the “culture” excuse

I’m a bit fed up. Well, ” a bit” is not completley accurate, I’m very fed up.  It seems that by virtue of being from a different country I’m never allowed to get frustrated or annoyed with the natives actions.

If I express an opinion about politics I get told to “go back to America, then.” If I express frustration with customer service I get told to get over it.  If I’m frustrated with a colleagues behaviour I get fobbed off with the “it’s just banter” excuse. (racism=banter, sexual harrassment=banter) I just feel trapped. Stuck in this horrible place of feeling uncomfortable and even offended, insulted or hurt but not being able to say a thing about it because it just gets looked at as “taking things to seriously” “not having a sense of humour” being “confrontational” a “cultural difference”, etc.

I just want to be taken seriously. Even if nothing ever comes of whatever the issue is, I just want someone to take it seriously and understand and not just be so flippant and insulting about it. I can take a joke. I have a very good sense of humour. I can banter.  Give me that much credit.

Part of me thinks “just get over it, Erin.  shut up and let it go.” but then another part of me says “You shouldn’t have to!” and I don’t know which part is right or what to do. Complain about things I know are wrong and try to change them- or just keep my head down and shut up?

Sometimes I just want to throw in the towel completely and go home. Where if nothing else, no one ever throws the “culture” excuse at me.


3 responses to this post.

  1. I actually feel bad for you. This is how Black people feel every time we approach the subject of race in America. “Get over it”, or “you take things too seriously.” So now you know exactly how blacks feel and unfortunately we don’t have a place to go home to where no one ever throws the “culture” excuse at us.



  2. Posted by ering1 on September 23, 2008 at 8:09 pm

    Your comment has played on my mind since I first read it early this afternoon.

    You say this is how blacks feel every time they broach the subject of race in America. How can that possibly be true? The word “negro” in America is considered absolutely unacceptable. I grew up attending school with black children, they were my friends and neighbors in suburban Phoenix. But in England- the word Negro is common usage, I flinch when I hear it and the person who has used it looks at me like I’m crazy. My kids attend a pretty regular public school, not a single black child goes to school with them. In the three different neighborhoods we have lived in we have never had black neighbors. My dark skinned son never even noticed a difference back home in Arizona, yet here he is constantly subjected to verbal abuse, has had rocks thrown at him etc.

    My point in stating all the above is to point out vast differences in the way race is dealt with in England vs. America. Race issues have come a long long way since the 1950’s in America. It would be nice to assume the same for England.

    As an aside, I will never know how difficult it is to be a black person in either society, I am lucky enough to look the same as the majority. But I do understand what it feels like to be an outsider, I’ve had lot’s of experience with that.


  3. People use worse words than negro to describe blacks here. My son was picked on in his all white school, being called rug head, chocolate bar, the N word and other crap. Trust me this is nothing new in America.

    But I was not talking mostly about wordage I was talking mostly about how when you try and have a conversation about the disparity you are basically blown off. That is what happens when you as a black person try and make others aware of the disparity between blacks and whites here. You are blown off, or just assumed to be too sensitive.

    People here don’t care that the schools that blacks attend are extremely underfunded compared to majority white schools. Things such as this. Or how blacks have an unemployment rate of twice white people and so many other things.

    I understand how you feel. I lived in an all white area for the majority of my sons life and he definitely felt the affects of this. We are now in a majority black area and he is much happier and feels more accepted.



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