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    Unintentional Prejudice Is Still A Kick In The Teeth

    | Tennessee, USA | Bigotry, Language & Words

    (I’m a British exchange student working at a Tennessee supermarket. I have a very obvious accent. I’m stocking the shelves when I need to place an item out of my reach.)

    Me: “Hey, [coworker], can you give me a hand?”

    Customer: “Oh, my! Your accent is amazing! Are you English?”

    (I nod.)

    Customer: “Oooh, ooh… can you say…” *in a very bad Cockney accent* “Can I please get some help setting up this fish and chips so I can retire for tea time?”

    Me: “Erm? Sorry, I won’t.”

    Customer: “Well, why not?! I thought all you British people liked tea and fish and chips.”

    Coworker: “If I were to ask you why you aren’t wearing blue jean overalls or ending every sentence with “Y’all”, would you be offended?”

    Customer: “Well, of course I would!”

    (Both my coworker and I raise our eyebrows at her. We watch as her face turns red with realization.)

    Customer: “O-oh… I’m sorry.”

    (The customer quickly walks to the next aisle, face still red as a beet.)

    Coworker: “Sorry about that. We get a lot of people like that around here.”

    Me: “Well, at least she didn’t make a comment about my teeth.”