Harrym
 
Reply Tue 15 Dec, 2015 04:47 am
Hi,
Today I was at work with a man I often joke around with. I am of Indian descent and he is Australian. There was also another Australian in the office who asked me how I pronounce my last name. I felt myself getting nervous because I knew what would happen or what had happened in the past in Australia. I told her and then he pronounced it. And then she replied no roll your rrr;s. It felt like they were using my name and I wasn't in the room. Then the man asked how do I say it. I cannot remember if I said don't worry about it, you wont get it or I just thought this. My surname is Makhareti and then he said Marmalade and then Morocco. I said your are being racist. He then said no im not, is it Moonsoon. I said you are being Racist and doing it in the Australian way which is to cover it with humour. He then said you are Australian. After he ap0ologised and said we normally play around. I think this was a Racisms and am upset he initially didn't apologise and refrain from mispronouncing my name for humourless intent. This was my initial fear. The fear that in this comfortably Racist country my name would become a joke for the 2 people in the officers bonding. I am fairly sure he would not have said the same thing if there was a bunch of Indians in the room and no one of his race. I also don't feel Australian although I am a Citizen as I don't feel we are widely represented or spoken for in this country. I was thinking of trying to educate him about why I think it was racist. I'm not sure if I want to spend the time to do this and am also unsure if what im feeling is Racist could be classified as that and if my reaction is fair? Any thoughts?
 
FBM
 
  3  
Reply Tue 15 Dec, 2015 05:07 am
@Harrym,
It's hard to tell if he was intentionally being racist or just naturally boorish. If I were in that situation (I sometimes am), I would first give him the benefit of the doubt and see how he behaves in the future. He did eventually apologize, but that doesn't necessarily mean that it was a sincere apology. I would wait to see if he does something else before I'd try to set him straight. I've found in my own experience that it's a thin line between rightfully setting someone straight and being thin-skinned. Maybe he's just innocently ignorant and he learned his lesson already, but if not, you'll most likely have another chance to confront him. I hope it's the former. Best of luck to you.
0 Replies
 
PUNKEY
 
  2  
Reply Tue 15 Dec, 2015 07:55 am
If any other word had been used in a playfully teasing way, you would have even taken part in the fun.

Try not to take this so personally. People will withdraw from you if you can't take a joke, especially if it's to laugh at yourself.
Nova Flare Q
 
  2  
Reply Tue 15 Dec, 2015 10:37 am
@Harrym,
Taking a thick-skinned approach to life is usually the best option from my experience, even though I have never had the pleasure of dealing with racist people.

To be quite honest, you should simply smile, be silent and carry on with your business. People don't like it when you're not offended, especially when you ignore their jokes. This is the safest option, because it works with everyone who offends you, regardless if they were genuine or not.
0 Replies
 
PUNKEY
 
  3  
Reply Tue 15 Dec, 2015 12:29 pm
I don't find his teasing remarks to be "racist."

What do you base that on?
0 Replies
 
neologist
 
  3  
Reply Tue 15 Dec, 2015 08:13 pm
@Harrym,
Harrym wrote:
Hi,
Today I was at work with a man I often joke around with. . . . .
Hold that thought . . .

It's a good foundation.
0 Replies
 
izzythepush
 
  1  
Reply Thu 17 Dec, 2015 04:43 am
@Harrym,
Don't pay any attention to those who tell you it's your fault for not having a sense of humour. It is racist to deliberately mock your name, they weren't even trying to pronounce it correctly. As Kevin bloody Wilson still has no problems touring Australia you're probably right about a lot of them being comfortable with racism.

I wouldn't try to educate them, they'll probably resent it. Just try to keep your head down and make a note of what's being said. If it gets too bad you'll have a record of what's been leading up to it. And, if you can, join a trade union. Until then be polite a professional, don't give them a reason to criticise your work.

And good luck.
0 Replies
 
Miss L Toad
 
  0  
Reply Thu 17 Dec, 2015 05:13 am
@Harrym,
https://www.humanrights.gov.au/publications/racial-vilification-law-australia

And don't forget to mention in your submission to the Australian Human Rights Commission, Mr Harry Makhareti, this internet post of yours:

Quote:
The fear that in this comfortably Racist country my name would become a joke for the 2 people in the officers bonding.
0 Replies
 
engineer
 
  3  
Reply Thu 17 Dec, 2015 11:54 am
@PUNKEY,
PUNKEY wrote:

If any other word had been used in a playfully teasing way, you would have even taken part in the fun.

Names have a lot more power than "any other word". When you intentionally make fun of someone's name, you are directly making fun of them. When you call someone by a nickname they don't approve of, you are intentionally insulting them. If you address someone who prefers to be called Robert as Bob you are not being funny, you are being an ass. The OP called it exactly correct - it was a racist comment and addressing the issue directly was a lot better than letting the person go off in ignorance.
0 Replies
 
ehBeth
 
  2  
Reply Thu 17 Dec, 2015 12:16 pm
@Harrym,
Harrym wrote:
Today I was at work with a man I often joke around with.


Quote:
After he ap0ologised and said we normally play around. I think this was a Racisms and am upset he initially didn't apologise and refrain from mispronouncing my name for humourless intent.


I guess you'll have to stop joking around since the two of you don't seem to share a common sense of humour.

___

I've got a name that people have been having fun with for over 50 years. I could always make the choice to be offended but I have never seen the upside of that.
0 Replies
 
Foofie
 
  1  
Reply Fri 18 Dec, 2015 02:30 pm
In my opinion, one can take the wind out of the sails, of those that are supposedly just being jocular, by joining in the "fun," so to speak. Meaning offer even more absurd monikers of your name. This shows that a) you are not thin skinned and, b) you can come up with more ridiculous permutations of your name. And, you can end the joviality by announcing, "mine are better; I win the contest." I wouldn't attempt to do the same to anyone else's name. Self-deprecating humor is the only safe humor.
0 Replies
 
ossobuco
 
  1  
Reply Fri 18 Dec, 2015 02:50 pm
My full first name is not easily mockable; the problem is that over my now longish lifetime zillions of people haven't heard it before and call me some other name that they seem to want me to have. Particularly when it's my turn to be announced as the next person to get to see a doctor, it matters if I am wrongly called on in Los Angeles, Albuquerque, or Chicago as there are variations of expectation.

Thus the name they expect me to have differs in different places, which, if you think about it, is funny in itself. It's not that all these people have spelling problems - it might be that the brain is ready to make another attribution based on experience.

I know this is different than mocking - but I'm not clear their funning was racist, or anti-indian. Maybe it was. Or maybe they were treating you like an equal.
0 Replies
 
Robert Gentel
 
  1  
Reply Fri 18 Dec, 2015 08:59 pm
@Harrym,
Australia has a lot of problems with this kind of racism, and yes from the limited information available it definitely sounds like racist banter.
0 Replies
 
 

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