groups are. And because someone doesn't conform to your particular values DOES NOT mean they are inferior. I mean, Duh.
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liberalhistorian Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri May-20-05 05:11 PM
Response to Reply #35
36. My mom taught in a predominantly black
school for nearly thirty years, and she made the same observation. She loved hearing them play the verbal game "the dozens" because they were so good and it and so quick and sharp with words. A black friend of mine once said she thought that might have something to do with the fact that African cultures are traditionally very oral and that the slaves brought that tradition with them.
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im10ashus Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri May-20-05 05:21 PM
Response to Original message
38. You should have responded accordingly.
"They are speaking anti-bigot, Archie Bunker."
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Fire Walk With Me Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri May-20-05 05:22 PM
Response to Original message
39. "Because they they'd sound like ignorant, racist white neighbors."
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