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White teen fired for calling Hispanic boyfriend a "support animal" on social media.

White teen fired for calling Hispanic boyfriend a "support animal" on social media.

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Getting white people to admit to their own racism is an uncomfortable and exhausting process. But there are those willing to do this necessary work, and you can find them in the corners of Reddit.

When a teenager admited to a major f*ck up but couldn't quite grasp why her actions were wrong, she (u/UsedBoysTissue64) took to Reddit to tell her side. And boy, did she get a wealth of responses (and a few threats) for her efforts. Here is her (sadly very typical) story of learning that she's not as progressive as she thought:

Content Warning: racism

TIFU (Today I f*cked up) by calling my Mexican boyfriend a “support animal” and getting fired over it

I, white (17F) and my boyfriend, hispanic (18M) have newly been open about our relationship to the public after keeping it quiet with long distance. After him visiting for a week from across country, we now are posting each other on social media, wearing promise rings, the whole package. Race has never an issue to us being a white and mexican couple… until today.

For some context: I had started working at a part time customer service job in the beginning of summer. At first, I loved it. After working there for some time I began to realize my job was just teenagers bossing around teenagers. Very emotional, toxic, and draining job for not even minimum wage.

I had an instance in the past of showing racism and getting written up for the workplace by asking co workers if red or green sauce was better. The last one I asked happened to be Hispanic (and my sister in laws cousin) and I made the fatal mistake of saying “you’d know best, red or green sauce?”.

I learned my mistake and apologized to him after learning it offended him. Since that day, I have been categorized as a racist at my work. Keep that in mind.

Will do.

In posting a mirror photo my boyfriend, I captioned it with “my Mexican support animal ❤️”. This is a pet name we’ve called each other since we became friends a long time ago.

Only a few minutes go by until I’m getting calls from my sisters family to take the post down because it offended the same co worker from before. It didn’t just offend him, but his whole household. I was getting passed around family group chats, Facebook posts, everything.

Why were they offended you might ask? I called him an “animal”.

Yeah... no one was asking.

I feel like it’s important to mention this co worker is in late 20s and all his family is 40-50+. The cherry on top is I had no one from my work or his family on my social media PRIVATED ACCOUNT. It makes me truly uncomfortable to think how and where he got that post to spread it around.

I made a response post with my boyfriend being like “hey, he’s not offended it’s a pet name. Please don’t let our pet names offend you.”

I get called into work early today for meeting with my managers. They told me over half of the 30 people I work with are uncomfortable to work around me now. I ended up fired from the job I wanted to work at since I was little because people got offended by my boyfriends pet name.

I never have done bad stuff in my life, and I just got terminated from a job. I have been sobbing since this morning and I seriously don’t know what to do. Can anyone give me insight to this? Should I stop calling my boyfriend my Mexican support animal?

Later, she added:

It should be said that my boyfriend came up with the pet name himself. Is it not something I came up with out of the blue classifying his race In a pet name. We have never had an issue with this pet name in the past after multiple times of using it in front of other people until now.

I appreciate everyone’s opinions and comments because that’s what I came here for: but please keep in mind I am 17. I am a minor. I have been receiving death threats and physical threats because of this Reddit post.

Wow. So... what do you think? Were her coworkers being too sensitive about an issue that has nothing to do with them? Or does OP need a serious reality check about her racism and this is a good start?

Reddit had a lot of advice to impart on this issue, and much of it from personal experience.

T1nyJazzHands writes:

You’re young so good time to learn this lesson. I’m Chinese, my partner is Uruguayan. We share insanely offensive racist banter and pet names between us…in PRIVATE. Hilarious in-jokes to us but only us. You need to recognise where to draw the line.

I know it was your private social media but it’s still broadcast to your circle and undoubtedly it’s not like everyone in your circle knew that context. For such a sensitive issue such as racism (especially given you’re white) it’s good to be conscious of what that portrays to others!

I’m not sure how you can’t see why others might find it incredibly offensive and uncomfortable for you to associate an ethnicity with animals - support animals or otherwise. Gosh even if it wasn’t animals calling your bf your “Mexican lover” is still strange, like his race is a collectors item or something idk.

If you don’t understand why people are uncomfortable then I’d make figuring this out your #1 priority before learning about discretion because this implies you have a few ignorantly racist beliefs - benevolent as they may be it’s still racism!

Louielouielouaaaah agrees:

Yup. My boyfriend is black, I am super white. Granted he’s a pretty non-PC person in general, way more so than I am, but I always say if we were on reality TV with cameras taping our exchanges and jokes we’d be sparking viral rage instantly lmao.

Also take it from an old lady who has been burned far too many times…just keep your coworkers off social media altogether. Your coworkers aren’t inherently friends. Especially in places where a lot of young, immature people work they’re often in fact adversaries.

Rahodees says:

What made them uncomfortable was your choosing to highlight his mexicanness while calling him an animal. Whatever the phrase may mean to you and him in private, when you say things in public (and 'private' accounts count as public for this purpose--everything online is for the record), you need to first ask yourself how _others_ would perceive it. 'Hmm, if I highlight how he's mexican, and then call him an animal, what would a stranger or passing acquaintance think?'

_blackdog6_ comments:

The fact you ‘never do bad stuff or offend people’ could simply mean you are oblivious to the effect you have on people.

calls1 writes:

Truth is you could very well not have the social capital to change their minds now they think this. Patch it up as best you can in the short term. But sometimes you just don’t have a lever to pull and make someone’s opinion of you move. Take it as a lesson for the future. Some jokes are in-jokes, some jokes are out-jokes.

There’s a lot of things you can share to the general public- acquaintances. Your friends can get a lot of things, but there are things that you’re only going to be able to share with your partner or the very closest of friends, particularly jokes there’s just no way of expending the time to get people to understand the exact cell and vibe of your relationship to understand the context of jokes between you and your partner.

Total-Ad8346 says:

It’s the biggest thing to remember in the workplace “it’s not how you meant it that matters, it’s how it was perceived“.

So, there you have it!

It seems like this teen has a long way to go in unpacking her racist behaviors, but luckily for her, there will always be strangers on the internet willing to tell her exactly why she's wrong.

Sources: Reddit
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