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20 10, 9:50am
I remember a conversation I had with a woman from New York, USA, who had come up to Canada for work and so she could get married to her ladyfriend (this being a while before USA finally got around to making gay marriage legal). She was... hmm... very stereotypical of Italian descended New Yorkers; the accent, the constant gesturing... A colourful character with a lot of personality, you could say.
Anyway, the conversation went like this:
She: "So whatdya call EYE-talians up here anyway?"
Me (after a confused pause): "We... call them Italians."
She: "No, but, when you wanna be rude to them? Like a racial slur!"
Me (completely serious): "Why would we ever want to do that?"
She stared at me in total incomprehension for almost a full minute. Finally...
" (Shaking her head)
Fun as it was watching her head almost explode... I wasn't kidding. I was in my late 20s at the time and didn't know any racial slurs for Italians, along with quite a few other ethnic groups. I'm 40 now and still aren't very familiar with quite a lot of the ones that are apparently used in the USA (New York in particular). The rarer ones, at least.
Like... I honestly don't know what a mick, a spick, or a gook, are. I've heard the words thrown around by Americans, but haven't a clue who they refer to.
Once again, I'm 40 now, and I live in Canada. We don't have a lot of use for racial slurs on the whole, but at least I know what the common (American) ones ARE.