Thursday, October 06, 2011

Ethnicity Can Be Challenging

I have a bit of a dilemma at work that I’m hoping you can help me sort through.

Ya see, there’s this guy that I used to know. His name was Luis. As you can probably guess from the name, Luis was of a Latin descent. And if you couldn’t tell that from his name, it would have been a dead give-away if you had met him.

Let’s just say that no one was going to be mistaking him anytime soon for a Swede.

Anyway, although I used to see Luis regularly, I don’t spend too much time with him anymore.

Cut to a few months ago when I met this guy Jose’. (p.s. That apostrophe that I just put after his name is SUPPOSED to be one of those little fucking lines that some Latin people put over their names, but I don’t have a button here on my keyboard that’s labeled “little fucking line used for Latino names” so I chose the apostrophe. It was either THAT or the Pound sign, k?)


As you can probably guess AGAIN, Jose’ isn’t Irish, either.

So, here’s my dilemma…..

I’m not sure what the Hell is wrong with me, but for the life of me, EVERY damn time I see Jose’, I reflexively call him Luis.

I TOTALLY don’t even realize that I’m doing it, but then he looks at me like he doesn’t know what the fuck I’m talking about, and I quickly catch my error.

But I’m a pro at social situations like this…. I quickly look over his shoulder and find some stranger standing far away from us, and yell “Hey Luis! Come over here! I want to talk to you!”. Then I run off and pretend to have a conversation with the stranger who I have just dubbed Luis. This pretty much confuses EVERYBODY concerned… Me, Jose’, and Fake-Luis, but it gets me out of a sticky situation quickly.

Smooth, right?

Anyway, as much as I try NOT to, every damn time I trip over this name mix-up, and it really is quite embarrassing. I don’t make this mistake with anyone else I know…. Just these guys.

So, my question to the group is…. Am I racist?

I obviously keep associating the ONE Latino guy I know for the OTHER one Latino guy I know.

I mean, they DO kinda look alike….

There I go being all racist again!

I mean, it’s not like I ever mix up and confuse the names of any two OTHER people I know so, it’s GOTTA be a racial thing, right?

And here I thought I always was racially sensitive and unbiased.

Except for those 2 black guys I work with… I can never tell them apart, either…..

Dammit! Slipped up again!


sybil law said...

This has nothing to do with your man parts!
I am disappoint.

Slyde said...

You're right. I havent written about man parts in over a week. I need to fix that.

Verdant Earl said...

Back at our old job, I think after you left, we had two young black guys working in this one department. They were both around 21 and black. That was their only similarity. One was tall, the other was short. One wore glasses and had a beard. The other had neither. One was outspoken and always having fun. The other was shy and quiet. You get the drill.

So this one day, I overhear an older woman in my department call the taller guy by the other guy's name. He politely corrected her, at which point she laughed and threw her arms up and said "I can never tell you two guys apart! You look so much alike!"

He looked around, saw me with my hand over my face (embarrassed for her and white people in general), and he just says "Yeah...I get that a lot."


So're racist.

Lil' Nigglet said...

Yep. U B A Racist.

....and if you calls me EGGPLANT again ima gonna kick yo' orange ass.

terri said...

You'd think that after you'd sufficiently embarrassed yourself in this situation, you'd stop making that mistake.

I can't help you. I don't mix up names. I just can't remember anyone's name. So really, you could just do what I do. Don't even use names...

"Hey you! How are ya?"

Yeah. No one suspects a thing when I do that.

Marlene said...

Fake Luis?!! Oh my gosh...I just about pee'd my pants laughing at that one!!! You really are a funny, funny dude.

blondie1 said...

I would just explain that your other Latino friends name was Luis, and maybe buy a roll of those "Hi my name is _____" fill in the blank for him.

A Daft Scots Lass said...

Racist Bastid!!!

MarkD60 said...

Did you know that all people who speak Spanish are Conquistadors? And everyone with a beard and no mustache is a leprechaun.
Also, you could have found a “little fucking line used for Latino names” and pasted it over. K?

Slyde said...

earl: i remember those guys!

lil: your avatar and name disturb me...

terri: oh, im terrible with names, too. but this is an extra-special fuck up

marlene: im happy to help you pee your pants anytime!

blondi: true.. if the world wore those little stickers, i'd have a much easier life..

Daft: You Scott, you!

mark: i tried that, but the tape kept falling off the key

Unknown said...

Your mistake is in the attempt to use names, in general.

Adopt the southern way.
I myself call everyone "sugah, darln' or hun". Try that.

Muah...happy friday lover

DWei said...

I do the same thing with all the East Indian people I meet to.

I don't think it's racist, I'm sorry, I don't spend enough time with your race of people, you're going to look at the same to me.

Heff said...

You're just FINE. They DO all look alike, and it's THEIR fault, not yours.

(Have I mentioned I live down south?)

Cocaine Princess said...

It's probably because you spent so much time with Luis and you just say his name on reflex. You're not a racist.

P.S. The comment you left about "threesomes" on my post-- hmm, does that mean you've tried it? :}

BB said...

Good save with the "fake Luis". That is so funny. My husband could never remember his cooks names so he called them all "hammerhead". Never got himself in trouble that way. Fun post!

Bruce Johnson said...

Calling someone by the wrong name is a normal part of aging, like a brain-fart. Just don't do it in bed, or you are really going to be up shit creek.

Chris H said...

Just call him 'Dude'... ya can't go wrong then.

Radioactive Tori said...

My dog is racist. It is embarrassing. When I walk her she barks at anyone who is if a different race than my kids and me. In fact I usually don't walk her down one particular street in our neighborhood because it is so blatantly obvious that she growls at some people and not others.

I suck at remembering anyone's name. Even when I think I might have it remembered correctly I usually go with a more generic "hey" than saying a name and potentially being wrong.

The Accidental Somebody said...

I don't think that makes you racist, I think it makes you human. Now if you were calling the guy Bob I might just call you dumb.

Thankfully that's not the case, so go easy on yourself. And I agree with another poster - keep it neutral and avoid the name all together. :)

meleah rebeccah said...

No, you're not a racist. But you are fucking hilarious!

Jill said...

I don't know. I don't think racist but you just need to meet lots of more not-white people so you can learn some more names besides not-Louis. Does it help that husband's white uncle's name was Lou? And he was the first one I thought of when I started reading your story. :-) And also, if you want to be really not-racist, you can TRY holding down the "alt" key while typing the numbers 130 on the number pad. It doesn't work on the number strip above the letters and often it doesn't come through in some websites. So maybe this will be a little "e" with an accent, or maybe blogger will eat it: é

Jill said...

Oh! Ok! It works for blogger. So now you can type José all you want!!!!!