WWYD? – dating

A single girlfriend of mine (please forgive me for shamelessly stealing your story but you did tweet it) was recently set up with a bloke. They had some phone conversations before they actually met, to see if there was really a point to meeting. The conversations went ok, but he used a word that offended her. He used the very bad N word to refer to a person of colour. It bothered my friend and she wondered if it was even worth giving this guy a chance after he said that. From what I remember English was not his first language, but in my book that is still no excuse.

My friend is a very sweet person and after some thought and discussion with trusted friends she wanted to give him the benefit of the doubt. Seeing as everything else seemed to have been ok with the guy she did agree to see him. It didn’t work out.

What would you have done? Would you have gone out with him? Would the bad language have been a total deal breaker? Would you have thought, like I did (I can be judgmental), that if someone can be so rude about another person that they probably don’t have good middot? (standards of behaviour) Would you have been Dan L’Chaf Zechut (give benefit of the doubt) like my friend was? Has this type of thing happened to you? How did you handle it?

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  1. Erin says:

    I wouldn’t have gone on the date. Anyone who would use words like that in casual conversation wouldn’t be compatible with me anyway.
    Having said that, I tend to make up my mind really quickly about what works and what doesn’t…which may be my downfall. :-/

  2. Jess says:

    It would definitely be a turn-off, but if everything else was fitting together, I’d give it a shot. Dating is so hard. I don’t know if it is just me, but I find it to be a terrible ordeal. First dates are awkward and uncomfortable. If this is was something that turns out to be a major part of his personality, then, yes, end it. But I would give it a little more time. See how this one mis-step turns out. Maybe a one time incident? If he is a good person on all other accounts; treats her well, nice to others, meet each other’s intellectual needs, etc. I would say see where it goes. I don’t know, maybe it’s because I find dating to be such torture that I might be a little more forgiving. Then again, who am I to be giving dating advice? Haven’t had the most success in that department!

  3. Frayda says:

    It’s funny you bring this up today. The talk radio show I was listening to today was discussing the situation where a professor was fired from a local college for using the N word in class.

    http://wbal.com/apps/news/templates/story.aspx?articleid=46826&zoneid=2

    I dislike that word a lot but if the guy was otherwise nice and polite in every other way, I would state that I don’t like when that word is used but I would still go out with him.

  4. ERICA says:

    If a potential date used a racist descriptor in refer to a Jewish person, there’s no way any of us would go out with him. This is no different!

    That particular word is associated with decades of the most heinous oppression and mistreatment of fellow human beings. You simply can’t be “nice and polite in every other way” if you *ever* use that word to refer to a person of color.

  5. RubyV says:

    As a Jew of color, I’m always saddened when I hear people make excuses for the racism of others.

    “That’s just how older people talk

    “But she’s so polite otherwise”

    “It’s only a word”

    Erica is right. No one would accept anti semitism. Racism is not appropriate either. Insert a derogatory word used to describe Jews in place of the N word and see if you would still be ok.

    All human beings should treat one another with respect, regardless of gender, race, religion or ethnicity.

  6. I remember walking around on a date with a Jewish guy I had just started dating. I pointed out this cute little girl and I said I hoped my daughter would be just as cute. He said, “Why would you want a kid like that with chinky eyes?” The little girl was Asian.

    I let it go. I really liked him. “Everything else was great.”

    But it wasn’t long before he was making racist comments about my hair, about Hispanics, about blacks, etc.

    • Mark says:

      So true! There is no such thing as being “a little” racist, or racist only towards one particular race.

      Racism has nothing to do with hatred or dislike of a particular race, and everything to do with a feeling of superiority of ones own race.

  7. Z! says:

    If he used such a derogatory word so early on then he is a true believer in what he said. If it offended her, there was/is no way she can get him to change. If it really disturbed her, then it would never have worked out.

  8. tesyaa says:

    Dealbreaker. 100%.

  9. frumgoth says:

    Not only would I not go out with him, I would inform him that 1. my ex-boyfriend is African American 2. there are converts who are African American in my community who would be extremely insulted to hear another person of the “tribe” speak that way and 3. how dare he speak about other human beings that way in the first place. It is completely unacceptable. It even bothers me when I hear people use the term “the goyim”. But I guess that’s a whole discussion in itself

  10. Duvii says:

    Nope. Bad manners are indicative of …. bad manners.

  11. sheldan says:

    With respect to RubyV, I agree that it doesn’t matter that “That’s how older people talk.” I can’t stand even YOUNG people using the N-word…among themselves! It is the kind of word that punches you in the stomach whenever you hear it (unfortunately, that may be the intention).

    Therefore, it is a red flag when someone uses the N-word or similar language like Aliza said. It may very well indicate that the person’s middot are not where they should be and this is a valid consideration.

    That goes for the casual use of “schvartze” and “shochor” (we discussed that at length in a previous post).

  12. Keels says:

    The point is, English is not his first language. maybe he is not aware of the social ramifications of using that word.

    And if he’s Israeli – check out this post.
    http://www.whatwarzone.com/2010/01/jpost-uses-retarded-in-headline-benji.html.
    Not saying its right or wrong, but definitely cultural.

  13. Lara says:

    Cursing doesn’t really bother me but the moment a date wold say anything racist or derogatory o would probably walk out without any explanation. Growing up with a Mexican mother who lived through some of the worst times for minorities in the U.S I was taught that that kind of behaviour cannot be tolerated.

  14. Emy says:

    There is the issue with the language barrier and cultural differences. I think it’s probably right to give the benefit of the doubt otherwise you’d never know. But we’re all different.

    Personally I’d have walked away on the spot and never looked back.

    Emy

  15. Otir says:

    I certainly would have voiced my concern to the person directly during the first conversation, stopping at the word that was used and asking the person if they knew it was a derogatory term, especially if you know that English is not their first language.

    What you have to know is that when you speak in a learnt-as-an-adult-language you tend to speak in an even cleaner language, because you are seldom taught slang or urban language. So if you use a very inappropriate term, you must have learnt it somewhere! This is what is questionable, without judgement, and it can clear misunderstandings immediately.

    Sometimes people think that a word will sound like they actually know the culture of the other country, and will not even realize they are using a very offensive term. Something that I would use as an expletive in my native language can pass, because it goes very softly and quickly and is mingled into the breath of the spoken language, when if used by a foreigner, it is like it is stressed, because of the accent, because of the rythm of the speech and the possible lack of fluency, so it sounds awful even if it is a mild expletive. So never use cursing words or slang if you are not using them in your native language!

    If the person knew he was using a slur, then it is a deal breaker for me.

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