Little Racisms

Ignorance is not an excuse for racism.

Recently I overheard a group of people, who are educated and usually very nice, discussing an event they had attended. They were discussing a young Japanese student who had come up to a member of the staff at a local college and bowed very deeply several times and then began to converse with him… however in her excitement she had reverted to her mother-tongue, which the staff member did not speak. These people went on to laugh hysterically at the situation and the staff members reaction, saying that they even laughed at the time.

Now to me, this seems very insulting… and this is why:

  • Bowing, in several cultures, is considered a sign of deep respect.
  • To non-native speakers of ANY language, it is normal that in times of great stress, excitement, or nervousness to revert the the language in which you first learned to express yourself.

I couldn’t help but be a little enraged by these people laughing at this young woman, simply because they are ignorant of her culture.

Maybe I am simply blowing this out of proportion… I’m sure they don’t realize, or intend, any ill will. But I still can barely bite my tongue.

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