Old people and racism

A lot of times people make excuses for old people’s racism, as if racism is just a product of a bygone era and it will die out when the old people do. Yeah, right. But anyway, I always think that if my old people have to suffer racism, your old people should get called on it. No more letting old Uncle Harry spew his racist bullshit at the dinner table. (Also old person who thought it was a good idea to let a slur fly at the store: Didja wet your pants when I got in your face? Because you didn’t seem so tough all of a sudden.)

So I got some old folks over at the nursing home.  And one lost her roommate pretty quick.  Because that roommate apparently didn’t want to share a room with one of those.  And made it quite clear.  And was accommodated by the staff.

Not that I think that my old folk should have to put up with that kind of shit.  But I hope the staff members spit in her racist old coffee every morning.


11 thoughts on “Old people and racism

  1. Heh. I hope they moved her out of your loved one’s room. . . and then assigned her to a table with all people of color for meals, gave her the bathing time slot after everyone else’s turn (and let her wait in the hallway to see who was coming and going), and made sure that whenever possible the staff who worked with her were non-white. Only give the old racist a chance to spew at other residents when the other residents have numbers on their side, and let the staff deal with doing the reforming.

  2. Thank you for this. There is no reason anyone can be excused of bullshit. Age does not and should not automatically lead to respect. Nor should social status, wealth, etc. People should be aware of and be responsible for the consequences of their words and actions.

    Several things to keep in mind though –
    1. I sincerely hope old people won’t die of heart attack if I call on their bullshit. After all, they’ll indeed die soon. Trololo…
    2. People come from different backgrounds. In explaining things to different people, it is important to keep one’s patience and avoid being condescending, because the goal is to help people understand instead of simply calling people ignorant…although sometimes I don’t have such patience and just ignore older people’s remarks because they’ll die soon anyway, and I’ve got other things to do.

  3. Two wrongs don’t make a right.
    It’s disgusting for you hope that her coffee is spat in, let alone publish those thoughts on a blog.
    Imagine your feelings if someone were to spit in your beverage.

  4. Oh no, I thought a bad thought! And the Thought Police caught me! ;-D

    So just to make sure I’m clear on this: People with bad racist behavior can act on that racism and other folks can support it, but it’s the bad thoughts afterwards towards racists that really need to be addressed.

  5. Why contradict yourself then?
    ‘It’s the bad thoughts afterwards towards racists that really need to be addressed.’
    When you originally said “I hope the staff members spit in her racist old coffee every morning.”
    Have you addressed your own bad afterthoughts?

  6. It’s my least favorite excuse when older folks are racist. Because there are thousands of other older people who aren’t. But no one wants to call gram gram a racist asshole. I do not have that problem.

    And anyone who is stupid enough to spew hatred openly deserves a spit in the coffee. Natural consequences of being a jerk.

    Also, why would you hope non-white staff members who make shitty wages and work long hours would have to provide care for this person?? Give her/him what they want and don’t subject POC to that crap.

  7. Jack, please look up the word “sarcasm”.

    And yeah, I work with elderly a lot and I have to listen to their racism every day. They assume that because I’m white I’m “one of them” and they can show their true colors (lol) to me when they think no one else is listening. These patients are of course the ones I see the very last and I give them the “minimum of care” that is required of me by law. Nothing more, nothing less.

  8. You’re a real tough guy, getting in an old person’s face because you couldn’t handle hearing a naughty word. Keep doing that and you’ll eventually get your ass kicked, or worse. Fucking coward, bully, piece of shit. Fuck you.

  9. It’s the idea of possibly “contradicting one’s self” that maintains stagnancy in a spirit of a person, and in society. No one is ever supposed to be able to learn, grow, make a mistake, or move on from anything. Once you say/do anything that is it, man! Then what’s the point of anything? School? Work? Relationships? People contradict themselves one second to the next! And sometimes several times a second. How about arguing points rather than attempting silly, empty attacks?

    As far as oldsters are concerned, I appreciate that they’ve been around, I respect their experience, and would not go out of my way to frighten, hurt, or disrespect them- just like with every other person I encounter. However, if someone is an asshole, it doesn’t matter how old they are. I’m not going to kiss anyone’s behind simply because they’re old. Being old is pure luck and chance.

    However, having worked with the elderly, specifically those with dementia, there are times I had to overlook certain talk and behavior because their brains were covered in plaque. So if you’re old, and your brain is covered in plaque made of sticky proteins, I’m going to keep calm and carry on. That’s the only time anyone of any age gets a pass from me.

  10. Hi c, long time no see. (Or should I say “Long time no c?”)

    I tend to have a similar point of view. When people say there is “no point” in discussing racist thoughts in old people, it’s like saying those people are incapable of change or that we shouldn’t bother trying. For people with racist old loved ones, I feel like their inability to address the racism says a couple of things. First, that they don’t think racism is enough of a big deal to bother. Second, that they don’t think their loved one is capable of change or they don’t love them enough to try.

    Racism at nursing homes is like racism every where else. It’s generally institutionally supported. The head folks are usually always white. But the influx of brown folks lately has made my day-to-day interactions more pleasant.

    I remain surprised that dependent old white people would be so overtly racist when they are being cared for by primarily people of color. And I think it has to do with their belief that institutional racism will protect them.

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