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AIBU to despise racist old people and wish I could tell them so

(39 Posts)
theykillhorses Tue 29-Jan-13 12:02:59

Old man comes to fix boiler next door and stops to chat to me (even though we are on our way out to go to school and running late I stop because I have been trained by my mother to be extremely respectful and polite to me elders ...even though I am officially elder now)

anyway he starts off normal dull, over the fence converstation, then from nowhere starts a full on rant about 'coloured' people, how he can't recognise England anymore etc etc

I was torn between telling him what I really think and stupid polite, older person kindness (not that he was being very kind)

so I just pointed out the usual things I say to this kind of thing 'Britain couldn't own half the world and then complain when people from their colonies wanted to live here' which he didn't really listen to...

then my children came past to go to the car and I suppose he had the slightest conscious about his stinking views because he then asked where they were from...

here, you dickhead (I wish I had said the second two words!)

then he gave me a story about how his granddaughter is dating a coloured (ggrrr) person and he is alright...

as if that makes up for all the horrible things he said!

I had to go to school then but I was angry all the way and mostly with myself for not being more angry with him. I despise myself really for being so fucking polite with old racist people..

AmberLeaf Wed 30-Jan-13 14:42:09

No no! I wasnt thinking you were saying all older people are racist!

An elderly relative of mine would be 98 if she were still alive now [died about 8 years ago] and she was certainly not racist. Quite the opposite in fact and she worked alongside immigrants from the caribbean and lived on the same rds/areas as them too, so not a liberal do gooder who only had to speak about such things.

Age is no excuse, if she could adapt to immigrant populations, then a 65 ish year old now certainly can,

There has been immigration in britain for a very long time, I dont think there is anyone alive for whom this is a 'new' concept that they are struggling to adapt to.

Some people are just prejudice/racist.

I used to get a twisted kick out of watching racists squirm when I told them I didnt agree with that viewpoint and my husband is Jamaican! they would fall over themseves trying to get out of it! grin

Ive met some lovely old people, on occasions Ive braced myself for a racist comment and have heard the exact opposite and then Ive heard some shocking stuff from people who are young.

I understand your wanting to be polite and that is good, but as soon as someone oversteps that respect afforded to them should go out the window.

theykillhorses Wed 30-Jan-13 13:30:35

Amberleaf, the man was over 60, my father's age and that automatically made me polite and respectful, it is an inbuilt reaction and one I am trying to change.

I don't think all people who are older are racist! and I can make allowances for the ones who just seem unsettled by the changes of the modern world but not the ones (like the man yesterday) who are coming from a hateful point of view. At least people like him don't come into our orbit everyday.

AmberLeaf Tue 29-Jan-13 13:24:01

Hemlet.

It is implied when people use the excuse of 'he is old' when someone 'old' says something racist.

chicaguapa Tue 29-Jan-13 13:14:25

I try to call people on it when they're being racist. I do have a reputation for being confrontational though, so am trying to play it down.

But I remember my FIL was telling me a story about someone he used to work with and said he'd run off with a black. I asked 'a black what?' which really stopped him in his tracks. DH still laughs about the expression on his face as he didn't know what to say.

I am going to try 'What a LOAD of rubbish' now though. I can use that for lots of things when people are spouting crap. grin

Hemlet Tue 29-Jan-13 13:09:36

Amber, who is saying old means racist by default?

LayMizzRarb Tue 29-Jan-13 13:09:16

Sorry, but automatic respect does not come with age. I am civil to everybody, but people have to earn my respect.

taketheribbon Tue 29-Jan-13 13:02:58

RuleBritannia - sorry, but the reason you get hauled up in court rather than given a clip round the ear from a policeman these days is because if the policeman clipped you round the ear now, he/she would be the one in court.

And you can't play in the street now, not because of the traffic, but because a) your parents are frightened you'll be abducted, and b) they'd be hauled up in court for neglect.

Oh, and do these people remember also that in the 1950s child poverty was so bad that schools had to stay open in the holidays just to provide a hot meal, because that was possibly the only hot meal (or indeed meal of any kind) that some children would get all day?

And finally, having just read the other thread on the costs of childcare, it wasn't so much of an issue back then was it, because if both parents had to work, they just chucked the kids out on the street...

ethelb Tue 29-Jan-13 13:01:20

interesting that there should be a cry of agism on this thread.

There was a thread last week where someone complained about a '20 something snot nosed little wankers sitting in seats on the tube' , and no one commented at all.

Greensleeves Tue 29-Jan-13 12:58:09

I feel I should qualify - I find it difficult to challenge people face to face. MUCH easier in writing grin

Jojobump1986 Tue 29-Jan-13 12:56:02

While we were visiting my aunt in Yorkshire a few years ago my dad was looking out of the window & asked DAunt if they often have teenagers urinating against a wall outside their shop. My gran chimed in with 'Well, that's just how people behave where they're from'. hmm My dad instantly pointed out that these were white boys & even if they weren't there was no reason to assume they were from a culture where public urination was acceptable. I was really impressed that he called her on it! She was obviously embarrassed & mumbled something about them having learnt it from the 'other boys' before leaving the room.
We've since discovered that she was in the early stages of Parkinsons when she made these comments but I'm not convinced that's an overly valid excuse!

AmberLeaf Tue 29-Jan-13 12:51:53

He really can't be that old though can he?

He is just racist!

Old doesn't have to mean racist by default!

Greensleeves Tue 29-Jan-13 12:49:52

RuleBritannia - I respectfully suggest that your post is horseshit. Myopic, subjective, ill-infomed, bigoted horseshit.

Madlizzy Tue 29-Jan-13 12:46:37

If people aren't challenged in their views, then nothing will change.

Greensleeves Tue 29-Jan-13 12:45:58

There is no ageism here to get outraged about confused, OP is saying that the man's age made it harder for her to challenge his views, because she has been brought up to be respectful to older people. It's an interesting point and well worth discussing.

I find it very difficult to challenge or disagree with people's obnoxious views as well, and probably more so if they are elderly. I think we should push ourselves to do it, though, because it's important. Personally I find MN threads like this very helpful and worthwhile, because they give me ideas for how to challenge - "I don't share your views so it's probably best we don't have this conversation" is a really good one to use with someone who might be a bit aggressive, I think.

FlouncingMintyy Tue 29-Jan-13 12:42:58

BerryChristmas - exactly why should anyone "walk away" from another person spouting racist shite? What nonsense.

You should say something "I find your views racist and offensive" - that's the brave and correct thing to do. Granted it is very difficult if the person is of an older generation and I understand op's difficulty.

AmberLeaf Tue 29-Jan-13 12:42:27

RuleBrittania. What a load of old bollocks!

PeppermintPasty Tue 29-Jan-13 12:42:17

There is a difference between a full on racist rant, as the OP describes, and a nice nostalgic trip down memory lane fgs!

AmberLeaf Tue 29-Jan-13 12:41:17

If he is working he isn't that old.

Yes you should have challenged him.

If your children are mixed race then it is even more important to challenge racism.

RuleBritannia Tue 29-Jan-13 12:37:51

We have to remember that older people (75+) remember what this country was like not only before immigration became a headache but how they could play in fields that are now housing estates, how they could play in the street but not now because of the amount of traffic, how they could have a clip round the ear from a policeman for a naughty deed (eg scrumping) rather than be hauled up in court. They remember how a bus fare was 1d or 2d (I remember that) and how churches were full on Sundays. They remember how to cut their cloth according to their means and never borrowed money. People were frowned upon if they owed money (mortgages excepted).

They remember leaving school at 14 or 15 and were able to read and write properly with neat handwriting that others could read. Their spelling was excellent, too.

The man was just airing an opinion about how, in many ways, life is remembered as being better.

manicinsomniac Brazil Tue 29-Jan-13 12:34:29

I don't think this is that ageist - there are more racist older people because the views were more mainstream when they were younger and some people haven't changed their opinions.

I've never met a racist person my age and very few of my parents age but loads of my grandparents age. I just try not to think of them as racist because it is how they were brought up and is normal for them.

adeucalione Tue 29-Jan-13 12:33:31

I agree that racism should always be challenged, but people rarely react well to being told they're wrong.

Generally they either don't believe you, or they inwardly admit that you have a point but outwardly get defensive.

It's not often that someone, when challenged, will admit you are right and change their mind.

Unfortunately the older generation often do hold racist views - they are of a different era, when racist sit coms were must-see tv and racist comedians had sell-out tours.

Smile and mention the positive elements of multiculturalism ad nauseum - I am well versed, having several older racists in my family unfortunately.

AnyFucker Germany Tue 29-Jan-13 12:28:48

Don't beat yourself up too much, love

it is doubtful you would have had much impact on his views if there were very entrenched, after all

You didn't let your kids down. That racist let himself down x

theykillhorses Tue 29-Jan-13 12:24:35

I agree it is despicable and I worry often about the world my mixed ethnicity children have to negotiate. I let them down this morning but not being more direct with him. and yes talking about it does make me feel like next time I will be much stronger about it.

I did pull him up, in a very polite way, and say I didn't agree with him and why but I could tell he wasn't listening, he was just happy to tell me his views

until the children ran past and he looked shocked (not sure if it was because he felt embarrassed or just surprised that the very thing he didn't like was so close to him.)

AnyFucker Germany Tue 29-Jan-13 12:19:06

I think there is every point in coming here to rant about it, if it helps you to speak up next time

Childhood indoctrination to "respect your elders" is a difficult social more to overcome. Don't think twice though, OP. Racism is despicable, no matter what age group is spouting it.

theykillhorses Tue 29-Jan-13 12:18:55

Thank you, I will. If I can overcome my fear of offending people older than me. My mother certainly drilled that one in deep. No wonder I am so angry with myself.

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