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Comments

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J

Your mom is broken. But I bet you anything that the warrantee has expired, and you're SOL.

Iris

I'm sorry - I went through this sort of thing with my father and finally had to give up all contact.Backing off is better than that.
By the way .. if you are shouting insults .. a 'wop' is Italian.

Stephanie

Gads! My mother hasn't made overtly racist comments in my presence but she has made equally inflammatory comments about other things that just make me want to choke. In the past, I was too riddled with co-dependency to even try to respond. Now, I keep contact to an absolute minimum, which means only going to very important family events (like BrotherK's wedding in January) and no contact inbetween. It sucks to have to be the parent with your parent.

GraceD

And Rook is not "an Oriental"? And Moomin is not part "Oriental"?

Or, are they 'different? Like when I would hear, "Oh, I'm sorry, I was trashing Filipinos and I forgot that you're one. BUT YOU'RE DIFFERENT."

Hand me that goddamn Sarcastotron 2000. I'll finish your Mom, and some others, off.

badgerbag

ah, a wop... and so mostly is my mom and her cousins and so I suppose is 3/8ths of me. I had one strange moment at a temp job doing data entry and envelope stuffing in TX in some musty basement office. This very nordic bubbly girl like a big healthy palomino was going on about how she can't believe she dated a wop once, Tony, who smelled like garlic and ate this weird stuff like olive oil and all about his quaint tomato-sauce-cooking mom who couldn't speak english and made them eat all the time in a jolly happy way & I said I was half italian & she looked at me with her mouth open. "Oh! But.. you don't SEEM like a wop!" I explained the history of the word "wop" to her and then in retaliation explained how in Michigan I had grown up hearing polack jokes so if she'd grown up there people would have teased her about smelling like cabbage and how she was big and dumb. We were the only teenagers in a crowd of 50-ish women who were kind of benevolently presiding over it all and people told what they thought of the civil rights movement. It was so cool and strange. At the time I could barely believe I encountered someone in central texas who thought that kike and wop were just jolly words one would normally use in conversation in an innocent way. But I came to realize a lot of the sorority girls were that way. Sweet as pie, not a mean bone, just thought that's the way you talked and that you'd be able to detect one of the somewhat subhuman species from way off, like the Chinese cook "boy" in the cowboy novel I just read. Of course the noble "pony rider boys" in the book saved the cook's life, but it was more like a kindness to animals than anything else. My grandma used to sit me on her lap and tell me stories about anti-italian and anti-irish prejudice in Prov1dence in the 30s and then how it changed in the war. Did my mom just miss that part?

I am not named "Tony" but often smell of garlic & oregano and I think of olive oil as one of the major food groups but that's the limit of my italianness. My ancestors came around 1902 from Messina and somewhere I have all the info and the specific ships they came on and the census reports with their occupations -- a lot of concrete, masonry, and the women worked in jewelry and watch factories or textile mills. You know what they say about Sicilians. Someday I would be super curious to get that racial dna testing... The French bits of the family were french & indian from awfully far back in the very beginning of quebec including one woman who was in the first boatload of whores swept up off the streets in Paris and deported on purpose to be pioneer wives. On the other side is all Germans from 1880s-1890s Iowa railroad building, Brits who came over right around 1914 in a big wave, and the Hemulen strain who very nearly get traced back to Patrick Hemulen, but never quite, with speculations about his bastard son Alexander. Somewhere in the mix you also get Jefferson Davis.

I'm a little bit hyper and can't sleep - can you tell?

Koan Bremner

Parents... racism... pretty much any -ism, really... grand poohbah sucky, and no mistake. My Mum doesn't even know she's doing it half the time - even when she's talking about someone she really likes ("you know, they're nice people, for darkies") she will insist on using the worst cod accent when relaying their part in the conversation.

I rarely hear her do it now - partly because I don't go to see her that often. I wonder why... I'd like to think she's learned a little tolerance from our yelling matches on this topic, over the years - but, in reality, I suspect that she just knows it's easier if she spouts her racism (not that she'd think of it that way) when I'm out of earshot.

cynthia

When GraceD is done with the Sarcastron2000, have her hand it over to me. I think we all should be issued one of these when faced with sexist racist homophobic crap, so that we can flame on at will.

I'm hot sure if it's reasonable to hope that when your mom sees Moomin and Rook that the "oh shit! WTF was I thinking?!" cluethump would kick in, since I don't have the history to back that up. Your mom should be thanking all deities that she's got such an excellent SIL and grandson.

serena

I think that your response to your mom's clueless comment was utterly appropriate: shocked, uncomprehending silence. The kind of silence that echoes. The kind of silence that conveys the notion, "you can't possibly have said what I think you just said; I have no way of contextualizing it within the framework of decent society, let alone our family life, and thus I have no response at all." Granted, she probably didn't get it. But at least you saved yourself a pointless argument.

Iris

You seem to have the coolest ancestry in the world - or is this quite normal in America? I was thrilled to find that one of my grand-parents was half Scottish .. and that's it.

badgerbag

yes - it is quite normal!

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