PLEASE NOTE:

MyNews24 is a user-generated section of News24.com. The stories here come from users.

 
Edward529
 
Comments: 2
Article views: 153
 
 
Latest Badges:

 
View all Edward529's badges.
 

A Fine Line

07 January 2013, 06:49

Sensitivity or insensitivity surrounding ethnicity is just as much a problem as racism itself.

As with most companies, I have colleagues of different ethnic backgrounds. Most of us get along very well but there is still a subtle underlying unease when race becomes the topic of a conversation. It’s like spraying Glaze in a used toilet - the toilet smells fresher but you can tell it has been used. That underlying tone should not be undermined because as harmless as it appears, it is not. It’s waiting patiently, like a volcano.

Myself and one of my African colleagues, who is also a good friend, fell victim to that underlying unease. An unease that with the right amount of sensitivity of insensitivity transforms into something malevolent.

One day I arrived at work and met up with this colleague in our locker room (For the purpose of this article, we’ll call him John).  It was the usual “Howzit buddy, . . . how was the weekend . . . Howz the kidz, etc.” Then, he asked:

“Did you hear about this whole controversy . . . about Zuma’s pennies.”

“Zuma’s pennies? . . . What do you mean, ‘his pennies’.”  I asked.

“His PENNIES, dude. His pennies.” He said.

“You mean like Zuma coins?” I asked because in my head I was picturing a R5 coin with Zuma’s head on it.

“What?”, he said. He was almost irritated. “What are you talking about?. I’m talking about his PENNIES.”

I stopped to think for a while and tried to recall recent news about Zuma. Nothing about money or coins struck a note (no pun intended). The only thing I could think of was the uproar people was making because some artist . . .

Then, it dawned on me.

“Oh!You mean,his PENIS?” I said.

“Yes, that’s what I said.” He said

“No, you said PENNIES.” I said and burst out laughing.

As I was lmao, I noticed that John didn’t find it funny. There was a look of humiliation on his face. I was surprised because at that moment I didn’t realize the effect of my behavior. Or rather, I didn’t realize that laughing at his accent was obviously very offensive. Because we were good friends and our ethnic difference was something we joked about, I didn’t know better. Without a word John left the locker room and went to sign on duty.

After the incident, our friendship changed. We still talk but it’s like he sat a boundary especially for ME not to cross. Whenever we end up being alone together, there’s an uncomfortable silence and it’s like we can’t wait for another person to join our company. It sucks.

Be it as it may, I’m not sure if I was being insensitive or whether he was being too sensitive about the whole PENNIES thing. Maybe both.

In the end, we both lost.

Disclaimer: All articles and letters published on MyNews24 have been independently written by members of News24's community. The views of users published on News24 are therefore their own and do not necessarily represent the views of News24. News24 editors also reserve the right to edit or delete any and all comments received.

 

Read News24’s Comments Policy

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
2 comments
Add your comment
Comment 0 characters remaining

Read more from our Users

Submitted by
Facebook user
True Faith

If theists really had faith they would emulate Jesus and Moses or any other Biblical figure that had supernatural powers of getting things done. Read more...

0 comments 9 views
Submitted by
JanGreen
E-Tolls, The Real Issue On The Ta...

The real issue on the table, in my opinion, is the question of who the consumers are, of all used infrastructure and how revenues for said usage of infrastructure must be collected.  Read more...

0 comments 32 views
Submitted by
Aisling O'Faoilan
The Oscar Pistorius Case. A Pract...

While we are awaiting the date for the States appeal in the Oscar Pistorius case, the key people involved in the case are once again in the media spotlight. Read more...

0 comments 14 views
Submitted by
Kalibanache
Reason for Xenophobia and some so...

I have previously lived in Windsor (Randburg) and recently lived in Rossettenville and it is undeniable just how many people are not locals... Read more...

1 comments 4 views
Submitted by
Fired up
Leftist-Liberalism often the anti...

It’s difficult to fathom ivory-tower academic Professor Wilmot James’s objections to the Democratic Alliance’s value charter with its emphasis on values in context of the family.  Read more...

9 comments 206 views
Submitted by
CynicalBookworm
Stop blaming others!

Anybody can now get a decent education, at a decent school, as long as you pay, something that was denied the disadvantaged pre-1990, but performed by the advantaged, then and now. Read more...

3 comments 131 views
 

services

E-mail Alerts The latest headlines in your inbox

RSS feeds News delivered really simply.

Mobile News24 on your mobile or PDA

E-mail Newsletters You choose what you want

News24 on your iPhone Get News24 headlines on your iPhone.

News24 on Android Get the latest from News24 on your Android device.

SMS Alerts Get breaking news stories via SMS.

Blogs Your opinion on you, me and everyone.

 
Interactive Advertising Bureau
 
© 2015 24.com. All rights reserved.
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.




Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.