Author Topic: Wish I knew this line back then  (Read 3511 times)

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whiterose

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Wish I knew this line back then
« on: October 04, 2009, 04:30:33 PM »
Yes, it is yet another interesting assumption pertaining to my accent. This one is from way back in my sophomore year of college.

A group of my service fraternity brothers (it was co-ed) and I went tubing at a local river/spring. It was near the university, so there were other groups of students. I was not wearing my fraternity's Greek letters (this is relevant) or anything else identifying me as part of a group- I was either in my swimsuit or wearing a solid t-shirt and shorts that could not have said more than the name of our humongous university, if that.

Another group had a couple fellows wearing t-shirts with fraternity letters, but it also had some girls as well as blokes who were not in fraternity letters.

I asked one of the chaps if it was a function for the fraternity I saw the letters of. He said yes, and he asked in return if I was in/from a Purple organization. I was taken back a bit, then I explained that no, it was for a co-ed service fraternity.

Why would he automatically assume that simply because I have an accent, it HAS to be strictly a function for people whose culture pertains to that accent? Why couldn't he have jumped to the conclusion that our group was from a religious organization/neighborhood/residence hall/another kind of interest group (political, service, gaming, athletic, etc.)? Why couldn't he have just asked what kind of group was I in, if any (for all he knew, we could have been a group of friends celebrating someone's birthday)?

Was I overly sensitive? Or did he truly make an interesting assumption?
« Last Edit: October 05, 2009, 06:34:54 AM by whiterose »
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Fi

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Re: Wish I knew this line back then
« Reply #1 on: October 04, 2009, 07:07:43 PM »
To be honest, having an accent of a particular colour in a country of a different colour, I don't take offence in such situations? If he knew there were several groups that were each mainly consisting of a group of a different colour, it's a polite enough question. (To be precise, I'm Irish, but living in England and have done for a long time.)

I laugh and say no. If they push, then they're rude. He was hopefully trying to be friendly and welcoming.

Of course, I don't know his tone towards you, but if I'm at a do with a bunch of Irish people who are all part of the same group, I don't have an issue explaining that actually I'm with the English mob down the other end. It's only when such people push for details and get offensive in the way they push that I'm offended.

But as far as I'm concerned, it's a valid question to ask - the odds are in the questioner's favour that I am with that group and if they're asking nicely, it's just polite and welcoming.

whiterose

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Re: Wish I knew this line back then
« Reply #2 on: October 04, 2009, 08:12:56 PM »
The service fraternity group I was with was as heterogeneous and diverse as possible. And in many many ways- not just the way we looked and sounded.

Maybe it was his tone of voice that was a bit condescending.
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PaddedPaws

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Re: Wish I knew this line back then
« Reply #3 on: October 05, 2009, 04:26:47 AM »
It doesn't seem like that bad of an assumption, because it was not an insulting one. After all, there's nothing wrong with being Purple. And there was a Purple organization there that day. He wasn't just pulling names out of a hat.

But tone of voice does make all the difference. If he seemed condescending, then that is irritating. I think your answer was fine, though. I don't know if the "interesting assumption" line would work in this case, because it would imply that there's something wrong with being part of the purple organization. Even if that's what he meant, you wouldn't want to encourage that thought.

whiterose

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Re: Wish I knew this line back then
« Reply #4 on: October 05, 2009, 06:34:29 AM »
Maybe I did not express myself correctly in the OP. But he did not mention a specific Purple organization. I have no clue if there was one there or not. There may have been, or not.

He simply asked if I belonged to a Purple organization period.

Again, not a negative or offensive assumption.
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PaddedPaws

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Re: Wish I knew this line back then
« Reply #5 on: October 05, 2009, 01:40:11 PM »
Okay, I see. That does make some difference, if there wasn't a specific group there that he was refering to, then it does seem strange and random.

noexitwounds

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Re: Wish I knew this line back then
« Reply #6 on: October 28, 2009, 10:50:47 PM »
Oh, then it's definitely an interesting assumption.

If he'd seen X Purple org there that day and figured you were part of them that's an unfortunate but not *entirely* unreasonable assumption. If he just generalized to any Purple org then it's a very interesting assumption that all Purple people would belong to Purple orgs despite the abundance of non-Purple orgs around him.

I don't think you were being too sensitive and, in the future, I'd probably ask, "Why would you ask that?" and when he stumbles say "Nope, I'm part of XYZ but thanks for playing." Stay polite but make it clear he made a very interesting assumption.
Did you know that cats can make one thousand different sounds and dogs can only make ten? Cats, man. Not to be trusted. -- Jake Jensen, The Losers