Boyfriend taking a side against me

Discussion in 'Women's Issues' started by ConstantComment, Mar 30, 2011.

  1. ConstantComment

    ConstantComment New Member

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    My guy and I took a weekend get away after dating for five months. Two of themby then had been exclusively. For the most part, it seemed to go well. He changed his FB status to “in a relationship” and told me that he was in love with me immediately after the trip.

    There is one snag here. On a flights back, we encountered a woman who I believed exhibited creepy behavipr. We were coming from one of the Southern European cities on our way to London. The creepy traveller came from behind as we were making our to the next gate. She asked in Italian whether we were going to London. My Italian is minimal and his is nil. So I asked back in Italian something along the lines “are you going as a tourist?” She could not answer back. As she was Sothern European herself, I had not thought at first that she might not Italian and therefore her repertoire of the language was even more truncated than mine.

    But after establishing that we could not communicate, she continued to follow closely behind. I expressed my concern to my guy wondering what she could want from us and what we would be prepared to give her. I certainly did not have time or inclination to be her travel buddy or to even let a stranger stay at my place. Since my guy didn’t suggest that she stay at his or that he might even help her look for a hotel or hostel to stay in , nor suggested that he could anything else he might.do.

    When we got to our gate, fortunately, she chose not sit on or near our bank of chairs……there was quite a bit of space and empty seats elsewhere on this occasion that she could avoid us. I did notice that she had a Romanian passport to which I said to my guy “no wonder, she couldn’t respond in Italian” and also “we need to be careful because the greatest numbers of gypsies come from Romania and my experience with them is that they are pickpockets.”

    Oh, my goodness, My guy has branded me as a selfish racist. I let it drop after I asked him if there was anything that he would like for this woman but effectively dodged answering the question.

    I of course would not raise it now but for the fact that about two weeks ago we were having a TV watching marathon (he downloads lots of American shows that we both miss) and had apparently a bit much to drink. He raised that issue expressing the same sentiments against me. Perhaps someone could enlighten me about the way men think. Maybe it’s a woman thing but my safety comes before helping anyone and my on the spot risk assessment of others is based on prior experience.

    Should I be concerned about having a problem with my guy?
     
  2. B_subgirrl

    B_subgirrl New Member

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    To me it sounds like the woman just wanted to make sure she was going the right way and getting on the right plane.

    And I don't blame your guy for saying you were racist. I would have said the same thing.
     
  3. AlteredEgo

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    I read this a few times, ConstantComment, and I have to say you come across as xenophobic in the story.

    You seemingly assume that every Romanian is a gypsy, and that every gypsy is dishonest. Would it surprise you to know that all the gypsies I've encountered have been Australian? That every Romanian I've known has been filthy rich (or wasn't rich, but their parents were)? Now, don't get me wrong. I don't think all (or even many) gypsies come from Oz, or that every (or even most) Romanians are rich. That's just my random slice of experience from when I was living in New York. The point is we can't assume the worst of people because of language barriers, cultural differences, and random, unrelated unpleasantness in our pasts. I can understand the concern when she went to the same gate, but when she opted not to sit anywhere near you, why were you still worried that she might want something from you? To me, that's the weirdest part.
     
  4. ConstantComment

    ConstantComment New Member

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    Funny, both of you have missed the fact that she was exhibiting creepy behavior. Before I learned that she was Romanian, I would have preferred that she respected our personal space and realise that since we could not speak a common language that there was no point in following behind us so closely.

    My thought was that she could have been a pickpocket long before I saw her passport.
     
  5. Gecko4lif

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    Oh Em Gee, my mate and I dont agree on every single thing under the sun there is obviously a problem...
     
  6. B_subgirrl

    B_subgirrl New Member

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    I can't see anything creepy in the way she behaved. To me it seems as though she didn't know where she was going, and she followed you because it seemed like you DID know where you were going.
     
  7. petite

    petite New Member

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    My hubby and I are currently arguing about this! We're unable to reach a conclusion about whether you might have been justifiably suspicious or not and whether that has any bearing on whether or not you were being racist. Clearly, this is a complicated question.

    See, I'm with you on being self-protective and overly observant of people who are behaving suspiciously when I'm traveling. The thing is, there would clearly not be any issue at all if you had simply said that the woman was behaving suspiciously and that was making you nervous, but specifically pointing out that the woman was of a particular race and that makes it more likely that she's a pickpocket literally is a racist remark, even if your suspiciousness was entirely justified by her behavior. I was asking if we were being too hard on you, though, because it's not as if you were suspicious solely because she might be gypsy, but because of how she was acting. In the example I used with my hubby, it's not like someone being paranoid of anyone who looks Arabic on an airplane, but if someone is sweating buckets, looking around all paranoid, and seems to have something large strapped around his midsection under a bulging jacket, and he happens to look Arabic, I'm not so sure that pointing out that they guy is especially suspicious looking is that huge of a sin. In that circumstance, it would be ridiculous to overcompensate for how suspicious he was behaving by ignoring the obviously suspicious behavior because his behavior too neatly fits into a racist stereotype.
     
    #7 petite, Mar 31, 2011
    Last edited: Mar 31, 2011
  8. B_stanmarsh14

    B_stanmarsh14 New Member

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    Unfortunaly in the UK (Certanaly where I am myself), there is a large enclave of gypsies from from Romania, who have been caught by store security / Police, stealing and pick-pocketing in the area, so I can understand to a point why you would be a little bit wary (Mates dad who is Polish, especially hates them, with the experiences he's had at their hands before), and I doubt you was intentionally being racist.

    However, like anyone in the world, it's also unfair to tar all of one group with the same brush, as not all gypsies from Romania are like this, certainly from my own personal experience.
     
  9. Pitbull

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    Sounds like you have a problem.

    You say he has branded you a racist.
    How do you undo being branded?
    Here in Texas, the cattle keep their brands for life.

    He brought it up out of the blue 2 weeks after the fact.
    He at least on one occasion drank too much.
    He cannot recognize a creepy person.
    He doesn't seem to be aware, sensitive or concerned about your feelings on the matter.

    Men do not have an exclusive on this kind of behavior by the way.
     
  10. HiddenLacey

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    Sounds more like sterotyping to me, I'm not going to say whether you were right or wrong in regards to your fear of her because you felt like she was being suspicious. I wasn't there so it would be unfair of me to comment on that. I will say that sterotyping happens all the time and a lot of people probably do not even realize what they are doing. I know that I've done it before.
     
    #10 HiddenLacey, Mar 31, 2011
    Last edited by a moderator: Mar 31, 2011
  11. nicenycdick

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    There is nothing wrong with having a hightened sense of caution when traveling...or anywhere else, come to think of it. I live in NYC and simple because of the crowds, we learn at a young age to always be aware of who and what is around you. But while racial profiling is something that is almost a knee-jerk defensive reaction for most people, there is a very, very thin line between that kind of generalization and racism. It is easy to cross the line. Just be aware of it. We are better than that. I would suggest that you have that kind of a conversation with your BF.
     
  12. IntoxicatingToxin

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    My boyfriend makes generalizations often about other people similar in the way that you stated that Romanians have a reputation for being pick pockets, and it drives me insane. It's like he wants to see the bad in people, despite the fact that he hates when people judge others. Personally, I see each person as an individual regardless of their race, religion, or origin. People are people, simple as that. Another thing he does is judges people based on what I consider to be something small... a very strong political bumper sticker, for example - and suddenly he feels like he knows all about that person. Sometimes I say something, sometimes I change the subject, sometimes I just shutup. At the end of the day, I know that he's a good person and I know that he only means what he says to a certain degree. If that person with the strongly right-winged bumper sticker had a flat tire, my boyfriend would still pull over to help him. If that Romanian woman in the airport were following him too closely, he would still do what he could to help her and make sure she was getting where she needed to go. So his opinions annoy me sometimes, I have moments where I just look at him like he's insane and wonder how someone could really feel that way. Then I remember that he doesn't really feel that way. He's one of the kindest, most generous, loving, thoughtful, friendly, open-minded, supportive people I know, and despite his sometimes negative first impressions of people, he doesn't treat them as any less of a person as anyone else. That's what allows me to brush it off and move on. Maybe your boyfriend is having issues does the same.
     
  13. D_Phallus P Phyllum

    D_Phallus P Phyllum New Member

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    As soon as I read this, I thought, "oh that's a bit racist".

    Seems your guy thought the same thing too.

    If you had *just* been concerned about the 'creepy' behaviour, that might have been okay, but it's the fact that you see her passport, and add the fact that she is Romanian to the mix and decide she is likely to be a pickpocket that makes it racist.

    You didn't think she might be a pick pocket until you saw the passport; hence this judgement was based on race, not behaviour, and is therefore racist.

    Your man is right, and you're wrong.
     
  14. petite

    petite New Member

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    Actually, she said that her observation of the creepy behavior preceded her observation of what kind of passport she was carrying. She said that the woman was behaving creepy before she spoke to her, when she believed her to be Italian.
     
    #14 petite, Mar 31, 2011
    Last edited: Mar 31, 2011
  15. EllieP

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    My husband and I aren't arguing about it, but he's made up his mind that just from the story you described that you have generalized and entire population from a country.

    I'll withhold judgment awaiting the rest of the story. What kind of creepy behavior?

    I get approached by my share of creepy people so I'm more guarded some times than others. But I can probably say that I don't do it because of race or accent, but just because of general behavior. I will say that the fact that you targeted Romania doesn't bode well for your argument. I love listening to Andrei Codrescu on NPR and would probably hang around with him without being unnaturally guarded about my pocketbook.
     
  16. D_Phallus P Phyllum

    D_Phallus P Phyllum New Member

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    No petite, I am talking about the judgement that she was a pickpocket!
     
  17. petite

    petite New Member

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    Oh, well I might be making the wrong assumption, but the creepy behavior I thought she was referring to was regarding being a pickpocket, which she seemed to believe she might be when she thought the woman was Italian. She didn't specifically state that, though, so maybe she didn't think that the woman was a pickpocket until after she noticed she was Romanian, in which case, you're right. It all depends on what she meant by "creepy" of course.
     
  18. Gillette

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    Define "closely behind".

    And how on earth do you make the leap from, "Are you going to London", to thinking she wants either of you to provide accommodations for her.

    Yes, marking her as a gypsy pickpocket because of her passport makes you a racist. All large tourist cities are plagued with pickpockets of all ethnic makeups. Being suspicious because you are a tourist is reasonable, being suspicious because she holds a Romanian passport is not.
     
  19. D_Phallus P Phyllum

    D_Phallus P Phyllum New Member

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    This is obviously a racist comment.

    Try substituting the term 'black people' with some associated negative sterotypical behaviour in there, and see if it doesn't sound racist; for example:

    "we need to be careful because the greatest numbers of [drug dealers] are [black people] and my experience with them is that they [usually carry guns]"

    If anyone had said that, it would immediately be identified as absurdly and obviously racist. That she makes the associations "Romanian = gypsies = pickpockets" is also obviously racist.

    This couldn't be more clear to me.
     
  20. ConstantComment

    ConstantComment New Member

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    Thankfully, Petite did notice and it bears repeating, I noticed and commented on creepy behavior before I was able to see her passport. I've decided that the next time a stranger approaches us, I'll let my guy handle it.

    On the subject of racial profiling, I had a Nigerian classmate who agreed that since a lot of drug mules come out of Nigeria, it stands to reason that Nigerians are more closely observed in airports. Simple statistics.
     
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