White People Sh*t Wednesday


I saw this scene in this movie with Clint Eastwood. In the scene, Eastwood is teaching some “nip” kid how to speak like a “real man.”

The scene starts with Eastwood walking into a barber shop and saying:

“How ya doing Martin, you crazy Italian prick? “

The actor playing Martin responds:

“Walts! You cheap bastard! I should have known you’d come in, I was having such a pleasant day! “

Prior to the greet, the barber says this when Eastwood walks in with the “nip” kid:

“Perfect! A Polak and AND a Chink!”

So now Eastwood tells this kid.

“Now you go out and come back in and talk to him like a man, like a REAL man. Come on! Get your ass outta here! Come on back now. “

And the kid comes back in and says:

“What’s up ya old Italian prick? “

And Martin, the barber goes:

[pointing rifle at Thao] “Get out of my shop before I blow your head off, you goddamn dick sucker! Go! “

Eastwood goes:

“What the hell are you doing? Have you lost your mind? “

Thao, the character who’s trying to talk like a “real man” says:

“But that’s what you said. That’s what you said men say.”

And the scene ends like so:

Walt Kowalski: You don’t just come in and insult the man in his own shop! You just don’t do that. What happens if you meet some stranger? You get the wrong one, he’s gonna blow your gook head right off!**
Thao Vang Lor: What should I have said then?
Barber Martin: Well… why don’t you start with… eeehm… Hi or Hello…
Walt Kowalski: Yeah, just come in and say… eeeehm… Sir, I’d like a haircut if you have the time.
Barber Martin: Yeah, be polite, but don’t kiss ass.
Walt Kowalski: In fact you could talk about a construction job you just came from and bitch about your girlfriend and your car.
Barber Martin: eeeehm… Son of a bitch, I just got my brakes fixed and eeehmm those son of bitches really nailed me, I mean they screwed me right in the ass!
Walt Kowalski: Yeah, don’t swear AT the guy, just talk about people who are not in the room… eeeh… you could talk about your boss… eeeh… making you work extra time when there is bowling night.
Barber Martin: Right, or… eeeh… my old lady bitches for two goddamn hours about how… eeeeh… they don’t take expired coupons at the grocery stores. And the minute I turn on the fucking game, she starts crying how we never talk! ***

The point of this little rehash is about differences in culture and societal norms.

One afternoon, I was listening to a co-worker talk about how he was having an argument with a bus driver.

The back-story is this, the bus driver took off when this co-worker was standing at the door to the bus. This is the second time it had happened to him and the problem was that a bus only comes every hour and this was the bus he needed to get to work.

So he goes to a stop where he knows he can catch the bus.

The co-worker finally comes face-to-face with the bus driver and he recounts what he said to the bus driver to us.  At some point the co-worker called the bus driver  “motherfucker.” And the co-worker goes on to say that as soon as he did that, he realized that he lost the argument he was trying to make.

The bus driver called the co-worker in as “belligerent” and refused to move the bus any further. Reminder, this was not the first time my co-worker just got left by this bus driver. So you’d think he’d have every right to call him a motherfucker, but apparently not.

As Eastwood’s character says…“don’t swear AT the guy.”

My immediate reaction to this phenomenon that my co-worker described and even Eastwood’s character’s reaction was “white people shit.”

Where I come from swearing is a signal to another person that they have

A) crossed the line, and

B) pissed you off

And the gloves are off and we are one step away from fisticuffs or a brawl.

No decent human being wants to cuss out another. It is an uncouth practice and at the same time, if another person is already doing something uncouth, then to the person cussing, the situation has already been brought to an uncouth level. (Well hell, I tried to be good but you’re still being an ass and I will not be the toilet for your shitty dump.)

I’ve always understood that cussing, in my social world, is more like a warning signal.

It means that the person will not back down and that they are capable of going apeshit on your ass. It would be the same as giving someone a passive warning that this is the wrong way to go and you might get hurt if you continue down this path. (Not only that but apparently cussing makes you feel better.)

My reaction was uttered in mixed company, with white people and non-white people. The white side of the room remained quiet while the non-white people laughed.

I understand this “white people shit” difference (now) but as someone who is from a different social background, where this type of behavior is grounded in acceptance because it relates to a social identity, it really bugs me that others not from this background are so quick to judge people (specifically me) being like this.

It makes saying things like “It’s alright as long as it’s all white,” sound reasonable.

In professional relationships it’s one thing (it’s just not professional at all), in personal relationships it’s a big deal (this is how I was raised, this is my identity and its always been okay, until I met you. Plus, because everyone [in my community/society]knows the everyone is capable of  doing this, we do our best not to let it get to this level).

Even if you don’t like people swearing at you, to respond to this behavior with something like “this is not how proper people behave” is rude and insulting because as I wrote earlier:

Swearing is a signal to another person that they have

A) crossed the line, and

B) pissed you off

And the gloves are off and we are one step away from fisticuffs or a brawl.

So say you can’t handle that type of confrontation: Say that you want to talk but you want some ground rules. Or let them have their say and once you’ve listened to them and the problem has been settled, take the time to talk to them about things like this.

Is it so wrong to ask for others to accept your societal norms as much as you accept theirs?

But this sh*t?

“This is not how proper people behave”

Automatically leads to:

Kiss it (_|_)

I’m glad my co-worker relayed that story to me though. Now I know how I can relate better to others even if they aren’t sensitive enough to try and relate to me. (Jerks, assholes, punks, ccksckers. Hey, I’m making myself feel better.)

*I also considered naming this post, WASP Aspiration Wednesday, since the value I’m talking about it is more of a societal class value then an ethnic one but WASP Aspiration Wednesday doesn’t have quite the same ring at White People Sh*t Wednesday.

** My mom always said don’t try to make someone angry, you don’t know what type of crazy you’ll get.

*** See the movie scene below

Advertisements

One thought on “White People Sh*t Wednesday

  1. Pingback: TV Tuesday: London Riots « Queens and Bees

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s