July 24, 2012

if this bigot neighbor was yours?

My husband and I own a house in Florida. We rarely go there because Mom's not comfortable there and it's a pretty good ride, about 11 hours. The house is secure and taken care of, paid for, insured and we have a gardener that comes bi-monthly and does all that needs to be done.

Despite that are quite familiar with many of the neighbors since my husbands Uncle was the original owner and we have in the past spent quite a bit of time down there. Originally the next door neighbor and then his son did our lawn but that turned bad, the son was having drinking and drug parties so we had him arrested. Needless to say the parents were not pleased with us, go figure!

The neighbors on the other side are a mother and daughter. The Mom is in her eighties, daughter in her sixties and they are lovely women. The son/brother was a professional gardener so he gladly took over from the criminal we had used previously. What a nice guy and he did a great job but recently he retired and moved away so they arranged for a new gardener both for the Mom/daughter and for us. Very nice thing for them to do don't you think?

With everything arranged we spoke to our new guy, amounts and payment arrangements were made, and we were pleased with the easy transition.

That was until we heard from "the neighbor."

She and her husband waited until he did the lawn twice and then called. Bill answered the phone and she carried on like my grass was a golden pond. The guy must be using a dull blade, he isn't spending enough time, he's not as good as the old guy, we're being taken to the cleaners blah blah blah.....

Then of course because any normal person couldn't be that interested in someone else's grass unless they were a weed or an ant she said..."my husband would be happy to do it." the plot thickens.....

But I couldn't help as I was listening to my husbands reactions to her part of the conversation that it had to be more. And I'm pretty good with my gut.

And of course it was.

Then she said " that old ni**er (sorry I hate that word, because it's a hate word ) isn't doing a good job." Our new gardener happens to be an African American male.

My husband God bless his is a polite man, he listened told her he'd check into it and thanked her. I'm not sure what I would have done in this situation. 

I have to say I'm inclined to call her back and say something. Firstly I checked with the next door neighbor and she's pleased as punch with the new gardener who she also uses. The whole your gardener is doing a crappy job is a fabrication. Was the phone call  because she needed the money or was it something deeper was there a racial motive?

I know we've had experiences in our family that just made my blood boil where action was necessary. My daughter who is white has browsed in a store freely while the kids slept in the van with their father who is African American. When she came out and went into the store to see the item that she intended to buy the manager told him there was no browsing allowed!  

Some people are of the belief that it doesn't pay to speak up to a person like this about their attitudes, actions and the language they use. In the case of my neighbor; do you believe that she is what she is and she's not likely to change? (she's in her 50's)  Am I wasting my time if I talk to her about how her offensive her words were to me? 

I would be inclined to do so if I thought I wasn't wasting my breath.
I would be interested in your opinions on this situation. 


  1. Since my kids are biracial, I'm very sensitive to that and I would absolutely say something. I will let a lot slide, but when it comes to racial slurs, I won't stand for it.

    1. As I said in my e-mail, my grandson's are biracial as well so I feel the same sensitivity when these types of things are said.

  2. Why is this still happening in this day and age? I'm sorry there are still people who think this way. Good luck to your new gardener.

    1. So am I Sally. We still have a long way to go to stop the hate erase the ignorance.

  3. You'll be wasting your breath. Just ignore her and carry on as before. Now, if you ever visit with your crew and she says something about you/your Family, then you can jump down her throat.
    Your bi-racial Friend, m.

  4. Best not to say anything, I believe until you can visit with her in person. Then, as Mark says, if she uses that kind of language again, you can put her in her place.

    I'm a little concerned for your gardener....

    1. I appreciate your input Maria. If I were to decide to have a conversation with her an "in person" one would probably be best considering how serious the issue is.

  5. Jen, I firmly believe that by not addressing this woman/situation dead on you will be enabling and perpetuating her racist outlook/opinions. By letting it go, you may as well keep your head buried in the sand. Up here in Canada it would be considered a hate crime and punishable by law....just as it could have been when our cars were 'nailed' with fag and queer a few years ago. Do you think it would have been better for me NOT to call the police? Don't think so.
    It's time for all this 'putting aside' of this kind of hate and stand up against. Otherwise it will go on and on and....

    1. Jennifer, this is Jim in Los Angeles, and I have anti-gay bigoted neighbors who are just ugly, miserable, hate filled "people". I am so sorry that you are having to experience this situation, but deal with it you must. Burying your head in the sand, and being a punching bag for these low life's is not going to cut it. They will just spew out more and more because they know you won't say anything to them. By dealing with them in a respectful and polite manner, you are setting a great example for your neighbors who might be aware of the situation, but also teaches your children that they don't have to be victims of bullying/bigotry. Taking a stand for righteousness sometimes is difficult, but in the long run is beneficial to yourself, and everyone else who are witnesses to this ugly conduct by your bigoted neighbors.

    2. I'm so sorry about your neighbors Jim it must be terribly hurtful. I can't imagine ever getting used to it.

      It is so very sad to me that people can't just see our own differences as positives and places where we can expand ourselves learn to be better humans beings. It makes me so sad and even mad that instead those differences have become a basis for bigotry and hate.

      Thanks for the comment Jim from LA, your a kind and wise man :)

  6. first time visiting/commenting on your blog. What a sad situation for that lady to have so much hate about a particular race that she would let it spew out like this complaining about the gardener's work. I'm sure you researched before you picked a new gardener and just didn't randomly choose someone. Not even sure why she felt the need to complain about his services and work, she's not paying his bill nor is it her property. It is sad when others step in like this and then make a mess of so much.


  7. I think it's a combination of her ignorance/bigotry and the fact that she wanted you to use her husband (maybe she thought by slandering your current gardner you'd be more inclined to use her husband's services. I don't think I'd make a special phone call to address the issue BUT the next time I saw her in person I'd make sure I would bring it up and in the meantime... IF you happen to speak with her again and she says something equally ignorant/offensive I would stop her dead in her tracks and tell her just how offensive her choice of language is and that she is, whether she is aware of it or not, perpetuating hate mongering and actually committing a hate crime with her actions. I agree with so many of your readers. Nothing really angers me more than racial bigotry or really bigotry of any kind.

  8. So glad to see you chime in here Peggy and you are so right on all counts. This whole thing has been very disturbing. People like her....well it's a shame there are still people like her.


I'm always interested in what you have to say...
Comments are appreciated!