Thursday, July 12, 2007

Racism on the Telephone

Dang racists! I was going about my day, just napping and hanging out with the family when we received a call from a number that I didn't recognize. Since The German and I really don't receive many calls for us, I figured it was someone for my daughter. Anyway, I pick up the phone and the person asks to speak to The German. Since he was asleep, I asked them who they were and what it was pertaining to so that I could decide whether it was something I needed to wake him up for. Instead of telling me what the matter was concerning, the guy starts asking me who I was and since I'm not in the habit of telling random strangers my personal information, I responded by telling them that I'm the person whose home they called.

The man asks me if I was ____ (the name of one of our extended family's friends) and I told him that I am not that person but I am The German's wife. So then, the man starts asking me if I know how to get in touch with our friend____ because they are looking to collect a debt from them. I got really aggravated and I told the guy that his business was with____ , not with us and I have no information about that person to give them. At that, he starts demanding that I put The German on the phone and that he'll keep calling until we tell them how to get in touch with____. I told him that now he definitely wasn't going to speak to The German today or any day, for that matter and I hung up the phone.

Next, the guy calls my house again asking me if I'm going to put The German on the phone now. Again, I told him that it just wasn't going to happen and he starts making his demands again. Suddenly the guy's partner takes the phone from him and threatens to harass us unless we help them. She says, if we don't tell us where____ might be reached, then she's going to show up at_______(an address that's a bit like mine but certainly not mine) with the constable and have me arrested for obstruction of justice. I already know that I have no legal responsibility to help these jerks and, secondly, they don't even know our address, so I told them that if they think that's where we live and they believe they can get me arrested, then I guess I'll see them when they get here.

They were getting pretty irate and practically yelling into the phone, both of them at once, demanding that I give them information about____. I started realizing that this is probably how they got our phone number and the address that they thought was ours. I'm figuring that they harassed some one else and that person gave them our number to get the jerks off their back. It's understandable. They are probably pretty at intimidating the average person. Instead of caving in, I laughed and told them that they were absolutely hilarious. The guy keeps threatening to come over to my house--never mind the fact that my actual address is inside of an apartment complex with over six hundred units so even if they wandered through my neighborhood, they'd never find my flat.

The male jerk says to me "Well, you must not care about going to jail but if they have to come down there,____ and The German go to jail because we're going to have them arrested too. I bet you care about that!" to which I said

"Not particularly, no."

Then the female jerk says "Sounds like we must be talking to a nigger!" Well, it was all down hill from there.

I paused and said, "Wait? Was I supposed to get upset about you saying that? All it shows is how trashy you are and that you obviously didn't receive any decent home training."

She screams back "Look, you nigger, put The German on the phone! We don't need to talk to any of you niggers!"

I must admit that I was quite pissed off but I was determined to keep my cool. "You know, this call is really making my day! I feel like I'm talking to the last of the Dodo birds. I'd almost quite forgotten that there were people this ignorant still on the planet." They hung up.

I sat there thinking about it for a second and then I called back the cell phone number that had shown up on my telephone. The guy picked up the phone and said "Hello?"

From me: "Oh, it's just me again. I was hoping that your wife would pick up the phone so that she could make me laugh again and I could let everyone else hear what trashy racists sound like. Besides, I figure, as long as you're on the phone with me, you can't use this phone to harass other people who have no business with your company."

At that point the guy calls me a bunch of other racist names, tells me not to call there any more and disconnects. I hang up the phone and couldn't help but smile at the idea of the annoying jerk who called me first, telling me not to call him any more. But you know what? I'm still pretty angry.

The German woke up around this time. A few minutes later, my mother-in-law called. It turns out that the two jerks had already gone down to her house and tried to browbeat her into helping them find____. That infuriated me. My mother-in-law and partner are white and I am a woman of color. Yes, we are an inter-racial relationship and they are free to be displeased by the fact that they had to go through me, a person of color, to get to The German. Even though I'm sure they weren't very pleased with the fact that they couldn't get a rise out of me and I'm proud that I didn't lose my cool, it still angers me that this incident even occurred.

VanGoghGirl heard bits and pieces of it because her nosey little ears couldn't stop trying to listen in to my half of the conversation. Fortunately, she didn't actually hear the jerks ranting at me from the other end but she still asked me about it afterwards.

I tried to tell her that some people say that kind of stuff when they don't think they're smart enough to find some better way of getting their point across. The German said that only people who don't feel good about themselves talk like that because if you feel good about who you are, then you won't feel the need to try to make other people feel bad too.

Meanwhile, I'm trying to just cool off and forget about it right now but it's on my mind and I can't seem to let it go just yet.


Anonymous said...

Wow. Insanity.

Of course, speaking of calling the cops, I believe these tactics are completely illegal.

I love that you called them back and were asked not to call again. Brilliant.

delagar said...

I haven't had any debt collectors that nasty, but since bunches of my friends are dealing with medical problems (as I am!), we're all doing the dance with what's called in Arkasnas "turn-overs" -- that is, we've been turned over to these charming folk. So I get calls like this a lot, people hunting down friends of mine.

I've taken to screening all my calls, because even the ones who aren't mean as snakes are mean as snakes. And they lie, lie, lie. mr. delagar won't believe me. He's so innocent at heart. They wouldn't lie about that, he says. But they're from the government, he says, so they have to tell the truth. Ai. Everything these people *say* is a lie, I tell him.

Put it in writing, I say to any of them I ever talk to.

Better yet, I just don't talk to them.

Breez said...

You know, reverse lookup is a fool...
that's all I'm saying.

(I think this is why we used to be in trouble when we were younger lol)

Kay Olson said...

"Racist" and "jerks" are only a couple of the things that come to my mind about this couple.

But you, Bint, are my hero! Getting harassing phone callers to demand you leave them alone. Well. Hee!

Hahni said...

Wait, these are bill collectors? It sounds more like a mafia shake-down to me! Unbelievable.

The calls I like are the ones where I pick up and get a recorded message saying, "please hold for an important business matter." Yeah, right. You called me, and I'm supposed to hold?

Besides screening my calls, my new tactic for dealing with bill collectors is just to tell them flat-out that I'm broke, I'll never be able to pay them, and they're just going to have to take a loss. That throws them so completely that often they don't even know how to respond.

belledame222 said...

I'm amazed that people that determinedly horrible called from their own, unblocked number. but it sounds like they're not too brilliant on top of everything else. ugh.

Blackamazon said...

Now im not saying i would

or could
but might could be able to jam they phones until the second coming a jesus andn the first coming of the messiah

if you are interested

Elizabeth McClung said...

Wow. I mean, wow. I am awed at your ability to keep your cool. I got to the point in the story and went "I can't believe that woman said that." Which is what I said about every paragraph after that. I suppose it is naive of me to think that to have such....radical, racial hatred so near to the surface would exclude them from any possible job.

Can you prosecute them for hate crime or not in that area?

delagar said...

Kactus, that works for you? The evil folk here in AR, at that point, want us to (a) borrow money from our family and (b) after I assure them my family has no money either for me to go to "one of those Payday Advance places," have I seen them?

I try to stay as calm as Bint, but yikes.