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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.

R-Word Is R-Rated

| Los Angeles, CA, USA | At The Checkout, Bad Behavior, Bigotry

(My coworker also happens to be my very best friend. He is severely disfigured, but sweet and very talented at carving. However, because of his appearance, our manager keeps him working in the back room most of the time. One day our manager is out sick and has left me in charge. My best friend comes out of the back room to bring me some inventory. A customer sees him.)

Customer: “Oh, dear!” *to me* “Bless you, dear.”

Me: “Um, thank you?”

Customer: “For hiring someone like that poor boy!”

(She is speaking as though my friend isn’t standing right beside me. He looks hurt, and I try to hurry the customer along.)

Me: “Is there anything else I can help you with, ma’am?”

Customer: “People like you really are a blessing, dear. Even the retarded need jobs in this country. I would never employ one, but I certainly respect those who do.”

Me: “Um, ma’am, could you please not say that word?”

Customer: “What, retarded? But it’s what he is.”

Me: “No, he isn’t. I’m going to have to ask you to leave, please.”

Customer: “But look at him! He’s obviously retarded, dear. You don’t have to lie. He can’t understand you.”

(At this point, I am very angry and my friend looks near tears.)

Me: “Ma’am, he is not mentally impaired, and he understands every word that we’re exchanging. It’s not difficult to grasp that you’re an enormous bigot, either. Please leave the store.”

(The customer starts to leave in a huff, but pauses to admire some hand-carved birds at the front of the store.)

Me: “By the way, he made those.”

(The customer glares at me and storms out.)

Not A Hair Out Of Place

| Austin, TX, USA | Bigotry, Health & Body

(I work as a driver for a car rental office. I pick up customers from their homes, or from the local service centers and body shops, and return them to the same locations when they return the car. I am male and have worn my hair long for nearly ten years. During this trip, I am returning a customer home. His head is shaved. After making small talk for a few minutes, he asks a question.)

Customer: “So, why do you have your hair like that? You look like a f****** f**.”

Me: “Well, sir. I’ve been blessed with the ability to grow thick, healthy hair, so I grow it out, and once a year I cut it off and donate it to ‘Locks Of Love.’ They take it and make wigs for kids with cancer, who DON’T have the ability to grow their hair anymore thanks to chemo.”

(There is silence in the car for a few minutes.)

Customer: “Hey, I’m sorry about before. I actually lost my son to cancer a couple years ago. I shaved my head to match his, and I keep it shaved to remember him…”

Way South Of Average Intelligence

| Atlanta, GA, USA | Bigotry, Extra Stupid, Geography, Language & Words, Musical Mayhem

(I am a light-skinned South African living in the United States. I occasionally get to perform my own music in a local hip-hop-oriented bar. I try to keep my lyrics clean of profanities, which is unusual for this audience.)

Bar Patron #1: “It’s nice to hear some clean hip-hop here for a change.”

Me: “Thanks. I just don’t see the need for me to swear, since most of my songs are about partying and that sort of light stuff.”

Bar Patron #2: “Usually with the people who perform here, it’s ‘n-word this’, and ‘n-word that’.”

Me: *laughing* “Can you imagine, a white South African using that word a whole bunch of times?”

Bar Patron #2: “I know you could do that if you wanted to, since your country is run by African-Americans and all, but it’s nice that you don’t.”

Me: “… Oh boy.”