Cinco-No-No

| NM, USA | Friendly | May 26, 2017

(Today is Cinco de Mayo. My friend is known for having some… special moments.)

Friend: “Happy Cinco de Marco!”

Me: “Uh… Cinco de Mayo.”

(Later…)

Me: “Fun fact: Cinco de Mayo isn’t really celebrated at all in Mexico except in one small town.”

Friend: “Really? But isn’t today like Day of the Dead? I thought that was really big in Mexico?”

Me: “That’s Día de los Muertos, and it’s around Halloween. You know, the holiday with the sugar skulls and stuff?”

Friend: “Oh, I thought that was in May.”

Me: “No… You live 45 minutes from the border and you don’t know this?”

Some People Are Just Looking To Be Oppressed

| CA, USA | Learning | May 26, 2017

(I’m waiting for my parents to pick me up and using a coloring app on my phone. I’m coloring a Japanese geisha, so I give her dark hair, white and red makeup, etc. While coloring, I can feel the eyes of the girl behind me, but I ignore her, as she’s not being particularly annoying — until I finish.)

Me: “Ooh! Pretty!”

Girl: “Why is she so pale?”

Me: “Well, she’s a geisha. Her face is white because geishas wore white face makeup, and her hands are pale because she’s Japanese.”

Girl: “Wow, so you’re racist AND you’re assuming THEIR gender?”

Me: “…what? I’m coloring HER skin based on her culture, not my preferences, and I’m calling HER a HER because geishas were female.”

Girl: “THEY could have dark skin!”

Me: “No, SHE, as they were SHEs, and no, drag queen geishas sound awesome but didn’t exist, would not have dark skin because geishas held pretty fancy positions in a society where noblewomen and men had pale skin. Geishas represented beauty, and pale skin was beautiful! I believe people of ALL skin colors can be beautiful, but I’m trying to be historically accurate in this drawing!”

Girl: “Oh, so now you’re even more racist because you accepted their oppression against dark-skinned people.”

Me: “What?! First of all, this is ANCIENT JAPAN! I wasn’t ALIVE to accept or revolt against any kind of ‘oppression.’ Second of all, again, it’s ANCIENT JAPAN and the only people with ‘dark skin’ were farmers who were tanned from working in fields. Darker skin was seen as undesirable because the profession of farming was seen as undesirable. And, by the way, don’t bother saying anything else, because I won’t listen. The only thing coming out of this conversation is a headache and lost faith in humanity, so blabber all you want. I’m not paying attention.”

(The girl ranted for about five minutes until she got the message and shut up. Honestly, though, don’t try to advocate for issues if you don’t know what it means. Giving a geisha pale skin isn’t being racist!)

Their Fault For Thinking You’re Dim(Sum)

| USA | Learning | May 23, 2017

(We’re in foreign language class. Everything spoken is in another language except where shown.)

Teacher: “What did you have for dinner last night?”

Me: “Mushroom and beef pasta, vegetables, and soup.”

Teacher: “And breakfast today?”

Me: “Vegetable dumplings, beans, and tea.”

Teacher: “Dumplings is–” *in English* “–dumplings.” *back to foreign language* “I said breakfast.”

Me: “Yes?”

Teacher: “You ate dumplings and beans for breakfast?”

Me: “Yes.”

Teacher: “You’re crazy.”

Me: “It’s breakfast to me.”

(I’m ‘different,’ not always by personal choice. She responds like this every time.)

War Against Ignorance

| England, UK | Learning | May 22, 2017

(We have been reading a book in English as part of an assignment. The book centres around a character who fought in World War II returning home to get revenge for what happened prior to enlisting. We have just finished the book and our teacher is asking for everyone’s opinions.)

Student: “I liked it, but it wasn’t very believable.”

Teacher: “I see. In what way?”

Student: “Well, all this ‘war’ stuff. I mean, when was it meant to happen?”

Teacher: “The war?”

Student: “Yeah.”

Teacher: “World War II happened between 1939 and 1945.”

Student: “So, the author made up a war when we didn’t even have weapons to fight with, and what about this ‘2’? Does he seriously think we’d believe that there have been two wars?”

Teacher: “…”

(We were literally learning about WWII in History at the time, and he was in my class!)

Go Back To Sour Candies

| UK | Learning | May 21, 2017

(We are doing an experiment with acids. My partner has been sneaking chocolate out of her bag every few minutes. The teacher notices.)

Teacher: “Do not eat in a science classroom!”

Partner: *mumbling with chocolate* “Sorry, mith.”

(She completely ignores the order and continues. As she’s leaning down for another piece, she knocks a beaker over. I run to get some towels and when I get back she’s acting strangely. He’s fanning her hands and tearing up.)

Partner: “MITH! MITH, MY MOUTH—” *swallows chocolate* “MOUTH IS BURNING!”

Teacher: “What? What’s going on?”

Me: “We spilled some acid, but…”

Partner: “Ow! I dropped some chocolate in it, and when I ate it…”

(She didn’t have to finish her sentence before the teacher went white. She then dragged my partner out of the classroom.)

Partner: “But miss, you said it wouldn’t hurt!”

Teacher: “No, I said wouldn’t burn your HANDS if you washed it off immediately. It isn’t strong enough to do much harm on the outside, but putting it in your mouth… You stupid girl!”

(She ended up having to go to hospital, but made a full recovery. The entire school had to have a safety assembly over the risk when working in a science class.)

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