October 14, 2010

Talk About Foot In Mouth

I was raised completely free of racism and prejudice. And that's saying something in rural Arkansas, mkay? I don't even want to think about what would have happened to me if I had used the N word. In fact when I was 5 years old I came home from school excited that we had a new girl in class. Back then my 'r' sounds were completely distorted so when I said to my mom "We got a new girl in school today!" she heard 'n!gger' instead of 'new girl' and I believe I came mere seconds from the proverbial deep shit. Growing up amongst friends whose parents threw that word and much, much worse around with wild abandon was difficult only because back then anyone could whip your ass so scolding a friend's parents for being a bigot wasn't a good option.  So while I couldn't see the difference in me and a black girl, I could pick out a racist idiot at 100 yards. And I absolutely judge people based on whether or not they speak or act that way. I figure if you're gonna be judge-y, at least my criteria are somewhat noble.

I don't know the first thing about Judaism. I couldn't pick a Jew out of a line up. I still don't understand how Jew is a race. I'm a Christian and I'm white but my mom is white and she's Catholic and we look exactly alike. Of course I'd heard 'Jew jokes" but never, ever got them. So back in 2000, I was 21 years old, going to college and working in a Mexican restaurant in Little Rock, Arkansas. Another server made some obscure Jew reference/racist remark and I finally decided I needed to just suck it up and ask what was the big Jew deal. He told me that Jews are stereotypically good with money and that's why people say "I Jewed some money from him".  Oh, ok, well, I still don't get it but okay. Doesn't seem so bad. Cut to that night when we were counting out tips in the managers office. The manager asked me if that 12 top came back to tip me and I said Yep, I Jewed the tip! 

*Crickets*

I'm thinking Fuck! Shit never sounds as clever coming from my mouth! But the look on his face was one of disbelief not annoyance. Then he said I'm Jewish

*Crickets*

Well fuck me running! Are you fucking kidding me? I have never uttered a racist remark in my life, I didn't even know that phrase until 2 hours ago and the first and obviously only time I ever use it is when speaking TO A JEW! And do you know why? Because I couldn't pick a Jew out of a lineup! I'm standing in front of a Jewish man and didn't even know it! Jesus Fuck!!!  I believed I was thinking those things but I was actually saying them out loud.

*Crickets*

The manager and everybody else then collapses into hysterical laughter while I stood there frozen in shame and embarrassment. Those bastards talked about that for MONTHS. The manager bought my drinks that night and told the waitress that the Jew was paying for the racist,country bumpkin. And when he made out the schedule that next week he put Amanda Hitler instead of Amanda Whatever. Oh hardy har har, you guys are hysterical!
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