Advanced search

I absolutely wasn't, was I?

(66 Posts)
hazleweatherfieldgirldetective Tue 11-Dec-12 16:52:47

I recently volunteered to help out with my local girl guide group and last night was my first meeting with them. At the start they all played a game where one leader would call out a statement followed by an instruction such as 'if you have brown hair, move four chairs to the left'.

This went on for a while and in the end, the other leader was running out of suggestions, so the girls got a bit silly and started shouting out their own. One girl shouted 'Move one chair right if you're American!' to which the leader laughed and said 'No one here is American X!'. Another little girl, with a strong north-easter accent piped up 'I'm American!'.

'Yeah right! And I'm Japanese!' Responded the leader, placing her fingers at the corners of her eyes and pulling them tight cue much raucous laughing from the girls and the leader.

At this point I interjected, and told the girls it wasn't very nice to laugh at an entire ethnic group because of a physical feature. The girls went quiet, the other leader glared at me viciously, there was a short pause and the game continued.

I doubt very much I will be allowed back. But I wasn't being unreasonable, was I?

toomuchturkeyatendofthedinner Tue 11-Dec-12 18:03:01

I agree, well done for challenging this thoughtless racist action. I hope you get to go back ...

Adversecalendar Tue 11-Dec-12 18:03:06

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

LyingWitchInTheWardrobe Tue 11-Dec-12 18:12:34

I think you could have handled it better, OP. Yes, it should be challenged, this kind of thing always should be challenged BUT you were dealing with an adult, a peer and she needs to maintain authority over the children. It would have been better, I think, had you gone over to her and spoken about it quietly, expressing your disgust, and giving her the chance to apologise to the children herself, saying that this wasn't the right thing to do and that she was wrong.

I don't know how effective telling a group of children that 'it isn't nice to do that'. Quite wishy-washy and caused discomfiture with no real message.

You were caught on the hop though, perhaps many would have done the same - or nothing.

Lilithmoon Tue 11-Dec-12 18:31:58

YWNBU. This sort of horrible, casual racism needs to be challenged.

hazleweatherfieldgirldetective Tue 11-Dec-12 18:45:11

Just to clarify, I didn't intend to cause discomfort for anyone involved, I didn't even think about what I was saying really, I was just completely shocked at her actions and blurted out the first thing that came to mind.

And, to be honest, if I'm not welcomed back simply because I challenged a racist remark, then its not the kind of group I wish to be involved with anyway.

ClearlyConfused Tue 11-Dec-12 18:49:56

(I) told the girls it wasn't very nice to laugh at an entire ethnic group because of a physical feature

Surely that isn't what the girls were laughing at though?? confused The 'joke' they were laughing at was surely the fact the leader was claiming to be a race that she clearly wasn't.

Surely racism is portraying a race in a negative or inferior way neither of which she did. It is a fact that those of Asian origin and particularly Chinese and Japanese have an eye shape which is different to Caucasian eyes. In fact don't a lot of Caucasian women spend time with make-up trying to recreate an Asian eye shape with make-up????? They hardly do it to mock an entire ethnic group.
I thin everyone went quiet because they thought you were deranged thought you were accusing them of something which they hadn't done (laughing at an entire ethnic group because of a physical feature).If the leader had been Japanese and they had then laughed at her because of the shape of her eye then you would have been right to say what you did.

Having said that I do think the leader was ill advised to do what she did because of people like the OP and others on thsi thread.

So yes OP I do think YWBU

hazleweatherfieldgirldetective Tue 11-Dec-12 18:52:49

By your theory Clearly there is nothing wrong with someone going out in "black face", is there? Methinks your name may be very apt...

JamieandtheMagiTorch Tue 11-Dec-12 18:53:38

That's what I thought hazle - I think when you are shocked by what someone has said first instinct is to say something there and then.


is it "Political Correctness Gorn Mad"?

Sunnywithachanceofshowers Tue 11-Dec-12 19:25:55


I used to be an assistant leader and had to have words with our brown owl about that kind of thing too...

MardyArsedMidlander Tue 11-Dec-12 19:29:11

Bloody well done!
By stating something in front of the children, you also let them know that this sort of 'teasing' is not acceptable. And as the other poster said, this sort of bravery from an adult would have made my childhood so much easier.

cumfy Tue 11-Dec-12 19:55:45

.....told the girls it wasn't very nice to laugh at an entire ethnic group because of a physical feature. The girls went quiet

I think they went quiet because they weren't in fact laughing at an entire ethnic group.

They were laughing at the interplay of one girl lightheartedly trying to gain an "unfair" advantage in a game and playfully being "caught out" by the leader.
They were, IMO, highly unlikely to be laughing at the unfortunate racial stereotype.

You appear to be conflating the superficial stereotype with the underlying dynamic of the "joke".

You are technically correct, but you are PC and way way OTT.

greenandcabbagelooking Tue 11-Dec-12 19:57:11

Errr, Guiding isn't, and never has been, Christian organisation....

Other than that I think you right to challenge her.

xkittyx Tue 11-Dec-12 20:00:27

Well done. She deserved to feel uncomfortable, that was a shocking thing for her to do. Not "PC", racist.

juneybean Tue 11-Dec-12 20:01:58

Doesn't the brownie promise mention god?

cumfy Tue 11-Dec-12 20:02:39

Just out of curiosity what would you have done if the leader had put on a huuuge fake Texan drawl and said:

Oh yeah I'mmmm an American; I'm so American I'm taking 2 steps forward

That's clearly just as "racist".

GlaikitFizzogTheChristmasElf Tue 11-Dec-12 20:05:22

The promise swear allegiance to god and the queen. Ok so they are changing it now to non believers, but in my mind that makes guiding an organisation with Christian values.

greenandcabbagelooking Tue 11-Dec-12 20:10:41

Glaikit -you promise to "love my God" so not necessarily a Christian god. My brownie pack currently comprises two Hindu girls, a few Catholics, a few C of E, and lots who are undecided/undeclared.

GlaikitFizzogTheChristmasElf Tue 11-Dec-12 20:18:35

Ok, any god, hand up you win.

GlaikitFizzogTheChristmasElf Tue 11-Dec-12 20:20:28

Sorry that's sounded PA, I didn't mean it that way. You are right. I just alway associate guide, brownies rainbows etc with the church as my pack were linked to the local Catholic Church, used their hall, fundraiser with them etc.

hazleweatherfieldgirldetective Tue 11-Dec-12 20:22:18

Actually cumfy, that wouldn't be racist, as Americans are not, in fact, a race. Unless you're talking about native Americans....

slambang Tue 11-Dec-12 20:29:14

I'm surprising myself by actually finding you a bit U.

I massively commend your sentiment and wish there were more people around in the world like you with the guts to speak out against casual racism.

But actually I think you publically humiliated the leader in front of her charges. A private word afterwards would have been probably just as effective but not undermined her in front of a room full of probably difficult to manage and over-excited pre-teens.

cumfy Tue 11-Dec-12 20:32:55

Hey, see what you did there; neatly side-stepping the point.

See, you do have a sense of humour.

And I guess we'll never know whether the girl who asked Americans to take a step forward, was referring to native Americans.

hazleweatherfieldgirldetective Tue 11-Dec-12 20:34:55

I don't see your point though cumfy. Had she responded in a Japanese accent, I wouldn't have found it offensive. But she didn't, she chose to poke fun at a physical trait.

ChaChaDigregorio Tue 11-Dec-12 20:37:30

Is anyone who thinks the original poster of a different ethnic origin? Ever been on the hard end of the horrendous insidious racism that often rears its ugly head? No? Then shut up.

ChaChaDigregorio Tue 11-Dec-12 20:38:17

Thinks the original poster is being unreasonable. Sorry.

Join the discussion

Registering is free, easy, and means you can join in the discussion, watch threads, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.

Register now »

Already registered? Log in with: