Wednesday, April 27, 2016

A Racist Term Deleted Fire Drill and Dirty Dishes

I've got a lot to complain about right now. Why won't anyone do the dishes?

I'm supposed to do the dishes? There are other people in this house eating. Why do I have to do it all of the time? I've even got an extra guy here and he does no more dishes than the other two. This morning, he asked where he was supposed to put the dirty cutting board because the sink was full. Well, in the dishwasher, I wanted to tell him. I didn't. I should have. It would have been good to tell him that Mike and I expect him to help out since he's getting a free ride here until he gets his own place.

That has ground to a halt too. At first, he was actively looking for his own place to live. Now? Not so much.

On top of that, our schedule is packed. I know these are the last days of me carting Nick from one place to another. I'm now in the passenger seat much of the time since he has his driver's permit. He's a pretty good driver and I almost checked out yesterday. He's not ready for me to check out while he drives. But right now, the driving just makes our schedule that much more crazy, practicing backing around the corner, lane changes. Why does it seem like it takes longer to get places when Nick drives? And I've never played the Chinese fire drill as much as I have these past weeks.

Do you remember doing a Chinese fire drill? High school pranks. Usually, it was when we were at a stop light in a car. Everyone would jump out of the car and run around to get in another door.

No, Nick and I are not doing our Chinese fire drills at stop lights. We're doing them off the road in a safe place.

So, is it bigoted to say Chinese fire drill? Is it derogatory? I'm not sure why they're called Chinese and not Cherokee fire drills or Hoosier fire drills or teenage fire drills.

There's probably something derogatory about it and I'm just clueless.

Sorry, folks. I didn't mean anything by it. I just looked it up. It was originally a commentary about a fiasco in translation during a fire drill in the early 1900s, but later, the term was used in a demeaning way. So there's one more thing I really shouldn't say if I'm going to be polite. It makes sense for me to be polite, but is it still a bigoted thing to say?

It is.

It's like saying you got gypped, which is rude to gypsies, or calling someone an Indian-giver, which is rude to Native Americans. English is a linguistic minefield, but it's worth taking the time to look at the original meanings of common terms we say so that we're not promoting bigotry.

It is, isn't it?

It reminds me of the statues of Southern civil war leaders that recently had to come down. Now, remind me why these people can't be respected again? Is it racist to maintain a statue of your great great grandfather in the local park if he served in the civil war?

So now I can complain that there are terms I grew up saying that I have to relearn now that I'm old. It's hard to relearn so many things. It's like my mind wants to keep going down the same tracks it always did and language cuts a deep groove. 

I'm getting old, people. And that, by itself, causes more problems than it solves. And it still doesn't solve the problem that I am the only one doing the dishes around here. It doesn't. Maybe if I don't do them for another day or two, someone will step up.


Thank you for listening, jules

No comments:

Post a Comment