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    Category: Bigotry

    This category is dedicated to the bottom rung of humanity at its worst — racists, homophobes, and other bigots — and, occasionally, employees at their finest.

    A War Unwon

    | Sacramento, CA, USA | Bigotry, Military, Top

    (I am on leave and meeting an old friend in a restaurant inside a mall. Since I don’t know the area, I get there early and decide to window-shop beforehand. An old guy in his 80s approaches me.)

    Customer: “I remember the good days when I didn’t have to see many of you orientals. Now, you’re everywhere stealing our jobs. All you do is get in the way and take from my great country.”

    Me: “Sir, I’m a Marine. I’ve been in Afghanistan on multiple tours for the last three years. I serve OUR great country.”

    Customer: “Oh! That’s good. Better you than losing some American boys.”

    (I think about how the Marines trained me to survive everything an enemy can throw at us, but not how to listen to an old racist white man.)

    Takes One To Jim Crow One

    | San Jose, CA, USA | Bigotry, Top

    (I work at a movie rental store. Sometimes we have deaf customers. I know some conversational ASL and can usually communicate with the deaf community just fine. A woman and her daughter walk up with a note and place it on the counter and point to it repeatedly.)

    Note: “We’re looking for two movies that came out last Tuesday.”

    Me: *in ASL* “Hello, yes, what movies?”

    Customer, to daughter: “Why does he think I’m deaf?”

    Me: “Oh, I’m sorry! Usually our deaf customers write notes to us.”

    Customer: “That’s ridiculous! How dare you just assume I’m disabled! It’s ridiculous!”

    Me: “I’m terribly sorry. May I ask why you gave me a note instead of asking me verbally?”

    Customer: “You’re Asian! How was I supposed to know you knew my language?!”

    Fahrenheit 2011

    | New York, USA | Bigotry, Books & Reading, Top

    Customer: “That boy is sitting at the corner over there reading your book!”

    Me: “I’m sorry, ma’am. Is he bothering you in any way?”

    Customer: “No, but he is reading a book that he has not paid for yet. He’s like, almost halfway done!”

    Me: “That’s okay, ma’am. We allow our customers to come and read our books here.”

    Customer: “Why the h*** do you let people do that?”

    Me: “Well, sometimes people want to see if they like how the book is written before spending money on it.”

    Customer: “Yeah? Well, poor people shouldn’t be allowed to read!”

    So Pho, So Crazy

    | London, UK | At The Checkout, Bigotry, History, Language & Words, Top

    (I am working the tills at a supermarket. I am of Vietnamese descent but was born in London. An older gentleman comes through my till.)

    Customer: *practically shouting* “Ni-Hao!”

    Me: “Hello to you to sir, but that’s Chinese. I am actually Vietnamese.”

    (I point to my name tag which in our shop goes by family name instead of first name. Mine is the very common ‘Nguyen’.)

    Customer: “Don’t lie!”

    Me: “I assure you sure I am Vietnamese.”

    Customer: “There aren’t any Vietnamese people left!”

    Me: “Pardon?”

    Customer: “Yeah, the Americans killed them all back in the seventies or something.”

    Me: “I think you may have your history confused. I assure you there is still a Vietnam and it is full of Vietnamese people.”

    Customer: “Well I don’t know how you managed to escape but I wouldn’t say it so loudly. There might be Americans around looking for survivors.”

    Me: *as I ring up his last item* “Probably a good idea. That will be £10.34 please.”

    Customer: *as he pays* “Wouldn’t want a young lad like you getting caught!”

    (The customer heads towards the exit, but unfortunately notices the security guard who also happens to be my brother. He is 6ft tall and a body-builder and I dread what might happen.)

    Customer: “Ni-Hao!”

    Brother: “Actually I’m Vietnamese.”

    Customer: “Another one?! But the Americans wiped you all out!”

    Brother: *standing to full height* “I think you might want to just keep on walking.”

    Customer: “How dare you talk to me like that?! I’m going to call the Americans, and then they’ll come down here and shoot you!”

    The Land Of Milk And Money

    , | Minnesota, USA | Bigotry, Top

    (I am working at a packing house, cutting checks for local dairy farmers who sell us one or two cows at a time. They are given a scale ticket in the barn, which I use to cut a check.)

    Me: “Hi, can I have your scale ticket?”

    Farmer: “I’d like him to help me.” *points at a USDA associate*

    Me: “Sorry, sir, but he doesn’t work for us. He works for the USDA.”

    Farmer: “Well, I’d like you to find a MAN who can cut me a check for my cows.”

    Me: “I’m sorry, but none of the men that work here know how to cut checks. All our office staff members are women.”

    Farmer: “Don’t lie, you little hussy! Only men can run a business! You go back to making coffee!”

    Me: “Sir, you run a dairy farm, correct?”

    Farmer: “Yeah.”

    Me: “And you make money from the milk you sell?”

    Farmer: “That’s how a dairy farm works, sweetheart. Now get me a–”

    Me: “So, basically, milk is money to you?”

    Farmer: “Yes. Now get me a–”

    Me: “And does the milk come from male cattle?”

    Farmer: “Ha ha! NO!”

    Me: *pointed look*

    Farmer: *hands me the scale ticket*

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