Keep Your Racism to Yourself!!

I found a length of blue plastic something at work the other day. My manager, Gary, told me it was a spare squeegee handle and I could throw it away. It was maybe 3 inches long, and I decided I could use it as a portable bludgeoner for my walks home.

I was showing my coworker how I imagined bashing some poor mugger in the dome as he tried to take my purse. I've since learned it won't work, much to my dismay.

Gary gets his "ohmygod I'm gonna tell you an awesome story face," and I prepare myself.

Gary's a good guy, if a little awkward. He's new to the management business and he alternates between wanting to regale you with his stories of drunken debauchery or reminding you he's the boss. He strikes me as the sort of kid who never felt like he fit in, so he tries a little too hard. He'd be fine if he'd just chill, but alas.

In any event, his buddy also has a portable bludgeoner he keeps in his car. His decision to do so evidently came from having been beaten up by a gang of Hmong kids.

The friend lives in Wausau, which boasts a population approaching 85,000. In recent years, many Hmong refugees from Laos have moved there . Wisconsin, Minnesota and California have some of the largest Hmong populations, in fact.

Turns out, group of Hmong thugs surrounded Gary's friend's car and punched him in the face through the window. Thereafter, he started carrying his portable bludgeoner.

Gary starts giggling, looks around, and lowers his voice to a whisper. I look at Chandre, who is Native American. We both know that the story is not going to end well.

"He calls it his 'g**k beater."

I cover my ears and yell, "Oh no! That's not cool, Gary!"

"Wait, but, they're in gangs!"

"I'm sure they are, but I don't want to hear that stuff, words like that. There are gangs of all sorts of colors all over the place."

"Yea, but Wausau used to be such a nice place until they moved in."

Here we go...

"That's how it always is, though, whenever you have a minority, or immigrant population move into an area, that sort of thing happens. Especially if they're poor and discriminated against..." I argue, of course.

"Wausau is not like that, there aren't racist people....well..." here he trails off. Exactly.

(Read this fun article:

But I digress. I'm sure it's pretty obvious I'm a liberal, and all are welcome. It's sad that when there are problems in society, rather than looking for ways to fix it, we turn toward hate and antagonism.

That's not the point of this little rant, though.

Rather, my point is that there are certain things that you should keep to yourself and your like-minded friends. What would make anyone who knows anything about me think they could fire off some racial epithet and I'll be cool with it? Why would you say something like that unless you know for a fact they won't be offended?

Not to minimize what happened to Gary's guy, I'm sure it was traumatic. I do wonder how he came to be surrounded by people on foot whilst in a vehicle. One would think he'd roll up the window, press the accelerator and shout peace out to the Hmong mob run amok. Or maybe it's just me.

Maybe it's also just me to think it common sense that if you have too look around and whisper during the course of a conversation about people of a different color you should keep that shit to yourself. You and your buddy can sit in a bar in Wausau and talk that trash, but leave me the hell out of it.

Is it just because you're not talking about my people that you think I'd agree? Please, stop it now. I don't, nor will I ever. Mainly, it's because I can't help but imagine what you do say about my people when I'm not around. I find it hard to imagine an individual who hates g**ks but not n****s. (and I'm not suggesting Gary hates anyone, he is not the only person with whom I've had this sort of conversation, either...he just gets to be my example.)

So, I say again: if ever you're in mixed company, and find yourself compelled to say something racist, save it for your friends. The rest of us do not want to hear it.