There are times when I don't choose to speak up. Sometimes that's because I know that the response will be 'it's just a joke, what's the harm' or something similar. When I'm considered too 'young', too female or too 'ethnic' to be listened to. When these people are several times my age and already far too stuck in their ways to see the true offensiveness of their behavior. And really sometimes I'm okay with not speaking up while at other times I feel much more conflicted and much more likely to speak up later when I can pull someone aside and explain why what they said rubbed me the wrong way. There are many many different responses that I might take in a moment like this one… and today I'm writing a blog post. Because the Avenue Q song is accurate; everyone is a little bit racist; it's not that I'm blaming these individuals solely for their behavior in this case: indeed it is likely their cultural milieu as well as the media and other aspects of their upbringing that has made it ok to joke about offering Muslim people tons of pork. But I noticed, and found it quite unacceptable. Would these same people find it okay to insult people for choosing to eat fish on a Friday? Or for going to church on a Sunday (or any other day of the week)? Would these same folks joke about other belief systems including their own? And would they be joking just this way if the Muslim folks were male, or weren't wearing a niqab rather than just a hijab or a headscarf or no head covering at all? I don't know the answers to these questions, not being all that close to these said folks. But I'm not sure that I want to hear the answers. And I'm not sure that I want to live in a world where so much casual racism, religious discrimination, etc. might happen even jokingly, as if nothing is wrong with insulting people for their differences. I want to make the world a better place. I like to hope that more people will think it wise to educate people on why such behaviors, even jokes, are not all that appropriate or even funny. Because I certainly didn't find them funny. I was more surprised that such a thing came out of an acquaintance's mouth. I hope that the next time (because there will be a next time) that someone's comment makes me feel so unhappy with their behaviour that I feel safe pointing it out, that I feel that my words will be listened to, that this person, whoever they are might actually listen and learn from my words and that they're not a waste of air. I really hope that this blog post isn't a waste of my words, of my typing.