Grandma: "So, where are you all staying?"I have two reactions when I hear such exchanges. On the one hand, the poor lady had the same poison poured in her ear when she was too young to know what's what, and in her messed-up way, she's just trying to offer a visitor some friendly advice. On the other hand, what the fu...? Stop saying that!*
Mama (with a thick Italian accent): "In the French Quarter."
Grandma: "Oh, you might not want to go down there this weekend. It's the Bayou Classic, a big football game, and there'll be about fifty thousand black people down there, and they've all got guns. It's not a racist thing. It's just they're real enthusiastic. I work in the Quarter, but I won't work down there this weekend."
Mama (confused): "But... we sleep there."
Does anyone actually think they're a racist? The big R-line always seems to be drawn just beyond whatever not-racist territory the not-a-racist has staked out.
* It didn't help that the whole conversation occurred within earshot of her mixed-race granddaughter.