The Story of Bob

(tulisan ini merupakan bagian dari serial #YourStoriesMatter. Kamu juga bisa mengirimkan tulisanmu di sini).

I had both the privilege and misfortune of witnessing a childhood friend slowly turn into a disgusting racist. So let’s call this person Bob (not his real name) and him, like myself, is a white Anglo-Saxon/German descent Canadian from a Christian background. Bob’s parents are close to my parents and we grew up in the same part of Vaughan, Ontario. Our neighbourhood is predominantly white and Christian with the occasional Jewish or Persian family living here and there. Bob and I also attended the same schools in the area which had a similar demographics overall.

Growing up with Bob, I couldn’t remember when it all started exactly. But around 5th grade, Bob started making some edgy racist jokes. They were mostly just kept between us and our close circle of friends. Over the years he kept making those kinds of jokes, and I too made a few inappropriate jokes along the way, we all did. But Bob was always the guy to start those sessions of just inappropriate racist jokes. He made jokes about almost everybody: Persians, Jews, Muslims, but in particular he really liked jokes about Blacks and Hispanics.

After high school we didn’t really spend too much time like we used to, but we still kept in touch over Facebook. I went to University while Bob went to a different town to work in the manufacturing industry. It was during this time that I noticed Bob started going down a slippery slope. He started sharing posts that disparage Hispanic and Black people and even making insulting posts aimed toward these people in a seemingly non-ironic, non-joking way. I went home for Christmas on my second year of University and I met up again with Bob. He invited me over for a session of video games and beers, typical guy stuff.

But then in the middle of a game, I distinctly remember Bob bringing up the fact that I was dating a Vietnamese girl at the time. It came out of nowhere and he asked a pretty disrespectful question regarding our relationship along with a few inappropriate jokes about her ethnicity. I was pretty offended but I didn’t want things to sour during this little reunion we were having. But a few bottles of beer later, that’s when I really saw the extent of just how low my childhood friend stooped.

I couldn’t remember specifically how, but we ended up having a conversation about Hispanic and Caribbean people that are increasingly common in Canada. Bob not only made mean jokes about these minorities and used a slew of inappropriate words to describe them, he was basically disparaging them and even going so far as to calling them ‘a threat to the Canadian way of life’ – whatever that means. I was not having any of it but I don’t really want to fight the guy either, so I made excuses to leave instead of staying longer as planned.

I still have Bob on Facebook and he is exactly as you would expect him to be. He continues to share racist posts and getting himself into online arguments with others because of his bigoted point of view. Even now I still wonder: ‘when did Bob become like this?’ And I think back all those years ago we may have enabled this to happen. It all started with a joke it seems…

Tidak ada yang layak diperlakukan secara diskriminatif. Kirim tulisanmu sekarang, karena #YourStoriesMatter dan sekarang adalah #SaatnyaBerhenti.