Mumbling and Grumbling

Today, a white coworker, R, was griping to me about L, another coworker, who is black. L really doesn’t like R and doesn’t try to hide it. When R asked her a question about something work-related, L kept mumbling the response and forcing R to repeat the question. Every time R repeated herself, L got more and more agitated and continued to mumble the answer. It was an understandably irritating situation.

When R told me about this, she added, “I was tempted to tell her to stop pulling that black shit on me.”

I honestly thought that I hadn’t heard her correctly, and in response to my confused look, she added, “Black people do that shit on purpose. They mumble. You know how you can’t understand what they’re saying when you go through the drive-through? A janitor told my mom that they mumble that shit on purpose.”

I really really wish that white people would stop thinking of me as their Honorary So-Intelligent-That-She’s-Not-Really-Black-So-I-Can-Unload-All-My-Racist-Bullshit-And-She-Will-Agree-With-Me Negro Friend. She talked to me, a black woman that she has known for years, about black people and what “they” do and why “they” do it, as if I weren’t actually a part of the group that she is stereotyping and disparaging.

I am not white. I am NOT white. I AM NOT WHITE. So don’t fucking pull that shit on me!

Oh, and to state the obvious: When a black person does something obnoxious, it’s because they’re black and they’re just pulling “that black shit.” It’s never because they, as an individual, are obnoxious. It’s because black people do shit that is obnoxious (and she knows! because a janitor somewhere told her mom! so it must be true!).

I’m fucking ready for my vacation.

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16 Responses to “Mumbling and Grumbling”

  1. Nicole Says:


    • August Says:

      A lot of folks don’t know this, but “idiot” is a pretty ableist term. Check out FWD’s Ableist Word Profile: Idiot for the history of its useage. Here’s a snippet:

      An “idiot” medically speaking was someone with a “mental age level” of less than three years, or an IQ under 30. It was, quite literally, a diagnosis of mental inferiority, as decided by the medical community. I would like to point out, for the record, that people with this diagnosis were subjected to indignities like institutionalization and forcible sterilization, with no less a figure than Oliver Wendell Holmes once saying “three generations of idiots is enough” when defending the forcible sterilization of Carrie Buck in Buck v. Bell in 1927.

      And before you leap to say “well, that’s old,” I would like to point out that the word “idiot” was used in a diagnostic and medical context in my home state of California as recently as 2007…

      • choleandjo Says:

        It’s ridiculous how many words that we use to describe things are ableist… at the conference I was at, someone mentioned the word “lame” …

        • August Says:

          Trufax. Lame, idiot, moron, retard, dumb, crazy, psycho, schizo, the list seriously does goes on and on. We TABs apparently lack the ability to effectively insult someone without dehumanizing PWDs.

  2. Nicole Says:

    Also – what was your response? I’m curious to know if you took the high road and just put up with her or if you publicly humiliated her? I hope you humiliated her stupid ass.

    • August Says:

      I had to be reserved because she’s one of the people assessing me for my review this year. I basically just said that we don’t all do that and I don’t know what she’s talking about. She didn’t really acknowledge me at all, just moved onto something else.

      • choleandjo Says:

        A lot of people don’t understand how people don’t stand up for stuff… without understanding that livelihood is often connected to it. It’s not just the “superficial” racism of saying something like that but a deeper racism that prevents people from defending themselves – SO PERVASIVE.

        • August Says:

          Yes and yes.

        • Nicole Says:

          Er, I didn’t directly understand that it was so deeply connected to her livelihood or I wouldn’t have asked. But thanks for reminding me.

          • choleandjo Says:

            Oh! I didn’t mean you specifically (or at all!), Niki! I just was talking in general and being smart or something (and I would have said the same thing had I not known it!!)

          • Nicole Says:

            That’s what so stupid about the way we’ve made society – someone can say something completely inappropriate to you but because we have to rely on money, we can’t even defend our basic rights as humans. Our ED is a psycho that way – forget that she hired her son and gave him a huge raise when the rest of us get squat, but no one’s brave enough to say anything to her.

            Also, are there words equivalent to idiot, lame, and moron that I could use without offending anyone (aside from the person it’s directed at)? I don’t want to be socially ignorant, but I feel that I need some rude words to display my distaste for certain peoples. >:)

          • August Says:

            Dude, figuring out other insults is the fun part. My favorite method is to add the word “fuck” to the beginning of other words, like so:

            – fucksack
            – fucknuts
            – fuckturd

            The possibilities are endless!

  3. Nicole Says:

    BTW, could you tell the rest of your people to stop being so attractive? Because I HATE how black people do that shit on purpose.

  4. ThatDeborahGirl Says:

    You heed to have a nice long chat with her racist ass in front an HR person.

    • August Says:

      I would, but the benefits of letting this one slide outweigh the possible benefits of going toe to toe. My workplace is full of politics (and HR wouldn’t do much for me anyway; they never have in the past, and under much more offensive and horrendous circumstances).

      P.S. I like your blog!

  5. ThatDeborahGirl Says:

    If HR won’t help you and there have been situations worse than this, you need to start thinking about the L-word: Litigation.

    Glad u like my little piece of virtual space. I’m having a 5th Anniversary Party of sorts, so please feel free to stop by.

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