Be Careful Who You Step On When You Stamp Out Racism

, , , , , , , | Learning | July 15, 2021

We’re on the train to school camp. I’m playing chess with [Classmate #1]. Meanwhile, [Classmate #2] is chatting with the homeroom teacher of another class.

Classmate #2: *Loudly* “And [Classmate #1] never does his homework.”

Classmate #1: “Huh?!”

Me: “Pot calling the kettle black!”

Classmate #2: “Ah-ha! Everyone, [My Name] is being racist! He called [Classmate #1] black!”

Me: “Oh, s***.”

I forgot that [Classmate #1] is African-American.

Me: “No! I didn’t mean it that way!”

Classmate #1: “Yeah, I know. No offence taken.”

He turns to face [Classmate #2].

Classmate #1: “What do you mean, I never hand in homework, you hypocrite? You’re the one that hands in the least amount of homework in class!”

The argument continues on for a while, but eventually, our own homeroom teacher shuts us all up. She comes up to me afterward.

Teacher: “And what’s this about you being racist?”

Me: “Nothing. It was just a badly-used phrase.”

She frowns a bit and then looks at the chessboard.

Teacher: “When we get back, I want you writing lines about not being racist.”

Me: “Why?! I’m not racist!”

Teacher: “Uh-huh.” *Picks up my queen* “Then why are you making the African-American boy play black?”

Classmate #1: “Hey, I prefer black in chess. I like going second. I chose it.”

Teacher: “Don’t worry. You don’t need to defend him. I’ll sort [My Name] out when we get back to school.”

Me: *Sighs* “I can see that I’m not winning this argument. But I insist that you talk to my father about this.”

Teacher: “Oh, I will. He needs to know that racism is intolerable and that such behaviour will not be tolerated in this school.”

She then flips around the chessboard, such that [Classmate #1] now has white.

Teacher: “And if I see you being racist to anyone ever again, I swear to God that I will find a way to drum your a** out of school faster than you can say ‘goodbye’.”

She smugly trotted off. [Classmate #1] and I sighed and continued playing.

The look on her face when she saw my father a few weeks later was priceless. I looked absurdly like my white mother, so nobody realised that my father was an African-American. Naturally, he disbelieved every single accusation of me being racist and basically ordered [Teacher] to let me off the hook.

She did that, but she always gave me the stink-eye in every homeroom. I was really glad to leave her behind when I graduated.

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Something Something, Slow And Steady…

, , , , | Learning | March 23, 2021

Our handball team has a local championship around three hours from away from home. It should last three days, but our team is eliminated in the first round. So, after one night, we head home. The mood is very bad, as we’d hoped to spend a nice weekend in the mountains.

Teammate #1: “Ahh, so stupid. Three-hour trip for nothing! Now I have to sit in this stupid bus again after only one day!”

Another teammate agrees. Suddenly, a red Porsche overtakes our bus and [Teammate #1] exclaims:

Teammate #1: “Wow! With that car, I would be home in thirty minutes! But instead I sit here, on this awful bus!”

Teammate #2: “Yeah! It would be nice. I imagine that is my car and my chauffeur is driving it home for me. I just sit with you in this bus out of pity!”

Teammate #1: “Oh! You are so nice! But instead of sitting here, you should have taken me for the ride home in your car! Your chauffeur should go home by bus!”

They joke around about “their” car and about how difficult it is to go by bus for a while, until our bus slows down and passes an accident. The Porsche is sitting in a ditch, its front totally destroyed.

Luckily, the driver is standing beside it, filing a police report. [Teammate #1]’s and [Teammate #2]’s jaws drop.

Teammate #2: “Oh, my God! MY CAR! WHAT DID THE CHAUFFEUR DO TO IT?!”

Teammate #3: “Do you still think it is soooo bad to go by bus?”

I guess the driver won’t be home for some time!

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Cheesy But Effective

, , , , | Learning | December 5, 2020

We have a school trip to a campground when I am about ten years old. The girls are in two big tents, boys in two big tents, and there are two teachers and two teachers’ assistants in their own tents.

On the first night, we are being typical kids in tents with torches, playing games, trying to scare each other, and calling to the other tents, and the TAs and teachers come in a few times to tell us to go to sleep.

Around midnight, one of the TAs comes in with a box.

TA: “Do you want a midnight feast? Don’t let the others know! Be quiet!”

Us: *Whispering* “Yes!”

TA: “Here, but turn your torches off and be really quiet.”

She handed over a box of cheese sandwiches and, reminding us again to be really quiet, crept out. We all sat there munching our sandwiches and talking in whispers, and when we were done we all pretty much fell asleep straight away. She did this every night of the three-day trip, and we thought we were being SO sneaky!

A few years later, I was chatting with my mum and we were talking about the trip. She was friends with the TA. It turns out that the TA had gone into every tent with a box of sandwiches and the exact same story, and every tent thought they were getting a special treat! Cheese sandwiches were a stroke of genius, stodgy and filling, and after eating a few while sitting quietly we were practically guaranteed to start feeling sleepy.

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Field Trips Are Great Opportunities For Learning!

, , , , , | Learning | December 4, 2020

The high school sports team I coach has a competition on the other side of the state, so we stay in a few rooms of a hotel the night before. Around ten at night, a few of the girls knock on my door.

Girls: “We heard some weird noises. We’re scared.”

Me: “I’ll check it out.”

We go to their hotel room, and they point me in the direction of the bathroom. Sure enough, I hear a noise through the wall, but being an adult, I know what it is, and try to figure out how to tell the very naïve girls. Most students at this school are pretty sheltered, and these girls are no exception. I decide to keep it somewhat vague.

Me: “Um, it’s nothing to be scared of. It would seem that some people find this hotel… romantic.”

Girls: *Giggling* “You mean, like, a couple’s on their honeymoon or something? Ew!”

I shrugged non-committedly and kept to myself that I only heard one person, and assuming the neighboring room’s layout was the same, the noise was coming from the direction of the bathroom.

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Who Doesn’t Love A Good Book Burning?

, , , , , | Learning | September 7, 2020

I am behind the tills at a bookstore. A few schoolchildren from a high school come in and look around dizzily. I realise they’re with a teacher and have come from a trip.

Me: “Welcome to [Bookstore]; can I help you?”

Girl #1: “Yeah, where is Fifty Shades of Grey?”

Teacher: “[Girl #1]! You are not old enough for that!”

Me: “It’s okay.” *To the girl* “I’m sorry, but you have to be over eighteen to buy it.”

They leave. Then, [Girl #2] and [Girl #3] come up.

Girl #3: “Has the Hunger Games number two, like, got any sex in it?”

Me: *Bewildered* “No.”

Girl #3: “Can we have it, then?”

Girl #2: “I thought all books had sex in them now. Why are we buying it?”

[Girl #3] shushes her as they take the book from a pile on the side, pay for it, and go.

They giggle as they go. A few minutes later, the fire alarm goes off. After the children and the other customers and employees are evacuated, and a small fire is put out by firemen, one finds that a book in the garbage bin started it. It was coated in nail polish, shoved in with newspapers, and set alight. I recognise it as the book the girls brought.

Me: “Those girls set it on fire!”

Teacher: *To the girls* “IS THIS TRUE?”

Girl #3: “Well, it was a dumb book! And there’s no sex in it!”

Fireman: “What?!”

Girl #3: “And anyway, it’s a stupid book. Who cares? Everyone who actually isn’t a dork uses Kindle!”

Fireman: “Even if that is true, young lady, you began a fire in a public area, with people inside! You are so lucky the fire didn’t get more serious. You’re under grounds for prosecution!”

The girls are sent away in a police car. The next day, one of the other students from the school comes in. I prepare myself for more trouble, but she asks…

Girl #4: “Can I get a copy of TimeRiders?”

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