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June 29th, 2005

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10:45 pm - define your hate
I like to sit at the ends of Red Line cars for two very important reasons:

1. It lessens by half the number of people who might have to sit next to me, and
2. The little window indentation, if there, makes a dandy armrest.

There's a third, lesser-important reason, and that is that all kinds of lovely racist graffiti can be found on the sill from time to time. This kind of graffiti (or, for the most part, any graffiti) does not exist anywhere else in the car. It's all on the sill. Perhaps it's because a little up-and-coming Klansman can hide his work-in-progress, or at least halfway obscure it, before letting it fly free to enlighten the rest of the world. Whatever the reason, reading it always makes me feel great, because it reaffirms for me the fact that these kooky "White Power" types ain't got the brains God gave a goose. As Gene Wilder said in Blazing Saddles, "They're ... the salt of the earth. You know -- Morons."

Considering the trains pass through Dorchester, Quincy and Marblehead, it's no wonder such bon mots get scribbled hastily on the sills. I mean, there's a Southie kid right now, as I type this, who's sitting at the end of a Red Line train with his Red Sox cap on backwards, just passing the time thinking about how he quite dislikes the chinks, and then he wonders "Well gee, how can I share this message with others? How can I express my feelings succinctly and wholly, without compromising the integrity of my thoughts?" And then he reaches into his pocket and quite by accident finds a Sharpie...

...and tomorrow when I go to work and ride on the sill, I'll find "I Hate chink's" scribbled almost incomprehensibly near my arm. I always tend to move my arm away from the writing, lest it rub off.

I only bring this up because today, while riding the Red Line home, I found this impressive piece of wisdom written near my arm:
fuck all
Nigga black
spic Latin
gooks asia & Middle east
And I went "Whoa! Hey! Thanks for taking the time to carefully define each term there, pal!" It was a charming little dictionary and quite enlightening to boot -- I didn't realize 'gook' had branched out to the middle east as well. Was there like some kind of bigot conference where this definition change took place? "Gentlemen, distinguished Chairman, I hereby propose that the term 'gook', usually reserved for those of Asian descent that we don't like, also be amended to include any and all peoples of Arabic lineage currently residing in the Middle East, since I figure we hate them all equally." "The chair recognizes the delegate from the Peckerwoods, but wonders what you think is so wrong with 'raghead' in the first place."

All I know is that the bookly fellow who scrawled the index of hate on the sill is going to feel mighty confused when that Roman centurion stomps the living crap out of him for malinging that beautiful, scholarly, dead language.

(14 comments | Leave a comment)


Date:June 30th, 2005 03:24 am (UTC)
Racists should at least take the time to use the correct terminology.
And maybe get a fashion tip from Hitler. Would he dress the SS in bleached potato sacks?
I think not.
[User Picture]
Date:June 30th, 2005 04:28 am (UTC)
Klansmen don't really have that much in common with Nazis.

But I guess we unenlightened non-racists all probably have that childish tendency to assume that the enemy of my friend is my friend's enemy's friend, eh?

...I wish that had come out more weird and complicated.
[User Picture]
Date:June 30th, 2005 05:43 am (UTC)
apparently, "gook" == "the other side in a futile, unjustified, undeclared, unpopular military action".
[User Picture]
Date:June 30th, 2005 08:41 am (UTC)
I thought that those of Middle Eastern descent were considered to be "towelheads" or possibly "ragheads." Because. You know. They all wear turbans.
[User Picture]
Date:June 30th, 2005 10:50 am (UTC)
Well, at least they can write.

Here you occasionally can see a swastika on graffiti, but not any text referring to any particular racial group. Sometimes there is some text that reads 'fuck nazi' next to the swastika.
[User Picture]
Date:June 30th, 2005 01:10 pm (UTC)
eeka and I were in the 7-11 in Cleveland Circle (I think), and a charming gentleman there was accusing the staff of ripping him off every day and calling them "dagheads". Yes, with a D.

eeka gives this guy way more credit than I do for a creative insult; I think he just didn't know what he was saying.
[User Picture]
Date:June 30th, 2005 01:53 pm (UTC)


No, but see, the store owner is Somalian. So I'm certain the guy thought long and hard about this and realized that although the store owner is from a former Italian colony and speaks Italian, he's not quite a Dago, given that he's a Muslim guy who also speaks Somali. So obviously the guy took the root -aghead, from the Indo-European "ghedghuhgqahdf," meaning "of potentially turban-wearing people," and then combined this with Dago to get Daghead!
(Deleted comment)
Date:June 30th, 2005 01:52 pm (UTC)
For what it's worth, that term was around at least as early as the Marine barracks bombing in Lebanon in 1983, and possibly earlier.
[User Picture]
Date:June 30th, 2005 01:26 pm (UTC)
I remember a bit of a stand-up comedy routine I saw years ago by an Asian-American comedienne, about travelling through the American South and getting called a "chink": "I'm Vietnamese, not Chinese -- I'm not a chink, I'm a *gook*. It's like they say, it's not the heat, it's the humidity, and it's not the racism, it's the stupidity."
Date:June 30th, 2005 01:32 pm (UTC)
Well, the Middle East is not a separate continent; it's really Western Asia. So if gook applies universally to Asians, using it makes sense, in the demented racist way. I suspect that the geographic focus has shifted because, well, we have always been at war with Eurasia, and East Asia is our ally. Why not try a little culture jamming? Next time you're at the back, write "I hate crackers" or "fuck Whitey" and see how it goes.
[User Picture]
Date:June 30th, 2005 01:45 pm (UTC)
I went to ARHS to address the faculty on curricullum day on issues pertaining to gay students once, a number of years ago. I remember sitting in the cafeteria waiting for the others to arrive, and noting that oddly, where I was sitting, was the word "faggit" scrawled on the table. I commented on this during my talk to the faculty, who except for about four very progressive teachers conspicuously sat at the back of the room.

I didn't know whether to be happy the enemy lacked spelling ability, or dismayed that the education at ARHS was producing such unenlightened students (who really should have been able to at least spell the word).
[User Picture]
Date:June 30th, 2005 02:10 pm (UTC)


So I was working at a school serving kids with multiple disabilities, and there's always the one class of kids who are quite high-functioning, like verbal and ambulatory and stuff, but who have the really complex cognitive issues, usually stemming from prenatal substance abuse or other types of brain injury, and so there's stuff they just don't GET. They're much tougher and much worse off than the kids who have regular developmental delays, especially because they usually have no concept of their strengths and weaknesses. So basically you end up having a room full of little thugs who aren't likely to grow out of it.

My friend got fed one day with all the kids screaming racial slurs indiscriminately (pun intended), but realized that the previous approach of trying to get them to just not use the words wasn't working, so he sat down a group of 2 or 3 of the worst offenders, and he actually EXPLAINED TO THESE KIDS that even though they shouldn't be using the words, they needed to at least understand what they meant. So he's like "OK, nigger refers to a person with dark skin, usually an African-American or Caribbean sorta person. And a spic would be someone of Spanish-speaking background..." The kids then wanted to know about words like "fucker" and "pussy" and which people these words applied to. It actually did become an educational lesson on paying attention to the subtleties of language and where you do and don't use certain words, and the kids actually did start thinking more about what they were saying, like realizing that you don't call the lunch lady ANY sort of slur ever, but that people might use these words on the playground or the bus.
Date:June 30th, 2005 09:30 pm (UTC)
I've occasionally seen "sand niggers" used to describe Middle Easterners as well, although that may be exclusive to Central Pennsylvania.
[User Picture]
Date:July 1st, 2005 02:45 am (UTC)
"sand nigger" is used in Illinois as well. Someone once told me towel heads were the Hindus, which confuses me.

On the Red Line last weekend, Acsumama and I saw something that we thought was "Short Books" It was actually "Shoot Gooks" by a graffiti artist with carpal tunnel, but the initial version was amusing.

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