These 29 People Regret Accidental Racist Moments


Not mine, but a girl I was dating. She was Colombian, and was out with me and a friend. We were discussing dialects and accents and such, as we were in Germany and had a very hard time understanding our Swiss friend’s German. My friend was from Seattle and I was from California – places with very similar dialects. We explained that the South was very different and hard to understand at times, New Jersey was ugly to us, and the Midwest was kinda cute. talked about it for a while. Her only question… “But do you understand the n*ggers?” It took a lot of explaining to clarify just how much you’re not allowed to say that.


I was working at a grocery store in 2001, and a few days after 9/11 I was working the case register when a regular came through my line. He was of Middle Eastern descent. When he got to the front of the line, I asked him to wait a moment while I fixed my jammed receipt printer. He got this sad/angry look on his face and slammed his groceries down and left. I was really surprised and it took me a moment or two to realize he thought I was refusing to serve him because he was Middle Eastern. I tried to run after him, but I couldn’t find him in the parking lot anywhere. I was actually really distraught. I had to go in the back room for a few minutes and calm down. Thinking about it still makes me sad.


My friends and I were walking around outside my house at night. One of them, a real good friend of mine, is black. I have a dog that has a mask like patch of fur on her face, that reminds us of a raccoon, so we named her “Koon”. When we were out in my back yard, Koon came up and I said, in a completely nonchalant voice “And there’s my dog Koon.” Everyone started laughing as the reality of what I said sank in.


I work in a grocery store in Eastern Market in Detroit. At the same time I was in AP Spanish at my high school and we were basically forced to speak Spanish all throughout the year. WELL, cut to work one fine Saturday afternoon. A middle-aged man with (what I thought to be) a very thick Mexican accent comes up to me and asks if we have any pecans and without thinking I say “sì, señor”. At first it took him off guard but I just kept going like it was just a slip of the tongue.


I was a general manager. A former employee of mine (black male) had a mild stroke. He and his wife visited me at work after his recovery. Not thinking, I told him to stop eating all that fried chicken. His wife gave me the strangest look but I never made the connection till after they left. I felt terrible.

Written by Irvi Torremoro

Irvi Torremoro is an Austinite by way of Las Vegas. She's worked in various outlets in food & beverage and is now focused on writing, eating all the things, talking about Beyonce, and petting all the puppies. She runs, a lifestyle blog about people in the service industry.