Enunciation Is SO Important

, , , , , | Friendly | June 25, 2020

I’m at a large car boot sale with my family — think a market but it’s the general public that sells things they don’t want anymore, typically out the boot of their car. With us is my sister and her one- or two-year-old daughter who’s rather non-vocal. We are white. We’re not walking together and I’ve stopped at a black family’s stall to browse what they’ve got.

Niece: *Very loud and enthusiastic* “[Really derogatory term for black people]!”

I freeze and the black family freezes. People around us freeze.

Niece: *Just as loud and enthusiastic* “[Really derogatory term for black people]!”

I look over and my niece is pointing over at me and the black family. My sister has a look of horror and “Oh, f***, where did she learn that?!” on her face, which I imagine I do, too, and neither of us knows what to do.

My niece continues to be super happy and oblivious in the way only toddlers can manage.

Niece: “Hi, Aunty [really derogatory term for black people]!”

Realisation dawns.

Sister: “Do… Are you calling over to Aunty [My Name]?”

Niece: “Yeah, look, it’s Aunty [really derogatory term for black people]!”

I apologised to the black family, who thought it was hysterical, and I stayed with my sister and niece so as not to have a repeat. We later worked on the pronunciation of my name.

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