Slurs: Lost in Translation

My south-of-the-border friend Pablo and I often discuss cultural differences and oddities. He told me a story about how our mutual (African-American) friend Donnie came to visit him in Mexico City. While there, they both went over to Pablo's other friend's place. Donnie was immediately greeted in the front yard with a loud, "What's up my NIGGER!?" As Pablo wasn't sure whether to put his face in his hands or to get ready to break up a fight, Donnie fired back with, "Nothing my SPIC!" ...and that was it; the rest of the night progressed as usual.

I found many things interesting about this story:
  1. While 22 million people live in the entire metro area of Mexico City, there are probably only about 500 black people there, I swear. I base my evidence on a 2008 visit, when I saw ZERO in a week's time while being out in public 12+ hours per day. It wasn't odd until I actually thought about it. It's not necessarily good or bad, and I understand that similar extremes can be found all around the world; however, it did make me appreciate our diversity a LOT.

  2. The friend who let the N-word fly ever so freely only did so (in his mind) out of respect, showing that he watches BET and listens to rap music, which he directly related to Donnie, the only African-American he'd ever met. Through understanding the common ignorance, somehow it actually did spread respect through showing that he'd consciously tried to be on the right page (misguided, but tried).

  3. Donnie fighting fire with fire, having Pablo as the only other person in-the-know at that moment, gave the perfect response. It showed that slurs are just bullshit words that are dependent on there intention and are otherwise meaningless. It was light-hearted on both ends, one end ignorant of the countless negative connotations, the other end utterly mindful yet adaptable.

On it's surface the story is funny, although it possesses something to be learned.

*I apologize for using racial slurs, though I thought writing them out (without &#*%!) made the delivery more rousing. I had to look up the N-word (one or two Gs?) while writing this. I guess I'd never written it before.