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Re: Racism

Posted: 2019-08-26, 18:15
by Prowler
linguoboy wrote:I saw one just yesterday. I was on the train and two women were having a conversation in Chinese. A guy standing near them was glowering in their direction and started barking "English!" at them until I told him to shut up and he started yelling at me instead.

Can't say I've ever seen such thing happening yet. Maybe it's an occurrence more likely to happen in a country with a "strong" language where everything gets dubbed and and translated and most entertainment is in the country's language.

Where I live we don't expect foreigners to automatically speak our language, and we're used to having most stuff subtitled and listening to music in other languages and growing up playing games in English. We're the ones who feel pressured to learn other people's languages instead. Doesn't mean an occurrence like the one you described never happens here, but doesn't seem so common so far, that I know of.

Re: Racism

Posted: 2019-08-26, 19:44
by linguoboy
Prowler wrote:
linguoboy wrote:I saw one just yesterday. I was on the train and two women were having a conversation in Chinese. A guy standing near them was glowering in their direction and started barking "English!" at them until I told him to shut up and he started yelling at me instead.

Can't say I've ever seen such thing happening yet. Maybe it's an occurrence more likely to happen in a country with a "strong" language where everything gets dubbed and and translated and most entertainment is in the country's language.

It's the first time I've personally witnessed it this overtly. You hear people muttering about use of not-English, but to have a rando just command two people minding their own business to speak English in one of the most polyglot cities in North America, well, I can't help but blame the current political climate in the USA.

Prowler wrote:Where I live we don't expect foreigners to automatically speak our language, and we're used to having most stuff subtitled and listening to music in other languages and growing up playing games in English. We're the ones who feel pressured to learn other people's languages instead. Doesn't mean an occurrence like the one you described never happens here, but doesn't seem so common so far, that I know of.

So there's a lot that's intertwined here, but I think that one of the strands is that monolinguals really don't understand the language use of polyglots. To a ludicrous degree, they assume that if we're speaking a foreign language in public, we're doing so in order to talk about other people without being understood. The idea that it's simply the language we're most comfortable expressing ourselves in to this particular person just doesn't occur to them because they don't have that same experience. So they read it as an aggressive act when in reality it's anything but.

Re: Racism

Posted: 2019-08-27, 4:31
by md0
I also wanted to add that "English Only" seems weird even by our very racist standards in Cyprus. But indeed we are used to multilingualism even if we do not embrace it or value it.

Closest I've seen to that is mocking British-born Greek Cypriot returnees for their low fluency in Greek. That would be equivalent to e.g. Mainland Chinese people mocking Chinese American for their level of Mandarin or Cantonese (does that happen?)

Re: Racism

Posted: 2019-08-27, 18:31
by Saim
I have mixed feelings about discussions about "Eastern European racism". On the one hand there has been a real rise in nationalism, fascism, anti-Semitism and racist hate crimes in these countries over the past several years. On the other hand a lot of the racist stereotypes or ideas prevalent in Eastern European states were directly imported from the West, and a lot of the antiracism in the West developed as a result of racial minorities' own resistence rather than a concession of the magnanimous, enlightened white Westerners (and in Eastern Europe these minorities to a large extent don't really exist, let alone have a voice). Sometimes it really feels like the cosmopolitan Westerners talking down to the barbaric, traditonalist Easterners. I don't think "Eastern Europeans are racist (and Western Europeans aren't)" is a particularly helpful or humanist/internationalist view.

Prowler wrote:Where I live we don't expect foreigners to automatically speak our language, and we're used to having most stuff subtitled and listening to music in other languages and growing up playing games in English. We're the ones who feel pressured to learn other people's languages instead. Doesn't mean an occurrence like the one you described never happens here, but doesn't seem so common so far, that I know of.


I dunno, I'm writing my MA thesis on the Hungarian minority in Ukraine (Transcarpathia) and I have came across examples of people being told off or yelled at for speaking Hungarian, even by strangers on the street, and Ukraine is hardly a linguistically homogenous country. It seems more to do with nationalism and xenophobia than whether or not other languages are present.

Re: Racism

Posted: 2019-08-27, 20:12
by linguoboy
I initiated a discussion of racism with my mother last night. It came up quite unexpectedly. We were talking about the book she'd gifted me for my birthday and then she asked if I'd read Toni Morrison. I talked about some of the books I'd read by her, including Beloved, informing her that this last one was a slavery narrative which made for tough reading sometimes.

"I have limited tolerance for that," she told me, "because of people I knew with chips on their shoulders, wanting me to apologise for things my ancestors had nothing to do with."

"Our German ancestors weren't in the country back then," I told her, "but they definitely benefitted from the enslavement of African-Americans. The effects of that persisted all the way up until the 60s."

[I know, I know, all the way up to the present day. Baby steps here.]

She admitted the truth of this and we moved on to other things. We're planning on taking a long car trip together soon and I'm hoping it will give us a chance to continue the conversation.

She also confessed to me her "irrational" fears for the safety of her grandsons because of the company they keep. At first I thought she was implying that their Black schoolmates were more likely to be involved in crime but then she drew an analogy to finding out I was gay. So I think her fears are that bigots will harm them for being in the company of POC.

This strikes me as being akin to the soft bigotry of "electability". Of course you're not prejudiced. But other people are and they do awful things and you wouldn't want your child hurt/to lose the election/to lose business/etc. because of their bad behaviour, right? But again, I think it's something we could stand to unpack some more.

Re: Racism

Posted: 2019-08-28, 13:04
by Aurinĭa
Prowler wrote:
linguoboy wrote:I saw one just yesterday. I was on the train and two women were having a conversation in Chinese. A guy standing near them was glowering in their direction and started barking "English!" at them until I told him to shut up and he started yelling at me instead.

Can't say I've ever seen such thing happening yet.

First I read this and thought "I haven't seen that happen either, but I'm pretty sure it happens here, whether I notice it or not."

And then I read this
Saim wrote:I dunno, I'm writing my MA thesis on the Hungarian minority in Ukraine (Transcarpathia) and I have came across examples of people being told off or yelled at for speaking Hungarian, even by strangers on the street, and Ukraine is hardly a linguistically homogenous country. It seems more to do with nationalism and xenophobia than whether or not other languages are present.

and remembered a long-forgotten instance of being called "sales Flamands" by an older woman simply for being in Brussels with some friends and *gasp* speaking Dutch. So yeah. If it happens to white people speaking a (Western) European language, it must definitely happen to people who are not white and/or speaking a (Western) European language.

linguoboy wrote:So there's a lot that's intertwined here, but I think that one of the strands is that monolinguals really don't understand the language use of polyglots. To a ludicrous degree, they assume that if we're speaking a foreign language in public, we're doing so in order to talk about other people without being understood. The idea that it's simply the language we're most comfortable expressing ourselves in to this particular person just doesn't occur to them because they don't have that same experience. So they read it as an aggressive act when in reality it's anything but.

Yes. To this particular person, about this particular topic, in that particular situation.
Personal experience again: I've once been told exactly that, not to speak Dutch in [monolingual English-speaking person]'s presence because it'd make her think we were saying bad things about her.

Re: Racism

Posted: 2019-08-28, 15:29
by linguoboy
Aurinĭa wrote:Personal experience again: I've once been told exactly that, not to speak Dutch in [monolingual English-speaking person]'s presence because it'd make her think we were saying bad things about her.

I find this attitude amazingly narcissistic. Like, seriously, you're not that interesting. (Of course, now that you've made an ass of yourself, we will talk about you in your presence.)

That said, there is always that moment when a stranger unexpectedly speaks to you in the language you were speaking and you have that moment of, "Oh god, what were we just talking about?" in case it was something offensive or overly personal.

Re: Racism

Posted: 2019-08-28, 17:38
by Aurinĭa
linguoboy wrote:
Aurinĭa wrote:Personal experience again: I've once been told exactly that, not to speak Dutch in [monolingual English-speaking person]'s presence because it'd make her think we were saying bad things about her.

I find this attitude amazingly narcissistic. Like, seriously, you're not that interesting. (Of course, now that you've made an ass of yourself, we will talk about you in your presence.)

To be fair, she wasn't a stranger, and us talking about her was to be expected. But any bad things we could say would be entirely of her own making. And really, if we're going to talk about you, good or bad, what's to stop us from doing so once we're no longer in the same room?

Re: Racism

Posted: 2019-08-28, 19:07
by Yasna
All it takes is a small mixture of insecurity and narcissism to start having these suspicions, so I'm not surprised it happens often.

Re: Racism

Posted: 2019-08-28, 19:11
by Aurinĭa
Sure.But it's one thing to have those suspicions, it's another thing entirely to actually voice them and demand other people cater to your insecurity.

Re: Racism

Posted: 2019-08-30, 3:56
by vijayjohn
Prowler wrote:I haven't really seen any act of blatant racism in real life, tbh. By this I mean I've never seen someone being blatantly racist to someone in a violent manner or even insulting them.

I have definitely seen someone insult someone else racially, although I don't recall seeing them be violent. I can't say I've been subject to those things myself, though.
md0 wrote:Closest I've seen to that is mocking British-born Greek Cypriot returnees for their low fluency in Greek. That would be equivalent to e.g. Mainland Chinese people mocking Chinese American for their level of Mandarin or Cantonese (does that happen?)

Yes, and not just Mainland Chinese people but also Taiwanese people and probably all kinds of other people. I experience this sort of thing pretty often myself. For me personally, it's not so much the mockery that's disturbing; it can actually be kind of helpful since it can help me avoid mistakes in the future when speaking Malayalam (if I remember them :P). What's worse is the lack of trust, so to speak - the "oh you didn't understand me when I spoke Malayalam so I'll switch to English" attitude - because all that really does for me is give me fewer and fewer opportunities to actually practice Malayalam. A few years ago, I tried to crush this attitude like a bug by trying as hard as I could to speak exclusively in Malayalam, going to ridiculous lengths to avoid speaking English at all even though everyone does this to some degree. Luckily, my dad has fun with this. But then I got a job where I was the only Malayalee, so I lost opportunities to practice, and here we are again.

Re: Racism

Posted: 2019-09-04, 17:21
by Prowler
Funnily enough, I recently saw a few football fans here wondering why a Japanese footballer who's been in Portugal for a few years now doesn't speak Portuguese yet and is always with his interpreter. I don't think anyone irl has confronted him about this, though.

Re: Racism

Posted: 2019-09-04, 18:50
by vijayjohn
Shoya Nakajima? Didn't he leave Portugal for Qatar four months ago?

Re: Racism

Posted: 2019-09-05, 11:33
by Prowler
vijayjohn wrote:Shoya Nakajima? Didn't he leave Portugal for Qatar four months ago?

You know him? I'm surprised. I didn't know you followed football.

Well he did but he came back recently. It's seen as a VERY shady deal here in Portugal. He signed for Porto but hasn't really played and the manager doesn't seem to like players like him. He's too short and not particularly muscular. He prefers tall and more physical players.

I'm glad he's being benched. He's a decent player and I don't want him to make my rivals stronger. :wink:. I'd like to have seen him signing for Benfica(my team) instead because it would be a good acquisition for marketing purposes.

Re: Racism

Posted: 2019-09-05, 19:04
by vijayjohn
Prowler wrote:
vijayjohn wrote:Shoya Nakajima? Didn't he leave Portugal for Qatar four months ago?

You know him? I'm surprised. I didn't know you followed football.

No, and I don't follow it. I just looked up "Japanese soccer player in Portugal" or something. :P

Re: Racism

Posted: 2019-09-09, 12:50
by Prowler
vijayjohn wrote:
Prowler wrote:
vijayjohn wrote:Shoya Nakajima? Didn't he leave Portugal for Qatar four months ago?

You know him? I'm surprised. I didn't know you followed football.

No, and I don't follow it. I just looked up "Japanese soccer player in Portugal" or something. :P

Oh silly me. And tbh, not many Japanese players have played in the Portuguese league throughout history. He's like the 3rd one I remember in my lifetime. I feel like most Japanese players who end up in Europe go to play in the Bundesliga, the German football league.