cancel
Showing results for 
Search instead for 
Did you mean: 

Mistake, big mistake.

Minivanman
Seasoned Hero
Posts: 8,638
Thanks: 2,554
Fixes: 1
Registered: ‎04-11-2014

Mistake, big mistake.

Picking up hire car at CDG last week.

Me: In sweaty shorts and speaking very bad French. "Here to collect our hire car please"

Car hire receptionist: Speaking very good English (but whose family obviousy hailed from Africa) "Ah yes, can we have your booking details please".

Me: Making converstion whilst waiting and in response to being asked how far we had come. "We have just flown in from Bristol, but have travelled from le Pays de Galles".

Car hire receptionist. "Ah"

Me. "And where are you from"

Car hire receptionist: After a long stare and what seem an even longer pause "Paris.... but my father came over from Mali long before I was born"

Me: Waiting for the ground to open up and swallow me and my big mouth, "Ah".

Faux pas.

Noun

An embarrassing or tactless act or remark in a social situation. Embarrassed

 

 

 

 

24 REPLIES 24
wotsup
Aspiring Champion
Posts: 533
Thanks: 579
Registered: ‎21-11-2018

Re: Mistake, big mistake.

Well if a cat is born in a stable it does not make it a horse...... ( but I know someone is going to say yes but if a person is born in France it does make them French, well legally it might but not genetically ).

Minivanman
Seasoned Hero
Posts: 8,638
Thanks: 2,554
Fixes: 1
Registered: ‎04-11-2014

Re: Mistake, big mistake.

Well both maternal and paternal grandparents were from Italy, and proud though she is and should be, try telling my Mrs she is not Welsh (along with our four Welsh speaking children) and you'd have a war on your hands. 

More to nationality than colour as we should all know by now. As for ethnicity, well that's a different question but my mistake was assuming he was not French just by his colour and by showing my own by asking. 

Did you know for example that many in Normandy in northern France came originally from Scandinavia back in one hundred and frozen to death, hence the term Norman from "north men" - and I sure there is many a Yorkshireman that can claim the same heritage. 

My French brother in law was cooking wild Boar in one of these last week, an Irish BBQ.... and that's a true story. Thumbs Up

a012827412b0aac2cc4c2b82b33ed263.jpg

 

 

 

 

Champnet
Seasoned Pro
Posts: 900
Thanks: 256
Fixes: 2
Registered: ‎25-07-2007

Re: Mistake, big mistake.

Nothing wrong with the question you asked, you just got the answer to the question you didn’t realise you’d asked.

Enjoy your break....

Minivanman
Seasoned Hero
Posts: 8,638
Thanks: 2,554
Fixes: 1
Registered: ‎04-11-2014

Re: Mistake, big mistake.

Perhaps I can disagree?

I would not normally have asked somebody where they were from unless they had a different accent. This chap had a Parisian accent, but because of his colour...

I should have known better. Sad 

PS. Back from that break, and now home in the land of the leek... or should that be leaks with all this rain!

 

Luzern
Champion
Posts: 4,158
Thanks: 626
Fixes: 5
Registered: ‎31-07-2007

Re: Mistake, big mistake.


@wotsup wrote:

Well if a cat is born in a stable it does not make it a horse...... ( but I know someone is going to say yes but if a person is born in France it does make them French, well legally it might but not genetically ).


@wotsup I believe my great grandmother came from Ireland, which would make me a small part a Paddy. My question for you is; "what is the maximum percentage of  foreign genes one must bear to be true native of a country?

Except in isolated cases most folk in Europe and America are very mixed genetically , which in my view is healthy, as it lessens in breeding and village idiots.

There is also something unfortunate in your post. I am sure it was not in your mindSmiley, but deciding a person's suitability for nationhood by genetic profile has been shown to be capable of causing genocides.

Surely ones Frenchness or any other is determined by his or her identification with and allegiance to it, and ultimately naturalisation, if not natively born.

No one has to agree with my opinion, but in the time I have left a miracle would be nice.
wotsup
Aspiring Champion
Posts: 533
Thanks: 579
Registered: ‎21-11-2018

Re: Mistake, big mistake.

@Luzern 

That 'someone' I referred to in my first post was you, knew you would not be able to resist putting me right - after all I am an unrepentant xenophobe ..... 

 

Minivan made an honest faux par - why should you feel embarrassed about asking someone where they are from in daily conversation, could just have easily been Algeria, Zambia or Nigeria - why do we all feel we have to tread on eggs all the time where race is concerned, no reasonable person should be offended ?

Luzern
Champion
Posts: 4,158
Thanks: 626
Fixes: 5
Registered: ‎31-07-2007

Re: Mistake, big mistake.

@wotsup TBAH I couldn't care a fig, because my post had no intention of putting you right. What conceit you have to think that.Huh I purposely avoided inputting to you any base personal intention in your post, rather the danger of considering race in such a way.

As to @Minivanman  and his honest faux pax, I too see no embarrassment in asking anyone where they're from, unless you are the chat up merchant in an old TV commercialGrin And as to your unrepentant xenophobia, if ever you're in hospital, may all those who attend you be naturalised Brits  from all the globe, treat you well.

That's a real essence of being a human person; nothing else.

.

No one has to agree with my opinion, but in the time I have left a miracle would be nice.
Minivanman
Seasoned Hero
Posts: 8,638
Thanks: 2,554
Fixes: 1
Registered: ‎04-11-2014

Re: Mistake, big mistake.

So if a black South African asked a white South African where he was from he should not be offended?

How about if a white American asked the same of a black, Chinese, Hispanic or Vietnamese American the same question, or a Maori of a white skinned New Zealander. To my mind it would unreasonable not to be offended where the question is based as it probably would be on the colour of a persons skin - which is exactly what I was doing!

Treading on eggs well yes, we seem to that a lot these days, but questioning a persons nationality because of their colour is just plain wrong and I don't know where you live @wotsup but if I asked it of a fellow black Scouser or a fellow Asian Brummie, I'm not sure I'd get a polite reply. 

With her strong Welsh accent nobody her in Wales would ever ask my Mrs what country she was from, but you can bet your life some idiot would if she looked even half oriental.

Maybe this explains it better? Wink

Luzern
Champion
Posts: 4,158
Thanks: 626
Fixes: 5
Registered: ‎31-07-2007

Re: Mistake, big mistake.

What about demeanour, tone of voice and....? I think the person asked might get some clue as to the purpose of the enquiry.

No one has to agree with my opinion, but in the time I have left a miracle would be nice.
wotsup
Aspiring Champion
Posts: 533
Thanks: 579
Registered: ‎21-11-2018

Re: Mistake, big mistake.

To be honest that fact someone has a local accent does not mean they are from that country originally - I have lived in other countries and travelled a hell of a lot for business and some people pick up an accent like others pick up a common cold.  I have been asked by all sorts of people where I am from in many different countries and never felt offended.  Whether you get offended or not depends on how comfortable you are in your own skin,  and you can tell if someone is just making conversation ( where you are from is normally a good place to start ) or has other agenda.  We are turning into a world of easily offended snowflakes, reading offence into too many things where non is intended.

Minivanman
Seasoned Hero
Posts: 8,638
Thanks: 2,554
Fixes: 1
Registered: ‎04-11-2014

Re: Mistake, big mistake.

Are you not both missing the point?

It is not about accents or demeanour, it's about skin colour and whilst I appreciate you want to defend your stated positions, to ask about ethnic history just because a person is black, brown or whatever is just plain wrong and sorry that video clip does not help. 

No snowflakes just common sense... or not. Roll eyes

As for accents well I can live with that one as when I phoned through to my brothers office a few years back he was told that there was "some Welshman on the phone" for him, so I guess my having lived here for most of the last forty of my seventy plus years I must have picked up a bit of one.

Jonpe
Aspiring Hero
Posts: 2,570
Thanks: 841
Fixes: 8
Registered: ‎05-09-2016

Re: Mistake, big mistake.

Some decades ago I completed a Linguaphone course in Spanish in preparation for a planned, but later cancelled, trip to South America.  My intention was to visit a friend of mine who was teaching English with the British Council in Uruguay, and was staying with a local family where the parents didn't speak English.  I needed to call him, and prepared a few Spanish phrases in advance in case he wasn't in.  Sure enough, I got the father of the family on the line, and having established that my friend wasn't in, I asked if he could pass on the message that (my name) in London had called.  When my friend returned my call, he told me that the message he got was that "Your Brazilian friend (my name) called.  He is in London."  I was quite chuffed since I'm pretty sure a Brazilian's Spanish is quite good.

As for asking where someone is from, I usually don't unless they go on about "back home", in which case it's impossible to make any sensible comment without knowing where "back home" is.

Minivanman
Seasoned Hero
Posts: 8,638
Thanks: 2,554
Fixes: 1
Registered: ‎04-11-2014

Re: Mistake, big mistake.

@Jonpe 

Spanish? I thought they spoke Portuguese in Brazil.

As for "back home" you are well on track there as they only time my Mrs is asked about where her family is from is if her maiden name is mentioned in any discussion.

  

Jonpe
Aspiring Hero
Posts: 2,570
Thanks: 841
Fixes: 8
Registered: ‎05-09-2016

Re: Mistake, big mistake.

Brazilians speak Portuguese, but most Portuguese-speakers are also pretty fluent in Spanish.  The rest of South America is Spanish-speaking, except for the former French, British, and Dutch colonies.  And we mustn't forget the few Welsh and German-speakers.