I was listening to NPR the other day in the car with Dh and they had a story about smartphones and whther or not it is rude to use them in public. So the man they were interviewing (who obvioulsy was not a fan of the smartphone) was complaining about people using the phone in lines at stores and such. He then went on to tell a story about a time when he was in line at a store waiting topay for gas and there was "this Hispanic lady in front of me just talking away on her phone. I could hear the whole conversation".
My Dh and I though the same thing at the same moment....why did he have to say it was a Hispanic lady? why not just a lady? or a person?
Now I'm not saying everytime (or even this time) when people use racial qualifiers they are being racist or even meaning it (consciously anyway) in a negative way. And maybe sometimes it is important when describing someone. But what about in instances where it really doesn't serve any real positive purpose? Do you think they are necessary? Why do people do it?
I'm going to work on the assumption that this guy is not Hispanic, since we don't technically know for sure, but I will assume he is because i think its a safe bet.
I think people subconsciously do this a lot of time and I do agree that it is a negative thing. What I think, in this example, that the individual does, probably without realizing it, is use the qualifier because he is describing what he sees as a negative action....and by also stating that she is Hispanic, it disassociates this person and her negative actions that much more from him. As in, that she is that much different and its something he would never do himself.
Thats my own highly unprofessional and uneducated stab at it.
I'm pretty sure from his surname, accent, and his admission to not speaking Spanish, that he was not Hispanic.
Yeah, i figured as much. Out of curiosity, what made him bring up the fact that he doesn't speak spanish?
Because with that piece of information.....depending on the context, i'm more inclined to believe its more basic and simplistic than my first suggestion. Perhaps he is one of those people who is angry and believes the "spanish speakers are taking over the country" thing...and the qualifier is simply more of the basic straightforward racist variety.
In that case, it sounds like his problem was not understanding what she was saying (couldn't eavesdrop?) and would have the same opinion if she was carrying on the conversation in person.
Hmm, maybe. But the story was about smartphones and cell phone ettiquette.
I just think it interesting because you don;t hear "the white guy/girl" as a qualifier in conversation. Like if it was some White lady yapping loud on the phone I would doubt that he would say "the White lady in front of me was talking on the phone". She would just be "a lady".
You probably do hear it more in places where a white dude is a minority. I mean, they are about to be (or already are?) a minority in the US, but in certain areas or neighborhoods or towns (or in other countries) I'm sure that they use "this white guy" or "some white lady" ......My area is not like that though so I don't hear people doing that. I think that a lot of people say it without bad intent, like they might say "some short guy" or "some old lady". That said, I think that it is generally poor form to use them.