Driving Miss Ignorant

Since yesterday was Martin Luther King Day here in the States, I think it’s best I share yet another story of racial intolerance.  This one goes back a bit further than the one I posted over the weekend.  This event takes place in 1992, the Virginal Days.

I was a young sophmore at the University of Washington here in Seattle living in apartment with three college friends.  Two of my friends happen to be Asian, but that’s not really important yet.  As 19 year olds finding ourselves in college we would hang out at the local underage dance clubs on the weekends.  We were hornballs so what else was there to do?  I was terrified of dancing because I really have no talent in that arena.  Typically a big group of about 5-10 of us would go out and I would watch the others dance all night from the sidelines.

One of these times I got lucky and met a girl at the club.  I was very excited since I had never dated anyone up to this point in my life.   The female attention and "friendship" was a cool thing, yet nothing more than kissing and some heavy petting ever happened.  I chatted on the phone with this girl I will refer to as "Tara".  She lived about 45 minutes north of Seattle so we didn’t see* each other all that often.  Occasionally she would swing by our apartment for a visit. 

The night I met Tara at the club she posed some questions about my roommates.  She wanted to know more about the "gooks".  I kid you not, she called my Asian friends "gooks".  Okay, one roommate is Filipino and the other is Chinese.  Once she said this word I had a really tough time keeping a straight face.  The term gooks is on par with the n word in the offensive racial slur department.

I shared this tidbit of information with my roomies and a plan was hatched.  The next time Tara was to visit our apartment, they would exhaust the term gook making it sound completely commonplace.  I never mentioned anything to her about how offensive the term can be, but then again she never told me she was 17 until a few weeks after I met her.

Maybe this wasn’t the best way to teach her about racial intolerance because I’m not sure she even knew my buddies were mocking her.    It was priceless to hear them run the term into the ground, knowing she would return to her suburban home and use it over and over because she heard Asians using the term amongst themselves.  As they were violently throwing darts they let the term gook fly as if saying today’s popular filler word "like".  Again, this situation could have been resolved better, but you must keep in mind these are the same roommates who convinced a cute girl at the mall to hand me an "I admire you" letter while I was working.   Yes, that’s a story for another post.  Well at least Tara did teach me how to drive stick shift on her Subaru wagon in a vacant church parking lot.

* …we didn’t see each other all that often –> because she was attending high school P.E. classes while I was studying trees and French literature.

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About lessinges

Seattle native, discovering life! I like ice cream, cold cereal, and The Amazing Race.
This entry was posted in Storytelling. Bookmark the permalink.

61 Responses to Driving Miss Ignorant

  1. Chris says:

    Ashamed as I am to admit it, (or more ashamed of many of my Southern brethren) such intolerance is still a prevelant undercurrent to affairs here in the D/FW area. Admittedly, not so much in my current circle of associates and family, but certain family members I cannot have a single conversation with out their denigrating comments (on top if their inabilty to complete a sentence without using the f-bomb, a close runner up to ‘like’ as an adjective in these dark, conversationally bereft days 🙂

  2. Amanda says:

    That’s hilarious! Yeah, probably not the best way to teach the young ignorant girl about why she shouldn’t use that term. Hopefully, today, she knows not to use it, though. Or any other racial slur for that matter. Thanks for sharing that story. Living smack dab in the middle of the country, I have witnessed a lot of racial intolerance. Enough to write monthl worth of posts. Hopefully we will all live to see the day when it won’t exist. But unfortunately, as we come to accept one thing that’s different, something new comes up for people to be intolerant about.

  3. kirk says:

    So you were dating racist jailbait?

  4. sprizee says:

    Are you my caucasian?

  5. Churlita says:

    I prefer to just tell people they’re being racist if it’s not in a professional setting where I could get fired…And even then sometimes I open my big yap about it.

  6. egan says:

    Chris TX – welcome to my blog sir. Sucks to hear this sort of thing still exists. I do hear crap like this from time to time. One of my bosses just referred to French Canadians as “inbreeders”. Nice eh?
    Amanda – yeah, they were better ways to resolve this, but they figured the entertainment value outweighed the educational lesson. Most likely should wouldn’t get it.
    Kirk – that’s exactly what happened. Thankfully we only exchanged slobbery kisses and reacharounds.
    Sprizee – you could call me that. Wait, I’m not Asian. Damn you!
    Churlita – normally I do too, but we figured it would fall on deaf ears. Do I seem like the kind of guy that won’t speak his mind?

  7. Rose says:

    Most likely not the best way to teach someone, but a funny story.

  8. egan says:

    Rose – oui, remember I was 19 at the time. Teenagers aren’t known for making the best decisions.

  9. logo™ says:

    I’m glad your taste in women improved.

  10. egan says:

    Logo™ – I am too. Once I got some action the world changed forever. I saw Tara (her real name) years later and didn’t quite understand what I saw in her. Then it donned on me, I was a virgin.

  11. meno says:

    It’s smowing here again.
    That’s a great story. She must have suspected some mocking was going on, but at 17, who knows.

  12. that is too funny. I love that your friends we on board.
    … but this gives light to a bigger issue — guys have trouble seeing past a cute girl’s pretty exterior.
    I actually had this conversation with a guy friend the other day:
    Guy: So Jeff is going out on a date tonight.
    Me: Really? That’s kind of out of the blue. Has he known her awhile?
    Guy: No, I think he met her at the gym. But she’s cute, so I’m sure he’ll have fun.
    Now, that’s logic.

  13. egan says:

    Meno – I kind of doubt she suspected anything since my friends are pretty clever. It’s not snowing now is it?
    Undercover Celebrity – hmmm, I think this is an interesting topic UC. The guys I know tend to shy away from bimbos. It doesn’t matter how hot they are, if they can’t formulate a sentence… why date her? The gym scenario isn’t all that likely to work out for lots of reasons. I’m skeptical. Maybe she’s simply looking for a little nookie though.

  14. BV says:

    Anything for a piece. You boys and your boy penises.

  15. egan says:

    BV – you didn’t read the post did you? I did NOT get any action from this Tara girl. None whatsoever.

  16. Amanda says:

    “Then it donned on me, I was a virgin.”
    HA! Hilarious! I snort-laughed at this (congratulations…that’s the third time today I’ve done that).

  17. egan says:

    Amanda – well it’s the truth. There’s no telling what a horned out virgin will do.

  18. Kristin says:

    However appalling and ignorant racism is, I find the extreme PC-ness of people almost as intolerable (almost).

  19. egan says:

    Kristin – first of all, welcome back to my blog. I do hear you to some extent, but don’t you think it’s wise to error on the side of caution though? Why offend if you can help it?

  20. mez says:

    I can’t believe people use that term! Also, isn’t it amazing how people like that will just assume that since you are white that you are going to share their racist thoughts?!

  21. Amanda says:

    I know! That’s why I snort-laughed!

  22. Amy says:

    I hear ya on that dancing thing. I spend a lot of time on the sidelines as well.
    I’ve never even heard of the term “gooks”. I just would have thought it was something like “geeks” if I heard it.
    Interesting that one of your bosses said that French Canadians were “inbreeders”. This evening there was a story on the news about a survey done in Quebec. The results showed that 47% of Quebec’s population was racist.

  23. darlene says:

    hmmmm…it’s pretty sad that at the age of 17, she already had the mindset of a racist. I was pleasantly surprised to read that your roomies kinda had a sense of humor about it, though. I think some people just need a kick in the ass sometimes… Just me?
    p.s. thanx for dropping by my blog! 🙂

  24. egan says:

    Amanda – I’m glad my lousy tales of chasing tail amuse you.
    Amy – huh, I wonder if those are the same folks interested in secession. Gook, as I understand it, was commonly used during the Vietnam War to describe “The Enemy”.

  25. egan says:

    Mez – yes, it is shocking people assume I will have the same opinions as them. I have called folks out on it often. I rarely let homophobic slurs go unchecked.
    Darlene – you’re right. They could be really uptight about it, but is it worth it? I’m not sure Tara would have gotten the point. By the way, welcome to my blog. There were other instances where it was necessary to react, but this one wasn’t as bad. They cut her some slack.

  26. Amanda says:

    They only amuse because they are so realistic. I grew up with three brothers, so I’ve witnessed the some crazy actions done by horned out virgins.
    No, seriously though, it was such an honest statement and it made me giggle!
    Thank you for touching on this subject, though (racism, not virginity). It’s something that we all need to keep in mind. Like one of my favorite songs from one of my favorite musicals say “Everyone’s a litle bit racist, it’s true.” But the next step is getting past those stereotypes and accepting people for who they are.

  27. egan says:

    Amanda – thanks friend. I might make it a theme this week. I do think everyone has racist tendencies. It’s all about whether you act on them or use those thoughts to improve your own understanding.
    I can tell you have brothers. You rock!

  28. Amanda says:

    Exactly! And that would be a good theme! Get people thinkin’!
    And thanks, you rock too. That’s why I keep coming back here. Well, that and the farting jokes.

  29. Hypersonic says:

    What’s p.C. about racial intolerence? I just thought it was just good sense. I have no problem with it. Hate racists and would walk a mile not to talk to someone who even sats “them” when referring to someone of a race either than white caucasian.

  30. This is odd, because I was just reading a blog post about some chick who was telling about a time some mean older guy and his roomates tricked her into thinking “gook” was a common word in good useage …

  31. Rose says:

    I wrote an article on Racism. Care to read it?

  32. L says:

    Wow. She was only 17? Do you ever wonder what happened to her and if she ever wised up? I would hope so.

  33. Oh, yeah, did you sleep with her?

  34. bobealia says:

    Um, why did you even see her after that first time you met and she called your roommates gooks? Or is that why you had the build up about how you didn’t have girlfriends?

  35. egan says:

    Amanda – yeah, so don’t be surprised if I run with this theme all week. I appreciate your feedback.
    Hypersonic – I have no idea what’s P.C. about racial intolerance either. Are you referring to Kristin’s comment on this post? I was kind of confused by her statement too. Again, is it wrong to play it safe and just keep your trap shut? I honestly don’t think so.
    Malnurtured Snay – are you for real? Is the woman’s name Tara? You’re messing with me aren’t you?
    Rose – sure, you can send it to my Yahoo account if you want. (eganf).
    L – I’m guessing she overheard the term from classmates and didn’t fully understand what it meant. I saw her a few years later at Stevens Pass and ignored her. If she made new friends, she may have changed her ways. Who knows. I’m impressed I remembered her name.

  36. egan says:

    Malnurtured Snay – hells no. No sex for me with her. I’m very very glad it didn’t happen for obvious reasons. The age thing being a huge factor.
    Bobealia – hello and welcome to my blog. I think I was just so damn excited someone wanted to date me I overlooked this critical detail. It was almost comical to me and like many people I thought I could change her ways. Can you say project? The no girlfriend thing was simply a matter of shyness. I was too afraid to ask anyone out in the first 18 years of my life. Thanks for asking and welcome once again.

  37. Gawpo says:

    Yeah, go figure. I mean, like, what’s Tara spelled backwards? (even tho that wasn’t her real name, it applies here. hopefully she has rectified herself.)

  38. Egan – Naw, I made that first comment up.

  39. egan says:

    Gawpo – you’re a silly man. Actually her real name is Tara, but I can’t think of her last name. I think that’s a very good thing. I’m not a fan of rodents.

  40. egan says:

    Malnurtured Snay – I figured you had to be kidding. The coincidence was too uncanny. You’re a funny guy… I will kill you last.

  41. furiousball says:

    I like the roommate’s plan a lot. Racial ignorance is like speedos (aka banana hammocks) those wearing them are not fun to be around.

  42. Gawpo says:

    Age of consent in Washington is 16, yes? Not down here in the land of No Sales Tax, though…

  43. sandra says:

    I don’t think I’ve ever heard the term “gook” used, unless it was in a sarcastic/ironic sort of way — who knew?! That said, I once met a guy, from SF no less, who talked extensively about “the gays” in a really hushed, shameful tone. Which begged the question: why live there?

  44. snavy says:

    i need to email you to tell you a lovely name my nana has for a certain minority
    oh man …

  45. Don’t bet on it, Egan – I’m a liberal gun-owner and I know how to make lead fly 🙂

  46. Tall Chick says:

    Time for some stupid trivia!! The word “gook” I believe has its origins in the Korean war. The Korean word for “America” is “Me-gook” (The Me part being pronounced as in myself and I 😛 ) so when Koreans would come up to the soldiers, they would exclaim about their Americanness 😉 and the rest is history.

  47. Buggss says:

    Gawd 17 yr old teen girls don’t think beyond mascara,fashion and teaching horned out virgins how to drive manual(stick shift) 😛

  48. celeste says:

    This is my ‘I admire you’ comment. It’s not as cool as an actual letter, but hey, it’s all I’ve got.
    Egan, that is a pretty funny story. I am always shocked myself when I overhear blatant racism. I long for the day when its not even an issue. Maybe our kids will live in a racist-free generation? Here’s hoping.

  49. egan says:

    Furiousball – I agree with you for the most part, but on this blog Speedos are embraced.
    Gawpo – I haven’t the slightest clue about the age of consent because it just wasn’t happening for me back then.
    Sandra – “the gays” is a weird one. Funny how when you put “the” in front of something and it changes everything. The husband, the spouse, etc. The gays? I say it mocking those that actually say it for real. Ugh.
    Snavy – I think I may not want to hear this one. Email me anyway so I can roll my eyes.
    Malnurtured Snay – you didn’t get my Commando line did you? Maybe I need to add Sally in the quote.
    Tall Chick – I do recall it coming from the Korean War too and it was lasted through to Vietnam. You’re a wealth of information young lady.
    Buggss – and that’s the nice way to phrase it right? You paint a wonderful picture.
    Celeste – I would love nothing more than a racism free generation, but I’m not optimistic. I overheard a bunch of it tonight at the Seattle Sonics basketball game.

  50. JohnnyDC says:

    Im not dead yet!
    And Im sure Tara has long since moved on.
    To the N word.

  51. tori says:

    I had a real comment and then I read other people’s comments and am cracking up at some of them.
    When I was 15, I dated a guy who was 22 and he DID know how old I was ahead of time. I should note that I was in college at the age of 16 and graduated at the age of 20, but even still, a 22 year old is way too old for a 15 year old!

  52. egan says:

    Johnny DC – represent yo! I’m sure Tara is still getting stoned in the mountains. Snowboard or die!
    Tori – I think I dated a woman that was 27 when I was 23. Even then it felt like she was so much older than me. At least you were honest about the age thing. Tara, not so much.

  53. JessR says:

    It reminds me of the old joke: “We all grew up knowing at least one racist. I called mine ‘Dad.'”
    (Except it’s not a joke in the traditional sense. It’s that kind of black comedy that makes you cry if you can’t laugh.)
    PS: Would love to hear the “admire you” story!

  54. kayla says:

    I’m somewhat off topic, but I read in your comment to Undercover Celebrity:
    “The guys I know tend to shy away from bimbos. It doesn’t matter how hot they are, if they can’t formulate a sentence… why date her?”
    I’ve heard past boyfriends say that, and I believed they meant it…so why did they still drool and gawk at the hot bimbos, then immediately launch into a long winded rant about how they were seductively dressed?
    I had a hard time understanding what seems to be such a contradiction.
    Other than explaining they were just “horny young men”, can you help me understand?

  55. cindra says:

    I’m so glad she showed her true colors early on…

  56. egan says:

    Jess R – that’s a great point about your dad. I think family plays a huge part in this and will segue nicely into my next post. The “admire you” story is a fun one. Maybe next week.
    Kayla – okay, I could do an entire post on this. I think a hot bimbo type definitely gets the guys I know to drool. However, I don’t think any would want to date a woman like that. Looks only take you so far. So if I guy spots a “headturner” it’s probably more of a fantasy thing. The intellect is much more important than the hotness factor. Does this make any sense?
    Cindra – yeah, it’s a damn good thing I never used the L word.

  57. kayla says:

    Yes, it makes sense..I understand the importance of an intellectual connection.
    I was thinking of a particular situation where a guy had the head turning experience; he obviously enjoyed the way the woman was sexily dressed. When he snapped back to reality, he ranted about how he was not attracted to women who dressed like that..and was borderline offended by it. He believed that type of bodily exposure should be kept private for the boyfriend/husband only to see and enjoy.
    To complicate matters, I believed he really felt this way.
    Still, he could not control himself when such a woman was around..he had to look.
    What I didn’t and still find hard to understand is, why look if it is so offensive?

  58. egan says:

    Kayla – huh, I will take another stab in the dark here. He’s either hiding how he truly feels about the “headturner”, meaning he’s lusting big time OR he’s got some insecurity issues.
    I think maybe you busted him and he felt he had to cover his gawking by picking her appearance apart. I get the impression he didn’t want to admit her looks intimidated him so he chose to ridicule her instead. Like a Miss USA sort of thing.

  59. L says:

    HA You ignored her? Did she recognize you? Or were you hiding behind your gooks?

  60. egan says:

    L – I saw her chatting it up with some bloke at the base of Stevens Pass. I don’t even think she recognized me because by then I had already taken my show underground.

  61. Rose says:

    Egan, on its way.

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