College students and office workers get hit with irritating microaggressions every day. But they can put the boneheads who utter them in their place by using the snappy comebacks in this article.
Microaggressions are minor insults, usually spoken by well-meaning persons, that unintentionally communicate hostility toward people based on ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation or gender identity.
Many colleges and businesses are so concerned about the problem that they hand out lists of microaggressions to students and employees. But there’s been a lot of pushback against the trend, principally from conservatives who grumble that it’s “political correctness run amok.” I think what actually irks people is the pseudoscientific term microaggression. If you just said, “dumbass comments made by people who just don’t know any better,” there wouldn’t be much debate. Hell, who hasn’t unwittingly said something that made the listener steaming mad for the rest of the day? Just ask any husband!
For example, a work friend thought he was paying the highest imaginable compliment when he told me, “Mike, you’re the least black person I know.” My comeback: “Thanks, Alan. You totally don’t seem Jewish to me at all.” But I, too, have put my foot in my mouth and been on the receiving end of a cutting reply. I once asked my gay niece, “So you and your girlfriend… who’s the man in the relationship?” Her comeback: “There IS no man in the relationship. That’s the point.” Ouch!
With the help of my boyhood chum Jordan Auslander, one of the wittiest guys I know, I’ve put together this handy list of 27 common microaggressions and snappy comebacks you can use:
“You’re so exotic!”
YOU MEAN LIKE KURU DISEASE?
(To a gay woman) “Have you ever had REAL sex?”
DOES YOUR MOTHER COUNT?
“No, I mean where are you REALLY from?”
MARS, BUT SHH! IT’S A SECRET. MY PEOPLE ARE EVALUATING YOUR PLANET TO SEE IF YOU’RE WORTH SPARING.
“Can I touch your hair?”
MY ARMPIT HAIR OR MY PUBIC HAIR?
“You know, I bet I could turn you straight!”
I BET IF I TURNED STRAIGHT AND YOU FUCKED ME, I’D TURN GAY AGAIN!
“So, how do Muslims feel about this situation?”
SORRY, MY TERM AS OFFICIAL SPOKESMAN FOR ALL MUSLIMS EXPIRED LAST WEEK.
“How come you don’t speak Spanish?”
I’M SECOND GENERATION. SAME REASON YOU DON’T SPEAK TROLL.
“How could I be anti-Semitic? I grew up around a lot of Jews.”
SO DID HITLER.
“How come you sound so white?”
MY SLAVE MASTER TAUGHT ME.
(To an Asian) “Can you see as much as white people?”
WELL, TEST ME. DO YOU HAVE YELLOW STAINS ON YOUR TEETH AND SIX GRAY NOSTRIL HAIRS?
(To a butch-looking gay woman) “Do you ever get mistaken for a man?”
NO, DO YOU? *
“Do you think maybe this gay thing is a phase?”
YES, PROBABLY. BUT UNFORTUNATELY FOR YOU, STUPID LASTS FOREVER.
“Hey, your English is quite good!”
SO IS YOUR HUMAN.
(To an Asian) “Sir, can you help me with this math problem?”
OH, OH! IT’S NOT THAT COUNTING STUFF IS IT?
(To an Asian) “You ‘re actually driving quite well.”
OH, THAT’S NOTHING. WATCH ME DO IT WITH MY EYES CLOSED!
“You’re very attractive for a dark-skinned girl.”
AND YOU’RE VERY INTELLIGENT FOR A CRETIN.
“You are so articulate!”
NOT USUALLY, BUT I HAVE TO BE TO GET THROUGH TO YOU.”
“You know, for a transgender girl, you look don’t look bad.”
THANKS, I THINK YOU COULD PASS TOO.
“Say, what ARE you, anyway?”
JUST TIRED, THAT’S ALL – OF DUMBASS QUESTIONS.
“Excuse me miss, were you born male?”
I WAS BORN WITHOUT MANNERS, BUT I LEARNED THEM.
“When I look at you, I don’t see color.”
YOU MIGHT WANT TO GET THAT CHECKED.
“Would like to play Dora the Explorer in the school play?”
NO, I’D LIKE TO PLAY SCARFACE AND INTRODUCE YOU TO “MY LEETLE FRIEND.”
“I’m not racist. I have a black friend.”
LET ME GUESS: BEN CARSON.
“You don’t lisp or anything. You do a good job of hiding that you’re gay.”
SO DO YOU.
“You’re very pretty for a transgender woman.”
AND YOU’RE NOT UGLY FOR AN OGRE.
“I hear that Asian women are more passive than Western women.”
FUCK YOU! IS THAT AGGRESSIVE ENOUGH?
“Hey, can you also talk like a regular black person?
SURE I CAN. LISTEN CLOSELY: Yebo ngiyakwazi ukukhuluma like umuntu omnyama ejwayelekile, isilima. Kukhona izindlela ezehlukene ezingamakhulu umuntu omnyama kungaba ukukhuluma. Abanye abantu abamnyama ukuxoxa entshonalanga nanendlela indian, abanye abantu bekhuluma nge accent i-Afrika. Abanye abantu bakhulume njengabantu cockney like Idris Elba, owakhuliswa eNgilandi. Umuntu ababefunde bagogoda like Angela Bassett, ababeyile Yale, ngokwemvelo likhuluma kahle-kunawe. Ngenxa nje yokuthi umuntu omnyama okhuluma isiNgisi efanele akusho ezingaphansi evumelana black. Ngale kwalokho, lokho kwakuyosho Malcom X awuzange evumelana black. Just kungaze uke wambona movie Tyler Perry asipheli ube igunya phezu oNsundu waseMelika amaphethini inkulumo, isilima. Lwesigodi ungase ucabange njengoba real inkulumo elimnyama owehla endleleni okhuluma crackers oseningizimu bafundisa abantu bami uma abenziwe izigqila ngabaseGibithe kithi. Ngakho Ngithemba ngeke abe nandaba uma mina ungayisebenzisi.**
** Roughly translated from Zulu: “Of course I can speak like a ‘regular’ black person, half-wit. There are hundreds of different ways a black person can talk. Some black people talk with a West Indian accent, some people speak with the accent of an African country. Some people speak with a cockney accent like Idris Elba, who was raised in England. A highly educated person like Angela Bassett, who went to Yale, naturally speaks more properly than you. Just because a black person speaks proper English doesn’t mean they are less than authentically black. Otherwise that would mean Malcom X wasn’t authentically black. Just because you might have seen a Tyler Perry movie doesn’t make you an authority on African-American speech patterns, idiot. The dialect you may think of as ‘real’ black speech descends from the way of speaking southern crackers taught my people when they enslaved us. So I hope you won’t mind if I don’t use it.”
* Courtesy of Aliens.
Copyright C. Michael Forsyth