Are you Racist?

At some time around maybe 1996, my younger brother and I were sitting in a Volvo station wagon in North Charleston, South Carolina, ordering some chicken.

Bojangles. We were at the Bojangles in North Charleston (a horrible place) getting chicken and biscuits and french fries because someone had called us (a parent) and asked us to do this.  Buying Chicken can be serious business.  Buying anything in North Charleston can be a test of ones will to live; anyone that has ever been to the decrepit hell hole known as “North Woods Mall” can attest to this fact.  But if one is going to buy chicken and if it’s going to be fast food, Bojangles is by far the preferred option.

I was in the driver’s seat and my brother was in the co-pilots spot and we pulled up to the menu at the drive-thru.  We ordered the “Big Bo Box” which for those of you that don’t know is a nightmarish box filled with chicken, whatever other crap you ordered and “Iced Tea”.  I then asked if we could also order another portion of beans and rice, six people eating in our family and the “Bo Box” would be devoured in mere moments of entering the home.

Now, as I ordered the beans and rice I could sense a certain amount of impatience in the voice of the human on the other end of the speaker.  Despite the drive-thru speaker having the audio quality of a toilet being flushed in a wind tunnel, she was making her displeasure with our extravagant requests known.  So when my brother leaned over me and shouted into the speaker “oh and another Ice-Tea,  Medium please.” That was simply too much, and the super high-caliber go-getter working on the other end of the speaker shouted back “Damn Honky OK pull up!”

Damn. Honky.OK.Pull.Up.

This was followed by a stunned silence in the Volvo station wagon there in North Charleston.  I slowly pulled the car up to the window, and gave a very robust, full-figured black woman our cash and she hurriedly stuffed our massive bag of chicken and shit into our car window.  Change, old filthy dollar bills and some nickels or something were tossed into the car.

We drove off slowly.

Within half a minute my brother and I were in full hysterics.  It was difficult to drive I was laughing so hard.  I had never been called a Honky before and it was absolutely fantastic.

That was, I suppose, my first clear-cut experience with racism.  I have lived in Japan now for eight years and have traveled extensively so since my Bojangles experience, I have had to deal with racist people of all varieties many times.

“Enjoy your chicken, you white piece of shit.”

That’s not what this is about today though.

In case you missed this tidbit of internet happenings, Reddit, the self-proclaimed “front page of the internet” had some technical trouble a month ago.  One user posted a very particular question starting a new thread that received so much traffic it nearly shut the site down. 

“What extremely controversial thing(s) do you honestly believe, but don’t talk about to avoid the arguments?”

This received thousands and thousands of responses within hours and the volume of traffic was a real technical issue.

Ok- so I don’t give a solitary fuck about Reddit or technical internet issues.

The question though, is a very interesting one.  I’d like to slightly reframe it.

“What controversial things do you really believe about a group of people or a country, that you don’t talk about in order to avoid confrontations, period?”

Maybe you really feel a particular stereotype about the Japanese is true.  Maybe you ARE Japanese and think “Yes, in fact foreign people are all incredibly fat.”

Whatever. Bring it. I am asking anyone and everyone that reads this to comment honestly.  Comment about whatever you want or think regarding anything pertaining to the topic.  If you have to use an alias do it.  We won’t call you out.  It’s just something that seems conversation worthy and it got me thinking about some of my own preconceived notions.

Allow me to start-

I honestly believe that 99% of foreigners here, even long-term ex-pats simply do not “get it”.  We don’t understand the Japanese.  Just about all of our ideas about why they do this or that are complete bullshit and most of the time we just float along in our little sea of self-righteousness totally unaware of the stress and problems we cause to the natives we deal with.  MOST of the time, not all, but most of the time for most of us we are not assets here but liabilities.

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