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Can we have a new thread about irritating people?

(49 Posts)
Devora Fri 23-May-14 00:16:08

Me, my kids, on the bus.

Random stranger: Where she from? [indicating dd2]
Me: I beg your pardon?
RS: She from Africa? What do you call her - half caste?
Me [flummoxed]: Er, she's dual heritage yes.
RS: Where from then? Africa?
dd2: I'm not from Japan!
Me: Um, no, from Jamaica [kicks self for engaging]
RS: My son is her age, he's half caste, but he's much whiter than her. Lovely pale skin.
Me: [speechless with anger]
dd2: I'm not from Japan!
Me [desperately trying to assert control over situation): That's right, dd, we're lots of different things in our family but none of us are Japanese.
RS: She adopted?
dd2: Yes, I'm adopted.
Me: I'm not being rude, but-
RS [interrupting, indicating dd1]: She your real daughter?
Me: They're both my real daughters. I am their real mum. And here's our bus stop. Goodbye, Random Stranger.

I handled it so badly - really weakly. Spent the walk home devising good lines to take with the girls: "I'm sorry but that's private", or just "Ask my mum". But I still find it a real struggle when strangers launch in like this: I find it so very hard to appear rude, even though I know I'm not.

But why on earth does anyone imagine this kind of conversation is appropriate? And on the bus? And in a very loud voice so everyone else listens in? angry

TheLastThneed Fri 23-May-14 22:39:34

People can be so bloody rude and thoughtless sometimes...

Wolfiefan Fri 23-May-14 22:47:14

Yes Thneed has it right. This is not irritating. It goes way beyond that!
Half Caste? WTF! Anyone else love the poem of the same name? (Not a racist poem but the poet talking to someone who called him this. I love it!)
You are a family. Who needs more info?!?!

namechangesforthehardstuff Fri 23-May-14 22:54:17

Is it by John Agard? I LOVE him. I've seen him read his stuff live. He is AMAZING.

namechangesforthehardstuff Fri 23-May-14 22:56:39

Excuse me
standing on one leg
I�m half-caste.

Explain yuself
wha yu mean
when yu say half-caste
yu mean when Picasso
mix red an green
is a half-caste canvas?
explain yuself
wha yu mean
when yu say half-caste
yu mean when light an shadow
mix in de sky
is a half-caste weather?
well in dat case
england weather
nearly always half-caste
in fact some o dem cloud
half-caste till dem overcast
so spiteful dem don�t want de sun pass
ah rass?
explain yuself
wha yu mean
when yu say half-caste
yu mean tchaikovsky
sit down at dah piano
an mix a black key
wid a white key
is a half-caste symphony?

Explain yuself
wha yu mean
Ah listening to yu wid de keen
half of mih ear
Ah looking at yu wid de keen
half of mih eye
an when I�m introduced to yu
I�m sure you�ll understand
why I offer yu half-a-hand
an when I sleep at night
I close half-a-eye
consequently when I dream
I dream half-a-dream
an when moon begin to glow
I half-caste human being
cast half-a-shadow
but yu must come back tomorrow
wid de whole of yu eye
an de whole of yu ear
an de whole of yu mind.

an I will tell yu
de other half
of my story.

MissBlake Sat 24-May-14 16:45:29

I am furious just reading about this, can only imagine how you feel.
I am not at all suprised at the ignorance though. I volunteer at a childrens charity working with children with down syndrome. I once heard a mother asking her child to step away from us as "she might catch it". We encounter this sort of attitude alot.

Its so hard to remain calm in this situation, its so stressful. I always try my best to avoid any kind of conversation because we all know how nosy these people can be. They think nothing of how devastating it is for the child, who despite what they think is listening to it and taking it in. It is so wrong.

Even though this a different situation to yours, the end result is the same. People need to take some responsibilty for thier ignorance.

Lilka Sat 24-May-14 17:06:31

I love that poem. Seen videos of John Agard, he is fantastic

FamiliesShareGerms Sat 24-May-14 17:19:21

I always think of the correct riposte about 2 mins after awkward situations - I'm usually too gobsmacked that the inappropriate conversation is actually happening...

angryangryangry On behalf of your and your DD

Kewcumber Sat 24-May-14 17:25:26

MissBlake shock that anyone seriously thinks you might be able to catch Downs SYndrome - thankfully you can't catch stupid either though sometimes I am convinced it contagious

CalamityKate1 Sat 24-May-14 17:32:19

"She your real child?"

You (enthusiastically) "No! She's actually a hologram! Isn't it marvellous?! You'd never know, would you?!"

Devora Sat 24-May-14 18:38:33

Calamity, that's brilliant!

Trooperslane Sat 24-May-14 18:44:23

Fucking HELL. How rude! thanksthanksthanksbrewbrewbrew And now winewinewine for you OP.

FFS. Arseholes.

Devora Sat 24-May-14 19:18:33

I'm off to google Wise Up - many thanks for that lead. First just tipping my cap to John Agard - much loved in this house (along with country and western music blaring out of rum shops, sundowners on the stormy East coast, and the buffet at Atlantis wink to Barbadosgirl).

Devora Sat 24-May-14 19:20:31

OK, I googled Wise Up and got all kinds of interesting things (handrolled cigarettes, Julian Assange, community projects in Northants) but nothing about adopted children. Any advice on how to find it?

CateBlanket Sat 24-May-14 21:18:51

"The 'W.I.S.E. Up!' tool: empowering adopted children to cope with questions and comments about adoption.
Singer E.
Author information

Families of adopted children and the children themselves are not strangers to intrusive questions about private information, such as "Is that your real child (or mother)?" and "Why did your mother give you away?" While the questions may be benign, they can be uncomfortable to handle and harmful to a child's self-esteem. To counteract this, The Center for Adoption Support and Education (C.A.S.E.) in Maryland has developed an empowering tool for adoptive children and their families. The "W.I.S.E. Up!" tool is based on the premise that adoptive children are wiser about adoption than peers who are not adopted. The tool uses the acronym W.I.S.E. to teach children four options for responding to uncomfortable questions: W (walk away), I (ignore or change the subject), S (share what you are comfortable sharing), and E (educate about adoption in general). Nurses can assist adoptive families by introducing them to this empowering tool"

Devora - the book is available on Amazon for £57 (gulp!). I have a copy and if I can dig it out will be happy to scan it in and email it to you if you're interested.

CateBlanket Sat 24-May-14 21:26:17

You can have a quick look here

It's published by the Center for Adoption Studies and Education - you can buy it from them for $15 and they ship to UK.

Kewcumber Sat 24-May-14 21:39:41

I know OASIS do wise up courses occasionally I hope to send DS on one as he is about the right age for it. I think DD2 probably too young but I'm sure it's informative for parents too.

CateBlanket Sat 24-May-14 22:26:03

Do OASIS still do them, Kew? I went on one when DD was a baby - it's where I got the book - and it was useful for me. DD would benefit from it now but I let my membership lapse.

MerryInthechelseahotel Sat 24-May-14 22:43:14

devora I am so going to steal that line I'm not from Japan!

RS where's he from?
Me he's not from Japan
RS his skin is half caste
Me he is not from Japan
RS is he adopted?
Me not from Japan

Anything any RS says just deny any connection with Japan not that there is anything wrong with Japan grin

Kewcumber Sat 24-May-14 23:05:22

I haven't seen one recently but they certainly had one a few years ago aimed at children. Perhaps I'll contact them as I feel DS would probably benefit from it prior to starting secondary school.

Devora Sat 24-May-14 23:37:18

PMSL @ Merry. Strangely, dd2 has a weird fixation on Poland at the moment. She's never been there; none of us have ever been there; there's no family connection. But she tells me earnestly that it's her favourite country in the whole wide world.

Today was a better day. dd2 asked to go through her memory box and I ended up telling her about her half-siblings. dd1 was very upset to hear that dd2 has half-siblings: "She'll love them more than she loves me!" dd2 leant over to dd1, patted her knee, and said very seriously, "dd1, I will ALWAYS love you". So sweet [sniff]

Devora Sat 24-May-14 23:41:28

Wow Cate, that's a very generous offer to scan and email the book to me. Are you sure? I would really love to read it - it would also be very useful for dd1, who is not adopted but who of course also gets constantly questioned about her family. And as they are at the same school, we need a shared approach as a family - no point dd2 being all discreet if dd1 is going round the playground telling all and sundry.

I will PM you...

Lilka Sat 24-May-14 23:41:45

Oh that's so precious, what a sweet sister DD2 is <slight sniff over here!> So true of course smile

Barbadosgirl Sun 25-May-14 09:18:27

Oasis are a nice bunch, aren't they? I went to the Dan Hughes seminar the other week they did and they are super nice. I almost felt like a bit of an imposter as am adopting domestically but they were all so lovely and welcoming. They kept saying "don't let this put you off, this is all worse case scenario" and they told me stories about their children who they were all so in love with, even where there were terrible problems there was so much love. It was really, really good. Dan Hughes was fab too, obviously.

I digress, thank you for the book tips. Devora- you are making me second home sick! I LOVE the Atlantis!

Kewcumber Sun 25-May-14 09:47:58

I really wanted to go to that, unfortunately it clashed with something else - we are indeed a very nice bunch! wink

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