A few years ago I was at the local country store. It's what passes as a restaurant in these parts. While I was sitting there, reading the weekly paper, a young man came in and started running his mouth to the clerk.  He was talking about a national sports incident where a black football player had a domestic violence incident with his white girlfriend. 

He threw around the n word a LOT.  "Fucking n***** with a white women.  That's disgusting...."  He continued on in this vein for several minutes.  Right up to the point when I stood up,placed my paper on the table,walked by him and said "Excuse me, my grandchildren are bi-racial" (they're not).  His mouth dropped open and he started apologizing.

Fast forward to last week.  Another, much older man, was at the same store, (talking to a different clerk) running his mouth about our president.  N***** this and n*****that.  I just ignored his rant and continued to read the paper.  Everybody around here knows I'm a liberal atheist.  He was doing it to see if I would leave. I wouldn't give him the satisfaction.  I've been questioning myself since then if there was anything I could have said to shut him up.  Any ideas out there????

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Comment by k.h. ky on November 28, 2013 at 12:26am

You're not a coward Randall.  Just prudent.  If I were a man I'd be more hesitant to speak up for fear of getting punched in the face.

Comment by k.h. ky on November 28, 2013 at 12:12am

I've found the younger people in this area are easier to deal with when it comes to race or religion.  They've usually been taught, by someone, that they shouldn't go mouthing off in public with racist,homophobic,misogynistic slurs.  The older ones are quite different.  Even though the know it's wrong they still hang on to their prejudices like it's a raft in a flooded stream.  I've learned to be more cautious with them for my own safety. I'm a midle aged woman, most of the younger ones show some respect because I could be their grandma.  The older men act like it's their god given right to reign supreme of all other races,females,gays,.. Anyone who is not a white male.

Comment by Glen Rosenberg on November 25, 2013 at 11:07am

...It is a free country and you are free to rant as the subhuman, a living relic of our past. When is your next performance? I'd like to sell tickets to view the talking fossil...

Comment by Randall Smith on November 25, 2013 at 8:17am

Unfortunately, I'm a silent coward when it comes to things like that. I want to correct bad English, but don't. I figure it's a hopeless cause. Bigots will most likely always be bigots. I would walk out, however.

Comment by Dion on November 24, 2013 at 3:56pm

Ask them why they fear people of other ethnicities so much? Hatred and bigotry come from a place of fear. Explain this to them. You will not change their minds but you will have planted the seed of doubt.

Comment by Dyslexic's DOG on November 24, 2013 at 4:53am

I couldn't hold my tongue, I'd attack his credibility, with something like, "He may have darker skin than yourself, but he has at least treble your intelligence, it was his intelligence that got him there, in spite of his skin color, which was a massive hurdle he had to leap, and leap it he did extremely well, and I don't see any possibility of you getting that far, ever." 

Though I'm extraordinarily, polite here, the above line has been massively censored, because I've got a massive potty mouth as well.  I'd make the jerk feel so small, he'd be able to walk out under the door.  I love belittling jerks, I used to do that to Jehovah Witnesses and Mormons when they came knocking.   I've not had any knock for a few years now:  LOL!   :-D~

Comment by Sentient Biped on November 23, 2013 at 1:56pm

k., I loved what you did in the first example!  I think it's situational.  It's easy for me to say I would have done something other.

A usually-sweet  85 year old lady repeated the same language to me recently, telling a story about something she said in her youth.  I was not in a setting to criticize, but I did tell her I don't talk that way, and it makes me uncomfortable.

Comment by Ruth Anthony-Gardner on November 23, 2013 at 1:06pm

You could tell the racist, politely, that you find racist language offensive. Using such works makes me angry, or upset. By making public proclamations he's challenging every bystander to either silently enable bigotry or to publicly challenge his language. Offensive language is inherently coercive. Ask him politely to keep his voice down so only the individual to whom he's speaking is put in the position of silently agreeing or stating disagreement, not everyone in the room.

Perhaps he didn't intend to pressure bystanders to be bigotry enablers. Give him the benefit of the doubt. You could even lead with this benefit of the doubt.

I've had a break with friends over objecting to one of them calling his wife "Babe" in public. I saw it as denying the adulthood of women in the room, not just his wife.

Language is often a subtle weapon, without the users realizing it.

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