When A Punch Line Gets You Punched

, , , , | Friendly | June 16, 2017

(We are on holiday and are checking into our hotel.)

Receptionist: “How are you enjoying New York so far?”

Friend: “It’s great! I didn’t expect there to be so many [Racial Slur]s about!”

(The receptionist, who is black, glares at him.)

Friend: “Did I say it right? I heard that’s what white people did in America now.”

(That seemed to dissolve the tension slightly, and I’m hoping she just assumed my friend was making an off-colour joke with all the racial tensions being felt in the country. Personally though, knowing my friend, he was just being racist.)

Mexican’t Believe It

, , , , | Learning | June 8, 2017

(I am working in a junior high classroom helping a group of students with their English homework. This is not long after Trump takes office and the students are reading a magazine article about Trump’s different stances on the environment, immigration, economy, etc. I am explaining to them about his ideas about the border wall with Mexico.)

Student #1: “But I don’t get it. Isn’t Mexico part of the U.S.?”

Me: *fumbling for a response* “Are you thinking of New Mexico?”

Student #1: “No, Mexico Mexico.”

Me: “…No.”

(The rest of the students are either laughing or gaping at this point.)

Student #2: *pointing* “There’s a map over there. Go look.”

(I lead Student #1 over to the map and show them Mexico and the US.)

Student #1: *wide eyed* “Ooohhh… that makes so much more sense. Like, I couldn’t figure out why all the other states wanted to keep people from one state out.”

(At this point, I’m just nodding and trying not to laugh.)

Student #1: “How did I get to seventh grade without knowing that?”

(I thought it best not to answer.)

Love Trumps Hate

, , | IL, USA | Hopeless | December 9, 2016

I’m an Indian-American. It is November 9, 2016, the day after an unthinkable presidential election just happened.

After spending the morning in shock and anger, and apologizing to my Muslim friends for this horrible election, I head out for lunch. I deliberately choose a small Thai restaurant… one that doesn’t have blaring TVs.

When I enter, I am dismayed to see that I am the only non-white customer. Feeling very nervous and wary, I ask for a table away from these other customers, and brace myself for some very unpleasant, overheard “celebratory election conversations.”

Instead, I heard nothing but normal, everyday discussions, on families, Thanksgiving, etc. As they left the restaurant, several people also smiled at me in the familiar “quick hello” way I’ve known all my life in America.

I am very grateful to these customers, for giving me some peace of mind and hope, on a day when I needed it the most.

Love Trumps Hate

, , | IL, USA | Hopeless | December 9, 2016

I’m an Indian-American. It is November 9, 2016, the day after an unthinkable presidential election just happened.

After spending the morning in shock and anger, and apologizing to my Muslim friends for this horrible election, I head out for lunch. I deliberately choose a small Thai restaurant… one that doesn’t have blaring TVs.

When I enter, I am dismayed to see that I am the only non-white customer. Feeling very nervous and wary, I ask for a table away from these other customers, and brace myself for some very unpleasant, overheard “celebratory election conversations.”

Instead, I heard nothing but normal, everyday discussions, on families, Thanksgiving, etc. As they left the restaurant, several people also smiled at me in the familiar “quick hello” way I’ve known all my life in America.

I am very grateful to these customers, for giving me some peace of mind and hope, on a day when I needed it the most.